Sergeant Early's dream
This latest CD from the Rude Mechanicals features a delightful selection of tunes from the musical traditions of the British Isles and Europe, performed with distinctive instrumental arrangements.
The album includes some of the trio's current favourites, some drawn from published collections or learned from players at local sessions, and others from sources long forgotten. All the arrangements and accompanying parts are by the Rude Mechanicals.
Here's the track list with notes:
1. Be gone from the window / The great north run (2'50")
Two tunes found by Ray in a concertina players' magazine, in an article about tunes popular in Canada. It turns out they are also popular in Sussex sessions. The great north run was written by Robert Whitehead to celebrate his daughter's participation in that event, and is included with his kind permission.
2. Brink of the white rocks (2'59")
Mick came across this tune in The Roche Collection of Traditional Irish Music.
3. Brighthelmstone hot bath / New feathers (2'58")
Among archives on the internet we came across 'Thompson's Compleat Collection of 200 Country Dances perform'd at Court, Bath, Tunbridge, and all Public Assemblies'. These two tunes were among those we particularly liked. We subsequently found that Hot bath was already known closer to home, and is in the Lewes Favourites collection.
4. Ciel d'Automne (4'19")
Written by Andre Brunet, fiddle player with the Québécois band La Bottine Souriante, who recorded it on Dixième (1998).
5. Happy hours (3'59")
This came from the playing of Tony Dunn at a pub session in Lewes, Sussex. It seems to have come down via Jimmy Shand and Billy Pigg but its origins lie in the 1920s or perhaps earlier.
6. Leeds polka / The Redowa (3'33")
The Leeds is another tune picked up at a local session, played by Dan Quinn at The Trevor Arms, Glynde. It's also in Lewes Favourites. The Redowa is a well-known polka, but our third part is not the one usually played. It's adapted from a setting given by Dave Townsend in his third collection of English Country Dance Music (1985).
7. Limerick's lamentation / Lemmy Brazil's no.2 (4'14")
Limerick's Lamentation ('Marbhna Luimni') is a traditional Irish air, and refers to the loss of Limerick to English forces under William of Orange in 1691. Lemmie Brazil was from a traveller family. We play one of a pair of her tunes that are very popular among Sussex players and no doubt much more widely.
8. Miriam's well ('Mirjamsbruner') (2'43")
Barry first heard this played by Richard Burgess and Emmanuel Pariselle at a concert in Shoreham. Possibly originating in one of the Klezmer traditions. Provenance unknown, but we like it a lot.
9. Prins Egeni marsch (2'21")
One of the tunes noted down by the Swede Gustaf Blidström while a prisoner of war in Tobolsk, Russia, in the 1700s. We have it from a recording by the Swedish folk/baroque band, Silfver (2013).
10. Sergeant Early's dream / Jug of punch (4'45")
The music to these Clare reels was given in the sleeve notes to an LP by flute player Paddy Carty that Barry bought in the 1980s.
11. Stemning fra Steigjela (3'24")
An old friend gave us a book he'd found in a charity shop, of tunes composed by the Norwegian musician Egil Storbekken, and this was one of them. Stemning translates roughly to 'ambience' but we haven't found out where Steigjela is.
12. Scan Tester's 1st and 2nd stepdances (5'00")
Lewis 'Scan' Tester (1896-1972) was a Sussex musician whose name is associated with many tunes in the folk repertoire. These have been learned from the concertina playing of Will Duke, a great advocate for Scan's music.
13. Woodbridge two-step / Lancing three-step (4'01")
Woodbridge is our adaptation of a tune in Dave Townsend's third collection. The Lancing 3-step was composed by the Mechanicals' own Mick Parker.
14. Vinden (3'49")
The Mechanicals can't remember where they came across this one. It was probably circulating among the nyckelharpa-playing community of the UK. Vinden is Swedish for 'the wind'.
Great value at £10 if bought in person from the band, or £12 by mail order.
Or you can buy this CD together with the previous one, Lady Pentweazle's maggot, for the bargain combined price of £15 in cash or £17 by mail order.