Sleeve Notes for Four Across by English Rebellion
A very varied selection of dance tunes from The ceilidh band English Rebellion, some traditional, some more lately written, some foreign and two songs, all performed with a wonderful infectious exuberance
Anahata: melodeon, cello, anglo concertina
Mary Barber: fiddle, viola
Nick Barber: melodeon, horn, soprano recorder, baritone
Mary Humphreys: piano, English concertina, banjo, vocals
1 Merry Month / Squirrel in a Tree
John Sommerville /unknown
The first of these jigs was written by John Sommerville for his wife May as a birthday present. It is published in his tunebook Tadpoles on Telephone Wires. John lives in Maidenhead and is a resident at the folk club there. The second tune's origins eludes our researches, but Mary Humphreys and Anahata heard it first from Carol Schaessens, a talented recorder player.
2 Tricky Dicky / Liberation Polka
The creation of Colin Cater, these two polkas have been favourites of the band from day one.
3 Harry Enfield's Waltz / String Quartet
These tunes form part of Nick’s Musical Diary – a collection of tunes related to everyday thoughts and events…in this case watching TV with his teenage son Tom, and listening to Mary playing string quartets in the next room. If you listen closely you can hear a bit of Dvorak in there!!
4 Gypsy's Wedding (The Gypsy Girl)
Mary Humphreys heard this sung by Joseph Taylor of Saxby-All-Saints, Lincolnshire on a very scratchy old wax cylinder recording made by Percy Grainger on 28th July 1906 at Brigg. Joseph Taylor is her favourite singer from the past. By extending it to make a refrain it becomes a good song to involve an audience and we have thrown every instrument that the band plays into the recording at some point! Mary Barber contributes to the chorus line too.
5 Spanish Patriots / Duke of York's Hornpipe
Two slower hornpipes from Lawrence Leadley. The North Yorkshire clog side, Clogarhythm, dance to this tune – playing melodeons and concertinas as they dance – once you’ve seen this, you can never see the tune in the same light…
6 The Cream Pot / Bang Upp
The Cream Pot can be found in the William Vickers manuscript of 1770 and was published in Aird’s Airs in 1782. It was commonly known as The Kern Staff. Bang Upp is to be found in the manuscript of William Docker.
7 Will You Patch My Pants for Me?
Originally a Swedish song, this tune came to us via Bob and Becky Wernerehl of Wisconsin, USA – formerly of the band Wiscandia. English Rebellion enjoy playing this tune as a relaxing interlude and breather for dancers.
8 La Fete de Village / Hornpipe
Two very popular tunes from the manuscript of William Mittell and published by Dave Roberts as Wm. Mittell His Book. English Rebellion like to use these as a warm-up tune…partly because our arrangement uses all the instruments!! The first half of Mittell’s Hornpipe is part of Symphony in C by Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787).
9 S-M Hornpipe / Red Lion / Tumblers Hornpipe
Dave Roberts /Trad /PD
Three examples of the near-extinct triple-time hornpipe. S-M Hornpipe was composed by the late English melodeon player Dave Roberts, named for his son, Sam Michael. Red Lion occurs in several English manuscripts…and Nick discovered the Tumblers Hornpipe in a manuscript located in Leeds Reference Library entitled James Biggins – His Book.
10 Bath Hornpipe / Miss Gayton's
From the manuscript of Lawrence Leadley, published by James Merryweather and Matt Seattle as The Fiddler of Helperby. The Bath Hornpipe is untitled in Leadley.
11 Said Too Much Already / Wals voor Polle
Nick Barber / Wim Poesen
Said Too Much Already was composed by Nick Barber. The band find it fits the Circle Waltz nicely, so it remains in the band’s repertoire. Wals voor Polle was written by the Belgian composer and musician, Wim Poesen – and is dedicated to the piper and box player, Polle Ranson.
12 Chatsworth House / Dummy Head
PD / John Kirkpatrick
Chatsworth House is printed in Jamie Knowles’ A Northern Lass – the original source is Thompson’s Compleat Collection of 200 Country Dances. Dummy Head was composed by John Kirkpatrick.
13 The Bonny Bunch of Roses-O! / Last of June
Trad / Trad
The Bonny Bunch of Roses-O! was found by Mary Humphreys in Marrowbones, a collection of songs edited by Frank Purslow and published by the EFDSS in 1965. It uses the Bampton Morris tune - The Rose Tree. The song is in the H. Gardiner collection, the source being Chas Windebank of Lyndhurst, Hants. The Last of June is a closely related to the well-known Jenny Lind. This version is from the playing of Rose Murphy, born in Galway but resident in Maltby, South Yorkshire.
14 Angela Mary Lee
Nick wrote this tune for Angela Lee, who died in 2008. Angela - clog-dancer, step-dancer, concertina player and artist - learned to play Nick’s mazurka Like a Bee to the Honeypot and always said that the mazurka was her favourite type of tune. Nick wrote Angela Mary Lee as he travelled up to the funeral, which was attended by dancers and musicians from all over the country. It turned out to be a glorious celebration, in dance and music, of Angela’s life.
15 Uncle Jim's Barn Dance / The Prince Albert Jig
Bob Cann / Flos Headford
Uncle Jim’s Barn Dance is from the playing of Bob Cann, recordings of which have been released by John Howson on the Veteran label. The Prince Albert Jig was written by Flos Headford and we learned it from his playing.