An ‘ornpipe for Noah

Some of my compositions have featured on recordings by Magpie Lane and Geckoes. Some get aired fairly regularly at dances. And some languish in a ring-binder on the shelf.

To be fair there are some in that ring-binder where the neglect is probably justified, but there others I really ought to remember to play more often. And then there are the tunes I’d really like to play, but they’re too difficult!

This hornpipe isn’t quite in that category, but I have to say, if I played it more regularly, I think I’d be able to make a better job of it. I came across it a few days ago while flicking through the ring-binder, and noticed that it was inscribed “For Noah Henry Louis Russell 14/10/99”.

Aha! I thought. That’s eighteen years ago: I can record this one in time for Noah’s birthday. Forgetting for a while that the tune was actually written more than a week after he had been born, and the auspicious birthday had already passed.

So – with many apologies for forgetting your eighteenth birthday, Noah – here’s a sincere, if belated, Happy Birthday from me, and all the Turners.

An ‘ornpipe for Noah

Played on G/D anglo-concertina

 

 

X:4
T:An ‘ornpipe for Noah
M:4/4
L:1/8
C: © Andy Turner 14/10/99
R:Dotted Hornpipe
N:For Noah Henry Louis Russell
K:D
D2 F>A d>A F>d| c>d (3 edc d2 d2|c>d (3 edc d>A F>A| G2 F2 E>G F>E|D2 F>A d>A
F>d| c>d (3edc d2 d2|e>fg>e a>gf>d |1 e>dc>B A>GF>E:|2 e>dc>B A2 A2|
|:A>B c>A d>e f>d|c>d (3 edc d2 d2|e>f g>e a>f d>f |e>d c>B A2 A2|A>B c>A d>e f>d| e>f g>e a2 d2| b>ag>e a>gf>d|1 e>A B>c d2d2:|2 e>d B>c A>GE>F|]

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The Fly-Flappers

Another one from the manuscripts of the Winder family from Wyresdale near Lancaster. Some of their tunes have been knocking around the internet in abc notation for some years, but I learned this one from Andy Hornby’s truly excellent tunebook The Winders of Wyresdale. It’s a tune from James Winder’s manuscript, dated 1835-41. And it would appear he may have had it from Goulding & D’Almaine’s Twenty-four Country Dances For the Year 1826

With proper Figures and Directions to each Dance performed at Almack’s, Bath and all Public Assemblies.
London Printed by Goulding and D’Almaine, No. 20 Soho Sq. & to be had of I. Willie 7 Westmd. St Dublin.

The OED defines a fly-flapper as

One who drives away flies with a fly-flap

with example of use including “That fellow is only fit for fly-flapper at a pork shop!” (1829) and (I’d guess of some colonial dignitary in India) “Beside him walked the fly-flappers” (1859).

But there is also a figurative usage, from Charles James’ A new and enlarged military dictionary; or, Alphabetical explanation of technical terms (1810)

a figurative term alluding to any person who being in the confidence of another, keeps off impertinent intruders.

When I first encountered this tune I thought it a bit of an oddity, but actually I think it would make a pretty good – if slightly unusual – dance tune. Might go nicely with the tune I posted last week, The Bird Catchers.

 

The Fly-Flappers

Played on G/D anglo-concertina

Cuckoldscoomb Jig / The Limnel Tree / The Downpour

Three jigs, written at various times over the last 40 years.

I wrote the ‘Cuckoldscoomb Jig’ in around 1977, having spotted the name Cuckoldscoomb on a local Ordnance Survey map and being rather taken with it (it’s a combe, or dry valley, set in the North Downs, near Wye). When first written, the tune was strongly influenced by ‘Rosie Finn’s Favourite’, as played on the Bothy Band’s LP Old hag you have killed me. At the time I would have played it on tin whistle or mandolin. I’ve tried it occasionally on concertina in the intervening years, but was never inspired to play it very often. But recently it came into my head while messing around on the one-row, and it seemed like finally I’d found the right instrument for it. This recording was made immediately after that discovery.

Cuckoldscoomb Jig

Played on one-row melodeon in C

 

‘The Limnel Tree’ is based loosely – very loosely – on the melody of the song ‘O Once I was a Shepherd Boy’. When we were recording the song for the Magpie Lane CD Six for Gold, Mat Green and I were in one room, Sophie Thurman and Benji Kirkpatrick in another. The song rattles along at quite a pace, and I must have been having trouble spitting the words out. As we finished one take, through the cans  I heard Benji say “What are the lyrics? Something about a Chinaman shaking with cold?” (it’s supposed to be “shining and shaking with cold”); “and anyway, what is a limnel tree?” (er – it’s “neither a limb nor tree”). These mondegreens have stayed with the band, and on more than one occasion it was suggested that I ought to write a tune called ‘The Limnel Tree’.  It appears that I finally got round to doing so in September 2009 – a mere seven years after the suggestion had originally been made!

The Limnel Tree

Played on G/D anglo-concertina

 

I have absolutely no recollection of writing ‘The Downpour’, but I’d guess it was made up around a dozen years ago, whilst walking back to Reading railway station after work. In the rain, presumably.

The Downpour

Played on one-row melodeon in C

 

For anyone who likes this sort of thing, I’ve put the dots for all three tunes in abc format below.

