Ronnie Cooper Waltzes

Ronnie Cooper Waltzes

Is there a well-known "set" of Ronnie Cooper waltzes?

I was playing some tunes with a PA player at the weekend and he shouted "Ronnie Cooper Waltzes" and I looked at him blankly but as he started I realised I knew some of them and had heard the others, in sessions or on Aly Bain records or the like. One was in G, then one in A, then D, then G. The PA player "wisna sure fit they were ca’d"

Now they’ve slipped my mind again, and I’ve been trawling websites (like here) and books to see if I can reconise the tunes again, I’ve no idea of the names so have to play through them.

I found one here posted by Dow, Scalloway Voe, but it wasn’t one of the ones I was looking for.

Can anyone point me toward some likely suspects?

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Re: Ronnie Cooper Waltzes

What about Ronas Voe and Sunset Over Foula - they are the only other waltzes I could find by the man. Sometimes Ronnie Cooper waltzes get played with a waltz called Isles of Gletness (by John Barclay) and another called ??Starry Nights.
Oh and BTW how does a Mandolin play with a PA unless you play through a PA!

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That’s what the PA player said Donough, "You need a PA for that thing!" - I didn’t even have my reso mando. I said "Can’t you turn that down?" he wasn’t amused

Thanks for the tips, I’d come up with the first two names and am looking for notes or recording to see if I recognise them

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The Fiddler’s Companion, information but sans notes / ABCs…
Rona’s Voe
http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/ROD_ROR.htm
RONAS VOE. Shetland, Waltz. G Major. Standard. One part. Composed in the 1950’s by Shetland accordion and piano player Ronnie Cooper, and recorded with the group "Hamefarers," which included Scottish fiddler Willie Hunter. Matthiesen (Waltz Book II), 1995; pg. 54. Thule Records, The Hamefarers - "The Hamefarers" (c. 1950’s).
http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/ndx/RO.html ~ ABCs

Sunset Over Foula
http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/SU_SV.htm
SUNSET OVER FOULA. Shetland, Waltz. D Major. Standard. One part. Composed in the 1950’s by Shetland accordion and piano player Ronnie Cooper, and recorded by him with the band "The Hamefarers" (which also included Scottish fiddle Willie Hunter). Matthiesen (Waltz Book II), 1995; pg. 55. Thule Records, "The Hamefarers" (c. 1950’s).
http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/ndx/SU.html ~ ABCs

Isles of Gletness ~ no information
http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/ndx/IS.html ~ ABCs

"Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham: The Ruby"
Green Linnet, 1998
track 8: Sunset Over Foula / Isles of Glentness / Starry Night in Shetland

http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/abc/mirror/MosheBraner/SunsetOverFoula.abc

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Always rely on you ‘C’ to produce a mine of info. For some reason I was finding my JC searches blocked or telling me that I ‘could not access this page’.
Must say I like quite a few Ronnie Cooper tunes even the overplayed ‘Far From Home’.

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It wasn’t working for me either, and suspecting that might be the case in general, it can be temperamental, like us all ~ that’s why I chased up and offered the alternate routes…

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Nice thread, these are all great tunes, although I don’t think I’ll ever want to hear "The Isles O’Gletness" again for many years. There’s a Tuesday night session at the Douglas Arms (the old Marlix) in Lerwick, Shetland, which is run by a couple of old bandmates (or me, when they’re away) and this old feller who looks like Santa Claus sits at the bar and asks for that tune. Problem is, his short-term memory isn’t the greatest so he ends up requesting it six or seven times per night…ARGH! I usually try and launch into another set quickly whenever I see him turning around from the bar, but we usually end up having to do it two or three times per session anyway…

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I think we’re going to have to plan a Ronnie Cooper week, one of my mad dedications to composers and their lives and compositions. You might not have noticed, but this is Felix Burns Week we’re in at the moment, but so far only Nigel and myself have contributed anything ~ anyway, seems like we’re short on Ronnie Cooper tunes, so maybe next month? :-/

Here’s just a taster of more of his inspirations:

Some of Ronnie Cooper’s tunes ~

Waltzes ~
Rona’s Voe
Sunset Over Foula

Marches ~
The Headlands

Reels ~
The Anvil
Calum Donaldson
Da Tushkar / Da Tushker / Do Tushkar
Dr. Donaldson
The Fencing Post
Gordon’s Favourite
Hayfield House
Merryn’s Reel
Mickie Ainsworth
Millbrae / Mill Brae
Miss Susan Cooper / Cooper’s
Neil Doherty
Peter Davidson
Ronald Cooper
St. Ninian’s Isle

