Kitchen Junket

By Yankee Ingenuity

Eight comments

"Kitchen Junket" ~ "Yankee Ingenuity"

Peter Barnes - piano, guitar, 5-string banjo
Hank Chapin - acoustic bass (& massages)
Donna Hinds / Hébert - fiddle
Jack O’Connor - mandolin, fiddle, tenor guitar, tenor banjo
Joan Pelton - bodhran
Tony Parkes - piano, dance calling

This is a great band and a great first recording, all dance length tracks. It was first released as an LP by Alcazar and you could purchase it with or without calling by Tony Parkes, and excellent New England contra dance caller, teacher, choreographer and musician. Later it was released as a double length cassette, with calls on one side and without on the other and still available for purchase if you do a search. It’s great fun, the dance music and the dances, and a fine line up of musicians.

Alcazar ALC200
Fretless/Philo 200a/b, 1977

"Kitchen Junket" vs. "Kitchen Junkey"

Oops..a wee typo…but "Kitchen Junket" makes sense too. : )

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Star of the County Down

So I’m looking for a digital copy of "Star of the County Down" originally recorded on this album. Anyone know of such release? To the people who played on this album I could digitize it for you but you would be better going back to the original tape.

"Kitchen Junkey" vs. "Kitchen Junket"

What a hoot. I just stumbled on this, but being a ‘kitchen junkey’ as well as being into ‘junkets’, maybe it was psychic crossfire… 😉

Oh yeah, now corrected from ‘Junkey’ to ‘Junket’…

"Yankee Ingenuity: Kitchen Junket"

LPs ~ 200A is without calls / 200B is with calls by Tony Parkes

Cassette ~ Side A is without calls / Side B is with calls…

CD ~ ? ~ I’m not sure it ever was released as a CD, but had thought we had it. That suspicion still in mind, I haven’t managed to find it. What I remember of it is that it only came without the calls… Or did I imagine it? Maybe someone else out there can confirm this one way or t’other? Or maybe I’ll find it somewhere in our piles of recordings… 😏

“Yankee Ingenuity: Kitchen Junket” ~ notes

Further information, notes, from the LPs, the cassette lacking these:

Produced by Joan Pelton
Directed by Donna Hinds/Hebert
Engineered by Gregg Lamping
Mixing by Mike Couture and Gregg Lamping
Design - Margot Zalkind-Schur
Photography - Eric Borg
Black and White Photography - Marion Errlinger

Special thanks to those who came up from Boston to dance in the studio for the called record. It meant a lot to us to have our regular dancers and good friends with us for the session. They have, after all, helped to make us who we are.

Fretless Records is a division of Philo Records, Inc.
1977 Alcazar, Inc.
Recorded at Earth Audio, N. Ferrisberg, Vermont
Library of Congress Catalogue Numbers:
77 750227 (FR 200a)
77 750228 (FR 200b)

Yankee Ingenuity is composed of the five musicians who form the band at the Country Dance Society’s (CDS - ) Tuesday night square and contra dance in Cambridge, Massachusett. The band has been laying together at these dances for two years, and in other contexts for several years before that. Their style combines the solid beat and careful intonation of New England dance orchestras with the bounce and syncopation of Eastern Canada’s music; an occasional blue note adds further seasoning. Fiddle, mandolin, and tenor banjo pass the melody around, relieved now and then by piano or guitar. In a few numbers the five-string banjo adds a Southern flavor. The band was named by Neil Downey, a fine Boston banjo player.

Most of the cuts on this record are medleys of two tunes, often in different keys. The band prefers to arrange most tunes in twos or threes, feeling the medleys offer more musical interest to both band and dancers. The cust are arranged to fit standard New England square dances, usually seven times through a 32-measure tune. You can use them for contra dances too. If you find them too short, play a cut twice or wait for the next cut to begin.

Side A - Dances / Times
1. ) Knave’s Quadrille ——————— 3:46 (by Tony Parkes)
2. ) Head Gents and Corners ——- 3:44 (traditional)
3. ) Star Breakdown ———————— 3:44 (by Tony Parkes)
4. ) The Rout ———————————- 4:00 (traditional)
5. ) Duck Through and Swing ——- 3:52 (by Tony Parkes)
6. ) Polka —————————————- 2:22

Side B - Dances / Times
1. ) Separate and Do-si-do ———— 3:55 (by Tony Parkes)
2. ) Gents Cross Over ——————- 4:01 (by Tony Parkes)
3. ) Tony’s First Change ————— 3:44 (by Tony Parkes)
4. ) Milton Quadrille ——————— 3:54 (by Rod Linnell *)
5. ) Peekaboo ——————————- 3:52 (by Tony Parkes)
6. ) Waltz ————————————— 2:47
(* from the book "Square Dances from a Yankee Caller’s Clipboard" by Ron Linnell & Louise Winston)

All selections except the polka and waltz are 7 x 32. The tempos vary from 120 to 128.

The traditional New England kitchen junket was so named by the early Yankees who, according to custom, would gather at one or another’s home for an informal house party consisting mainly of country dancing. Nowadays such gatherings would occur in the basement ‘rec room’ or the backyard, but not too long ago the kitchen was the largest room in the house —- and certainly the warmest. On the day of the junket everything but the kitchen sink would be moved out of the room. The fiddler perched on a stool in the sink, safely out of the dancers way, and the party was on. Contra dances were more popular than squares, since the dancers could do them from memory, but someone —- often the fiddler —- was sure to know the calls for a few squares. The dancing usually lasted well into the night, with at least one break for potluck and cider.

This record and a few friends will enable you to give your own kitchen junket. The calls [FR 200b] are ssquare dance calls, but one can dance anything to the uncalled [FR 200a] record, including contras. These squares are easy-to-medium difficulity for the beginner, and should be comfortable for anyone who has danced New England style for a few years. In relation to ‘modern Western’ style, they’re well within the basic program [Callerlab 1-38 or Sets in Order 1-50]. The calls are given clearly and in plain English; all terms used are defined on the inside cover (& can be found elsewhere, including online). Should you have difficulty with any of the dances, try walking through the figure without the music, using the descriptions inside. Although the figures always conform to the descriptions, the choruses are varied to keep you on your toes. The whole record is presented just as one might have heard at an early New England kitchen junket.

New England square dancing, derived from English country dancing with an assist from the French court, is alive after two centuries of growth and cross-pollination with other areas. In its modern form it resembles square dancing as done anywhere in North America, but with some important differences. Alone among regional styles it is dance to the musical phrase, that is, a typical dance figure and tune are both 32 measures long and are performed together. The calls are given in rhythm but without much regard for rhyme, just before the phrase of the music to which they apply. About two dozen basic movements are used. Callers combine them in many different ways, rather than making up new ones. The perfect wedding of dance to music and the limited number of terms make it possible for new dancers to learn quickly and occasional dancers to hold their own. This is not to say that New England squares are all equally simple, far from it. But most of the more complicated dances should make sense to anyone who knows the two dozen accepted terms, and has learned to listen to the calls.

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The Fretless Dance Series (200) is a joint venture of Alcazar Productions, Inc. and Philo Records, Inc. Alcazar is a corporation composed of working dance musicians and callers. The intent of the corporation is to research, record, and publish traditional dance music, and through Philo Records make it available to interested individuals everywhere. We believe that good dance music of all types can also be good listening music, and that making good dance records available will foster the tradition of using live music for dancing.