The People Next Door


RIMG0077.JPGThere are two not unconnected recordings today. The first is a well-known traditional Scottish song that I sang to our girls when they were small.

The second is a Shetland version of a traditional tune. Around 1970, if I remember rightly, Stefan Sobel told the story to a folk club audience of seeing, late one evening, a small faintly illuminated procession making its way through the dark woods to this tune.

The People Next Door? It’s said that you should never name the Good Neighbours.



After writing out these traditional tunes I discovered that they not only went well one at a time but could be played together!

I really like the colourful horse parade at the annual Festival of the Horse and Boys’ Ploughing Match in Orkney; there’s not a boy or horse among them! Click a pic to get a full-size view of all the photos while you listen to the music.

When Peggy Rides Her Wheel


From ‘An Old-Fashioned Bicycle’, a unique album of veteran songs of the wheeling life compiled from early publications and folk tradition. The words are by that prolific writer Anonymous and the music, as printed with the song, is the traditional tune ‘The Low-backed Car’. There’s more in menu 4.

The New Testament Books


If you’ve ever tried to remember the books of the New Testament, this might help! The second part of the tune is traditional but optional.

Thank you, Emily, for singing this to me so long ago.

New Testament Books 1.jpegPut a capo on the 3rd fret for the key I’ve sung it in – C – or the 5th fret for the key of D. Now you have plenty of time to get this right before the Sunday service… maybe! (It’s easier to learn if you’re about 10 years old.)

Primrose Polka


The Primrose Polka is often attributed to Jimmy Shand and equally often to that prolific composer Anon. Whatever the vagaries of its origin I certainly arranged the music for Jenny Cox at the excellent Concertinas At Witney. The last photo is of yellow Celandines and the delicately pastel Ladies Smock, known in many parts of England, and to me, as Milkmaids. The hedgerows this year are full of them.

I meant this post to be on the 19th of April because it was Primrose Day, as I’m sure you know, but I was so busy cycling that I forgot.


The Cliffs Of Moher

MoherMoherMoherView John A Taylor.jpgA brief demo recording of a haunting traditional Irish tune. The hesitancy in my playing is because I have no head for heights, and Moher is very high. Some day it would be good to get a band together again and do the music and the place justice.Moher - Bjorn Christian Torrissen 2012.JPGLooking down view by John Taylor, brave man; equally bold seashore view by Bjorn Christian Torrissen, who must have stepped off a boat on an unusually calm day to take the photo; there’s no other way to stand there.