Monthly Archives: September 2015



Purlongs is an intriguingly crooked tune from Playford’s Dancing Master (1651), and the roots of its inscrutable title are much debated. (Andy Cutting’s definition: ‘Any distance travelled by a cat.’)

However, the word appears to be a Middle English variation of ‘purloin’ – to steal, in a stealthy manner:

Purlong: Middle English purloinen, to remove, from Anglo-Norman purloigner. Noun: purloiner. (Via

And there you have it. Purlongs. Thieves/robbers. Case closed?

(Perhaps not. Googling purlongs also gave me furlongs/corruption of, and instructions for installing purlins when putting up a roof.)


Cut to the chase! Here are two wonderful bands – Leveret and Boldwood – playing the lovely Purlongs.



Andy Cutting (melodeon), Rob Harbron (concertina), Sam Sweeney (fiddle)

Purlongs played second in a set with Whitefriars Hornpipe, which was the tune for 28 May (Purlongs: 2:50). Mr Cutting half visible but entirely audible.


(‘Leveret – Whitefriars & Purlongs Live in Dursley Town Hall’ YouTube video, 5:41. Posted by Sam Sweeney, 12 Jul 2014.

The set is on Leveret’s 2015 CD New Anything, available from their website.


Leveret tourLeveret kick off their UK tour at Cecil Sharp House, London. THURSDAY 1 OCTOBER









Becky Price (piano accordion), Matthew Coatsworth, Kate Moran, Daniel Wolverson (fiddles)

Played second in a set with Fete de Village (Purlongs: 2:10) in a live performance at The Queen’s College Chapel, Oxford, 1st June 2013, featured on the unpublished CD Mudlarking**.



For news of gigs and recordings, see Boldwood’s website and their lively Facebook page.

**For previously-featured tunes from Mudlarking, see also Jackson’s Shaving Brush (June 2015) and The Miller of Perth (Aug 2015).




Filed under English folk/traditional, Uncategorized

When At War on the Ocean


It’s one of those weeks when you can step up to the plate and learn a set of tunes, or just kick back and focus on one. Or of course just kick back…

Oss is an English trio playing English regional ‘gems and forgotten songs’ unearthed from manuscripts. The featured tune is John Dipper’s reworking of a traditional English tune, played second in a surprising set with the lovely ‘Dance’ from Purcell’s 1688 opera Dido and Æneas.

(Worlds collide for me this week — I sang chorus in this opera at school!)



John Dipper (viola d’amore), Nick Hart (duet concertina, voice), Tom Moore (violin)

(When At War: 3:20)



The self-titled EP is available from the Oss website.  You can also follow them on Facebook.



oss playing

Catch Oss live at Camden’s Green Note, MONDAY 21 SEPTEMBER




These guys really get around – here are just a few of their individual musical projects:


Nick Hart: melodeon and concertina player, multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, maker of beautiful bones.

Plays with many collaborations, including the Ceilidh Liberation Front, and for the Belles of London City Morris.

Co-hosts and teaches at East London’s great Trad Academy. (Look out for his amazing bones workshops, and read the fascinating esoteric notes on his handmade bones in his online shop!)


John Dipper: English Acoustic Collective and multiple projects/collaborations, including:

WORKSHOP ALERT! Acoustic Creativity and Exploration Workshop Days with Emily Askew: Guildford 11 October, Bristol 29 November.

2015 EFDSS Creative Artist Residency with guitarist Dave Malkin and dancers Hat Vail and Helen Penn.

Alma, with fiddlers Emily Askew and Nicola Lyons, and guitarist Adrian Lever.

And not forgetting… The Hobbit soundtrack. (See John’s website above for other projects.)


Tom Moore: False Lights, with Sam Carter, Nick Cooke, Jim Moray, Sam Nadel, Jon Thorne.

GIG ALERT! False Lights at the London Folk & Roots Festival, 30 October,  Sebright Arms.

Moore Moss Rutter, with Archie Churchill-Moss and Jack Rutter.

Duo with Nick Hart.


Phew! Great music played by great guys!

Don’t forget – they’re live at Camden’s GREEN NOTE, MONDAY 21 SEPTEMBER!



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Laurel Swift (fiddle, voice, clogs), Colin Cotter (banjo, stompbox), Jon Brenner (piano accordion)


The mighty Gloworms play their ‘shiny-bright English ceilidh’ at a rare Knees Up Cecil Sharp ceilidh tomorrow night, Friday 20 September, at Cecil Sharp House. 8-11pm, £10/£8 on the door.



Dance, stumble, or just sit and soak up their amazing rhythms. Make it if you possibly can!





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A lovely American old-time tune with a title suggesting Civil War origins,  often associated with  Ernie Carpenter (1907-1997), an acclaimed fifth-generation fiddler from Braxton County, West Virginia.

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Andy Fitzgibbon

From the playing of Ernie Carpenter. The video was made for Andy’s students at the Wellington Bluegrass Society fiddle workshops. Fiddle tuned AEAE.


(‘Ernie Carpenter’s Gun Boat’ – Andy FitzGibbon’ YouTube video, 2.03. Posted by Andrew FitzGibbon, 8 Sep 2015.


Ernie Carpenter

Fiddle/banjo duet, fiddle tuned AEAE. Ernie originally learnt this tune from family friend and neighbour Wallace Pritchard.


(From the Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes on the great Slippery Hill  website )


Andy Fitzgibbon plays with the Iron Leg Boys, and is part of the New Young Fogies project co-run by Anna Roberts-Gevalt (of Anna & Elizabeth: see ‘Billy in the Lowground’ 7 May 2015)


Ernie Carpenter‘s fascinating family history is outlined on the Berea College website.




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Jenny Pluck Pears

An attempt to conjure a golden September from this year’s grey English summer – if we all play it like mad, the sun will come out!

My beautiful namesake tune is from Playford’s Dancing Master of 1651. Two very different arrangements – it is traditionally played with the A and B parts in different time signatures. And (might have guessed!) any tune involving women and fruit had sexual connotations. Who knew…



Andy Cutting (melodeon), Rob Harbron (concertina), Sam Sweeney (fiddle)



The tune is on Leveret’s 2015 CD New Anything, available from their website.

Leveret are touring in the UK in October – starting with a gem of a format: an acoustic set, performed in the round. Cecil Sharp House, 1 October. Details and booking here. Don’t miss it! Full tour dates here (scroll down to Gigs/Autumn Tour 2015).



Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion, triangle), Jo Freya (vocals, clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophones, whistle), Paul James (border bagpipes, soprano and alto saxophones, whistle), Gregory Jolivet (alto hurdy-gurdy), Dave Shepherd (violin, octave violin), Barn Stradling (acoustic bass guitar, octave bass guitar), Jon Swayne (border bagpipes, soprano and alto saxophones)

Played here with the traditional time-changes, first in a set with Half Hanniken


(‘Jenny Pluck Pears / Half Hanniken’ YouTube video, 4.37. Posted by #Blowzabella, 20 Nov 2014.

For upcoming gigs, band news and recordings, go to Blowzabella’s website here.




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