Thomas Hardy (for it is his manuscript from which I got this) describes this as being from “Tekeli”, which is a play about Imre Thököly.
Among other places this has popped up, it’s one of the dances in Michael Praetorius’ Terpsichore.
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 jig goes to a song about a drummer boy in the War of the Spanish Succession at the beginning of the 18th century. To be honest I really know it from that other classic song, Burning Bridges by Status Quo.
Another from William Winter’s collection, Morris Oxford was going to use this as the instrumental break in a song but ultimately went with something else.
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.
Starting tomorrow, this blog will feature a different dance tune with every post, hopefully one every day. Jig along by subscribing here, or by following @danceaday. Recordings are all made available under a Creative Commons attribution non-commercial licence, more details by following that link.