We describe our music as loosely ‘traditional English’. This means it includes many tunes going back 200-300 years but also more contemporary ones. And since English music has always drawn good tunes from other places there are some items in our repertoire from other places such as France, Scandinavia as well as other UK countries. The types of tunes are often hornpipes, jigs, reels, waltzes and other dance style tunes. The repertoire is loosely defined by what gets played in the fortnightly ‘Full English’ traditional music sessions at the Packhorse Inn, Southstoke (just outside Bath).
You can hear some samples of music from our current repertoire here.
‘Jamaica and All in a Garden Green’ – a pair of popular Playford tunes. Jamaica has been used as the theme tune for the BBC’s ‘The Upstart Crow’:
‘Brighton Camp and British Grenadiers’ – the former tune is also known as ‘The Girl I left Behind Me’. ‘British Grenadiers’ was originally a Playford tune called ‘The New Bath’ (1686) and referred to the dancing that went on at Bath. It was later adopted as a marching song of various military units whose badge of identification features a grenade.
‘Horses Brawl and La Mourisque‘ – two French tunes, of which the first is noted as ‘Branle au cheval’ in the 17th century collection Orchesographie:
‘Lantern of the West’ – a plangent meditation on Bath Abbey, composed by Waits member Anne Gregson:
‘Weavers’ March’ – a processional march adopted by weavers in the north of England and Scotland, and adapted by Robert Burns for his song The Gallant Weaver:
‘Mount Hills and Maiden Lane‘ – another pair of popular Playford tunes:
‘Elsey’s Waltz and Swindon’ – a pair of slow waltzes composed by Archie Dagg the Northumbrian piper. It is not known who Elsey was, but Swindon is named for the village near Rothbury in Northumbria where Dagg lived, rather than the town in Wiltshire:
‘Vilo Primo March‘ – tune attributed to William Herschel, a famous 18thC Bath scientist, astronomer and musician:
‘Newcastle and Portsmouth‘ – a pair of popular Playford dance tunes from the 18th century:
‘Bass Dance‘ a 16th century piece composed by (or from the collection of) Susato:
‘Marche des Cabrettaires‘ – a bouncy French march. A cabrette is some kind of bagpipe, so a cabrettaire is someone who plays a cabrette:
‘The Recovery’ – a tune from the collection of John Clare, the so-called peasant poet, who was also a keen fiddler and tune collector. The story is that it was written to celebrate the return to health of George III after one of his bouts of mania:
Studio tracks were recorded by Chris Timson of Mr Punch’s Studio in Bradford on Avon. Thank you Mr Punch! Notes derive from Nick Barber’s helpful ‘English Choice’ and Wikipedia.