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Vic Smith of The Folk Diary

reviews Hampshire Dance Tunes CD by Hampshire Dance Musicians

The seventy four dance tunes included here come from the manuscript tune book of R. Pyle of Nether Wallop in Hampshire dated 1822. Some  Astleys Ride, Morgiana, Bang Up etc. - are tunes that are commonly found in these extremely valuable and illuminating tune collections, but in this case, about a half of the tunes are unique to this collection.

The editors have come up against the common dilemmas with such collections of whether to present the tunes in the keys they are originally notated in of whether to make them immediately accessible to the current generation of dance band musicians by transcribing them to the keys of G or D. They have opted for the latter but make a note where they have transcriptions have taken place. They have also made the tunes dance band-friendly by adding appropriate repeats and guitar chords for all the tunes. (  

A number of prominent musicians, including our own Will Duke and Dan Quinn, contribute their interpretations of some of these tunes to the album. These vary from the solo fiddle of Paul Sartin to the full band sound from that most danceable unit, The Bursledon Village Band and the playing is a delight throughout. For the manuscript tunes that have not been included by the musicians, a midi file exists for it on the CD. This is an important collection of tunes that is likely to influence the repertoire of dance bands and tune sessions in the south of England. (