Belle of the Contra Dance CD

   The BELLE  was released as an audio cassette tape in 1986 by F&W Records. Jack Sloanaker, producer, wrote some of these liner notes for the tiny J-card that folded into the tape box. Five Canterbury Orchestra tracks from another album are included here with comments by Dudley.


1986: It was a blue-sky day in June. A breakfast of bacon, eggs, fruit and coffee was served to early arrivals at 7:00 A.M. The New England chapel at Middlesex School stood in cool sunlight surrounded by smooth green lawns. Tall trees rustled and swayed, dancing sun and shadows on the walls and floor. Unmoved, our tape recorder refused to work so another was hastily brought from 30 miles away. Thus was delivered a second chance for breakfast, benefitting those who had been delayed in arriving. Blessings, as well as acoustic benefits, may result from church-made recordings.

This is the Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra’s first recording with F&W in twelve years. As before, it was made in high spirits and recorded in a day. We did tape a few tunes a second time when required by bobbles such as someone not noticing that the end of a piece had arrived. Solos produced in this way don’t sound so good — especially if the resulting astonishment causes some sort of audible exclamation.

We record quickly partly because we are New Englanders playing our own music and partly because we live so far apart. (Have you ever tried to assemble a dozen Yankee individualists for more than a day?) But there is another reason — the spiritedness of the sound. Improvising an arrangement is like reading a novel: it’s freshest the first time through.

Neither was this music dissected and reassembled by some nameless technician in a darkened studio. This recording sounds the way we would sound if we played around your hearth tonight. Perhaps in keeping with the times, we should label this: All Natural – No Artificial Ingredients. Enjoy!

A Few Notes

  1. Holly Berry A fife tune, Granile’s Delight, we use for a longways whole set only at Christmas time.
  2. Planxty Fanny Power This was written by the blind Irish harpist Thurlough O’Carolan who wrote many fine pieces during his lifetime (1670-1738). He was influenced by Vivaldi.
  3. La Grondeuse II There are lots of La Grondeuse musics. Got this one from the playing of Jean Carignan.
  4. Sir Roger de Coverly / Drops of Brandy These are slip jigs, in 9/8 time. The first tune was used for a dance of the same name which was a predecessor of the dance Virginia Reel.
  5. Lindbergh’s Crate / Green Cockade Bob McQuillen wrote the first. It is about the crate used to ship Lindbergh’s plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, back from Paris. The abandoned crate formally lay on the bank of a New Hampshire river. Deanna Stiles lived in it for a time. Green Cockade is a fife and drum tune from our colonial past. A cockade is an ornament such as a rosette worn on the hat as a badge.
  6. Jenny’s Bawbee / Kafoozallum Two good schottische numbers.
  7. Piper’s Lass / Lamplighter’s Hornpipe Piper’s Lass I learned from a Folk Dancer recording of Ralph Page’s New Hampshire Orchestra. Lamplighter’s Hornpipe, one of many good hornpipes. This one has its own contra dance.
  8. Rye Waltz The familiar tune for Robert Burns’ poem Comin’ Through the Rye. He did not write the melody, but used this melody which was already around.
  9. Lady Walpole’s Reel Of this tune, Newt Tolman says in a his book Quick Tunes and Good Times, “To choose a melody, for comparison purposes, against which reels and hornpipes may be judged, Lady’s Walpole Reel will do well enough. It was known before 1850 as Massai’s Favorite. It hasn’t a repeated measure or even a repeated phrase, through both strains: the last measure of the first and second strain, contrasting with the first, builds up to a fine climax.” Notice that the name has changed slightly through being passed from one musician to another.
  10. Caber Feigh A Scottish march, usually played on the war pipes. Fiddler April Limber found this tune, loved it, and introduced it to us.
  11. Gobby O’ We use this for the contra dance Jefferson & Liberty.
  12. Rope Waltz Is from the Orkney Islands.
  13. Constitution Hornpipe Another good hornpipe that has its own dance. Key of F.
  14. McQuillen’s Squeezebox Was written by Ralph Page. Bob McQuillen is well known for his accordion and piano playing as well as being a composer himself.
  15. Pigtown Fling / Peter Street The B music of the first is in minor. However, Johnny Trombley always played it on major. Joe Blundon used it for Petronella one night in Nelson. Peter Street is one of those reels with lots of notes. Walter Loeb and George Gulyasse played all of them and then some. Never played in a medley. Always by itself for contras and squares called by Ralph Page.

The next five tunes are from the vinyl LP The Canterbury Country Orchestra Meets the F&W String Band (1972) of Orchestra musicians other than those listed here. These five tracks were not on the Belle cassette album.

  1. Saddle the Pony An Irish jig I learned from the playing of Johnny Powell at a dance at Hibernian Hall near Dudley Square in Roxbury, MA, back in the day.
  2. Gentle Maiden A lovely waltz I got from Peter Kennedy’s Fiddlers Tune Book.
  3. Dorset Four Hand Reel Here are two versions by the same name. The English barn dance that goes with this music was all the rage at the Boston area contra dances back in the 70s. In Dorset it was originally played on a melodeon and tambourine…a great combination.
  4. Larry O’Gaff Eight CCDO piano accordion players with two flutes, bass and piano play this great Irish jig in such a way that it might be mistaken for a butter cake with inch-thick maple frosting.
  5. Balkan Hills Schottische I learned this tune from Norm Williams, the farmer before me at Farm and Wilderness Camps.
  6. Belle of the Contra Dance. Was written by our own Greg Boardman who sings, plays the guitar and arranges it here.

 Musicians: Greg Boardman fiddle, guitar, vocals; Dudley Laufman fiddle, harmonica, clogging, bones; Dave Fuller accordion, harmonica; Cal Howard piano, bass; Allan MacIntyre, melodeon, harmonica; Randy Miller, fiddle; Sylvia Miskoe accordion; Dick Nevell guitar, Lydia deAmicis Reeve fiddle; Jack Sloanaker piano, bass; Deanna Stiles flute, piccolo; Jerry Weene five-string banjo, fiddle, mandolin; Taylor Whiteside fiddle, viola, piano, balalaika.

 On the five tracks from the other CCDO album, on fiddles: Ted Levin, Vince O’Donnell, Jack Perron, Nicholas Howe, Fred Bruenig; on flutes: Larry Delorier, Charlene Fagelman; Pete Colby banjo, autoharp; Art Bryan guitar; Jack O’Connor accordion, string bass, and Bob McQuillen piano, along with Laufman, Sloanaker and Fuller.  Thanks to Jack Sloanaker for producing that album under the F&W label and granting copyrights to the Laufman’s.

  Canterbury Orchestra Recordings

1972  Canterbury Country Danced Orchestra, LP

1974  Mistwold, LP

2001  Canterbury Country Danced Orchestra /

Mistwold, CD of both LPs

2016  Welcome Here Again, CD

Digital downloads of albums available online.

A documentary of the CCDO’s audio recording day in

2016 is available from www.accompanyvideo.com

© 2017 Canterbury Music

PO Box 61, Canterbury, New Hampshire 03224

www.laufman.org

 

Produced by Jacqueline & Dudley Laufman

Recording: Jack Sloanaker, Seth Gibson and Stu Coffin

Engineering: CedarHouse Sound & Mastering

Cover art: Jay Marciano

Photographs: Al MacIntyre

Layout & design: Jacqueline Laufman

Manufacturing: OASIS

 

® The Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra trade name is registered with the State of New Hampshire.