Proper Job: Melodeon Playing From Dartmoor

By Bob Cann

  1. Schottische
  2. Heel And Toe
    Seven Step
    Uncle Jim’s
  3. Uncle George’s
    Tommy Roberts’
  4. Harry Chubb’s
    The Cokey
  5. Cross Hands Country Dance
    Uncle George’s
    Uncle Jim’s
    Gan Ainm
  6. Climbing Up The Golden Stairs
  7. Woodland Flowers
    Uncle Jim’s
  8. Lyrinka
  9. Ford Farm
    Cornish Quickstep
  10. Smash The Windows
    New Rigged Ship
  11. The Stein Song
  12. Morpeth Rant
  13. Gan Ainm
    Gan Ainm
    Gan Ainm
  14. Ripple Of The Teign
  15. To-Tore
  16. Uncle Jim’s
  17. Barn Dance
  18. Gan Ainm
    Gan Ainm
    Gan Ainm
  19. Uncle George’s
  20. The Primrose
  21. Family
  22. Harry Gidley’s
  23. Dorsetshire
  24. Hot Punch
  25. Uncle George’s
  26. Manchester
  27. Uncle George’s
  28. Gan Ainm

Seven comments

"Bob Cann: Proper Job ~

Melodeon Playing from Dartmoor recorded 1952 - 1988
Veteran Tapes VT138CD

“The Living Tradition” ~ review

"Some lovely Dartmoor-style melodeon music here, including newly issued tracks, nine years after the old maestro’s death. The man’s unmistakable driving style, accompanied by rhythmic footstumping hasn’t been followed by many of the new breed of English players, although his tunes are well used in the English repertoire and there are over 40 on this CD.

Bob Cann was a true community musician, a man whose music came from his own family, fairgrounds or anywhere he could pick up a good tune. ~

This is a classic album and the best memorial to a man whose style was his own whilst still in the best traditions of English dance music. Truly in Bob Cann’s own words, a “proper job”.
~ Jim Bainbridge

“Musical Traditions” ~ review

“An excellent CD in all respects, and especially welcome for the 15 tunes from the hitherto unavailable BBC recordings.”
~ Rod Stradling - 23.9.99

Bob Cann ~ a favourite squeeze

I fell in love with this man’s music and spirit the first time I heard it. It made you want to dance and it still does…

There are problems with this recording, though I recommend it highly, no one seems to have bothered to do much work, like chasing up the ‘actual’ names for tunes and at least giving them in the notes. So, you will see various ‘gan ainms’ and ‘Uncle so-and-sos’… Some immediately sounded familiar but that doesn’t mean the name dropped into mind along with the familiarity. I will try and see if I can source some of these, but I suspect others on site may beat me to it, and that would be very welcome.

Bob Cann’s music lit up the dance floor and so did his smile. The band he was a member of was “The Dartmoor Pixies”, who I have heard play and whose music must be considered a good tonic for the body and soul…

“Dartmoor Pixies: A Dartmoor Country Dance Party”
Veteran VT113 ~ cassette, 1989

Cann’s rhythm and style

Proper Job is available on CD, here are a few places to find it:;-1;-1;-1&sku=997100

In resonse to your comment, ceolachan, I must agree, he sounds like a whole band on his own, the rhythm is very strong and never flags.

The liner notes of West Country Melodeon (Topic 12TS275) partly attrubute the development of his style to the function of the music:

“Each dancer would have to get up three times in turn, and each time he would set twice and then step twice (setting meant keeping time with your feet). The musician would sit with his back to the dancers so that there would be no favouritism and the same tune would be played throughout each complete set of dancers. The procedure would be repeated - setting twice and then stepping twice - and then repeated again. The tunes played were always hornpipes [. . .]. In general, however, Bob’s playing is distinct from the more syncopated ‘East Anglian style’ and favours a more ‘straight ahead’ approach. This does give him a wilder, driving sound ideal for dancing and may well have been developed in the above-mentioned step dance competitions, where the same tune might be played for two hours or more and drive would be required to keep both dancer’s and musician’s spirits from flagging. The style is also partly brought about by the more sophisticated instrument that Bob plays -- a Hohner Club III M, pitched in the keys of G and D with an extra half row of accidentals.”

I should add that quote to the comments of the appropriate recording as well.

I misplaced that bracket, it should be between the two sentences.

Re: Proper Job: Melodeon Playing From Dartmoor

Looks like the digital version of this one is now gone from all stores… but “West Country Melodeon” with many of these same tunes, is still available.
Would have to say my favorite track is “Form Farm Reel/Cornish Quickstep.”