BOB ELLIS - There Was None Of This Lazy Dancing!
Well this is a real labour of love. Bob Ellis appears to have assembled all the known material on tunes, musicians, dances and dancers in the Yorkshire Dales from the 19th Century until the current day. This includes unpublished and published tunebooks, books, research and field recordings. He has identified the gaps and done the research on those himself. The result is a comprehensive and detailed overview on music, dance and social life in an English community and is beautifully put together.
As well as the tunes, there is a lot of background information, enlivened by quotes and reflections from the characters involved, which makes it pleasantly readable as well as being a comprehensive reference of the material. It’s published in a large-format hardback book, which has cunningly been designed so that it opens flat (tunes are given a page each) – but for those with weight-challenged music stands, purchase of the book allows you to download the notation of all the music in abc format. A website has been set up to complement the book and to allow for the addition of extra material (hopefully this will include a bibliography and discography). For such an impressive publication it is modestly priced and can be obtained from the web address below.
So many congratulations to Bob Ellis on the production of a volume which will be enjoyed and referenced by many for years to come.
This review appeared in Issue 135 of The Living Tradition magazine