We've been making a number of recordings through our sound board at recent virtual dances. Here's a sampling of what you'll hear live if you tune in to one of our gigs (warts and all).
Contra and American Dance
Lisa Greenleaf's duck cooking recipe which involves flipping the bird a few times. "Lisa, Flip the Bird" is such a great line that I just had to write a tune to go with it. We paired it with Evit Gabriel, Daniel Thonon's wonderful reel, and both are on the audio track, which was recorded live at our first performance of the tune. Sheet music is here.
Caller Bev Bernbaum is known as The Witful Turnip. I couldn't pass that up as a tune title. This was the premiere, from a July gig with Bev..
Al White's Tuba City Truckstop is a freight train that just won't stop roaring down the track, gliding through turns and chugging all the way.
Paul Gitlitz's The Goldfinch is one of the gentlest jigs I know and it flows perfectly into Terry Wergeland's powerful April Storm.
A pair of jazzy marches. Y'all March was written on the porch of the dining hall at Ashokan and folks arriving for a slow jam named it. March 4th was named for the wordplay. But in these times, Y'all March Forth is a good instruction.
Here are two by Larry Unger, one of my favorite composers. Written for Beth Bahia Cohen, this used to be the only klezmer-style tune that we played for squares. (Larry, though, thought he was going to write a swing tune when he started this.) We later found Hotpoint Special and play that for squares, too, every now and then.
Elzic's Farewell is an old-time tune that gets rocked in a very non-old-time style. We love modal tunes!
Rodney Miller's 1985 album Airplang changed the way many people thought about contra dance music. His swing and jazz influences energized the genre. In 2006 he released Cloud Nine and the title track is one we have loved since then. We were excited when asked to record this for a CDSS family dance video—until Dave found it to be one of the hardest tunes he's ever tried on the 'tina. Here is the video's music track, mastered by Stephen Bluestein.
George Paul's March of the Lost Boys has been a favorite for many years.
I wrote Ron & Hermione's At Home March because I couldn't find a tune that I really like to go with Cis Hikle's dance, Ron and Hermione At Home. It is written through with four sections and no repeats. This was recorded as we played it for the first time for a dance, and changes into Camptown Wraiths, another wizardy-titled tune.
English Country Dance Music
Jacque Latin is an English Country Dance tune from the 1750s. Turn up your sound and rock on for this Jacque - we're pretty sure they would have burned us at the stake, though, if we played it like this.
Every time we play a Daron Douglas tune that is new to us it becomes a favorite tune. Here's Winter Oranges, a tune used for the dance Pluck Me a Fig by Anna Rain. (And gosh, I would love to hear Anna play it.)
Bath Carnival is a cheerful little dance tune from 1755.
Tourner à Trois is one of the most beautiful of the contemporary ECD tunes. It just floats you through the dance written for it, usually known as Turning by Threes.
A changeling was believed to be a fairy child that was left in place of a human child stolen by the fairies. This gentle 6/8 tune was written in June of 2020 and named for the band Changeling. Sharon Green has since written a dance to go with the tune; you can find it and sheet music here.
April Waltz is a wonderful tune by Selma Kaplan and Jacqui Grennan has written a lovely dance to go with it called April Stars. There's a bit too much piano on this live recording but we love the tune so much I wanted to include it here.
We like the gutsiness of the tune Ashford Anniversary.
The music for the dance Beach Spring is one of the most moving I know. It is simple, always reminding me of Aaron Copland. The music is called Come and Find the Quiet Center and is attributed to Benjamin Franklin White, "The Sacred Harp Man", 1800-1879.
Here's a tune I wrote back in 2012 after coming home from one of Atlanta caller Janet Shepherd's famous Twelfth Night parties. This recording was of our very first performance of it.
Daron Douglas wrote Yellow Song for a very sweet yellow lab named Koren but known as Corn Dog. Cathy Campbell has written a lovely dance for it.
On the Danforth is a tune that I never understood until we played it for an ECD written for it. Then it made sense and was fun to play
Waltzes and Couple Dance Music
Also see April Waltz and Tourner à Trois, above.
I wrote the Evening Waltz one quiet evening in 2014 and revised it in 2021 to be played for the Colin Hume dance called Ely Waltz. This recording is the revised version, which I much prefer. Sheet music is here.
Bob and Wilma was written to honor Robbin's father, Bob Daigle and his wife, Wilma. Bob was a dancer and friend until his death in 2017.
Rodney Miller has written two of our favorite waltzes. This one, Iron and Salt, he wrote for our good friends Karl and Kmibi Hagen in 2018. We somehow fell into a more 1970s style when we played it Friday night for the Atlanta DistDance (with apologies to Mr. Miller). Not sure if we'll do it this way again, but I love the feel of a smoky jazz club, late at night on a foggy evening.
Yesterday's Schottische was inspired by the then-brand-new tune of Väsen's called the Adventspolska. It was originally called Yesterday's Polka but I later realized it was a schottische and so renamed it. Sheet music is here.
It is a little topsy turvy for cynical me to really like music from a Disney film but I love this gentle, jazzy piece and it is a regular part of our repertoire. This is a waltz for a little girl who discovers a gently topsy turvy world - Alice in Wonderland, by Bob Hilliard, from the 1951 Disney film. And, man, aren't we in a topsy turvy world right now?