Voyager Recordings & Publications

Historical Music Releases

Nearly all of our recordings represent an aspect of the history of fiddling in North America, and many recordings feature fiddle tunes and styles that have substantially died out.

Following are our releases which focus especially on the pioneer musical heritage of the Pacific Northwest and the journeys of exploration and emigration of the 19th Century that brought fiddling to this region of the United States:


FIDDLE TUNES OF THE LEWIS AND CLARK ERA
CD 358

Vivian Williams - fiddle, Howard Marshall - fiddle, banjo; John Williams - percussion, Phil Williams - guitar, mandolin

A Project in Celebration of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial! There were two fiddlers on the Lewis and Clark expedition as they explored and mapped the route between St. Louis and the mouth of the Columbia River in 1804-6. The fiddling and dancing helped to maintain the morale of the men and to establish good relations with the Indians. This CD presents popular airs & dance tunes which were probably known by them, played on fiddles, banjo, guitar, harpsichord, and percussion by noted Missouri fiddler and historian, Dr. Howard Marshall (fiddle, fretless and fretted banjo); champion Northwest fiddler and historian, Vivian Williams (fiddle, harpsichord); champion Missouri fiddler John Williams (fiddle, percussion); and noted Northwest traditional musician, Phil Williams (guitar, mandolin). Many of the selections feature just two fiddles, with one fiddle backing up the other, and simple percussion. Recorded live in stereo to preserve the natural acoustic sounds of the instruments. Included is an informative booklet with histories of tunes and information about music on the expedition.

Yankee Doodle, Believe Me if All Those Endearing Young Charms, En Passant par la Lorraine/Aupres de ma Blonde/Malbrough s'en va-t-en guerre, Miss McLeod's Reel, The Country Courtship/Jefferson and Liberty, Durang's Hornpipe, Road to Boston, Rye Whiskey, New Rigged Ship, My Love is but a Lassie, College Hornpipe, Rakes of Mallow, Haste to the Wedding, Devils Dream, Old Molly Hare, Life Let Us Cherish, MacDonald's Reel/Leather Breeches, Sir Roger de Coverley, Ricketts Hornpipe, Columbus Cotillion, Molly Put the Kettle On, Pop Goes the Weasel, Soldiers Joy, The White Cockade

Sound Clips: Yankee Doodle MP3 MP3(LoFi); Believe Me if All Those Endearing Young Charms MP3 MP3(LoFi); New Rigged Ship MP3 MP3(LoFi); Old Molly Hare MP3 MP3(LoFi); Soldiers Joy MP3 MP3(LoFi)

What the Reviewers Say Liner Notes How the Recording Was Made


PHIL & VIVIAN WILLIAMS: DANCE MUSIC OF THE OREGON TRAIL
CD 350

Vivian Williams - fiddle; Phil Williams - guitar, banjo, mandolin, accordion

Old Joe Clark, Arkansas Traveler, Buffalo Gals/Oh Susanna, Fishers Hornpipe, Sweet Betsy from Pike, Garryowen/Irish Washerwoman/Pop Goes the Weasel, Richmond Polka, Girl I Left Behind Me, Sourwood Mountain, Buy a Broom, Mississippi Sawyer, Skip to my Lou/Old Dan Tucker, Money Musk, My Love is but a Lassie, Home Sweet Home, Detroit Schottische, Turkey in the Straw

At the end of a long day on the Oregon Trail, the pioneers often played musical instruments, sang, and danced on the prairie beside the covered wagons. Here are some of the tunes mentioned in their diaries, as well as other popular dance tunes of the era, played in old time style on fiddle, guitar, banjo and accordion. Phil and Vivian Williams grew up near the end of the Trail, have known tunes and dances of the Pacific Northwest's pioneer heritage since childhood, and are founding members of the Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association, which was formed to perpetuate the pioneer music of the region. The liner notes discuss the history of these tunes.