Strathspeys ~
The Shetland Fiddler’s Society Strathspey

Jigs ~
Jim Anderson’s Delight

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Swift, for your sake, another setup ~

Recording: "Iain Anderson: Silver Strings"
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/2295

track 11:
Sunset Over Foula (R. Cooper), Rona’s Voe (R. Cooper), A Starry Night In Shetland (Trad)

Re: Ronnie Cooper Waltzes

"Shetland Music: Ronald Cooper, Volume 1", Shetland Times 1971
"Shetland Music: Ronald Cooper, Volume 2", Shetland Times 1972
"Shetland Music: Ronald Cooper, Volume 3", Shetland Times 1972
"Shetland Music: Ronald Cooper, Volume 4", Shetland Times 1972
"Shetland Music: Ronald Cooper, Volume 5", Shetland Times 1974

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Yeah, I’ve heard them done in that order, it’s a nice set to be sure. Looks like a solid selection of tunes on the whole - could anyone post the one called "The Hangover Pee"? Some tunes you have to learn ‘cause of the name alone…

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By the way, I should probably mention that the second one should (technically) be "Ronas Voe", instead of "Rona’s Voe" as listed, as it refers to a place - "Rona" is a woman’s name. A voe’s a narrow marine inlet, as opposed to a wick which is kind of a more open bay - the waltz takes its name from an inlet at the north end of Shetland by "Ronas Hill".

Just in case anybody was planning on playing "Rona’s Voe" during Ronnie Cooper week - which, incidentally, sounds like a great idea. Out of interest, do many Shetland tunes find their way down under to Kelly’s Bar, or wherever people in Oz get together for sessions, or is it mostly Irish trad?

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Could be the same tune, I meant whichever one’s on Iain Anderson’s album posted above, which I don’t own myself. By Ian Lowthian…that figures :D

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Sorry Swift, should have caught that. It appear on the net both with and without the possessive apostrophe, but more often with it. In other words, saying that the hill or voe belongs or is dedicated to the memory of one named Rona, or Rona’s… So, are you saying that ‘Rona’ has nothing at all to do with a person’s name?

Away from the tune and it’s many transcriptions scattered on the Internet ~ the geographic place, in all the links I’ve checked, are without the apostrophe, merely Ronas Voe… So, does ‘Ronas’ mean something else other than someone’s name?

Re: Ronnie Cooper Waltzes

Maybe this next week should be Ronnie Cooper Week?

http://www.shetland-music.com/
http://www.shetland-music.com/prominent_artists/artists_of_the_past/ronnie_cooper_(1934-1982)/
Ronnie Cooper (1934-1982)
"Brought up in Lerwick firmly in the tradition of Scottish Dance Music as played by Jimmy Shand and his ilk, Ronald Cooper soon stamped his own indelible impression on the genre with his tunes, composed in the Scottish idiom, but with a unique Shetland flavour."

" ~ Ronnie and Frank Jamieson played their own tunes to the Powrie band during sessions at the Hayfield Hotel. These tunes were soon played throughout Scotland, and five volumes of Ronnie’s compositions soon followed, plus a Hamefarers LP record. The tune books are sadly out of print today, but Ronald Cooper’s reputation as a tune composer of the very highest order in Scottish dance music world is assured for all time. His march Da Headlands, and the reels Millbrae, Peter Davidson and Da Tushkar are probably the best-known, along with the waltzes Ronas Voe and Sunset over Foula."

Re: Ronnie Cooper Waltzes

Thanks all, Ronas Voe and Sunset Over Foula were two of them I reckon, and Isle o Gletness wasn’t. The search is very enjoyable.

Swift, in answer to your question, I get round a variety of sessions in different parts of Australia now and then, and there’s not a whole lot of Shetland tunes played , though they will know ones that have been recorded by Irish groups like Sleep Soond in da Mornin or Susan Cooper. Of course there are a few Scottish musicians going about and a strong Scottish fiddle input in Melbourne in particular, but it’s mostly Irish stuff you’d hear in most places.

Kelly’s Bar isn’t really typical, it’s a shining island of something in a sea of something else.

