Reels, polkas, rants, Scotch measures etc. Not including hornpipes and schottishes.
3 Kerry polkas / Black Horse Polkas
Three polkas that I learned early on whilst learning to play the melodeon. They were popular in Coventry sessions at that time and were often known as “The Black Horse Polkas” after a session in the Black Horse pub.
One year in the late nineties I was at the Whitby Folk Week Festival, playing in the Elsinor, and someone led this set, and afterwards I eagerly asked him what the names of the tunes were. “Oh, I’m not sure”, he said, “I only know them as ‘The Black Horse Polkas’.”
This is something that I remembered from a tape I was once given of a street performance of Italian music. The tape is long gone.
It gets played with Greenman Rising.
Albert Farmer’s fireside polka
As the tide was flowing
From the song of the same name. It was a vaguely familiar tune, until Jack Shuttleworth started playing it at sessions.
Babes in the wood
Battle of Aughrim
Billy Harrison’s Father’s Polka
Blue eyed stranger
Bobby shaftoe (Sleights sword dance)
Bonny breast knots
Bottom of the punchbowl
Bricks and mortar
I think I learn this from John and Beryl Marriot’s book “Tunes for the band” in the late 1980s.
AKA “The girl I left behind me”. This is one of the most widely dispersed and well known of any English folk tunes. I really don’t know where I learnt this from, I always seem to have known Brighton Camp.
Learnt whilst playing and dancing for a local border morris team in the 1990’s.
Cornish circle dance
This was one of the first (second or third) tunes that I learn on the melodeon. It was on a tape made by a dance band; I forget who they were.
Curley headed ploughboy
Dark girl dressed in blue
Davy davy knick knack
The tune of the song. I learnt the song at junior school, and learnt the tune on melodeon for a ceilidh band in the mid 1990s.
Dorset four hand reel
A classic and very well known tune in the modern English tradition. It goes with a dance, also called Dorset four hand reel. The word “reel” may be confusing here since it is nothing like an Irish or Scottish reel, but is named after a movement in the dance (a hey, or reel). The tune is more of a southern English relation to the northern English rant.
Double lead through
Down the road
Duke of Perth
AKA “Jacob.” A tune from listening to and dancing to various dance bands. Said to be a favourite tune of Thomas Hardy’s; it’s in his notebooks.
A tune from the Isle of Man
Far from home
Another tune picked up whilst playing sessions in Coventry. This one is Scottish.
Foul weather call
My playing of this tune has developed over a number the years. I first heard it played by “Flowers and Frolics” who, in their own words, forced it into a kind of hornpipe. The tune is a sort of hornpipe/scottishe/polka/summat or other. It’s peculiar tune that goes back at least to the first half of the 19th century. Saying it’s “peculiar” doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile; “Foul weather call” is a first class tune.
From night till morn
Learnt whilst dancing the dance of the same name.
Gaspe Reel, The
Ger the rigger
Picked up in Coventry sessions. A Shetland tune.
He played his ukulele as the ship went down.
High reel, The
X: 1 T: The High R: reel M: 4/4 L: 1/8 K: Amix | :a2 fa ec A2 | cAeA fAeA | a2 fa ec A2 | Bcdc BG G2 | a2 fa ec A2|cdef g2 fg|afge fdec|Bcdc BG G2:| | :cAeA fAeA | cAaf ec A2 | cAeA fAeA | Bcdc BG G2 | cAeA fAeA|cdef g2 fg|afge fdec|Bcdc BG G2:|
I have a bonnet trimmed in blue
I looked east and I looked west
In and out the windows
Johnny get your hair cut
An English 48 bar Polka (I think, though it does sound a bit American to my ear), learnt playing sessions in Coventry.
A tune from the John Clare manuscripts (it’s not clear whether he composed it, but probably not) that has been popularised more recently by fiddle players Mat Green and Pete Cooper (see video below).
Tune for the dance of the name.
Lads a bunchum
Lasses pisses brandy
LNB Polka (La Roulante)
The original (“real”) name of this tune is La Roulante. It is a French tune that was made popular by the legendary dance band “The Late Night Band.” I picked it up from a mixture of hearing them play it and hearing it in sessions.
Mad moll of the Cheshire hunts
Learnt for a local border Morris team in the mid 1990s. “Gas Mark 5” played this on their eponymous “red album.”
Mickey chewing bubblegum
Not the Wiltshire six hand reel
Not the Wiltshire six hand reel … because it isn’t. I’ll track down the proper name of this tune one day.
Anyone who hears me playing and knows the proper name, feel free to tell me :-)
Oh Joe the boat is going over
Old Molly Oxford
Old Tom of Oxford
Over the hills
Pigeon on the gate
More of an idea than a tune it is said. The pigeon on the gate seems to have had as many versions as players.
My version is based on the one played by Scan Tester and is often known as “Scan Tester’s country step dance”.
Piper in the meadow
A morris tune.
Redwing (Union maid)
Rochdale coconut dance
Scan Tester’s No.1 polka
Scan Tester’s No.1 step dance
Scan Tester’s No.2 polka
Serpentina och konfetti
Shepherd’s Hey, Fieldtown
Often referred to as “Signposts” from a move in the Fieldtown morris dance.
Silver Spear, The
Played by Peter Wyper.
Speed the plough
The English national anthem. Well … it should be! :-D