Threepenny Bit - King Ahtu
Released December, 2019.
Ahtu is pronounced ‘ahh-too’, according to their Bandcamp page.
On the album:
- Jason Beaumont (bass guitar/flute/whistle)
- Ruth Burrows (saxophone)
- Helen Gentile (clarinet)
- Ross Gordon (drums/percussion)
- Hannah Gray (flute)
- Chris Nichols (violin)
- Josh Robson-Hemmings (acoustic & electric guitars)
- Steven Troughton (accordion/acoustic & electric guitars)
Tune composition information:
- Icy Jig (Chris Dewhurst)
- Sulu’s (Ross Gordon)
- Chefs in the Pantry, The Hilt (Jason Beaumont)
- The Two Rascals (Paul Sartin)
- Katie’s Waltz, A Big Egg (Chris Nichols)
From their Bandcamp liner notes:
-Track 1, Icy Jig / Drummond Castle
Icy Jig was written, we suspect, with the sole intention of annoying melodeon players - at least, the friend we learnt it from always deploys it with that purpose in mind. We follow it with Drummond Castle by way of apology.
- Track 2, Sulu’s
If you can think of a better thing to name a tune after, we’d like to hear it: "Sula’s - the best Greek kebab shop in town!"
- Track 3, The Ballydesmond Polka
This tune’s namesake village is so-called for its association with Gerald Fitzgerald, the Fifteenth Earl of Desmond. While we know little of his life and times, the flamboyance of his name and title has been a continual source of inspiration to us.
- Track 4, I’m King Ahtu Set (Chefs in the Pantry / Bó Mhín Na Toitean)
"Funky King", "Great Leader", "Great Dancer", "A Holy One" - a rollicking ode to his majesty, King of the Ostriches.
- Track 5, Cuckoo’s Nest / The Two Rascals
During a rehearsal in a library, we divided into two groups; the melody instruments were to work on their ornaments, while the rhythm section would get on with, well, rhythms…
- Track 6, Katie’s Waltz
Chris wrote this tune for his lovely wife, Katie. We performed it for their first dance, with the best man dutifully stepping in on violin.
- Track 7, The Hilt
Working titles included: Reel of Fortune, Barry’s Quest, Very Barrel, Sir Jig, Dally-Mobile, Baron of Beef, Sausage on a Mountain, Dr Bacon and His Pig of Choice… we’re not hungry, you are.
- Track 8, A Big Egg / The Blacksmith
“What’s big and small at the same time…?” - Armando Iannucci
- Track 9, Old Mother Oxford / Dark Girl Dressed in Blue
We like to think of this tune set as a microcosm of May Morning in Oxford, the first church bells at dawn giving way to the celebrations of the day.
- Track 10, Reprise (Katie’s Waltz)
Recorded in our last hour at the studio, late at night, with a storm rolling in.