T: New Road To Alston
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Also known as The New Road To Alston.
There are 2 recordings of this tune.
New Road To Alston has been added to 3 tune sets.
New Road To Alston has been added to 44 tunebooks.
I transcribed this from Blowzabella’s “Octamento”. Is it ITM? I like the way it breaks up the phrases into non-standard lengths, sort of . Reminds me of some non-square old-timey tunes. On the album, follows and precedes “Lottie’s”
I know this as “The New Road to Alston” (we follow “The Bear Dance” with it as long as we start them in the right keys - both tunes get played in a multitude of keys, and the New Road sometimes gets repeated several times in a key progression that I can never remember!
From Fiddler’s Companion:- NEW ROAD TO ALSTON. English, Country Dance Tune (4/4 time). England, Northumberland. A Minor. Standard. AABB. Kidson noted that Alston, at the time of his writing, was a “wild and remote district of Cumberland.” The melody is from a Northumbrian piper’s MS of about 1816. Knowles thinks the tune has “more of a French feel to it.” Source for notated version: A Kidson MS [Knowles]. Kidson (Old English Country Dances), 1890; pg. 22. Knowles (A Northern Lass), 1995; pg. 5.
YAYYYY more Blowzabella tunes!!
I’ll transcribe Lottie’s later today…
Alston is a little town up in the hills near the head of the South Tyne valley, in Cumbria. It is a one-off kind of place, not quite like anywhere else on earth.
The “New Road” seems quite likely to have been one created by John Macadam in the early c19 under the present course of the roads linking Alston with Penrith and with Barnard Castle. Alston was a major lead-mining centre in the c18-19, but this road seems to have been to provide a good surface and gradients for coach traffic, as much as anything: the lead was carried by pack-ponies that could get about without needing much by way of special roads.
Both the roads I mention are marvellous scenic drives, in decent weather that is. The one to Penrith has a cafe on top of the Hartside pass and a fine view of the Lake District mountains. The one to Barnard Castle goes round the back of the highest and wildest country in the Pennines.
I got this tune from Greg Stephens in about 1997, and have used it as a workshop tune since 2000……. esp good in Eminor as then easy on fiddle whistle and guitar….today I heard it on a Blowzabella album recorded 2007, they claiming to have written it…. damn cheek!
The tune is in fact a version of Davey-Davey Knick- Knack, which I think is Scottish.