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Sleeve Notes for Sliptease by Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer

SlipteaseTheir music is noted for their arrangements and strong narratives which allow the stories to breathe and the tunes to flow.


Variously described as Stunning, Sublime, Scintillating and Spellbinding (a good list for a stammerer), Vicki and Jonny are constantly developing their musical pedigree working from the premise that songs are really just stories with a tune and tunes are just stories without words. Their music is noted for their arrangements and strong narratives which allow the stories to breathe and the tunes to flow.

Vicki remembers the day she got her first recorder and it was an unexpected Christmas present. From then on there has been a ritual 'seven year'itch to take up a new instrument, the piano, followed by the flute, the double bass, the Scottish smallpipes and finally the Swedish nyckelharpa (so recent it's not featured on this album). Vicki would now like to ask everyone to help her fight this urge and prevent her buying any more instruments. Geeky toys however is a completely different matter.........

Jonny can't remember learning the piano, but then again, he also can't remember where he left his blue anorak. Having been brought up as a pianist and trumpet player, Jonny only took up the guitar because it was lighter than a piano and quieter than the trumpet; and subsequently took up the accordion for something to cuddle. Since then he hasn't looked back (for fear of walking into lamposts probably).

Track Notes

1 Spencer the Rover
lyrics trad / tune Jonny Dyer

In true folk style this song was first heard in a pub session, the tune that we sing is the one that came home with us that night from the pub. Deviations from the 'original' must be attributed to Adnams' Broadside. The tune was named for Andy Jackson who runs the fantastic Miskin festival where we discovered that we could sing! (another thing to blame Adnams for).

2 The Sliptease Set
Jonny Dyer

This set is a theme and variations with the original tune (the slip jig) being developed as a reel and the as a jig. For technical anoraks out there, although the time signature and feel of the piece changes: throughout, quaver = quaver. (Vicki can explain it to you).

3 Lavender's Blue

This traditional song needs no introduction. So - here isn't one.

4 The Cribbage Set
Two for a Pair - Jonny Dyer

Three methods of gaining points in cribbage. The second tune was given to our neighbours for their wedding anniversary. (The idea was that the nob was his morris stick). Put in this order, the tune titles sound like a typical folk song about a philanderer!

5 The Two Magicians
lyrics trad / tune Jonny Dyer

The tale of a lady and a lusty blacksmith. There are a few simple ballads like this where a “blacksmith” represents masculinity and a “lady” - the epitome of feminimity. The shape changing in this song adds a dimension however where their equality in magic supercedes gender stereotypes. Words are our english adaptation of the Twa Magicians from Buchanan's Ballads of the North of Scotland.

6 The Podcast Set
The Race for Home - Vicki Swan

These two tunes were podcast during Vicki's Masters research for people to learn. This was proof to all the people who said to Vicki that she shouldn't choose teaching the smallpipes online for a research topic. It can be done!

7 Sweet Lovely Joan
lyrics trad / tune Jonny Dyer

Taking fairly traditional words, we changed the tune to try and reflect the cheekiness of Joans behaviour. The original tune (think Vaughn Williams) seemed to be too grand and serious. Words were taken from the singing of Graham O'Callaghan (and tweaked so that they made sense to us).

8 Logan Rock
Jonny Dyer

Another “where I was when I wrote it” tune. This is Logan Rock on Rough Tor, Bodmin Moor. A 400 million year old granite rock surrounded by much more recent iron age settlements. Makes you think about time doesn't it. (not as in “oh, I've left the kettle on again”)

9 Sweet Polly Oliver
lyrics trad / tune Jonny Dyer

The tale of a girl chasing after her true love by pretending to be a soldier. It's got a happy ending - as suggested by the title of the accompanying tune. The words are from the BBC publication “singing together” (1975) based on the Broadside song “Pretty Polly Oliver”.

10 Tystnaden
Tystnaden - Vicki Swan

Tystnaden - Vicki Swan
Angarrick - Jonny Dyer

Wooden flute, accordion, double bass
A sad contemplative tune for those moments in life when everything has been totally hectic and suddenly it has gone quiet, Tystnaden meaning 'the silence' in Swedish. The second tune grows from the first, reflecting hope; like the sun coming out after the rain. This set is dedicated to Vicki's mormor (Swedish grandmother) and to Jonny's Great Grandma who hailed from Angarrick (Cornwall).

11 Young Hunting
lyrics trad / tune Jonny Dyer

A blood, guts and gore ballad with 26 verses. For the most part, we learnt this traditional song in our Serious Kitchen days from the singing of Brian Peters (and adding our own tune). Since then we have tweaked the story to make more sense - taking extra verses from the singing of Pete Nalder and Tony Rose: Kindly provided by Ken Johnson.