The South Wind

by Bursledon Village Band

Traditional English country dance music: instrumental, melodeons, fiddle, Anglo concertinas, keyboard, drums and percussion, Eb tuba, Eb tenor horn.



Once described as the best kept secret on the English Folk dance scene, the Bursledon Village Band look set to become widely admired following the release of this album. Although the tunes have their origins all over the British Isles their chunky English sound gives all the tunes the distinctive stamp of Southern England in general and of Bursledon in particular - largely due to the influence of such seminal traditional musicians as Scan Tester. Dave Ingledew - Melodeons, Joyce Ingledew - Fiddle, Graham Pretty - Anglo Concertinas, Matthew Parker - Keyboard, Simon Harmer - Eb Tuba and Eb Tenor Horn Paul Johnson - Drums and percussion.

Gnevequilla Polka/Wedneday Night Polka
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Burning Bridges/Whose Jig
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The Double Quadrille
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The French Assembly/The Bursledon Waltz
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Roxburgh Castle/The Steamboat
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The Primrose Polka
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Margarets Waltz
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Love in a Village
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The Kirkgate / Miss Thompsonss Hornpipe
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Man in the Moon/The South Wind
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Steeple Claydon/Reel de Ti-Jean
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Heslyside Reel/Fays Hornpipe
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The Swiss Girl/Grahaemsie Jig
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I Have a Bonnet Trimmed With Blue
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Dirty Linen

Dan Willging

The tradition of English country dance bands dates back to when each village or town had their own band for community dances. Today theyre still non-commercial ventures who play solely for enjoyment at local barn dances and ceilidhs. This year the Bursledon Village Band (BVB) celebrate their 20th anniversary with this fascinating collection of polkas, jigs, reels, hompipes and waltzes played in the slightly slower Southern english style. The melodies are primarily carried by fiddles, melodeons and concertinas, while the rhythms are pumped out by a bass drum and tuba. Since this is dance music, there are no frontmen or dazzling soloists - the tunes are kept pretty straight. Overall, the BVB are quite enjoyable, not only in their conviction but in their impeccable timing, as well. As an extended courtesy for their dancers, many tunes repeat the melody eight times rather than the original six.

Similarly, the Mellstock Band play English 19th-century dance music, but extend their repertoire with songs and carols. Both bands find inspiration in novelist/poet Thomas Hardy and have borrowed numerous tunes from the Hardy family manuscripts. (The name Mellstock comes from the fictional name Hardy christened his native Stinsford in Dorset.) Where Mellstock differs from the BYB is that several of their instruments (clarinet, serpent) were built in the 19th century or replicated (oboe, vox humana) from the original models. The low frequencies are provided by the serpent, which sounds similar to a muted trombone. Mellstock not only capture the eras authenticity, but articulate the melodies balanced with intricate sets of counter-melodies. Additionally, Mellstock are particularly rousing on military marches Boneys Farewell and Newark Quickstep which, like the rest of this disc are not lacking any spirit.


Folk Roots (fRoots)

Lawrence Heath

The Director of a folk festival somewhere on the south Devon coast once described the BVB to me as the best kept secret on the English folk dance scene.  Alas!  With the release of The South Wind the secret is a secret no more.  Issued to coincide with their twentieth birthday celebrations this album is much more than a souvenir of two glorious decades of dancing - it is quintessentially all that is wonderful about English traditional social dance music; vibrant, contagiously danceable and tuneful.  And what tunes.  Several deserved favourites are here; The Primrose Polka, The Unfortunate Tailor and the stately title track.  But the album is choc-a-bloc with numerous melodies possibly unknown to those of you not in on the secret, some written by the band themselves, some from research into tune-books and manuscripts and others simply down to their knack of knowing a good tune when they hear one at a festival workshop or session.

Although the tunes have their origins from all over the British Isles the BVBs style bears the distinctive stamp of Southern England in general and Bursledon in particular - largely due to the influence of such seminal traditional musicians as Scan Tester upon Dave lngledews melodeon playing.  And, while were singling out individuals, Joyce lngledews fiddle is spot on throughout, not least on Pat Shaws beautiful Margarets Waltz.  Yes, even allowing for the hyperbole of liner writers (and reviewers), Hugh Rippons sleevenotes may well have a grain of truth in them - this could become a classic dance band recording.  At last, the secrets out.





Folk Roundabout

The Bursledon Village Band has six members, Dave and Joyce Ingledew on melodeons and fiddle respectively, Graham Pretty on Anglo concertinas, Matthew Parker on Keyboard, Paul Johnson on drums and percussion, and looking at the photo of the band, this must include one of those bass drums from a marching band, which goes well with the oompah made by Simon Harmer on E flat tuba and E flat tenor horn.

The aforementioned Oompah makes an enjoyable change from the usual bass guitar and all the tunes (there are no vocals on this, a strict tempo dance album) are played with all the energy and assurance one would expect from a band celebrating its 20th year together. Normally, I would have passed by this type of album in shop or on festival record stall, but I am grateful for the opportunity to hear it and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  My only little niggle is the lack of a Honour your partners chord at the end of a few tracks, which gave them a rather abrupt finish.

The tunes include several which will be unfamiliar to Northern listeners, the band being from Hampshire, but there are some tunes well known to Northumbrian ears, e.g. South Wind, Hesleyside Reel and Margarets Waltz.

Essential listening to anyone interested in dance music and early versions and variants of songs and tunes popular today, as well as more unusual material.  The album includes both excellent performances and sleevenotes and is well worth a hearing.