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 Post subject: Re: FRANK JAMES 1940-2020
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 7:23 pm 
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Victor III
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Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:57 am
Posts: 782
Location: Hampshire, England.
Here is Frank on 15th October 2013. He was greatly enamoured by that horn and later wrote : "The Krakenhorn pics are wonderful, I love it to bits !"


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 Post subject: Re: FRANK JAMES 1940-2020
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 7:42 pm 
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Victor VI
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:08 pm
Posts: 3432
Location: Southeast MI
emgcr wrote:
Here is Frank on 15th October 2013. He was greatly enamoured by that horn and later wrote : "The Krakenhorn pics are wonderful, I love it to bits !"



I spot a Curved Dash Oldsmobile in the background, as well as a very interesting chassis & wire wheels. Frank had some great taste, not just in phonographs, apparently. So sorry to have never met him. Condolences on the loss of a good friend.


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 Post subject: Re: FRANK JAMES 1940-2020
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 7:48 pm 
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Victor III
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Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:51 pm
Posts: 928
Location: USA
I was saddened to learn of Frank's passing. I heard great things about him, although I never met or interacted with him. I purchased his EMG book about 10 years ago. Armed with the information he carefully compiled, I was able to make an informed purchase of an Expert gramophone about a year and a half ago that is now an important part of my gramophone and phonograph collection.

Frank will be missed.
Best regards ... AZ*


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 Post subject: Re: FRANK JAMES 1940-2020
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:59 pm 
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Victor Jr
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Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:07 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Chicago, IL
This is a shock indeed - such a great man! In August of 2019, my wife and I visited Graham Rankin who organised a large gramophone party at his house, where we met so many wonderful people. Frank was there, and he kindly autographed his book for me. So glad my wife captured a photo, a memory I will cherish forever. Frank was a big, strong-looking man, soft-spoken and commanding, and looked nothing near the age he was. Now I am reaching for his book on my shelf, to peruse and remember this great man. Thank you, Frank, for all of your efforts to research and preserve the EMG story.

epigramophone wrote:
Alastair Murray has just given me the sad news that Frank passed away shortly before Christmas, after a spell in hospital.

Frank's contribution to the history of EMG and Expert cannot be overstated. He singlehandedly rescued these great names from obscurity and published the results of his extensive research in his book "The EMG Story". When I acquired my copy with it's personal dedication from Frank, Alastair warned me that once I had read it I would want one of these hand made machines, and so it proved.

Several years ago Frank, who had a background in historic buildings, bought a ruinous Tudor farmhouse and outbuildings which he painstakingly restored. Every year Alastair and I would spend a day there and marvel at the progress Frank had made. We have lost a dear and valued friend.

The funeral arrangements have yet to be finalised, and Covid-19 restrictions will make attendance difficult.


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 Post subject: Re: FRANK JAMES 1940-2020
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:27 am 
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Victor I
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:05 pm
Posts: 128
This is sad and momentous news for the EMG/Expert world. The original cornerstone and regenerator of that world has left us behind and moved on to greater things.
Frank was my first introduction to the EMG gramophone. I wrote to him and he quickly replied in the warmest and most welcoming way. I visited and stayed overnight in my camper van with him and his wife Jan in October 2010. They were both so gracious.

He was such an interesting man - highly intelligent, very helpful, kind, incredibly hard working. Sometimes his words seemed to emanate from an inner silence or space, that spoke of spiritual awareness and vision. His multi-talented spirit was grounded in a strength that was physical, moral and psychological in my limited experience of him. A person who saw clearly some of the dehumanising tendencies of society and lived his life as free of them as he possibly could. A grounded man.
He took many hours off from his overly full schedule that first day to let me hear and play his EMG Xb and XB Oversize gramophones. I was helplessly hooked for the rest of my life.
May he live fully and exuberantly forever more!


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 Post subject: Re: FRANK JAMES 1940-2020
PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:13 pm 
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Victor O
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:45 pm
Posts: 50
Location: Hampshire
I was so sorry to read this sad news. I also was lucky enough to meet Frank at Graham’s back in 2019. I don’t know how many times I have read The EMG Story and it was such a joy to talk to the author. He has instilled a passion for these wonderful instruments in so many of us. Thank you Frank, RIP.


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 Post subject: Re: FRANK JAMES 1940-2020
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:16 am 
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Victor VI
An analogue relic trapped in a digital world.
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
Posts: 3583
Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.
Frank's funeral will take place on Tuesday 12th January at 12.30pm (Not 2.30pm as previously reported).
Because attendance is limited to 20 people it will be streamed on video at obitus.com, a bereavement media service provider.
To view enter User Name : Dumu9287 and Password : 957148.

When circumstances permit, the family hope to arrange a memorial service for Frank, when his ashes will be interred with his late wife Jan. When I have the details I will post them here.

Roger.


Last edited by epigramophone on Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: FRANK JAMES 1940-2020
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:18 am 
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Victor II
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Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:17 am
Posts: 479
Location: Victoria. Australia
Thank you for the information Roger, much appreciated.
I’ve been in shock since hearing the bad news. I was supposed to meet up with Frank early last year and then the pandemic threw all plans out of the window.

My first EMG was in fact an Expert Junior. I had never heard anything like it before and was immediately hooked. Franks book opened up a whole new world to me. I can’t quite remember how I got in touch with Frank but on making contact he invited me to come stay at his place. He didn’t know me from Adam, yet simply because of my interest in EMG’s, he invited me into his home.

