Does anyone know where this tune comes from? I love the syncopation in the second half but it is quite tricky to play up to speed on the fiddle. I was surprised it wasnt already posted, unless it is under another name?
According to the band Swallowtail, Canadian Ward Allen and M. Lavigne had something to do with the origin of this tune. It’s been played for contra dances ever since I can remember…
What’s that name "Frenchies"? :-/
Name and dance
The person who taught me the tune (a whistle player just called it Frenchies Reel.
What is a "contra dance"?
“Frenchie’s Reel” ~ also played in Bb
"The Portland Collection: Contra Dance Music in the Pacific Northwest"
Susan Songer & Clyde Curley
Page 81: "Frenchie’s Reel" in Bb ~ by Ward Allen & Mel Lavigne
Page 241, notes: "Frenchies Reel"
~ It’s a composition by Canadians Ward Allen and Mel Lavigne, although May Lavigne, Mel’s widow, tells us: "I always thought Mel was the composer and didn’t know Ward had anything to do with it except recording it that it’s been kept alive, so it’s fine with me to leave things as they are." ~
What’s a Frenchie?
This is what English-speaking people call French-speaking people in Canada, and it’s not a nice thing to say!
Somehow, by the melody alone, I don’t think any malice was intended, but I agree, it has been used as a slur by others, as has in the past "Irish" and "Paddy"…
Mad Dan called it Fernchie’s.
I’ve also heard it by the name "Rambler’s Hornpipe". Better?
Perhaps it was named after someone with the surname ‘French’, known to friends as ‘Frenchie’.
I’ve also heard it called Lightning Hornpipe. Probably by the Quebecois…
I learned this many years ago from a fantastic book by Donna Hinds (now Donna Hebert) called The Grumbling Old Woman. She appeared to have got it from a Graham Townsend LP (Graham Townsend and His Country Fiddle) and also credits Ward Allen and Mel Lavigne. That version is in Bb and D.H. "changed it a little to suit myself".
There is a tune called "Old French" which is sometimes called "Rambler’s Hornpipe" - I wonder if Vonnie is thinking of that one? https://thesession.org/tunes/1296
Rambler’s is Old French
More than likely I’m thinking of that one… we play it as well. So many tunes, with so many names!!! But Lightning Hornpipe is definitely correct as a second name for this quirky one.
I have the Donna Hinds(Hebert) book also. I love a lot of the tunes included in that volume, esp. ‘Top of the Hill’ by Andy DeJarlis.
I guess Donna’s next tome would be something along the lines of Louis Beaudoin versions, yes?