My good friend and West London neighbour, ex-Genesis roadie turned environmentalist Richard Macphail, goes solo on air tonight with his shiny-bright new radio station, playing an eclectic mix of rock (1960-1985 ish), jazz, classical, folk, and a whole kaleidoscope of you-heard-it-here-first stories from his years on the road.
The second hour he describes as Off Piste – and it does what it says on the tin. Tonight, acclaimed English folk band Leveret (a Fiddletails favourite) is on the playlist with a track from their 2016 CD In The Round.
Kick back and stretch your ears for a while. I’ll see you there!
Monday already? So what better way to start the week than with this breezy Old Timey/Ragtimey tune – originally from renowned Virginia fiddler ‘Uncle’ Charlie Osborne (1890-1992), who played left-handed on a conventional right-handed fiddle, and was famous for his fiddling from the age of 15 until his death at the age of 101.
First up, Adam Hurt and Beth Williams Hartness lay out a jaunty, fluid version at dance speed, along with some great banjo ornamentations over subtle fingerstyle guitar. The second video – a slightly slower rendering showcasing the fiddle’s double-stopping and dulcitar/strumstick fingering – is by Danish Old Time afficionados TheDeleuran Enevoldsen Duo, who learned the tune from a recording of Uncle Charlie Osborne.
This lovely tune is named for the Palace of White Hall, which had grown larger than Versailles or the Vatican by the time it was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1698.
The Whitehall Minuet was published in 1709 by John Young in his tunebook Dancing Master, and in John Walsh’s Compleat Country Dancing Master, 1718.
Hare’s Maggot and French Morris, the ‘set’ partners to the minuet in the two very different renderings below, are both Playford tunes from 1701.
I’ve always understood that ‘maggot’ in a title means a tune that sticks in your head – an ear-worm. But I see from the wonderful Traditional Tune Archive that although the word can mean a dram (a liquid measure), ‘the musical meaning may stem from the word’s derivation from the Italian word maggioletta, or a plaything’.
The Askew Sisters
Emily Askew (fiddle), Hazel Askew (melodeon)
From a 2014 performance at TwickFolk, Twickenham, Middlesex, UK. The set is also on their CD In the Air or the Earth.
Every couple of weeks or so I feature a tune that's caught my fancy – audio/video clips of brilliant musicians playing great, perhaps uncommon tunes to learn by ear. Most are from the English and American Old-time traditions; some hail from other musical worlds ‒ Scandi, perhaps, or French. But whatever you play ‒ fiddles or frets, free-reeds or fipples ‒ I hope you enjoy catching these wonderful tunes!