Tune of the Week for April 23, 2012

When thinking of English folk music, most folks probably picture foremost a variety of squeeze boxes–concertinas and melodeons–and with good reason. But Merry Old England did enjoy a wealth of master fiddlers, and the influence of English fiddle traditions upon American old-time music proved just as strong as that of the more celebrated “Celtic” traditions of Ireland and Scotland. This week’s tune is a tribute to the lively and driving traditional music that English folk have danced to for centuries, throughout the length and breadth of their land.

Albert Farmer
Albert Farmer
English village band
English band pictured on Bocastle Breakdown

Albert Farmer, a butcher before heading off to fight in the second World War, returned home to find his shop was gone. In a career change, he added a drum to his melodeon and became a one-man band and street musician. Click this link for more of his story and the story of the bonfire as told in the Traditional Tune Archive.

And now for the tune . . .

Bonfire Tune, as played by Albert Farmer in 1964
(from a 1970s LP on the Topic Label, Bocastle Breakdown)

Albert Farmer’s Bonfire Tune, as played by the Bismarks, circa 2000
(from the CD Hardcore English)

The Bismarks are Nina Hansell (fiddle), Gareth Kiddier (piano) and Ed Rennie (melodeon).

T:Albert Farmer’s Bonfire Tune
S:Albert Farmer
de | f3d A2F2 | G2GF G2B2 | edcA B2c2 | dffd A2de |
f3d A2F2 | G2GF G2B2 | edcA B2c2 | d2dc d2 ::
de | f2fd f2fd | gefd e2ef | gfed cABc | dffd A2de |
f3d A2F2 | G2GF G2B2 | edcA B2c2 | d2dc d2 :|

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