Sound Clips: Old Joe Clark MP3 MP3(LoFi); Home, Sweet Home MP3 MP3(LoFi)

What the Reviewers Say Liner Notes How the Recording Was Made



PHIL and VIVIAN WILLIAMS:
PIONEER DANCE TUNES OF THE FAR WEST
CD371

Vivian Williams, fiddle, piano, viola, bowed cello; Phil Williams, guitar, banjo, mandolin, accordion, jews harp, comb & paper, fiddlesticks, plucked cello, wood blocks, snare drum

Nelly Bly, Mazourka from Mr. Howard of Vancouver Washington Territory, Rye Straw, Annie Laurie, Tassels on My Boots, Golden Slippers, The Old Settler, Jenny Lind Polka, Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines, Gal on a Log, Such a Gettin' Upstairs, Rory O'More, Lauterbach Waltz, Weevilly Wheat, Rochester Schottische, Varsoviana, Opera Reel, Home on the Range, Little Brown Jug

Dancing was one of the most important recreational activities for pioneers in the West. They danced squares, waltzes, mazurkas, schottisches, polkas, and Virginia Reels. Here are some of the many and diverse tunes played for dances in the Far West in the 1850’s, 1860’s, and 1870’s, performed by Phil and Vivian Williams on fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin, and other instruments used in pioneer dance bands. Many of the tunes are well known while others are hardly known today at all. Some of the tunes commonly played today without all the original parts are performed with all parts as originally written in the 19th century. The selections offer a rare insight into the broad range of tunes danced to in the Far West over 125 years ago. This CD is the result of extensive research into the tunes from the region's pioneer heritage by Phil and Vivian, who grew up in the Pacific Northwest playing and dancing to many of them. The Williams have played traditional music together for over forty-five years and are well known in the West as music scholars and performers of the its old time dance music. The booklet with the CD contains extensive liner notes on pioneer dancing in the Far West and background of the tunes.

Sound Clips: Nelly Bly MP3 MP3(LoFi)Tassels on My Boots MP3 MP3(LoFi)The Old Settler MP3 MP3(LoFi)Gal on a Log MP3 MP3(LoFi)

Liner NotesWhat the Reviewers SayHow the Recording Was Made


 

VIVIAN & PHIL WILLIAMS:
FIDDLING DOWN THE OREGON TRAIL

Entire stage program with music, journal accounts, tune and dancing on the Trail stories, recorded live at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Baker City, OR

CD373

Vivian Williams, fiddle; Phil Williams, guitar, fretless banjo, fiddlesticks

Arkansas Traveler, Old Joe Clark, Buffalo Gals, Weevily Wheat, Irish Washerwoman, Money Musk The Girl I Left Behind Me, Home Sweet Home, Richmond Polka, Detroit Schottische, Pop Goes The Weasel, Nellie Bly, Buy a Broom, Turkey in the Straw

The fiddle was the principal dance instrument on the Oregon Trail. Vivian and Phil Williams have been presenting this program of fiddle tunes played on the Trail for several years. This CD is a complete program with the tunes, journal accounts, and tune histories as presented and recorded at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Flagstaff Hill, Baker City, OR in July, 2007. Besides being a champion fiddler, Vivian has a BA degree in History from Reed College and an MA degree in Anthropology from the University of Washington. She and Phil are regarded as among the foremost researchers and performers of the fiddle and dance tunes of the Pioneer West. This program will make your feet tap and give you information about life on the Trail, the tunes, and the dances that can be found nowhere else.

Sound Clips: Nelly Bly (Introduction and Tune Start) MP3 MP3(LoFi)

Liner NotesHow the Recording Was Made


TUNES FROM THE PETER BEEMER MANUSCRIPT

CD374

 

Vivian Williams - violin, cello; Phil Williams - guitar, mandolin; Paul Englesberg - wooden flute, silver flute, flageolet, concertina; Phil Katz - button accordions; Allen Hart - fretless and freted banjos; Terry Wergeland - melodeon

German Waltz, Polka from Sch. Barnhard of Florence, Dartmouth Sett No. 8 Figure 1, Dartmouth Sett No. 8 Figure 2, Dartmouth Sett No. 8 Figure 3, Dartmouth Sett No. 8 Jig, Banquet Waltz, Schottishe from Henry Redberg, Polka Mazourka, Evening Star Waltz, Seven Up Schottish, Dearest Mae, The Meeting, Lucy Long, Fi Hi Hi, New Russian Mazourka, Coral Schottische, Secreto from the opera of Lucretia Borcia, Versouvian No. 3 from Mr. Bellow, Quadrille Sett No. 1 FIgure 1, Quadrille Sett No. 1 Figure 2, Quadrille Sett No. 1 Figure 3, Quadrille Sett No. 7 FIgure 3, Kate Karny Waltz, Medley of Quicksteps by A. Draper