I was so nervous at the prospect of meeting my hero. He immediately put me at ease and before I knew it we had spent the whole day talking and playing his wonderful EMG gramophones. The next morning his wife, Jan put on an excellent spread and after a walk around his working farm we went back to playing EMG’s until it was time for me to leave. How did he manage to find the time to research and write the EMG Story while running a farm?

We kept in touch by email and he freely shared his knowledge and taught me so much. So much fun discovering lost EMG machines and having an expert eye decipher its secrets.
In 2009 out of the blue, Frank decided to sell his entire collection except for a couple of machines. He had moving onto another project and was co-writing a book about his family’s history. The Hancocks of Marlborough, a book about his family of geniuses who propelled the Industrial Revolution in the UK. Geniuses indeed.

Imagine my surprise when he offered his EMG collection to me. I didn’t have the cash but Frank said if I wanted it he would wait until I raised the money. The following summer, I picked up the collection. To this day, I still cannot believe I have Frank James’ EMG collection. Over the years, I bought several other machines and parts from him. His kindness and generosity was bountiful.

He would get so excited about finding new information and discovering new EMG items and was always willing to share with anyone interested. He really is the EMG Guru.

Years ago I found what looked like an original cork EMG turntable mat. I was never sure if it was original or something made up by someone. Frank had never seen or heard of one before. It was stored away in the hope another one would turn up to confirm its authenticity. A few months ago Frank contacted me to say he had indeed found another one exactly the same. His reply

“I have just this minute made another connection, about the cork mat. Was it not Mr Creese, with his one arm, that had a pension of some sort from a grateful government, in the form of selling cork products, before he got the job with EMG tuning ( and making ?) soundboxes ?
What fun finding these tiny particles of history, and fitting them into the jigsaw puzzle !”

His last words to me.
“As to the future, I fear the world will never be the same again. Glad I am so ancient !”

There was only one Frank James. I will miss him terribly.


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 Post subject: Re: FRANK JAMES 1940-2020
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:36 am 
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Victor IV
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Buyer of broken things
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:10 pm
Posts: 1351
Location: North Shields, UK
I was recently in email touch with Steve Miller who is currently unable to post his words himself, so I am passing them on in his behalf, they are as follows.



I was very shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the death of Frank James, especially as I spent a morning with him in August last year looking around his Tudor property which he had recently restored. Of course we also talked shop and caught up about gramophones which is something we once found the time to do fairly frequently and I look back with great fondness to those happier days. He looked very well, fit and healthy, somewhat incredible really for his 80 plus years.

We originally met in the early 90s at a CLPGS Phonofair but I subsequently phoned him when his book The EMG Story first got published to tell him how much I had enjoyed it. I remember the conversation well; it was a stormy evening in winter and the talk about EMG's was occasionally interrupted by Frank's exclamations of "wow, look at that!" as lightning struck all around May Hill.

I caught up with him again at the NVCF when it was held at the NEC in Birmingham. I remember seeing the somewhat bizarre and fairly crude Wilson Horn conversion of an HMV 510 complete with it's long horn projecting out into the gangway (I would end up being another one of its temporary custodians over 10 years later!). I cheekily teased Frank suggesting that it was a travesty what Ginn had done to a perfectly good HMV gramophone but Frank had a wonderful sense of humour and great wit so appreciated the joke and he and I became good friends.

We kept in touch over the years but when I told Frank I wanted to buy one of the very best Expert models in original condition he invited me over to Yartleton Farm on what would turn out to be the first of many such Saturdays over the proceeding years to swap, buy or sell EMG parts, machines or ephemera or simply just to have a good old chat over a few beers with some sausage and mash or to take in the stunning views from his own personally designed and handmade pagoda. Sausages and mash was customary and order of the day for Frank and his wife Jan on Saturday lunchtimes with rarely any deviation from the menu.

Both Frank and Jan were two of the most genuinely warm, friendly, hospitable and interesting people I've ever had the privilege of meeting or knowing. It's so sad to think they're now both gone.

After I'd served my "EMG apprenticeship" as we used to say, with a few base models in my collection Frank realised that I was serious about EMG and Expert and wanted to buy what was at one time one of his strict "keeper" machines, a pedestal Senior model owned by Edward Creese, Snr. It wasn't for sale but he knew how much I wanted it. For those who never met Frank personally you have to realise he could have just as easily sold any machine to someone anonymous online but to whom he sold machines was as equally important to him as the price! Frank always preferred face to face contact and rejected a lot of society's modern ways of doing things.

One day to my complete surprise he told me "I think you should have it", a decision he would later joke about saying "that was one of the machines I do regret selling now!"

When Frank needed someone to provide architectural drawings for some planned building works he invited me to carry out the work, for which I was very grateful and pleased to do.

But away from the world of vintage cars, historic buildings, gramophones, antique caravans and freaky mannequins, Frank was always happy to share and discuss his thoughts on literature. He had a wonderful philosophy in life and a rare vision which I will greatly miss. I have no doubt he had a deep spiritual side too.

Wherever you are now, rest in peace my old friend.

Steve (Miller)


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 Post subject: Re: FRANK JAMES 1940-2020
PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:53 am 
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Victor VI
An analogue relic trapped in a digital world.
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
Posts: 3583
Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.
The family have just given me this link to a video of Frank. They also tell me that the funeral is at 12.30pm, not 2.30pm as I previously reported.

https://vimeo.com/46767487


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