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Not sure about the origin of "Ronas", I’d ask an old-timer if I was at home, but you can bet on it being derived from the Old Norse language like everything else up there. Here’s a quirky fact though - Ronas Hill, traditionally the spot to watch the midnight sun or "Simmer Dim" on Midsummer’s Night, is often called "Ronnie’s Hill" by the locals. (I say "locals" ‘cause I’m not Shetland-born.) Perhaps it’s a nod to the man himself, after his composition…? Something to ask when I go home for the summer.

Cheers Bren - the reason I asked was that if I start a Shetland tune at any sessions south of the border, people look at me like I’ve sprouted an extra head. If even a couple are played in Australia, they’re more common than in England…weird. I’m sure the whole crew at the Lounge’ll be interested to hear about "Ronnie Cooper week" down under!

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Bren, you have a way with words! ;-)

Swift, I did a little check suspecting the same thing initially, but without an results, not yet anyway. Be sure to email me if you find out… I’ll do the same if I get any results…

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I think starting it this weekend, as time allows, is good, what with the recent loss to music of Shetland guitarist Peerie Willie Johnson. I didn’t find anything suggesting he had any compositions to his name, so a week dedicated to Shetland music seems a good thing ~ thanks Bren for the spark… We should of course start with the waltzes, but tomorrow…

Re: Ronnie Cooper Waltzes

I never got to climb Ronas Hill on visits to Shetland in the mid-Eighties, but one weekend a group of us from the Kebister archaeological dig near Lerwick took a day out in the far North end of Mainland with someone who knew the place well and could show us the sights. More importantly, he could find the way back to the van. We got to a place called Lang Clodie Wick (with a waterfall tumbling down the cliff), I remember that, but the landscape at "the back of Ronas Hill" was a really confusing one of tracks, hills and lochans all rather alike, very easy to get lost in for all that it’s small on the map. Combine that with the Spring blizzards we had on most days, though not that one, and you had a very hazardous place. Thanks to our guide we got out all right.

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Yeah, I don’t know of anything composed by Peerie Willie either - apart from all those on-the-spot Django-esque improvisations which he’d fire off, of course. There’s not that much recorded material of him left either, sadly.

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Good to know you survived, Nicholas! A few more houses and things will have sprung up since the mid-eighties (when I wasn’t even around, never mind in Shetland), so there’s a few more points of reference these days, thankfully.

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Re: Ronnie Cooper Waltzes

swift - regarding Shetland music in England, plenty of Shetland tunes get played in NE England. A lot of them fit in very well with Northumbrian music and have the same or similar rhythms. There’s not much if any historical connection between NE England and Shetland, but Northumbrian traditional musicians have drawn heavily on Scottish tunes for a long time and have probably acquired Shetland tunes from Scottish sources.

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So they’re all in the North-East…why oh why didn’t I go to uni in Newcastle? A good mate’s taking the trad music course there - Ross Couper of "Bodega". He seems to be having a great time, looks like he had the right idea!

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(In my above post I neglected to mention that of course, nowadays, players from NE England can look up / listen to specifically Shetland music at the drop of a hat, and go there easily.

Players of a previous generation though, such as Will Atkinson or Willy Taylor, would have had fewer such opportunities - though both went there late in life - and I guess would have got their Shetland tunes mainly through Scottish players; that’s what I meant to say. I may be wrong.)

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Sorry Bren I didn’t read your 1st post properly :-/

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No worries, it’s another tune I discovered on the way thanks to your posting. You must be really , like, good, at that abc stuff

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Don’t feed the ego Bren, it bites back… 8-)

Besides, you might catch his cold if you get too close…

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Good work C. It was remiss of me not to post these in "tunes" after downloading them.

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I had the great pleasure of knowing Ronnie very well. Many a pint I shared with him in the lounge in Lerwick on a Monday night before the stramash would start. I was just 17 at the time and Jim Halcrow became one of my oldest friends.

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The Anvil - a Ronnie Cooper reel I have transcribed - have a look

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In a quick glance through the postings above, I’ve not spotted any reference to a Ronnie Cooper waltz called ‘The Shetland Bus’ (named after the clandestine rescue operation carried out between Norway and Shetland in WWII). Smashing tune! There is a two-part arrangement of it in the Tune Library pages of www.rudemex.co.uk.

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