The Personnel is mostly uncredited but includes
John Locke, fiddle;
Albion Morris Men, dancers;
William Palmer, spoken word;
and Cyril Papworth, dancer.
Side 1: Rattlebone
Morris Dancing of the Wales Border Counties Herefordshire, Shropshire
- Reading from Piers Plowman.
- A cylinder recording of the Herefordshire gypsy fiddler John Locke, playing an unnamed hornpipe. Made by Cecil Sharp at the turn of the century.
- Old Hall was the legendary Elizabethan pipe-and-tabor player. This eulogy (unnamed reader) comes from a contemporary pamphlet. The tune for pipe and
tabor is Jack off the Green from William Preece of Dilwyn, Hertfortshire.
- The Bromsberrow Heath Three Handed Reel is a tune from Bromsberrow melodeon player, Beatrice
(unnamed musicians playing melodeon, concertina, tambourine).
- This is followed by a local carol (a variant of Christ Made a Trance)
- The Elizabethan actor and morris-dancer William Kemp is said to be the author of the pamphlet Old
Meg of Herefordshire for a Mayd Marian and Hereford Towne for a morris daunce or 12 morris dauncers in Herefordshire of 12
hundred years old (1609 London). This quote comes from it.
- The next dance is from Brimfield. The tune is a hornpipe from Stephen Baldwin of Upton Bishop, Herefordshire.
(Unnamed dancers plus unnamed musicians playing melodeon, bones, tambourine)
- An account of dancers at Shrewsbury from Shropshire Notes and Queries, 1885
- Dance from Much Wenlock
(unnamed dancers plus unnamed musicians playing anglo-concertina and tambourine)
- Broseley Morris tune Om si the Gom. A stick dance went to this.
(unnamed singer and musician
playing vocal and banjo).
- One of the earliest references to morris dancers making a nuisance of themselves. This is from Puritans
at a Much Wenlock court case in 1652.
- Into Worcestershire. The bagpipes (smallpipes or lowland bagpipe) play two Border tunes, Not for
Joe and Sheepskins. The latter is the same tune as Om si the Gom.
- Frozen rivers meant that fishermen couldn't work, so another way of raising money was needed.
- The future? Albion Morris Men perform the Upton-Upon-Severn Stick Dance to electric guitars
(This track was previously released on The Electric Muse where the musicians were identified
as John Watcham, anglo-concertina; Simon Nicol, electric guitar; Ashley Hutchings, bass; Roger Swallow, drums)
Side 2: Ploughjack
Molly Dancing of the Fens and Plough Customs of the East Midlands
- Little Downham, Cambridgeshire, 1931
- Birds a'Building dance from Girton, Cambs. When the leader called “Set!” the
dancers bobbed down momentarily in imitation of birds nesting
(unnamed dancers plus unnamed musician playing anglo concertina)
- The Hi Ninny Naw Nee chant was meant to simulate the sound of the “nags”.
reader and unnamed voices)
- Smash the Window dance from Girton
(unnamed dancers plus unnamed musicians playing anglo
concertina and tambourine)
- William Palmer reads his own account of a visit to Little Downham on Plough Monday, 1933. As it turned
out, this was one of the last times that Molly dancing was to be seen in the Fens.
- Frank Beeton of Balsham, Cambs., had this old rhyme (All in a Row or similar). The Molly
dancers used to recite it. (unamed voices)
- “Cross-Hand” dance from Comberton, Cambs., danced to the tune Shave the Fiddle
(unnamed dancers plus unnamed musicians playing mouth organ and tambourine)
- Into Lincolnshire with the first of many Plough-Play quotes and the sound of the bagpipes.
reader plus unnamed musician playing smallpipes or lowland bagpipe)
- Cambridge man Cyril Papworth dances the Broom Dance, which he first learned from his grandfather,
on of the old Comberton Molly dancers.
(unnamed reader plus unnamed musician playing fiddle)
- College Hornpipe dance from Girton, to a tune from the Little Downham musician George Green.
(unnamed reader plus unnamed dancers plus unnamed musician playing English concertina)
- The Straw-Bear quote comes from the Folk-Lore Society's journal (volume 20, 1909),
which also contains two wonderful photographs of the Whittlesey Straw-Bear - the only ones that I know of.
- The final tune is from George Green.
(unnamed musicians playing melodeon, banjo and drum)
- Little Downham, 1931, again.
|Island HELP 24 (LP, UK, 1976 (recorded 1973))
This is an extract from a booklet
about Border Morris Dancing,
which is published by
The term was coined by
Dr Cawte in an article for
performance in the Welsh Border
counties of Shropshire and Herefordshire
problems, solutions and answers
from Rich Holmes
Welcome to the Foxs Border Morris
wonderful web site!
So who are we I hear you cry!
Well we are a group of
approximately 20 men and
women who meet every Thursday
practice and dance
traditional border Morris....
This paper was originally
prepared for the
Roots of Border Morris Conference
organised by the Morris Federation at
West Malvern on 29th February 1992.
The online guide to folk song,
dance and roots music for
the West Midland counties
The Loose Women dance their own
interpretation of Border Morris,
which is a ‘loose’, loud, stompy
style of dancing. The only hankies
you’ll find in this team will be to
blow their noses on.
The West Midland counties
seem to have been
great carol country and
there's an interesting range of styles
an article written by
that esteemed player of
melodeons and concertinas,
Mr. John Kirkpatrick
and published by
Direct Roots". the new folk directory
and guide published by
Mrs Casey Music, 2001
|Whittlesey Straw Bear
The Monday after Twelfth Night was the first day of labour after Christmas if there was any work in the fields. The plough
was blessed. A precursory custom, possibly very ancient, prevailed in the east of England Plough Stots, Plough Jags or Plough
Plays were enacted, much like mumming plays, for money. Look out for the recently revived Molly Dancers performing in the
East Midlands and East Anglia, with their painted or blackened faces and colourful costumes. One of the traditional dancers
was the Molly or Betty, a man-woman.
Molly dancing takes place at the Straw Bear Festival
Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire on January 13th, 14th, 15th. Banned in 1909 as a form of begging, a man ‘dressed’ in
straw and paraded around the town with music and dancing was revived in 1980. For further information see www.strawbear.org.uk