Our new CD!

Our second CD, "Sir Roger de Coverley" has just arrived! We'll have it at all the gigs we play (check our homepage for upcoming events!), of course, at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. Also, you're likely to find it at any gig any one of us is playing (check the website of the Bay Area Country Dance Society for a number of these).

If you can't make it to any of those events, you can order it by mail. Please send a check for $16.50 ($15 + $1.50 postage and mailer) to:

Bangers & Mash CD
240 41st Street
Oakland, CA 94611-5608

Please make the check payable to David Strong.

CD Tracks and Notes

The tracks for this CD were all recorded in December 2009 and January 2010, many of them at dances we were playing. All tunes are appropriate length and tempo for dancing.

1. God Save the Queen. The first known setting of this tune is John Bull's in the mid-17th century. Those in the U.S. know the tune as "My Country 'Tis of Thee." This was recorded live at the PEERS Fezziwig 12th Night Ball, and that's Dave Batzloff, Mr. Fezziwig himself, leading the cheer at the end.

2. On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Johann Strauss II, 1866 Why do we dance, anyway? No better time to consider the question than dancing to this, probably the longest waltz that everyone knows. We always enjoy playing it.

3. Green Sleeves and Yellow Lace, Playford, 1651. A lovely tune published by John Playford in his first edition of The Dancing Master. And it really is "Greensleeves" with a bit of added embroidery.

4. The Merry Widow Waltz, Franz Lehár, 1905. From the operetta of the same name, and an enduring ballroom classic.

5. Heartsease, Playford 1651. A lilting tune and a popular two couple dance. One of our favorites.

6. Bonnie at Morn. A traditional Northumbrian lullaby which makes a splendid waltz. Actually, it's a bit more complex than that, for the original song did double duty: soothing a baby back to sleep, while reproaching older children for being slugabeds.

7. Feurfest, Josef Strauss, 1870. Richard Powers chose this polka as the tune for his choreography of "Bohemian National Polka." The dance is widely performed "for those who know" throughout vintage and period events in the Bay Area.

8. Star of the County Down. Here we're joined by vocalist Sarah Kramer in this famous traditional Irish song. The tune in waltz time has been used as a basis for many, many songs, as well as several modern-day country dances.

9. The Gift Polka, Allen Dodworth, 1853. We snagged this from Peter Barnes' wonderful collection "A Little Couple-Dance Music." Dodworth was a New York brass band leader, virtuoso, and composer. In 1838 he invented the first valved horn with a backward pointing bell so that soldiers could hear the band at the head of their marching formation. If inclusion in modern anthologies of 19th Century ballroom music is any indicator, this was a very popular dance tune. It's not played often enough nowadays.

10. Skater's Waltz, Èmil Waldteufel, 1882. Another well-known ballroom classic. Lots of folks think this is a Strauss waltz, but actually it was written in Paris by an Alsatian who was a fierce rival of Johann Strauss the Younger.

11. Sir Roger de Coverley medley. Sir Roger de Coverley is the only dance mentioned in Dickens' works, and since it occurs during the Fezziwig's Christmas Party scene of A Christmas Carol, we play it two or three times a day at the Dickens Fair. The dance is related to (if not a direct ancestor of) the Virginia Reel, and was published in Playford's 9th edition, 1695. The Scottish version of the dance is commonly called "The Haymakers." Apparently "Sir Roger de Coverley" is a nickname for a fox, some think the zig-zag reels done by the lead couple recall a fox darting around for cover during the hunt. The music is a slip jig (in 9/8 meter), and what we've recorded here is sufficient for five couples. It's a medley based on an arrangement James Langdell gave us a decade ago: Sir Roger de Coverley, Foxhunter's Jig, Rocky Road to Dublin, Drops of Brandy, Butterfly, Barney Brallaghan, and then back to Sir Roger.

12. Lull Me Beyond Thee. A gorgeous slow jig from John Playford's first edition of country dances, published in 1651.

13. Mist Covered Mountains. Originally a Scottish-Gaelic song (Chì Mi Na Mórbheanna) about nostalgia for the highlands, dating from the mid 19th-century. We play it as a waltz, with lots of wide-open spaces for harmonic development.

14. Excerpt from the Light Cavalry Overture, Franz von Suppé, 1866. Even though this is a fast jig, it's widely called for polkas.

15. Stanley's Waltz. Commissioned by Susan for the Kramers' 25th anniversary. Another gem from Palo Alto composer Ruthanne Fraley.

16. Tritsch-Tratsch Polka, Johann Strauss II, 1858. Strauss is best-known for waltzes, but he wrote a number of great polkas. This is our current favorite. But what does the title mean? Depending on whom you ask, "Tritsch-tratsch" was mid-century Viennese slang for gossip, or the composer's pet poodle. It was also the name of an 1833 burlesque that was still popular in Vienna twenty five years later, in the year Strauss composed the polka.

17. Cori McLenon, Bob McQuillen, 1979. Bob McQuillen of Peterborough, New Hampshire, has written well over thirteen hundred dance tunes and has delighted dancers for six decades with his driving accordion and piano playing. He is an officially-certified national treasure, having received a National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA in 2002, as well as the Country Dance and Song Society's Lifetime Contribution Award in 2009. This waltz was originally published in Bob's Notebook #4 in 1980, as well as Bill Matthiesen's Waltz Book #2 in 1995. We hope you like it, Mac ...

We'd like to thank

Dave Batzloff, Cathleen and James Meyers, Simmy Cover, Romela Strong, Joe Widunas, Sally Norton, Rob Powell, Ruth Anne Fraley, Bob McQuillen, PEERS, BACDS, and all the dancers we've had the pleasure of playing for.

Like much else on the internet, these notes are a work in progress (this version was updated December 22, 2010). Feel free to email any corrections, suggestions, or questions to Craig Johnson. Thanks!