Willy Taylor’s polka

By Willy Taylor

Also known as Willie Taylor’s.

There are 2 recordings of this tune.

Willy Taylor's has been added to 21 tunebooks.

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Four settings

X: 1
T: Willy Taylor's
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
E|D2 G2 G2 FG|A2 d2 d3 e|fgfe dedc|A2 F2 GAGF|D2 G2 G2 FG|A2 d2 d3 e|gedc A2 F2|G2:|
G6 FG|A2 f2 fedc|B2 G2 G3 A|A2 a2 gfed|f2 e2 e2 FG|A2 f2 fedc|B2 G2 G3 A|A2 a2 gfed|f2 d2 d3|
X: 2
T: Willy Taylor's
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:E|DG GF/G/|Ad d>e|f/g/f/e/ d/e/d/c/|AF G/A/G/F/|
DG GF/G/|Ad d>e|f/e/d/c/ AF|G2 G:|
K: DMaj
|:F/G/|Af f/e/d/c/|BG G>B|Aa g/f/e/d/|fe eF/G/|
Af f/g/f/e/|dG B>B|Aa g/f/e/d/|fd d:|
X: 3
T: Willy Taylor's
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:DG GF/G/|Ad d>e|f/g/f/e/ d/e/d/c/|AF G/A/G/F/|
DG GF/G/|Ad d>e|f/e/d/c/ AF|G2 G2:|
K: DMaj
|:Af f/e/d/c/|BG G>B|Aa g/f/e/d/|fe eF/G/|
Ad f/g/f/e/|dG B>B|Aa g/f/e/d/|fd d2:|
X: 4
T: Willy Taylor's
R: polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:F/E/|DG GF/G/|Ad- d>e|f/g/f/e/ d/e/d/c/|AF G/A/G/F/|
DG- GF/G/|Ad d>e|f/g/f/e/ c/A/F/A/|GB G:|
K: DMaj
|:c/B/|Af f/e/d/c/|BG g>B|Aa g/f/e/d/|fe eF/G/|
Ad f/e/d/c/|dG B>G|Aa g/f/e|d2 d:|

Fourteen comments

Wille taylor’s

this is a slow reel which is played in the order AABA. if anyone knows it by another name please let me know

Polka or march?

For anyone who tries this tune: all those C’s *are* C#s - once you get used to them you realise that they are what make the tune.

The thing about northeastern polkas is that musos there haven’t really been exposed to the southwest Ireland style of playing them, so polkas like Jack Ryan’s, Sweeney’s, Dennis Murphy’s, Egan’s etc all get slowed down and played more like 2/4 marches. It’s now become "traditional" to play polkas this way in the area. So I reckon this tune’s basically a 2/4 march of the type which is common all over Scotland and England. It’s also got a sort of schottische-y feel about it. Maybe it would make a good barndance if you played it like one…

Willy Taylors?

I haven’t ever heard this tune before. Where didit come from? I did some work collecting all the extant Willy Taylor tunes that the extended networkof Northumbrian players uphere knew just a couple of months before he died. There weren’t that many of themand this one wasn’t there.

The known Willy Taylor tunes have a very distinctive signature - pulsed repeated notes are often a feature, some times repeated across the clusters within a bar. They are all, without exception, very dancey with a strong offbeat kick. I appreciate that there are some errors in the abc so that the repeats and endings don’t run true but it doesn’t seem very dancey to me. I’d liketosee a corrected version before making a final judgement but my initial reaction is that its probably not North-eastern and very unlikely to have had much to do with any of The Shepherds.

Hi Noel, there’s a recording of it on "Ranting and Reeling", which I don’t have a copy of myself. It may well not be his composition, but the only reason why it shouldn’t be is perhaps that WT tended to give his compositions names. Maybe it was written by someone else for WT. There might be some info about the tune in the liner notes.

Willy Taylor’s

Thanks Dow,
I’d completely forgotten this track. Of course its a rant the way WT plays it. The next track is WT on melodeon playing a real English/Scottish polka - the Popalong. You can see the Jimmy Shandinfluenceon the shephers=ds here.

I am sure that WT =’s "polka" is not his own composition as his pieces have a very definite signature - think Pearl Wedding and Farewell to the Dene - different meters but some strong similarities from the intervals and chord progressions used.

Willy Taylors

Just to clarify things, Nancy Kerr taught me this tune and she was a bit vauge about its origins. She wasn’t sure if he had written it either.

101 polkas

I remember Willy Taylor mentioning one of the first, if not the first tunes he’d written. It apparently had appeared in a book of 101 polkas, saying they must have been one short and used it to make up the numbers. He refused to play it and said it was best forgotten, is this it? My memory seems to think in fact someone had just asked him what the first tune he wrote was.
Does anyone know of this 101 polkas book, is this the tune ?


"The Fiddlecase Book of 101 Polkas:

Irish, Scottish, English, Canadien & American fiddle tunes"
Fiddlecase Books - Jack Perron & Randy Miller
New Hampshire, 1978

Tune #82 - the same - notated as 2/4, basically identical to the tune given here, once you get past the mistakes, which for some reason are still there at this point in the ABCs, here using ‘snowyowl’s’ ABCs, corrections made and a slightly different take in a few places from this collection, including as it is played by some, with that 2/4 feeling, as for contra dancers:

T: Willy Taylor’s Polka
M: 2/4
L: 1/8
R: polka
K: Dmaj
|: E |
DG GF/G/ | Ad d>e | f/g/f/e/ d/e/d/c/ | AF G/A/G/F/ |
DG GF/G/ | Ad d>e | f/e/d/c/ AF | G2 G :|
|: F/G/ |
Af f/e/d/c/ | BG G>B | Aa g/f/e/d/ | fe eF/G/ |
Af f/g/f/e/ | dG B>B | Aa g/f/e/d/ | fd d :|

"Ranting & Reeling: Dance Music of the north of England"

This tune is the first of track 10 on this recording, but for some reason that is not showing in the ‘Details’, no matter how hard I try to make it show:


The booklet that comes with this CD is extensive but there is very little about this tune:

Track Ten
Willy Taylor, fiddle
Willy Taylor’s Polka & There’s Nae Good Luck - Jig.
Recorded by Peter Kennedy in The Swan, Warenford, Northumberland, 7 June 1954.
BBC 20630 & Topic 12T283.

Willy Taylor’s other tunes on site & comment ~

"Shirley’s" ~ reel
Key signature: Amajor
Submitted on December 7th 2002 by Dow.

"The Pearl Wedding" ~ reel
Key signature: Dmajor
Submitted on December 8th 2002 by Dow.

"Tich’s" ~ reel
Key signature: G Major
Submitted on December 9th 2002 by Dow.

"Snowy Monday" ~ jig
Key signature: D Major
Submitted on December 17th 2002 by Dow.

"Farewell to the Dene" ~ schottische / barndance
Key signature: D Major
Submitted on June 10th 2005 by Dow.

"The Shining Pool" ~ hornpipe
Key signature: D Major
Submitted on June 13th 2005 by Dow.

"Wee Kerry’s Welcome to the Dene" ~ jig/quickstep
Key signature: D Major
Submitted on July 28th 2005 by ceolachan.

"Nancy Taylor’s" ~ reel
Key signature: G Gajor
Submitted on December 15th 2005 by alexboydell.

X: 3 "Willie Taylor’s Polka"

B: "The Fiddlecase Book of 101 Polkas: Irish, Scottish, English, Canadian & American Fiddle Tunes"
Compiled and edited by Jack Perron & Randy Miller
Fiddlecase Books, New Hampshire, 1978 - tune #82