Liner Notes

STARRY NIGHTS & CANDLELIGHT

VRCD 333, VRCS 333

This is a dance record. While live music is best, it's not always available. We have chosen the tunes, arrangements, tempos, rhythms, and the variety all with dance in mind. These are all nice, square 32-bar tunes with a solid, steady rhythm. The cuts are long enough to allow for a reasonable number of repeats of a dance. The notes in italics are to aid a caller in planning a dance program. We hope you'll enjoy listening to it, too.

Patricia Spaeth is well known to dancers in the Pacific Northwest as a solo performer and member of several dance orchestras.

Vivian Williams is a prominent Seattle fiddler, both as a member of local dance and bluegrass bands and as a contest competitor.

Phil Williams has performed extensively with bluegrass, old time and dance bands on a variety of instruments.

Selections 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, and 11 feature Vivian Williams on fiddle, Pat Spaeth on piano, and Phil Williams on guitar. Selections 5, 7, 9, and 12 feature Pat Spaeth on accordion, Vivian Williams on piano, and Phil Williams on guitar; selection 8 is the same except that Phil Williams plays mandolin.

Tin whistle and snare drum: Pat Spaeth. Bell, slide whistle, Pakistani taxi horns, duck call, toy xylophone, vocal in Tracie's Two-Step: Gordon Tracie. Engineering: Dave Huber. Liner notes: Pat Spaeth. Cover design: Pat Spaeth, Vivian Williams. Cover photos: Laura Stokes. Photo splicing: Barney Munger

1. Lightning Hornpipe (trad.)/Mary Clair (Jerry Holland). An old Canadian tune followed by a recent one from Cape Breton. Hornpipes. For lively contras or squares with constant movement. 4:00 (4 + 3).

2. The Oyster Shuckers Jig (V. Williams)/Smash the Window (trad.)/Maggie Brown's Favorite (attributed to O'Carolan). The oysters shuckers in this case were Phil and Vivian, beachcombing by Hood Canal at midnight on New Year's Eve. The other two tunes are Irish; O'Carolan was a blind harper and composer who lived about the same time as Bach. Jigs. Unusually smooth tunes for smooth-patterned dances. The arrangement is intended especially for triple sets; "Sackett's Harbor" is ideal. 5:19 (3 + 3 + 4).

3. Brahms Polka. Very much adapted from Brahms Ungarischer Tanz No. 6. Polka, possibly squares. 3:05 (3x).

4. Starry Nights and Candlelight (V. Williams). Waltz. 3:09 (2x).

5. Farewell to Whiskey (Neil Gow)/The Groundhog Saw His Shadow (V. Williams). Written in 1799, Farewell to Whiskey was originally a plaintive air lamenting the prohibition of whiskey-making in Scotland. The ban was repealed in 1801 and the lament eventually became a lively march. Marches. Good for circle mixers and Gae Gordons. 4:05 (4 + 3).

6. Peacock Rag (Arthur Smith). One of many rags composed by this Tennessee fiddler in the '20's and '30's. 3:45 (7x).

7. Tour of Puget Sound (P. Spaeth). The extreme highs and lows of this tune represent a ten-day trip Pat took including Seattle-Tacoma airport, Bellingham, Cortes Island, Seattle and Port Townsend, and involving five ferry-boat rides. Hornpipe. For squares or any kind of contra. 3:57 (7x).

8. Fittro's Folly (V. Williams)/The Golden Rooster (trad.)/Swinging on a Gate (trad.). Billy Fittro was the ferry-boat captain who ran the Elwha onto a rock in the San Juan Islands, provoking much amusement and more than one commemorative tune. The Golden Rooster is from a Don Messer tunebook, and Swinging On A Gate has Irish origins. Jig - Reel - Reel. The switch in rhythms adds an extra surge of excitement; ask any dance musician who has plunged into the reel and heard a hundred dancers whoop and holler. Good for any contra. 4:57 (4 + 2 + 3).

9. French Fries & Gravy (V. Williams)/Union Street Jig (V. Williams)/ Thingama Jig (Frank Ferrel). The first tune is named for a popular snack available in restaurants in Saskatchewan. Jigs. Good for bouncy dances with lots of balance-and-swing. 3:43 (2 + 2 + 3).

10. Crystal Schottische (V. Williams). Schottische. 1:52 (2x).

11. Tracie's Two-Step (Gordon E. Tracie). Gordon allowed us to record his tune on condition that he got to play the sound effects. Military two-step. For contras, circle mixers, Lancers, squares, Boston Two-Step. 3:48 (7x).

12. Larry's Waltz (Bob McQuillen). McQuillen is a retired shop teacher whose tunes have traveled far from his home in New Hampshire to wherever contra dancing is done. Waltz. A good one to end the evening with. 3:45 (5x).

Written music for Tour of Puget Sound, Tracie's Two-Step, Thingama Jig, and Fittro's Folly can be found in 141 Brand New Old Time Fiddle Tunes Vol. 2; music for the other Vivian Williams tunes can be found in 151 Brand New Old Time Fiddle Tunes Vol. 1, published by Voyager.

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