Now Dull Sir John was beige and square and Dull Sir John was grey / he said I’ll stay indoors today and sit right here to watch the rain / the sodden mud outside can stay / the guitar I’ll not play.
There are so many variations of this tune that I don’t think I even ran out doing four different A parts and B parts. Of course they’re all Morris dances from different villages, so the differences are perhaps explained as the result of whatever buttons the inebriated concertina player happened to press on the day that Cecil Sharp came to town.
The tune originally comes from a song, though it’s not a particularly pleasant song.
I bring up the Upton-on-Severn stick dance for two reasons:
- It wasn’t for the Upton-on-Severn stick dance. The collected version of that dance says it was done to “a hornpipe”, but not which.
- It wasn’t from Upton-on-Severn. It’s an Appalachian tune.
A man with a beard and tankard needs to say something about “it’s a living tradition” to get us out of this hole, now.
I’ve talked before about the hyperlocality of session tunes. I’ve never found a session in Warwickshire where this isn’t played, but when Morris Oxford went down to Oxford this drew blank looks.
When it comes to the tunes on this site, my choice is my own and I’ll keep it so still, though other sweet lasses may do what they will.
I used to work in the shadow of Windsor Castle, and have dined in the Queen’s own restaurant (the crown estate owns a MacDonald’s on the Slough retail park).
Another one for Nelson, this tune is written in D in Rev. Harrison’s book from the beginning of the 19th century.
And it is indeed a mirthful and jolly little jig.
From the Hardy manuscript. Ever since William Barnes, us Dorset folk have had difficulty with spelling our cheese on toast correctly.
Another tune that I know I’ve known for years, but don’t know where I got it from. It probably rattled around sessions long enough to sink in. I normally play it on a fiddle, so it’s interesting for me to listen to this flute recording because I didn’t consciously choose where to put breaths in and want to hear where they ended up.