Fiddle Tunes for My Dad

Liner Notes for the new album: FIDDLE TUNES FOR MY DAD (2016)

I’VE MADE UP TUNES since I was a little kid, when I was walking or sitting idle, tunes came and went like a breeze, uncatchable, adding mystery and magic to the world. But when friends showed me a digital recorder, just as I was leaving to visit my dad in England, I recorded the tunes in the pubs in Sheffield. And I started to capture my own tunes for the first time ever. That was six years ago. Many songs later, these fourteen tunes are for my dad, Philip Hunt.

  1. Gale’s Waltz
  2. Rabbit in the Melon Patch
  3. Windowshopping in Italy
  4. Going to the Beach
  5. Dad’s Ninety-Five
  6. Kathy’s Song
  7. Checkered Wings and Tail
  8. The Good Ship King Edward
  9. Turn around Leprechaun
  10. Bluegrass and Thai Food
  11. April Fool’s Reel
  12. Cat Tracks in Concrete
  13. Daffodils by the Gate
  14. Ally’s Tune 

ON THE ORIGIN AND NAMING OF TUNES              

  1. Gale’s Waltz. One day in April 2011 (it was A Very Creative Day), I was playing at the Ninth Street Deli with Mr. Bones, and Gale came to  hear us play. He and Bones were visiting. Gale was talking while I was noodling and this tune was the tune that came up. Another tune came about while Bones was talking, and that Song for Bones will be on the next album of fiddle tunes. (Three Around Three is Cliff White on guitar and Bill Foley on banjo.)
  2. Rabbit in the Melon Patch. There he was, eating my lettuce, bold as you please! I don’t know where the eastern European flavor came from, maybe it would be a good flavor in rabbit STEW! (Clare Connors on piano.)
  3. Windowshopping in Italy. This is the first tune I ever was able to capture. I remembered it long enough to get home to some paper and I wrote down a rough reminder. Then my husband’s sax teacher, Maestro Porti, wrote it out for me in notes and I’ve kept those notes ever since. I never did learn the art of jazz key substitutions. (The Trio is Margot McMillen on cello and Sara Davis on sweet fiddle.)
  4. Going to the Beach. I have no clue where this one came from, but it’s named for a trip my daughter and I took to a lovely seaside town and beach on the coast of Delaware. It’s a good dance tune. (Three Around Three.)
  5. Dad’s Ninety-Five. This came the night before my dad’s last birthday. I was staying at the Hillsborough Hotel in Sheffield, and the tune came plinking out, pizzicato so as not to wake anyone, in the middle of the night. (Gainor & Friends.)
  6. Kathy’s Song. This is for one of my adopted sisters, who has been a sturdy support throughout the trials and tribulations of many years. I wrote it long before I was able to play it. (Clare on piano.)
  7. Checkered Wings and Tail (kestrel flying low). While I was driving down to the river this elegant bird flew low across the road in front of me, so smooth and graceful, and the underside of its wings were like checked pajamas. (Clare on piano and Sara on sweet fiddle.)
  8. The Good Ship King Edward. Another song from That Creative Day at the Ninth Street Deli. They played great blues on the radio, and I was playing along. Then later I figured, “I’ll write a blues. That’d be in E, right?” This tune is a total failure as a blues, so it became “Tune in E”  mark 1, then mark 2, then mark 3, then King E for Edward III. The sound is so nautical, it became the ship… It turns out that the wife of King Edward III has the same name as me. (Cliff on guitar catching the feel of the sea breeze and the open waves.)
  9. Turn around Leprechaun. This started as a short tune called Turnaround Turnaround, but gradually grew… it took several years, and the final phrase just jumped out of the forest, very quick like a leprechaun, at the end. This tune is squorly, like the Little People. (Clare on piano.)
  10. Bluegrass and Thai Food. There’s a Thai Kitchen, at Cooper’s Landing, and as I was playing open mic down there, I heard a passing remark, “Ah! Bluegrass and Thai Food.” Well, I wasn’t playing bluegrass, more like old-time or traditional English songs, but I love Thai food, and I thought it was a good name for a song. This is a crooked calypso. I’m still trying to figure out how to write it in notes. (Mike Robertson figures the odd timing on bass, I think it is 11/8 in the B part.)
  11. April Fool’s Reel. Another tune from That Creative Day at the Ninth Street Deli, a waltz in D and A, also known as the DNA Waltz. (Gainor & Friends.)
  12. Cat Tracks in Concrete. A four-part tune that insisted on proceeding as it thought fit, just like a cat. At the exit of a parking garage near where we used to jam on Tuesdays there are cat tracks, recorded forever, starting somewhere near the middle of the road where the concrete had not set yet. (Three Around Three.)
  13. Daffodils by the Gate. This is another tune from open mic at Coopers Landing. Mark Ort was sitting in on guitar. He and I had just finished planting daffodil bulbs by the fence at Coopers (but “gate” works better in the title). (Three Around Three.)
  14. Ally’s Tune. This is another tune from that sunny trip to the beach in Delaware, named for my daughter. (The Trio.)

AND MANY THANKS GO TO:

Clare Connors—piano and artistic support (2/6/7/9)

Sarah Davis—sweet fiddle (3/7/14)

Bill Foley—banjo (1/4/12/13)

Gainor and Friends (tracks 5/11) at this time were:

Barry Gainor (banjo)

Sarah Davis (fiddle)

Tom Lata (mandolin)

Ron McLaughlin (mandolin)

Russ Ravert (guitar)

John Turner (bass)

Connie Williams (rhythm guitar)

Margot McMillen—cello (3/14)

Mike Robertson—bass (10), computer skills, and artistic support

Cliff White—guitar (1/4/8/12/13), and for photograph arrangement

Tim Langen—for putting the tunes in order at the end

Richard Cravens—for mastering

Ally Letsky—for cover art

Pete Szkolka—for his recording skills, humor, and patience    (psmusicstudio.com)