First off, I have a gig at Baldock and Letchworth Folk Club this Wednesday the 17th October. I’ll be playing for 25 minutes or so in support of the fabulous Jody Kruskall. Hope to see lots of you there.
I have now moved into my new residence in Cambridge and very nice it is too. For the first time in around 8 years I have my own desk, which need not be used for anything other than work (or in my case, fettling). The house is still full of instruments, but we are gradually getting on top of that. In a spare moment whilst sorting the house out, I recorded a demo on solo box using a Zoom H2 lent to me by a friend. This is mainly to send round clubs as advertising, but I thought that I would share it with my hypothetical readers as well.
The tracks that I’ve recorded are 5 of the tunes that I am playing most in solo gigs at the moment. It starts with Lily’s March and Linden Lea, a set that I have been playing for years, both on box and on piano. You may recall that it is a set which is available on There and Back Again’s CD “Long Way Round” (copies still available!). To listen to it, and indeed to purchase, go here. The first tune is Lily’s March, a tune by the great Douglas Montgomery, of The Chair and Saltfishforty. It was written as an encouragement for his daughter when she was learning to crawl, which explains the unusual rhythm. The second is a tune by the classical composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, which I think is one of the most beautiful tunes ever written. I use my Saltarelle Bouebe on that track, recently tuned by Martyn White.
The second track comprises a tune that I learned at the English Acoustic Collective Summer School called South Downs Jig and a tune that I wrote at same called Owen’s Maggot. More information on these tunes can be found in the blog post that I wrote about them a few weeks ago. That track is played on my Rowbotham-modified “Super Preciosa”.
The third track is another old one, Cuckoo’s Nest and Le Bedeau de l’enfer (Verger of Hell), an English morris tune and a Quebecois crooked tune, both played in G minor on a D/G box. That has been my party piece for years and I still haven’t quite got the hang of it! There are a few recordings of me playing it floating around, but this is the first to include the feet. All done in one take, as you can probably tell. Cuckoo’s Nest is a tune that is found all over the place and was my favourite tune when I was about 16. The second tune is a more bonkers than usual crooked tune, as it is in a constantly shifting time and key. I love it though. It’s by a chap called Thomas Pomerleau, about whom I know nothing. That’s another one on the Bouebe.
The fourth track is the newest track, I came up with it less than a month ago. It is the first track of performance standard on my “Impiliput”, the 12 Hayden-style free bass B/C Hohner Liliput. I will write more about that instrument in subsequent posts [Update – This instrument is the subject of Inside and Our Part 5]. The first tune is Vektersang (Watchman’s Song), by Edvard Grieg. Grieg has always been one of my favourite classical composers – this is the third of his Lyric Pieces, a series of short pieces for solo piano that I used as sight reading practice back when I was a classical piano player. This is one that stuck in my head, so I arranged it for melodeon (and transposed it from E to F). The second is another Quebecois tune, going by the name of Le Ruisseau Français (The French Creek I believe). It is by André Brunet and I got it off “Les Habits de Papier”, the latest album of De Temps Antan, with whom the composer plays. I play that one in F as well, rather than G, in which it was written. It is a glorious tune and it works really well with the unisonoric basses, as hopefully you can hear!
The demo finishes with a classic on my Bouebe, which like the first and third tracks I first performed at my New Roots Final back in 2011. It is The Cheshire Waltz, which at least two professional melodeon players have affected to enjoy listening to. It is a tune which has always gone down well and I’ve played it at every solo gig I’ve ever done.
I hope that you enjoy listening to the demo, if you do then please share with your friends. If you do then I get more recognition and eventually more gigs. That’s the idea anyway!