Jefferson and Liberty ~ Liner Notes

Due to the limited space available inside a CD cover, much of the information found while researching these tunes for this album was left out. There is ample room, however, to present the full amount of research here on the website. In some cases, that means there is a lot more information on a particular tune, and in other cases what was included in the CD is all there was. Also included are some reference links where more information may be found and a bibliography of sources (both in print and online).

The bulk of the information included here was either quoted or derived from The Fiddler's Companion, compiled by Andrew Kuntz. This encyclopedic reference contains histories, anecdotes and bibliographic and discographic references to over 30,000 tunes from the Celtic, British and American traditions.

Smash the Windows / Kesh Jig / Tenpenny Bit ~ "Smash the Windows"is also known as "Roaring Jelly"or "The Jelly Jig." There has been a persistent rumor that both titles refer to plastic explosives. While that makes a good story, the tune and its titles predate the explosives by about 80 years. It is more likely that the "jelly" title refers to the rolling boil required for cooking jellies and jams. It was often used as the accompaniment for the country dance "The Haymakers' Jig," an Irish ancestor of the American contra dance "The Virginia Reel." "Kesh Jig"and "Tenpenny Bit" are also originally from the country-dance repertoire, and all three have remained popular as session tunes in Irish and Scottish circles.

Fisher's Hornpipe / Rights of Man ~ "Fisher's Hornpipe" was composed by James A. Fishar, a theater director at Covent Garden during the 1770s. The tune became widely popular in a short span of time and appeared in several collections in both England and America during the late 18th century. It is still frequently played as a reel for dances and even bluegrass fiddle competitions. "Rights of Man" probably got its title from one or more publications written during the French Revolution of 1789. The "Declaration des droits de l'homme" was written by the first National Assembly as part of the new French constitution. (Louis XVI actually approved the constitution in 1790, but he lost his head anyway). Shortly thereafter, in 1791-2, Thomas Paine, one of the more influential political philosophers of the time, published the pamphlet "Rights of Man." It was written in answer to a previous pamphlet issued by English political philosopher James Burke, a member of the English Tory factions that were denouncing the revolutionary movement in France. "Rights of Man" sold a phenomenal (for the time) 200,000 copies in England while causing a furor for its support of the revolution. Paine was burned in effigy on English village greens, and his book was consigned to the flames. The printer who published the book was arrested and a Royal proclamation prohibited its sale.1 As is the case with attempts to ban books today, this only made the work more popular, and it continued to enjoy a wide underground circulation, particularly in Scotland and Ireland where people were still feeling the weight of English oppression. Robert Burns in particular was inspired by Paine's work and paraphrased parts of it in his song "A Man's a Man for a' That."2  Further reading: The text of the "Declaration des droits de l'homme (in English) may be found in the Human and Constitutional Rights Resource Pages. The website also has a good abstract of "The Rights of Man" and some facsimiles of the original publication. The lyrics to "A Man's a Man for a' That" (which will be on our next album) are on the Burns Country website.

La Bastringue ~ "La Bastringue" has its origins in an old French tune from the 17th or 18th century and the term "bastringue" originally referred to a common dance hall. In French Canada, it became a "party song" which tells of an older man who wants to dance "La Bastringue" with a girl. He soon finds he is not up to the pace, and to save face, he tries to beg off by feigning concern for the lady's stamina. She proves equal to the task though, and he finally just has to give up. The song has come close to being an unofficial French-Canadian folk anthem and the dance is still done in traditional dance circles both in American and in Quebec.1  The steps to the dance may be found on Dick Oakes' International Folk Dance website of the

La Bastringue

Mademoiselle, voulez-vous danser La Bastringue?
Mademoiselle, voulez-vous danser? La Bastringue va commencer.
Mademoiselle, would you like to dance the Bastringue?
Mademoiselle, would you like to dance? The Bastringue is going to begin.

Oui, Monsieur, je veux bien danser La Bastringue.
Oui, Monsieur, je veux bien danser La Bastringue, si vous voulez.
Yes, Monsieur, I would like to dance the Bastringue.
Yes, Monsieur, I would like to dance the Bastringue, if you want.

Mademoiselle, il faut arr?ter La Bastringue.
Mademoiselle, il faut arr?ter La Bastringue; vous allez vous fatiguer.
Mademoiselle, we must stop dancing the Bastringue.
Mademoiselle, we must stop dancing the Bastringue; you will get too tired.

Non, Monsieur, j'aime trop danser La Bastringue!
Non, Monsieur, j'aime trop danser; je suis pr?t ? recommencer!
No, Monsieur, I like to dance the Bastringue too much!
No, Monsieur, I like to dance too much! I'm ready to start again!

