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DAVE TOWNSEND - The Village Band Book Vol 3

DAVE TOWNSEND - The Village Band Book Vol 3
Serpent Press

Here are some of the most popular polkas, jigs, schottisches, hornpipes and waltzes played in pub sessions. They are arranged in three or four parts for any combination of strings, winds and squeezeboxes, all in the style of the old village bands. Some parts echo the melody while others fill in the harmony. Matching tunes are on facing pages and the 36 tunes make an instant repertoire for anyone wanting to put together a band or ensemble in the village band style.

Tunes are arranged in their groups: i.e. polkas, reels, rants – Dennis Murphy’s, John Ryan’s, Bonny Kate, Salmon Tails, Scan Testers 1 and 2, The Fairy Dance, Jigs;- New Rigged Ship 1 and 2, Oscar Woods Jig, Fourpence Ha’penny Farthing, Oyster Girl, Hornpipes;- Steam Boat, Laura, Schottisches;- Keel Row, Literary Dustman, Waltzes;- Man In The Moon, Percy Brown’s. The top line of music is the main tune and must remain prominent. All require a clear and solid delivery, with a strong sense of rhythm. This applies to the lower parts as well. The bass and other parts which mark the rhythms must be played crisply. Performers can of course, adapt the parts to suit the range and style of their instrument and for ornamentation. The harmony parts are melodic and fun to play, giving a fresh flavour to some old favourites.

The contents page not only lists the tunes, but gives the time, bars and key for each tune. The book is clearly printed with the tunes laid out very precisely. Dave gives lots of advice to the musician. The notes in the back give information about where some of the tunes came from; for example, the Literary Dustman appears in a Yorkshire morris tune dating back to 1610. Davey-Davey Knick-Knack and New Road To Alston are major and minor variants of the same tune, the first known throughout Europe and America, the second, via Victorian musicologist Frank Kidson, from a Northumbrian manuscript dated 1816.

These tunes are everlasting and played at many sessions. Dave acknowledges all the merry sessioneers and long suffering licensees including The George and Dragon in Long Hanborough and the Court Inn in Whitney.

Authorised copies of individual settings and transposed parts for any instrument are available. Contact Dave at for details.

A very fine book that is a good addition to any musician’s repertoire.

Kathy & Bob Drage


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This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.