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Tune Of The Month, February 2014: Sheriff's Ride


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Well, that was a pretty wild poll.


Voting was close for a while, with several three way ties, but in recent days Sheriff’s Ride pulled into a comfortable lead. Thanks for all the voting; this is what will make the TOTM work!


And yes, this month's runners up will almost certainly turn up in future TOTM polls.


Sheriff's Ride is a classic English Morris tune from Lichfield. As an alert c.netter pointed out, it is a variant of the tune Raggle Taggle Gypsies. In some versions, you can hear the connection between the tunes; in others - most notably the version by the Chieftains along with the American bluegrass band Nickle Creek - the connection is harder to detect. Just to confuse things, the Chieftains also throw in the Congress Reel between verses: very cool.


Once again, here's Lester Bailey demonstrating the tune in classic Morris style. And the Rock Creek Morris Women's muso Curt Harpold playing it on his D/A Dipper Anglo.


There may be confusion about its origins, but It's always been one of my favorites, even though my group rarely does the dance any more; I hope you like it as much as I do!


Here are links to notation in Bm and Dm . And here are the ABCs for the tune in Em (and an attached PDF) - probably the most common key for this tune among Morris musicians, a realm where D/G melodeons reign supreme and where I sometimes think tunes in other minor keys are banned by law.


X: 7

T:Sheriff's Ride, Lichfield

M:4/4

L:1/8

A:Lichfield

P:(AB)4A2B

K:Emin

P:A

BA|G2G2 E2FG|AGF2 E2B2|e2e2 e2fe|d2B2 B3B|

d2d2 eddc|dcBA A2E2|G2A2 dcBA|BEE2 E2 ||

P:B

z2|e2e2 e2fe|d2B2 B3B |e2e2 e2fe|d2B2 B3B|

d2d2 eddc|dcBA A2E2|G2A2 dcBA|BEE2 E2 ||


As always, the dots are just suggestions. I know I've never seen notation for the version I will record - handed down to me by past musos for my Morris side.


While Sheriff's Ride is self evidently a Morris tune, you don't have to play it in a typically Morris style. (If you have Spotify, check out the pounding rock version by a group called Crumbling Ghost, but be sure to turn down the volume first.) Do what works for you.


Whether you’re a Morris musician or sternly disapprove of men and women frolicking with hankies and sticks, this is a fine, fun tune. I’m sure we’ll hear some really cool versions.


So have at it!

sheriffs_ride_Em.pdf

Edited by Jim Besser
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This is a non-standard version of Sheriff's Ride that comes from the prolific playing of the late Big Nick Robertshaw. I was lucky enough to hang around Nick for many years when I was musician for a different local Morris side and played with him at many events, and then to play at his side for a year or two when I joined the Foggy Bottom Morris Men.

 

As you can hear, it's crooked, with an extra chunk of tune in the B part, to go with the dance we do. It's so stamped on my brain cells that the real version sounds weird to me.

 

Played on a 30 button Jeffries G/D Anglo.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFhTavv9uI4

 

My efforts to prevent concertina face were obviously unsuccessful.

Edited by Jim Besser
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Fantastic version, Jim! It was so good, I never noticed the guy staring at the camera. Leave it to Big Nick to come up with such a nice variation. He and I got to meet up once in DC, two Jeffries duets together......but in different keys!

 

Gary

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Fantastic version, Jim! It was so good, I never noticed the guy staring at the camera. Leave it to Big Nick to come up with such a nice variation. He and I got to meet up once in DC, two Jeffries duets together......but in different keys!

 

Gary

 

Nick was unique - larger than life, in several respects. The consummate Morris musician. I learned a lot from him.

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Well, albeit this being not the tune I voted for and I'm still feeling unwell due to a nasty cold I chose to provide the following demo recording

 

Raggle Taggle Gypsies' Ride

 

to get things started. I will record a more focussed version once I'm back on my feet again.

 

You will have noticed that I play the related Irish version which I'm familiar with from the Waterboys and the likes. From my naming of the tune you might guess that I carried the tune one step forward however in adding a B-part actually based on the one of the "Sheriff" tune but adapted to the style of the Irish tune.

 

Besides I'd like to point to two other Demo recordings of self-accompanied song which I already presented elsehwere (for those who might be interested and not have participated in that "Teaching and Learning" thread):

 

Mole in the Ground

Grey Funnel Line

 

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Hmmm. Lots of votes, but only one recording - mine.

 

What's with that?

 

Sorry, Jim. I did some experimenting with different styles, then got sidetracked by unexpected urgent matters, and now I'm travelling. But within a week I should be able to submit at least one recording, and I hope a few.

 

In the meantime, maybe you can collect excuses from a few others, as well. :D

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Hmmm. Lots of votes, but only one recording - mine.

 

What's with that?

 

Sorry, Jim. I did some experimenting with different styles, then got sidetracked by unexpected urgent matters, and now I'm travelling. But within a week I should be able to submit at least one recording, and I hope a few.

 

In the meantime, maybe you can collect excuses from a few others, as well. :D

 

 

No excuses needed, just doing a little prodding.

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A quick question, Jim, does the (AB)4A2B mean play the A part through four times followed by the B twice?

 

Alan

 

I don't really understand that notation.

 

For my group the pattern is AA-BB the first time thru, A- BB from then on - a pretty typical pattern for Morris dances.

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A quick question, Jim, does the (AB)4A2B mean play the A part through four times followed by the B twice?

Alan

 

I don't really understand that notation.

 

For my group the pattern is AA-BB the first time thru, A- BB from then on - a pretty typical pattern for Morris dances.

 

I am glad I am not the only one who is confused. ;)

 

Alan

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Haven't actually played since October due to health issues, but will try to get at least an audio of this up by month's end.

 

Well, Marc, I'm guessing you know this one pretty well!

 

 

On melodeon, yes - but I've never actually played it on concertina! :lol:

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Here's a rough recording of Big Nick Robertshaw playing Sheriff's Ride at a Foggy Bottom Morrris Men rehearsal, circa 2005.

 

THere's a melodeon and fiddle in the mix. Nick does some interesting stuff while letting the melodeon take the lead. Nick always played in the highest registers of his Jeffries Duet; it was a sound that cut through all the ambient noise of Morris.

 

https://soundcloud.com/concertinist/sheriffs-ride-foggy-bottom

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Nick would often play a countermelody over top of the melodeon(s), sounds like the fiddle (Cyd?) was doing a bit of that as well. I believe it was while playing the final Em chord of Sherrif's Ride that Jim Lewis did a Pete Townsend and tore the bellows of his Oakwood...

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