Mademoiselle, j'en peux plus de danser La Bastringue, La Bastringue.
Mademoiselle, j'en peux plus de danser car j'en ai des cors aux pieds.
Mademoiselle, I can't dance the Bastringue any more.
Mademoiselle, I can't dance any more, I have corns on my feet.

(Obviously this is another one of those cases where it sounds much better in French)

Wind that Shakes the Barley / Sheebeg Sheemore (T.O'Carolan) ~ "Wind that Shakes the Barley"is of Irish or Scottish origin. It is actually a 16-bar reel, though we are playing it here as an air. "Sheebeg Sheemore," according to tradition and the musical historian, O'Sullivan (1958), was probably the first tune composed by blind Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738). It seems that the young Carolan found favor at the house of his first patron, George Reynolds at Letterfain, Co. Leitrim. Reynolds (himself a harper and poet) told Carolan the legend of two nearby hills and the fairy bands who lived inside. These fairies had a great battle, and Reynolds encouraged Carolan to write a song about the event. Some versions of the legend have the mounds being topped by ancient ruins, with fairy castles underneath in which were entombed heros from the battle between the two rivals. O'Sullivan believes the air to be an adaptation of an older piece called "An chuaichinMhaiseach" ("The Bonny Cuckoo").1

Hunt the Squirrel / Road to Lisdoonvarna / Haste to the Wedding ~ "Hunt the Squirrel" is a country dance tune from the Playford collection, also known as "The Geud Man of Ballangigh."3  "Road to Lisdoonvarna" can trace its roots to a Jacobite era song, "All the Way to Galway," which turned into a march or reel and is supposed to have been the precursor to "Yankee Doodle." (If you hum "Road to Lisdoonvarna" slowly and count it in two instead of three, there is a vague resemblance). In any case, the tune continued its musical metamorphosis and had turned into a jig by the late 19th century where it was associated with a match-making fair of the town of Lisdoonvarna, County Limerick. "Haste To the Wedding" started as a song in the 1767 pantomime "The Elopement," performed at London's Drury Lane Theatre. The overture for the production was written by T. Giordani, and published in London in 1768, although it is not known if he also wrote the incidental music for the play.1  Like many other popular stage songs of the time, it soon found its way into the country-dance repertoire. An English country dance is still done to the tune today, as is an Irish variation, "The Siege of Carrick."

John Cherokee ~ This is a sailing song from the 17th century Caribbean area where ships were often manned by what were referred to as "checkerboard crews," a combination of white, African and Indian sailors, both free and indentured. The chantey was written about a West Indies slave whose talent for escaping became legendary. It is a good example of a short-haul or loading song, the songs used when loading and unloading cargo. The influence of fieldworker and slave history can been heard in both the music and the lyrics.

John Cherokee

John Cherokee was an Indian man,
Alabama John Cherokee
He run away whenever he can,
Alabama John Cherokee

Way Hey Oh, Alabama John Cherokee
Way Hey Oh, Alabama John Cherokee

They put him aboard a whalin' ship
Again he gave the boss the slip

They catch him again and tie him up tight
Put him in the dark without any light

Nothing to drink and nothing to eat
He just fall dead at the captain's feet

They bury him by the old gatepost
Very same day you can see his ghost

The break of day he goes below
That is when the cocks do crow

Dark Girl Dressed in Blue / Over the Waterfall / Flowers of Edinburgh ~ "Dark Girl Dressed in Blue"is an Irish air and is an obvious ancestor of the tune which follows it. The version of "Over the Waterfall" we play is more in 19th century or old-timey style. This tune became popular in old-time circles and was supposedly played frequently by musicians traveling with circuses and riverboat shows. "Flowers of Edinburgh" has been attributed to the Scottish flutist and composer James Oswald (1711-1769). It first appeared in America in collections of fife and dance tunes in the 1770s and 80s.

O! Say Bonny Lass / Glen Affric (P.Brockman) ~ "O! Say Bonny Lass" was found in one of the musical notebooks of Captain George Bush (1753-1797) of the Colonial Continental Army.  Capt. Bush was an accomplished musician who notated many songs and tunes of the period. His notebooks were kept by the Bush family until 1990, when they were donated to the Historical Society of Delaware. They subsequently were published by Kate Van Winkle Keller of The Hendrickson Group. Information on the notebooks may be found at The Kitchen Musician site: This highly informative and entertaining site is devoted to musical matters of interest to living history reenactors, particularly musicians.
Our fiddler, Paul Brockman, wrote "Glen Affric" after a trip to Scotland in 1997. It is a lovely air, inspired by the beauty of the mountains and forest, though Paul was also apparently inspired by Glen Affric's Dog Falls. Says he, "Dog Falls is the veritable fountain of Guinness: black water, foamy head. If it hadn't been so cold, I might like to have jumped in."

