More than ninety-nine and one half days before Jimi Hendrix realised he hadn’t seen his baby in a long while, this tune which appears in the 1695 edition of Playford’s dancing master was adapted by John Woodcock Graves to accompany a ballad about his late friend, the huntsman John Peel. Do ye ken that song? Anyway, last year Morris Oxford tried to use this in an arrangement of John Peel, realised others had too, and left it alone. But having learned the tune (which also goes by the name “Where would Bonnie Annie Lie”) it seemed a good idea to use it here.
To bring a multicultural twist to the new year, here’s an Irish tune collected on Prince Edward Island, Canada which I’ve appropriated and made sound like an English tune because that’s the only way I can play.
Happy Star Wars day! I’m not counting this as the “one dance” for today because in the orchestral arrangement, the tune is played a quaver away from the beat which makes it difficult to dance to. So there’ll be another tune later today.
Technically just about an 18th century tune as it comes from the 1701 edition of Playford. Conveniently for its own narrative, this tune was recorded in F which, being outside the usual proletariat keys available to melodeons, makes it likely to remain a fiddler’s tune.
From the manuscript of John Clare (where it’s in D), who lived in Helpston in Northants.
This first appears in the 1670 edition of Playford’s Dancing Master, in F as recorded here. Its rhythm fits the Morris dance Young Collins well, so Icknield Way Morris Men have been known to use this tune.
This is not exactly a little-known tune, really, but I had to start somewhere. Written by John Morehead under the name “The Naval Column” to celebrate the proposed building of Nelson’s Column in London, this tune was later used in the popular play “Speed the Plow” where it acquired fame and of course a new name.
There are five variations in this recording. The first is the Morris dance which everybody ever plays. Then comes another G major version, from William Winter’s manuscript. Then it shifts into A major, which sounds a bit brighter on a fiddle (though unfortunately does annoy some melodeon players) for three further versions, the first from Benjamin Rose’s manuscript then another two from Winter.