Jigs, single jigs, slides, slip-jigs etc.
I picked up “Marche Alexandrine” from an Old Hat Band recording many years ago. It is from Quebec.
I was only able to find it online recently. It’s also not in any of my music books.
Behind the haystack
One of the first Irish session tunes that I learnt on the melodeon when it was played regularly in sessions at The Foresters and Broomfield Tavern in Coventry in the 1990’s.
Bill Hartes Favourite
Learnt many years ago (1990s). A 48 bar Irish jig.
Black joke, The
A Morris dance tune. A version of this tune is known as “The Sprig of Shillelagh” in Ireland.
Another Irish tune learnt at Coventry sessions.
The tune is a traditional Dutch dance tune. I play it pretty much the way of the original, except for the number of times through each part of the tune. I play it as a 48 bar (AABBCC) tune rather than the ABBC of the original.
Bonnets so blue
Another tune I learnt early on. An English Country Dance.
Camels are coming, The
Written by Ian Wilson of the bands “Peeping Tom” and “Be’lzebub.”
I always assumed that the name of the tune was a play upon “The Campbells are coming”, but I’ve discovered that it is also the title of a Biggles book and the title of a film made in 1934 about a member of the British Camel Corp in Egypt.
My bet is still that it was a play upon “The Campbells are coming.”
Captain Lanoe’s quickmarch
Cock ‘o the north
A good versatile tune for dances. Can be played as a march (for the Gay Gordons for instance) or as a jig.
Connaught man’s rambles
Another Irish tune I learnt in Coventry sessions.
> “Oh my Billy, my constant Billy, \
> When will I see my Billy again?
> When the fishes fly over the mountains, \
> Then will you see your Billy again.
> Billy again, Billy again, \
> Billy again, Billy again,
> When the fishes fly over the mountains \
> Then will you see your Billy again.”
Country Courtship, The
An 18th century English country dance tune that later (in the US) became “The Wash woman” and then the rather insultingly cliched “The Irish washerwoman.” An insult that is probably lost upon most people in the 21st century.
Dennis Murphy’s slide
32 bar jig learnt whilst playing sessions with Terry Fairless.
Drops of Brandy
An English country dance tune that later got the name “Father O’Flynn” from a character in a late 19th century song.
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Family jig, The
AKA Major Mackie’s Jig
Learnt from the playing of Bob Cann, from the west country, who called it “The family Jig.”
Frieze Britches, The
Gander in the pratie hole
Go to the devil and shake yourself
Hunt the squirrel
Learnt early on from somewhere or other. Most likely sessions or dance bands. A good tune for the dance “Good man of Ballangeigh”
Jim Ward’s Jig
A tune from the John Clare manuscripts (it’s not clear whether he composed it) that has been popularised more recently by fiddle players Mat Green and Pete Cooper (see video below).
Lark in the morning, The
I first heard The Lemonvile from the playing of “The Shepherds” (Willie Taylor, Willie Atkinson, Joe Hutton).
Little burnt potato, The
I first heard Little Burnt Potato from the playing of “The Shepherds” (Willie Taylor, Willie Atkinson, Joe Hutton).
It is a Canadian tune.
More info here:
Merrily kiss the Quaker
Month of May, The
Moon and seven stars
An English 48 bar jig.
I learnt this tune for playing with Greenman Rising. I can’t remember who suggested the tune.
I picked this tune up from festival sessions in the early 2000s, and subsequently heard it played by a couple of dance bands.
Irish double jig.
I learnt this early on in Coventry sessions and I play this with a local variation. Instead of going up to the higher octave in the B music, it stays in the lower octave.
News of the Victory
I picked up News of the Victory probably after hearing it played at dances. It’s one of those tunes that simply appeared whilst practising without me being conscious of actually learning it.
Oats, beans and peas
Off she goes
A classic single jig that crops up all over the place. The A part is essentially the well known tune for singing the rhyme “Humpty Dumpty”, and for that reason it’s a good tune for demonstrating the rhythm of English single jigs.
Old favourite, The
Out on the ocean
Another ubiquitous English jig, learnt from somewhere or other.
“A good one”, James Winder wrote in his music notebook (1834-41). And he was right, it’s a cracking dance tune.
The name of this tune might make it seem to be Irish, but it has a quite English feel - if that means anything - and I have only heard it as a dance tune with English players. It also appears in the notebooks of many 19th century English traditional musicians.
From the Village music project:
Thomas Sands of Lincolnshire (1810)
William Clarke of Feltwell (1858)
Joshua Gibbons Tealby,Lincolnshire, 1823
HSJ Jackson of Wyresdale, Lancashire (1823)
James Winder, Lancashire (1835-41)
John Clare, the poet from Helpston, Northamptonshire.
Rev R Harrison, Cunbria. without C part (1815).
William Tildesley, Swinton, Lancashire (1860s).
Does this mean it is originally English? Who knows, but what we do know is that it has been in the repertoire of English dance musicians and looked after by them for a long time.
The A and B parts are used in the song “Saxon Shilling”
Padraig O’Keefe’s slide
The Bothy Band played this, so it’s probably where I picked it up as I don’t think I’ve ever heard this tune in a session.
It’s a nice little single jig.
Rakes of Kildare
AKA Smash the Windows.
As played by John and Julia Clifford on their record “Humours of Lisheen”, where it is given a second name of “Going for water.”
Spirit of the dance
A very nice English jig. Apparently it is included in the Thomas Hardy manuscripts.
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Star above the garter, The
Swallow’s nest, The
Sweets of May
Tiger Smith’s jig
AKA Oscar Wood’s jig
Learnt from a recording of old English (East Anglian) melodeon players where Tiger Smith played it. A good English jig for dancing.
From the playing of Bob Cann, the west country melodeon player..
Vergins Wish, The
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