O! Say Bonny Lass

O! say bonnie lass, can you lie in a barrack
and marry a soldier and carry his wallet
O! say can you leave both your mammy and daddy
and follow to the camp with your soldier laddie.

O! yes I will do it and think nothing of it
and marry a soldier and carry his wallet
O! yes I will leave both my mammy and daddy
and follow to the camp with my soldier laddie.

O!, say bonnie lass, will you go a-campaigning
endure all the hardships of battle and famine
when wounded and bleeding then will thou draw near me
and kindly support and tenderly cheer me.

O!, say bonnie lass will you go into battle
where drums are beating and cannons loud rattle
O!, yes, my bonnie lad I will share all thy harms
and should thou be killed I will die in thy arms.

Praise the Lord Who Reigns Above ~ Religious life had an important place in the lives of early Americans. For this reason, we chose to include a hymn from the period, and this one in particular because of its references to music. The text of this hymn was written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788) to a tune from the Methodist Foundry Collection of 1742.

Praise the Lord Who Reigns Above

Praise the Lord who reigns above and keeps His court below;
Praise the holy God of love and all His greatness show;
Praise Him for His noble deeds, praise Him for his matchless power;
Him from whom all good proceeds, let earth and heaven adore.

Celebrate the eternal God with harp and psaltery,
Timbrels soft and cymbals loud in His high praise agree;
Praise Him every tuneful string; all the reach of heavenly art,
All the powers of music bring, the music of the heart.

God, in whom they move and live, let every creature sing,
Glory to their Maker give, and homage to their King.
Hallowed be His name beneath, as in heaven on earth adored,
Praise the Lord in every breath, let all things praise the Lord.

This and many more of Charles Wesley's hymns were published by his brother, John, in A Collection of Hymnsfor the Use of the People called Methodists. Various editions of this collection were published from 1780 through 1889, and the original version of this hymn included a fourth verse (originally numbered Verse Two), which no longer appears in the Methodist Hymnal:

Publish, spread to all around the great Jehovah's name,
Let the trumpet's martial sound the Lord of hosts proclaim:
Praise him in the sacred dance, harmony's full concert raise,
Let the virgin choir advance, and move but to his praise.

Unfortunately, we did not discover this extra verse until after we had completed the album, so it is not included on the recording. The full text of the 1889 collection, along with a lot of other information about the Wesley family and their church may be found at the United Methodist Church web site.

Soldiers Joy / Liberty ~ "Soldier's Joy"was, and remains, one of the most popular fiddle tunes on both sides of the Atlantic. It is a standard in almost every tradition and has been gifted with unending variations of lyrics. It was originally known in England and the colonies as "The King's Head," though it had adopted its current name by the late 18th century. The origin of "Liberty" is somewhat obscure. The same tune is called "The Tipsy Parson" in England, and in parts of New England and French-Canada, it is called "Reel de Ti-Jean." We refer to it by its American name when performing at Mount Vernon tell the tourists that it was named for George Washington's cat.

Planxty George Brabazon (T. O'Carolan) / Sir John Fenwick's the Flower Among Them All ~ Along with about 300 tunes, the term "Planxty" has been attributed to Turlough O'Carolan, and refers to a tune or song that was written in honor of a particular person. This tune is one of two that O'Carolan wrote in honor of George Brabazon. It also became popular in Scotland where it was known as "Prince Charlie's Welcome to theIsland of Skye."

The song "Sir John Fenwick's the Flower Among them All"was written in honor of Sir John Fenwick of Wallington, a Jacobite conspirator who was arrested and executed in 1697 for plotting to kill King William. Brand's History of Newcastle, Vol. II, p. 504. relates a history of the song: "There are but few of those interesting memorials of ancient days now left amongst us of the class to which this melody belongs, viz., the 'Gathering Tunes', or tunes played to collect the tenants and retainers of some Border chief to the fray. This air is one of the best, not only for its own characteristic beauty, but also for the melancholy historic associations connected with it. It is traditionally stated that it was the tune to which the Jacobite friends of the brave and unfortunate Sir John Fenwick marched to his seat at Wallington when he was concerting plans for the overthrow of William of Orange and the restoration of James the Second. A few years afterwards this song, thoughtlessly sung, cost two of the gentlemen of the county their lives."1

