‘The Girl With the Blue Dress On’ is a chirpy polka that turns up in English and American traditions as a ceilidh tune, contra tune and as a North-West Morris tune.
There is a simplified version here, and a more decorated version written out in full with the ‘tumbles’ (embellishments at the end of phrases that connect up the different sections) and the alternative chord sequence here.
Here are the dots, PDF and video for the Dark Girl Dressed in Blue, also known as The Duchess (at least to me and Kerry Fletcher, can’t find it listed as this anywhere else!) and as Over the Waterfall in Old Time circles, albeit with the A and B sections reversed. There appears to be a song version of the tune dating back to about 1850, with lyrics by music hall star Harry Clifton (1824-1872), though recordings I can find are to a slightly different though seemingly related tune.
Here are the video, dots and PDF of the Holborn March, which was published in ‘Wright’s Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances’ in 1740.
Here’s the faster, frillier version:
Here’s Soldier’s Joy, video from Laurel, basic dots from me! PDF here.
Here’s the video and dots for Bagpipers. PDF here.
Tunbridge Beauties is a tune from ‘The New Country Dancing Master’ collection by Walsh and Randall from 1711. It’s been recorded by Boldwood on their fantastic ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me Now’ album.
Here are the dots (PDF here), with a basic version and an ornamented, phrased copy.
Below are the basic dots for the groove (PDF here) that we created to accompany the tune.
This is a jaunty polka by Devonshire fiddler Fred Pidgeon (yes, I know I’ve spelled his name differently in the title, but this is now the tune and his surname are normally written respectively). I’ve kept the chords simple to bring out the cheerful, bouncy character, though you could substitute a few Em or maybe some C chords in instead of some of the G majors – have an experiment! Stephen suggested using a G maj7 in place of the D chords in the first two bars – I like this, but try also replacing the D chords in the fourth and seventh bars with a D6 chords to fit with the slightly dreamy feel that this creates. We found that the harmony in the B part also fits the tune of the A part, so there are lots of possibilities!
Here are the dots (tune with chords, tune with suggested phrasing and ornaments, and harmony) with a PDF available here..
Wednesday Night is a fabulous 16 bar tune recorded as a ‘Country Dance’, and it exists in both the English and Welsh traditions (as Nôs Fercher in Welsh). The earliest record of it I can find is in a collection by William Clark of Lincoln published in 1770, though it seems to turn up in a few different collections at around that time. Here’s the tune, harmony, bass line and chords – I’ve not written out a separate chord chart due to the way the chords fit with the rhythm of the tune. I’ve also added a version with suggested phrasing and ornaments.
This version of ‘Dear Tobacco’ is from the Anne Geddes Gilchrist collection, collected from William Docker in Westmorland, England. I can’t find a date for it, but John Offord (always a good source of knowledge) says it is “not a polka. Polkas came later in the 1840’s. It is a type of reel which is found in books from the 1700’s. These tunes, with patterns of 4 semi-quavers [written out here as quavers] were only played in Scotland or Northern England”. This version is also in Dave Townsend’s English Dance Music book, Volume 2.
Here are the dots for the tune:
I’ve written out a seperate chord chart below (with an extra Bm chord, apologies!) with an alternative, slightly crunchier version that doesn’t resolve at all.
I suggest we start with this tune and then go into the Duke of Perth’s reel . I’ve created a page called Tune Sets where I’ll add PDFs of sets, to make it easier to put everything together.