“The Other Way Back: Dancing with Dudley”
a contradance documentary by David Millstone
Farnum Hill Productions, 2007
I have friends who know my spirit well, and one of these sent me a couple of DVD documentaries awhile back, great medicine for the soul, inspirational stuff. I finally managed to set aside time to take in some of this medicine, "The Other Way Back: Dancing with Dudley", a brilliant tale woven in words, pictures, poetry, music and dance ~ about another old acquaintance, musician and caller Dudley Laufman. There I was, probably looking daft as a Dodo, headphones wraped around my head and instrument in hand, listening to this video and playing along with the soundtrack simultaneously. Who claims men can’t multitask? While doing that this tune popped up, one of many composed by New Hampshire resident and contra dance musician Bob McQuillen. I remember playing through a slew of his tunes way back when, something like almost a dozen books full of them, all different pastel colours and definitely along the lines of homemade, the books and the tunes, good nutritious grub in a meat and potatoes kind of way. I like this tune, it made me smile, and I hope it does the same for some of you…
Apologies Bob, as I don’t have the contact details to ask your permission in adding this here, but I hope you won’t mind.
Further information ~ composed in 1973 for a friend ~ "with love to Becky and Scott", Scotty O’Neil, and I don’t know if that surname is supposed to have one or two Ls at the end as I haven’t the book on hand to check, spelling or the notes…
Here’s the tune again given a straighter treatment ~
T: Scotty O’Neill
|: AG |\
F2 D2 A2 F2 | dedc BABc | d2 A2 G2 F2 | F2 E2- E2 AG |
F2 D2 A2 F2 | dedc BABc | d2 A2 ABAG | F2 D2- D2 :|
|: AG |\
F2 A2 f3 e | d2 c2 B3 c | d2 A2 G2 F2 | F2 E2- E2 AG |
F2 A2 f3 e | d2 c2 BABc | d2 A2 ABAG | F2 D2- D2 :|
My wife and I remember catching dances in New England and elsewhere in North America where this tune helped take us through the moves, and where we also had the pleasure of playing it with others, from the East coast to the West… I’ve also heard it in Cecil Sharp House, London, the Culturlann in Monkstown, County Dublin and given air at a dance in Shrewsbury where one of those squeezin’ it out was
John Kirkpatrick… This tune has tallied up some mileage…
Dudley & Jacqueline Laufman
Bob McQuillen & his notebooks 1/2 - 13
Great Meadow Music: New England Contra Music
Bob McQuillen: He Keeps Contra Dance Moving
By Aaron Bowden, Concord Monitor, Wednesday, November 24, 1999
"PETERBOROUGH - The popularity of traditional New England dance music has waxed and waned during the last century, but like the steady piano beat he’s sent out across dance floors for more than 50 years, 76-year-old Bob McQuillen has been a constant. ~"
Bob McQuillen, Peterborough, New Hampshire, New England, U.S.A.
National Endowment for the Arts
Lifetime Honors: 2002 NEA National Heritage Fellowship & Interview
You-Tube: Bob McQuillen Sings the Polka
When the fiddler wasn’t ready to start the Nelson Monday Night Dance, Bob McQuillen came thru by singing the polka…
Thanks for posting one from the master himself
I appreciate the post, Ceol. Bob McQuillen has been a favorite musician and composer of mine from the start of my contra dancing vocation some 30 years ago. That’s been not even been half of his career! For the elitists here, at least his name is Irish…
Maybe he’ll stumble here and see some of the places where this one has ended up, outside of his hands, and it will raise a smile… I hope he forgives me the ‘accidental’ B^ABc, it’s the nearest thing I could get to BOB, as there’s no O or M in the scale… Daft, yes, I know… :-/
What’s the furthest away from New England you’ve heard or played this?
South Africa, Tasmania ~ ???
Where’s nicholas & the red spruce highlander? I was thinking of you both when I submitted this, and others too… ;-)
Have you seen the great video that David made about Bob? Its called Paid to Eat Ice Cream. Lots of good music and dancing on it, plus hilarious and touching conversations with Bob.
Also, for those who don’t know, Bob has composed hundreds of tunes over the years and he names them for people he has met on his travels around the world playing music. When you buy his tune books, you get the tunes as well as wonderful little dedications for all these people. Its almost as much fun to read the dedications as it is to play the tunes.
He is truly an American treasure.
Bob wrote some tunes for friends of ours
Yep. His Laurie’s Hornpipe, Jill’s Jig, Applejack Reel and George Wilson’s Clog/Hornpipe refer to musicians we have befriended. And there are plenty more where those came from…
I’ll have to catch the movie next time they show it at the Dance Flurry. Speaking of which, everyone should catch Bob himself at the next Flurry as well! ! !!!