X:34
T:The Downpour
M:6/8
C: © Andy Turner
R:Jig
K:G
BGG E2D| DEG AGA |Bdd d2e| BAG AGA | BGG E2D| DEG AGA |BdB cBA| BGG G3:|
B2 d dBG |G2c edc| B2 d d2e| BAG AGA | Bdd dBG| Gcc edc | BdB cBA| BGG G2 A|
B2 d dBG |G2c edc| B2 d d2e| BAG ABc| BGG E2D| DEG AGA |BdB cBA| BGG G3|]

X:40
T:The Limnel Tree
M:6/8
C: © Andy Turner, 29/09/09
K:D
def|g3 gfe|f3 fed|e3ede|faf def|g2g gfe|f2f fed|efe ede|1 fdd:|2 fdd d3||
|:BdB G2A|Bcd dcB|cec A2B|cde edc| BdB G2A|Bcd dcd|1 edc BcB|BA^G ABc:|2 e2cd2B|BA^G A3|]

X:51
T:Cuckoldscoomb Jig
C: © Andy Turner
M:6/8
L:1/8
K:D
A|F2A A2d|d2fa2f|gfg e2d|c2BB2A|F2A A2d|d2fa2f|gfg edc|d3 d2:|
|:e|f2aa2f|gfg e2d|c2BB2A|B2cB2A|f2aa2f|gfg e2d|cBA ABc| d3d2:|]

 

Barn Dances: Rosalie the Prairie Flower / James Winder’s / Lucy Farr’s

Three barn dances. I learned ‘Rosalie’ from Hard Core English. although I think I was already vaguely familiar with the tune from the recording of it being played by Billy Ballantine and Jimmy Hunter on Ranting and Reeling, the Northumbrian volume in the Voice of the People series.

It started off as a song – as so many dance tunes did – written by the popular American songwriter George Frederick Root(1820-1895). Here are the words, if you fancy giving it a go.

Rosalie the Prairie Flower. Image from Wikipedia.

Rosalie the Prairie Flower. Image from Wikipedia.

‘James Winder’s Barn Dance’ is a lovely little tune which deserves to be more widely played. I got it from Andy Hornby’s The Winders of Wyresdale – a really excellent collection of tunes which I can heartily recommend. Given that James Winder’s MS was compiled between 1834 and 1842, the term “barn dance” must have been in use in Britain rather earlier than I had supposed.

Finally, ‘Lucy Farr’s Barn Dance’ is one of those Irish tunes which has become firmly ensconced in the English music scene. It comes, of course, from the Galway-born fiddler Lucy Farr. I believe I first heard it being played by Andy Cheyne at one of the famous Wednesday night English music sessions at Eynsham, in the late 1980s. You can hear Lucy herself playing it on Heart and Home, which I have on cassette, but which I’m very pleased to see is now available as a CD. This tune is listed on that album as ‘Gan Ainm’ (i.e. untitled) and actually described as a fling rather than a barn dance. I guess it could easily be a fling or a barn dance, depending on how fast you want to play it.

Lucy Farr. Photo by Graeme Kirkham, from Musical Traditions.

Lucy Farr. Photo by Graeme Kirkham, from Musical Traditions.

Rosalie the Prairie Flower / James Winder’s Barn Dance / Lucy Farr’s Barn Dance

played on G/D anglo-concertina

Month of May / Spirit of the Dance

‘The Month of May’ is a well-known tune, in various versions – both as a country dance and a morris tune. Here it’s played as a country dance, but is basically the tune from the Brackley, Northampton morris tradition.

May Day Wye, Kent, 1912.

May Day Wye, Kent, 1912.

I think I first heard Spirit of the Dance’ on the Old Hat Dance Band CD. It’s from Thomas Hardy’s family MSS. I don’t normally play it on melodeon, but it seemed to fit nicely – musically and thematically – with the previous tune. Played on concertina, with full band, and a whole host of guests including John Spiers, Jackie Oates and Paul Sartin, Spirit of the Dance’ provides the finale to the forthcoming Magpie Lane CD Three Quarter Time. Details here as soon as the record is available.

 

Month of May / Spirit of the Dance


Played on a Hohner four-stop one-row melodeon in C

Scan Tester’s / Seamo’s

Scan Tester. Photograph copyright Brian Shuel.

Scan Tester. Photograph copyright Brian Shuel.

 

The first tune here is listed as ‘Polka No. 3’ on the Scan Tester double-CD I never played to many posh dances. I play it rather faster than Scan did – making it more like a step-dance tune, I think.

 

Oscar Woods. Photo from EATMT.

Oscar Woods. Photo from EATMT.

 

 

 

The second tune, Seamo’s Polka, comes from the Suffolk one-row player Oscar Woods. As ‘Untitled Polka’ – and played much slower than I take it – it’s on Rig-a-Jig-Jig, Volume 9 of The Voice of The People, but I learned it from the transcription in the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust’s excellent tune book Before the Night Was Out… Oscar learned it from the Seaman brothers from Darsham, hence his title for the tune.

 

 

Scan Tester’s No. 3 / Seamo’s Polka


Played on a Hohner four-stop one-row melodeon in C