In 1862, gold was discovered on Warrens Creek in Idaho, about 40 miles NW of present McCall. The resulting gold rush brought over 5,000 miners to "Warren's Diggins," mining camp. A flute player named Peter Beemer started collecting and writing down tunes for a dance band he was forming. He had folks hum or sing their favorite dance tunes, got some tunes from itinerant music teachers coming through the camp, and other tunes from musicians who had come to Warrens. These tunes were written on foolscap paper by hand, Mr. Beener hand ruling the staves. He developed a manuscript of 124 tunes for his dance band to play for the regular Saturday night dances at the tavern of fiddler Peter Bemis. The band was composed of two fiddlers, flute, button accordion, banjo, and an unidentified sixth member. The manuscript survived, and was discovered and published by Vivian. It is the only manuscript of what a dance band actually played for dancing in the West in pioneer times. For more information go to The Peter Beemer Manuscript. The tunes are for the dances of the day - quadrilles, polka, schottische, waltz, mazurka, varsouvienne, and other ballroom dances of the period. The music ranges from a few well known square dance tunes, to challenging tunes, most of which have not been familiar to fiddlers for many decades. This recording presents a selection of 25 of the different types of tunes in the manuscript. See the Liner Notes for more details.

Sound Clips: German Waltz MP3 MP3(LoFi)Dartmouth Sett 8, Fig. 2 MP3 MP3(LoFi)Lucy Long MP3 MP3(LoFi)New Russian Mazourka MP3 MP3(LoFi)gQuadrille Sett No. 1, Fig. 3 MP3 MP3(LoFi)

Liner NotesHow the Recording Was Made


TUNES FROM THE HAYNES FAMILY MANUSCRIPT

CD375

Haynes Manuscript CD Cover

 

 

Vivian Williams - violin; Terry Wergeland - piano, flugelhorn; Phil Williams - guitar

Cornflower Waltz, Schottische, Angelina Quadrille Figure 1, Angelina Quadrille Figure 2, Angelina Quadrille Figure 3, Angelina Quadrille Figure 4, Angelina Quadrille Figure 5, Waltz Without a Name, Slumber Polka, Mazourka by W.E.C., McCoy's Waltz, Les Rats Quadrille Figure 1, Les Rats Quadrille Figure 2, Les Rats Quadrille Figure 3, Les Rats Quadrille Figure 4, Laura Schottische, Unnamed waltz No. 1, Helter Skelter Gallop, Varsouvienne by W.E.C., Sallie Water, Unnamed waltz No. 2, French Lancers Quadrille Figure 1, French Lancers Quadrille Figure 2, French Lancers Quadrille Figure 4, French Lancers Quadrille Figure 5, Waltz from J. Woolsey No. 3

These tunes were played for dancing in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, in pioneer days. They come from The Haynes Family Manuscript, which was written by, played from, and handed down through several generations of the Haynes, Shuck, and Adams families. They came to Oregon over the Oregon Trail in the middle of the 19th century and settled on Chehalem Mountain, southwest of Portland. The manuscript gives a fascinating glimpse into the music played for community dances in the pioneer West. The CD includes 26 tunes from this manuscript, including waltzes, polkas, schottisches, a gallop, and three quadrille sets arranged to fit standard quadrilles (square dances) of that time. Five tunes in this manuscript also are in The Peter Beemer Manuscript (see above), showing that these were the common dance tunes of that era in the Far West. The tunes are quite different from what historians have assumed were played here for community dances. While they were being played by common folks - millworkers, farmers, miners, orchardists - many of them require classical training to play.

The tunes are performed on violin, piano, guitar, and flugelhorn by a trio of musicians who have play dances together - square, contra, and ballroom - for over twenty years, and who are among the best performers of 19th century popular dance music, particularly the dance music of the pioneer Pacific Northwest. See the Liner Notes for more information about this recording.

Sound Clips: Slumber Polka MP3 MP3(LoFi)Rats Quadrille Figure 12 MP3 MP3(LoFi)Helter Skelter Gallop MP3 MP3(LoFi)Waltz from J. Woolsey No. 3 MP3 MP3(LoFi)

Liner NotesHow the Recording Was Made


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