While the words were penned for Sir John, the tune was taken from a 16th century song, "Mary Scott, the Flower of Yarrow." Mary Scott was a real life personage, the daughter of Philip Scott of Dryhope Tower and renowned for her beauty, who lived in Yarrow during the 16th century. She married a notorious border reiver named Watt Scott of Harden in 1576 and bore him four sons and six daughters during their 30-year marriage, one of whose descendants was Sir Walter Scott. The song "Mary Scott, the Flower of Yarrow," was in turn based on a 15th century tune, "When ye cold winter nights were frozen." The "Long Cold Nights" title for the tune stems from a song printed by D'Urfey in 1687, later expanded on in a broadside ballad (see C. M. Simpson's The British Broadside Ballad and Its Music, No. 292, for more information).1

Jefferson and Liberty ~ It was common in the 18th & 19th centuries to add new words to popular tunes of the day. In fact, our national anthem takes its melody from a British drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven." This tune was originally known in Ireland as "The Gobby-O." It got its latest title after a poem attributed to ornithologist-painter Alexander Wilson was added to the tune to turn it into Thomas Jefferson's 1800 presidential campaign song. We played an instrumental arrangement, but have included the words here.

Jefferson and Liberty

The gloomy night before us flies, The reign of terror now is o'er;
Its gags, inquisitors, and spies, Its herds of harpies are no more!

Rejoice, Columbia's sons, rejoice! To tyrants never bend the knee,
But join with heart, and soul, and voice, For Jefferson and Liberty!

No lordling here, with gorging jaws shall wring from industry the food;
Nor fiery bigot's holy laws lay waste our fields and streets in blood!

Here strangers from a thousand shores compelled by tyranny to roam,
Shall find amidst abundant stores, a nobler and happier home.

Here Art shall lift her laurelled head, wealth, Industry, and Peace, divine;
And where dark, pathless forests spread, rich fields and lofty cities shine.

From Europe's wants and woes remote, a friendly waste of waves between,
Here plenty cheers the humblest cot, and smiles on every village green.

Here free as air, expanded space, to every soul and sect shall be --
That sacred privilege of our race -- The worship of the Deity.

Let foes to freedom dread the name; but should they touch the sacred tree,
Twice fifty thousands swords would flame for Jefferson and liberty.

From Georgia to Lake Champlain, from seas to Mississippi's shore,
Ye sons of freedom loud proclaim - "The reign of terror is no more."

British Grenadiers / La Belle Catherine ~ The melody of "British Grenadiers" appeared in the revised version of the burletta pantomime "Harlequin Everywhere," "which reopened in January, 1780 at Covent Garden, after the Americans had been bloodily thrown back from Savannah, Ga., during the War of Independence" (Winstock, 1970, pg. 30). However, another version exists from 1745, and parodies of that time indicate it was considerably older than that (Winstock, 1970). The subjects of the title, grenadiers serving in the English army, were originally soldiers who threw grenades "and thus tended to be long in arm, big, tall men," according to historian Byron Farwell (1981). Grenades went out of fashion for some time in European warfare, but grenadier companies consisting of the tallest men were usually attached to battalions and were thought of as specialized, somewhat elite troops, so that " the First World War the term 'grenadier' had so changed its meaning that when the grenade throwers returned to the battlefield there were objections to calling them grenadiers and they became known as 'bombers.'" (Farwell) 1

"La Belle Catherine" is a French fife tune, and is reputed to have been played during the Battle on the Plains of Abraham, one of the last decisive battles of the French & Indian War. It had become a very popular fife and fiddle tune by about 1780 and over time, "La Belle Catherine" turned into the dance tune now known as "ComeDance and Sing."


Works Cited

The paranthetical references within the text are from The Fiddler's Companion. A bibliography for that work is available on the Fiddler's Companion site. Below is a partial list of other sources of information.

1.   Fiddler's Companion. Vers 2.0. Compiled and edited by Andrew Kuntz. Nov. 2000.

2.  Brower, Brock. "His heart was in the highlands." Smithsonian March 2001: 124-139.

3.  Keller, Kate Van Winkle & Genevieve Shimer. The Playford Ball: 103 Early English Country Dances 1651-1820: as interpreted by Cecil Sharp and his followers. 2nd Ed. Northampton, Mass.: Country Dance and Song Society, 1994.

4.  Keller, Kate Van Winkle & Cyril Hendrickson George Washington, a biography in social dance. Sandy Hook, Conn.: Hendrickson Group, 1998.

5.  Kitchen Musician. October 2001.

6.  Songs from the American Revolution from Captain George Bush's notebook. Collected by Kate Van Winkle Keller. Sandy Hook, Conn.: Hendrickson Group, 1992.

7.  Stewart, James. TuneIndex. July 1996.

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