Skeletal fiddler

Barebones Old-Time Fiddle Tunes

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I have in the past been asked to make recordings of my versions of the old time tunes which I use both at workshops and when accompaning the Haddenham Hoofers. As I have a lousy memory, and my attempts at burning CD's for people have not always ended up with something useful I have taken the liberty of posting them here for people to access themselves. These are not meant to be perfect or definitive versions of these tunes, but hopefully have been played slowly and clearly enough for others to follow if they wish. New tunes will be added as I record them for other purposes!

Tune mp3 version midi version notation
Granny Does Your Dog Bite not yet available Click Here Click Here
The Eighth of January Click Here midi version not yet available notation not yet available
Chilly Winds Click Here midi version not yet available notation not yet available
Waiting for the Federals Click Here midi version not yet available notation not yet available
West Fork Girls Click Here midi version not yet available notation not yet available
Whiskey before Breakfast Click Here midi version not yet available notation not yet available
Little Dutch Girl Click Here Click Here Click Here
Jaybird Died of the Whooping Cough not yet available Click Here Click Here
Ebb and Flow not yet available Click Here Click Here
Crab Legs not yet available not yet available Click Here
Crayfish Tails not yet available not yet available Click Here

Notes on the Barebones Tunes.

The versions/arrangements of tunes presented here are specifically the way I play them on fiddle. The listings below describe where/who I picked up my version from. Remember this is partly an aural process, and tunes evolve as you play them, It is also a snapshot in time - ie the way I played them at the time they were recorded/notated!

Granny Does Your Dog Bite.

4 part Reel in G

American derivation of what was once a British tune called "Johnny fetch your wife back" My arrangement is an amalgamation of two different variants of the tune taken from Bayard's "Dance to the fiddle, March to the Fife." One variant had its key changed to create the set. In Happenstance we used this for the Pattacake Polka with great success.

Eighth of January

Reel in A

Well known as the melody of the song "Battle of New Orleans". I have my own variation of the second part which adds a bit more oomph as a dance tune

Chilly Winds

Reel in Dm

Chilly Winds was taught to me by the late Mick Brooks when the Haddenham Hoofers were rehearsing a new routine taught to them by Julie Young from Minnesota. (now known as "Julies dance" in recognition of this!)

The Hoofers band have been debating the name of the tune for some time, but I think that discussion has been put to rest on hearing the song " " on a great CD by Karl Jones and Beverley Smith which is clearly close to this melody, and refers to Chilly Winds in the lyric

Waiting for the Federals

Reel in G

I first heard this on Ali Bain's first album, but didn't learn to play it until I joined the Hoofers band. The version we play is very similar to Ali Bain's version.

West Fork Girls

Reel in A

As taught to me by Tim Mason

Whiskey before Breakfast

Reel in D

A well-known bluegrass tune, once again reproduced here with the ornamentation that I commonly use - strong chords in the A part and two different ways of playing the second part give it a slightly different feel. I prefer to play it a bit more slowly than is usual.

Little Dutch Girl

Reel in A

This was taught to me by Tim Mason, banjo player for the Haddenham Hoofers. What is notated here is the way I now play it - somewhat modified from the common banjo version of the tune. Works well with the fiddle tuned AEAE

Jaybird Died of the Whooping Cough

Reel in G

I developed my version of this traditional American tune after listening to a midi version that I found on the internet. The midi file here is the way that I play it now, complete with double-stopping in the A part

Ebb and Flow

Reel in D

Unusual for its jumps between 4/4 and 6/4 time in the second part, I learnt this lovely tune from its composer, Carl Jones, duetting with Beverly Smith as featured guests at an Old Time weekend in Hastings in 2006. It was soon being played in all the sessions there, so I reckon most of the musicians there took it away with them. It can of course be heard played properly on Carl and Beverly's CD "Somewhere over Yonder"

Crab Legs

Reel in G

A nice dance tune composed by Graham Anstee who introduced me to it at "Dance around the world" at Cecil Sharp House in 2007

Crayfish Tails

Reel in A

This is in fact "Salmon Tails across the Water", a very well known Northumbrian Rant moved from the key of G to A and adapted to an American style. As such the original melody is scarcely recognisable!