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Jim Besser

Cool Tunes; Practice Those Incidentals!

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Here's a real challenge on the Anglo C/G: Levi Jackson's Rag. It's in G, but gives you a real top row workout. Oddly, it was written and is used for English country dance, at least on this side of the pond. It's available on a variety of sites in different formats.

 

I'm up to about 80 percent of full speed. I suspect the final 20 is going to be tough. But a fun tune.

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>You did not give much information on the tune.

>I found via Google this link. Is this the tune you

> are writing about?

 

Yes! In fact, the Mp3 you linked was recorded by my friend and longtime bandmate! Small world, isn't it? Julie is a fantastic piano player for contra and English country dances, as well as a very good fiddler.

 

She really improvises a lot in this recording. Here's a link to a more basic version of the tune:

 

http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/cgi/abc/gettun...iJacksonRag.gif

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>You did not give much information on the tune.

Here's a link to a more basic version of the tune:

http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/cgi/abc/gettun...iJacksonRag.gif

One note differs from the version in Peter Barnes' English Country Dance Tunes. In the 3rd full measure from the end (with G and E7 chords indicated), Peter has the F# as a G. (Peter also indicates straight E, A, and D chords, rather than the 7th chords.) I think I have a copy somewhere that was published while composer Pat Shaw was alive. If I can find it, I'll report what it says.

 

Pat composed a number of tunes and dances dedicated to and named after real people and places he met. The dance to this tune is also quite creative, being a 5-couple "square", where everyone's position changes each time through the dance, but in the course of doing the dance 5 times through everyone experiences all 5 positions and then ends up back where they started.

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[One note differs from the version in Peter Barnes' English Country Dance Tunes. In the 3rd full measure from the end (with G and E7 chords indicated), Peter has the F# as a G. (Peter also indicates straight E, A, and D chords, rather than the 7th chords.) I think I have a copy somewhere that was published while composer Pat Shaw was alive. If I can find it, I'll report what it says.]

 

I've heard it played both ways. Around here, people take a lot of liberties with the tune. Why use a 3 chord progression when you can use 6?

 

Most ECD tunes sound like early classical music; this one certaintly doesn't. In any event, getting it up to speed is a great exercise on the Anglo

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Most ECD tunes sound like early classical music; this one certaintly doesn't.

"Most" common ECD tunes date from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Levi Jackson Rag was composed by Pat Shaw, a great interpreter, promoter, and perpetrator of English country dance in the latter 20th century.

He composed many tunes and dances.

I think the name of the little book I'm looking for is titled "Round Pond Relics", a collection of Pat's tunes and dances dedicated to people and places he met at Pinewoods Camp.

Round Pond is... well, a round pond at Pinewoods. :)

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Peter Barnes English COuntry Dance tune book is full of Pat Shaw compositions. An incredibly prolific fellow. Round Pound Relics is also the title of an excellent 1970s vintage record of English dance music -- Morris and otherwise -- by concertinist Tom Kurskal and fiddler Jim Morrison, both outstanding dance musicians.

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The dance to this tune is also quite creative, being a 5-couple "square", where everyone's position changes each time through the dance, but in the course of doing the dance 5 times through everyone experiences all 5 positions and then ends up back where they started.

Not to mention the fact that you have a different partner each of the 5 times through the dance, and end up with your original partner at the end when you get back to your original place. It's a heck of a fun dance and a heck of a fun tune!

 

There's one place we dance around here (in someone's basement, actually) that has a support pole in the middle of the floor. There's plenty of room on either side of the pole to put sets, but for this dance people like to line up with the pole right in the middle of the set. It works really well!

 

:)

Steven

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I'm resurrecting this thread to bring home the point that this dance, more than 40 years after it was written and 14 years after having been discussed here, is still a favorite in the folk dance scene. A few years ago when I began playing the concertina and got involved in the Ceilidh world, this was the tune dancers loved and musicians hated. Now it's still the one dancers will do almost anything to dance to. So here's my attempt:

 

It would also benefit from more speed, and the B part is somewhat shaky at times. Yet a great and fun piece to play. It looks a little bit frightening at first, but when looked at structurally, a lot of it reduces to repititions (the A part consists of 4 subparts identical in rhythm, and the first half of the B part consists of the same music played twice, only 2 whole notes apart), so at least it is very easy to learn.

 

As Pat Shaw has died less than 70 years ago, his legal successors still claim a right to his compositions. I'll try to get the permission to publish this recording from them (since there already are numerous renditions out there, I don't foresee problems); if denied, I'll remove the track asap.

 

Thanks for listening!

 

 

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On 10/14/2018 at 8:08 AM, RAc said:

I'm resurrecting this thread to bring home the point that this dance, more than 40 years after it was written and 14 years after having been discussed here, is still a favorite in the folk dance scene. A few years ago when I began playing the concertina and got involved in the Ceilidh world, this was the tune dancers loved and musicians hated. Now it's still the one dancers will do almost anything to dance to. So here's my attempt:

 

 

Nice. Good steady beat. But if you’re going to play it for dancers, they will insist on a faster tempo. What kind of concertina are you playing it on?

  • Thanks 1

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1 hour ago, David Barnert said:

 

Nice. Good steady beat. But if you’re going to play it for dancers, they will insist on a faster tempo. What kind of concertina are you playing it on?

 

Thanks David, very much appreciated. Yeah, speed. Gotta work on that one. I set the metronome to 160 bpm when I recorded it, would like to target 200 (some of the recordings appear to be even way faster than that), but my fingers&brain aren't 20 anymore... oh well. No whining. Will give it a shot.

 

Mine's a Crane duet (Wheatstone 55 to be precise). Can't make sense of bisonoric and/or diatonic instruments. Actually, this tune got me back to my fingerstyle guitar roots, in particular ragtime, so I've resolved to trying myself at a few of those classic old time ragtime/cakewalk pieces (even though Levi Jackons, in spite of having everything that makes a ragtime, is an English tune).

 

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16 minutes ago, RAc said:

Levi Jackons, in spite of having everything that makes a ragtime, is an English tune

 

Yeah, but he (Pat Shaw, English) wrote it at Levi Jackson State Park in Kentucky.

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