Category Archives: English folk/traditional

Mrs Saggs

fiddle-saggs

I’ve wanted to learn this beautiful air for a long time. Composed by English musician/songwriter/composer Chris Wood – one of English folk music’s iconic fiddlers – it seems to have become known online predominantly as a melodeon tune. The version I’ve chosen for tunecatching is played on melodeon with clarity and heart by Cambridgeshire-based musician Anahata.

Fiddle versions are few and far between, but I love the Will Pound Band’s soulful arrangement* with English fiddler Henry Webster. Enjoy it here (Will preferred me not to embed the video as the band is no longer together, but as it’s still up online I’m assuming a simple link is acceptable.) *Note that harmonica virtuoso Will tweaks the straight melody to fit the harmonica’s range.

Anahata (Oakwood D/G melodeon)

(‘Mrs Saggs – a tune by Chris Wood – Anahata, melodeon’. YouTube video, 2:33. Uploaded by anahatamelodeon on Aug 18, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv2LkaxLOw4)

Anahatawebsite

Henry Webster:  website

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Jolly Old Hawk

falcominorkeulemans

A heartfelt but short post today (a strained hand means I can’t type much at the moment). And unusually for Fiddletails, it’s a song, brief but beautiful – an old ‘twelve days’ counting song from iconic Yorkshire group The Watersons, to welcome in the ‘twelfthmost day’ on Epiphany, Twelfth Night.

Jolly Old Hawk is a Roud ballad; for possible origins and links to lyrics, see Mainly Norfolk, and the usual fascinating debate on mudcat.

Wishing you all a year of hope, health, happiness – and plenty of whatever music lights your life!

The Watersons

Norma Waterson, Elaine (‘Lal’) Waterson, Mike Waterson, John Harrison

From their 1965 first album, Frost and Fire.

(‘The Watersons – Jolly Old Hawk’, YouTube video, 1:09. Uploaded by SirD4venport on 14 Nov 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTRSBbrioSo)

For more singing and background to The Watersons, watch the BBC’s wonderful 1960s documentary, here

A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL!

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St. Catherine

 

stcatherine

 

A tune for 25th November feast-day of the legendary Alexandrian princess, scholar and Christian martyr who has her work cut out as the patron saint of a diverse slice of humanity, from potters and unmarried girls to knife-grinders and librarians.

‘St. Catherine’ is the 1701 Playford name for My Lord Cutt’s Delight, a tune from Henry Atkinson’s 1694 Northumberland manuscript. (The Session has notes on repeats, if playing this tune for the dance.)

The two featured videos this week pair St. Catherine in dance sets with another tune – Leveret play it second to New Anything; melodeon-player Anahata places it first in a set with The Cotillon.

 

Leveret

Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion), Rob Harbron (English concertina), Sam Sweeney (fiddle)

A track from the trio’s 2015 debut album New Anything. (St. Catherine begins at 1:58.)

(‘Levert – New Anything/St Catherine’ YouTube video, 4:19. Published by Sam Sweeney, 12 Dec 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tev4RxJQwJE)

 

Anahata (melodeon)

A very clear solo version that makes an excellent a teaching video. Played on an Oakwood D/G melodeon.

(‘My Lord Cutt’s Delight/The Cotillon’ YouTube video, 3:10. Published by anahatamelodeon, 30 Aug 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ko6pY_5VD78)

 

Leveret:  website   Facebook  Twitter

Anahata:  website   YouTube

 

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Stop Press: Radio Rich Pickings

Radio Rich Pickings launches today!

club_holds_radio_dance_wearing_earphones_1920Tuesday 27 September 2016

6-8pm UK

1-3pm EST

TO LISTEN ONLINE:

  1.  Click the LINK
  2.  Click PLAY

 

 

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!

(Radio Rich Pickings: http://69.175.94.98:8200/index.html)

 

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Whitehall Minuet

 

whitehall-palace-river

Whitehall Palace, London

 

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.

(‘The Askew Sisters – The Whitehall Minuet and Hare’s Maggot’, YouTube video, 5:10. Published by Eugey Baby, 15 Oct 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guZEJy_ggRQ)

 

Boldwood

Becky Price (accordion), Miranda Rutter (fiddle, viola), Matthew Coatsworth (fiddle, viola)

From the acclaimed but unreleased 2012 album Mudlarking. Whitehall Minuet starts at 1:41.

(https://soundcloud.com/boldwood/06-french-morris-whitehall)

 

GIG ALERTS!

Askew Sisters:  this coming Monday 19 September, at London’s Green Note, Camden. Last few tickets here!

Boldwood:  Saturday 15 October, St Peter’s Church, Wolvercote, Oxford. Tickets: info@stpeterswolvercote.org  or 01865 559316

 

For more information on CDs, gigs etc:

Askew Sisters:  website   facebook

Boldwood:  website   facebook

 

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Folk Music Retreat with Laurel Swift

Street, Somerset

7-9 October 2016

Street retreat

Just a few places left on this first event in Laurel Swift’s 2016-2017 varied teaching programme – a multi-instrumental weekend retreat with the emphasis on developing ensemble skills alongside individual playing and musicianship. Expect dynamic, inspirational teaching in great company, fuelled by wonderful food and drink in glorious country settings.

Oh, and you’ll need to pack walking boots with your instruments!

Glast Tor

Full details and booking here.

For Laurel’s full programme of retreats, workshops and classes, see the Teaching menu on her website.

 

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Bushes and Briars

Briar rose

 

Something a little different, a little summery. This beautiful song was the first piece ever collected by composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, on 4 December 1903, from the singing of 70-year-old labourer Charles Pottipher in the village of Ingrave, Essex.

Though the song is often rendered very free rhythmically, ace folk-dance band Blowzabella present this more rhythmic but subtle arrangement. Fiddler Dave Shepherd lays out variations on the tune over Andy Cutting’s haunting accordion riff, before piper Paul James’ evocative singing.

I seem to have found the summer fiddle-singing project I was hankering after…

 

Blowzabella

Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion), Jo Freya (vocals, saxophone, clarinet, whistle), Paul James (bagpipes, saxophones, whistle), Gregory Jolivet (hurdy-gurdy), Dave Shepherd (violin), Barn Stradling (bass guitar), Jon Swayne (bagpipes, saxophones, whistle)

Recorded at a dance in Stowmarket, Suffolk, May 2016.

 

(‘Bushes and Briars by Blowzabella’, YouTube video, 6.31. Posted by Dave Shepherd, 25 May 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-ARR_vSr6M)

 

Blowzabella:  website   Facebook  Soundcloud

 

 

 

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