Tom Hughes

Traditional Fiddle Music of the Scottish Borders




1: REDESDALE HORNPIPE/ GALLOWAY HORNPIPE (Hornpipes) 3.05
Hornpipes have long been popular in the Borders and these two are particularly well liked. No apologies for putting this track first - it was recorded at the climax of a great session and the 'lift' is infectious.
Four fiddles, Tin whistle: Jack, Guitar: Brian.(Four fiddles, Tin whistle Jack, Guitar Brian)

2: BRAES O MAR (Strathspey) 1.30
This favourite strathspey was old when first published in Bremner's collection in the 1750s. Tom and Wattie play it as a duet in an old traditional style learnt by Tom from his father.
Two fiddles: Tom and Wattie.

3: TAM'S OLD LOVE SONG (Air)/ BANKS OF KALE WATER (Reel) 1.25
Tom never had titles to these tunes. The beautiful slow air gained its name after many requests for Tom to play 'that old love song'. The reel is named after the area where Tom was first fee'd after he married.
Two fiddles: Tom and Wattie.

4: TAM'S VICTORIA WALTZ (Old Time Dance: Victoria Waltz) 1.58
The Victoria Waltz was a popular old time dance in Victoria's reign but Tom did not remember it continuing beyond the 1920s. Tom had no other name for the tune.
Solo fiddle: Tom Hughes.

5: MARQUIS OF LORNE'S HORNPIPE (Hornpipe) 2.02
Tom's distinctive version of this widely known tune comes from family tradition.
Solo fiddle: Tom.

6: COWIE'S HORNPIPE/ ST PATRICK'S DAY or TELL HER I AM/ TURKEY IN THE STRAW (Hornpipe, Jig & Reel) 2.40
Played as a set, hornpipe, jig and reel, the first tune, known by Tom and Wattie as Cowie's Hornpipe, is in O'Neill's as Slievenamon. The second, which Tom referred to, probably in error, as St Patrick's Day is in O'Neill's as Tell Her I Am. The third tune, Turkey in the Straw, is an American tune as widely played in Scotland as in North America for the longways dance the Virginia Reel.
Solo fiddle: Tom.

7: LADY MARY RAMSAY/ ORANGE AND BLUE (Strathspey/ Schottische) 1.41
Lady Mary Ramsay was first published in Niel Gow's fourth collection in 1800, claimed as composed by his brother Nathaniel. Played by Tom as a schottische, Orange and Blue is an old tune known throughout Scotland and in North America and used in the Scottish Borders for the country dance of the same name.
Solo fiddle: Tom.

8: HENRY HUGHES' FAVOURITE (Spanish Waltz) 1.43
This was a favourite old waltz when Tom and his father played for dances in the 1920s. The tune came from Tom's grandfather Henry Hughes.
Two fiddles: Tom and Wattie.

9: THE FROST IS ALL OVER/ JACKSON'S MORNING BRUSH/ IRISH WASHERWOMAN (Irish Jigs) 2.31
Tom includes his characteristic use of double stops and ringing strings in the playing of a favourite set of Irosh jigs. Solo fiddle: Tom.

10: SIDLAW HILLS/ THE WIFE SHE BREWED IT (Marches) 1.24
Jim Watson of Blairgowrie composed the first tune. The second is an old traditional favourite of Tom's. The set is first played solo by Tom and then played by Tom and Wattie with guitar accompaniment.
Solo fiddle: Tom Hughes.

11: SIDLAW HILLS/ THE WIFE SHE BREWED IT (Marches) 2.33
Two fiddles: Tom and Wattie, Guitar: Sid.

12: THE HUNTSMAN'S CHORUS (Folk Dance) 1.27
A longways dance for 4 to 6 couples, The Huntsman's Chorus was popular in the Borders in Tom's youth. The music started life as a chorus in the 1821 opera Der Freischutz (The Marksman) by Carl Maria von Weber, later finding its way into many fiddlers' tune books in the 19th century.
Solo fiddle: Tom Hughes.

13: THE HIGH ROAD TO LINTON (Air & Reel) 1.26
Tom remembers working out this, his first tune, on his new fiddle at the age of seven. Usually played as a reel, Tom sometimes played the first part at a slower speed. Double stops and ringing strings are features of Tom's version particularly in the variations.
Solo fiddle: Tom Hughes.

14: THE BARREN ROSKS OF ADEN/ NUT BROWN MAIDEN (Pipe Marches) 2.02
Two pipe marches played with long bow strokes and ringing strings.
Solo fiddle: Tom Hughes.

15: CHAMPAGNE CHARLIE (Song Air/ Polka) 1.23
Played as a polka, Champagne Charlie started life as a music hall song premiered in August 1866 at the Princess Concert Hall in Leeds.
Solo fiddle: Tom Hughes.

16: AULD ROBIN GRAY (Song Air) 2.46
In Tom's family this tune was often jokingly referred to as 'the fiddler's headache'. Wattie plays seconds to Tom's complex melody line.
Two fiddles: Tom and Wattie.

17: FAUDENSIDE POLKA 2.02
When Tom first started playing for dances in Yetholm with his father in the early 1920s, the folk from the nearby farm at Faudenside were always asking for a polka. The first two parts of the tune are similar to a tune entitled Hawk's Polka attributed to James Hill who, though born in Dundee, lived many years at The Hawk, a pub in Gateshead. The third part of the tune may have been composed by Tom's father.
Solo fiddle: Tom Hughes.

18: THE ROCK AND TYE WEE PUCKLE TOW. TEVIOY BRIG/ THE STOOL OF REPEMTANCE (Jigs) 3.03
Three jigs popular in the Borders played as a set. The first, The Rock and a Wee Puckle Tow, is an ancient tune that has long been popular in Scotland and Northumberland. The second tune, Teviot Brig, is by Alexander Givan (1752-1803) of Kelso where the Teviot Bridge is located. The third tune is named after the Cuttie Stool of the Presbyterian Church where a sinner was required to sit and repent before the congregation.
Four fiddles: Tom and Wattie, Bob Hobkirk, Tom Scott, Guitar: Brian Miller.

19: COCK YER LEG UP (Varsovienne) 1.17 
Known by a confusing range of names including Shoe the Donkey and Cock Your Leg Up, the Varsovienne evolved in the 1850s from the Mazurka, a Polish dance introduced from Europe in the 1830s.
Solo fiddle: Tom Hughes.

20: FLOUERS O EDINBURGH/ EAST NEUK O FIFE (Country Dance: Flowers of Edinburgh) 2.07
These two grand old tunes provide a set for the country dance Flowers of Edinburgh and were played as such by Tom and his father in the 1920s. They are both in Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion published in the 1750s and are of a type (known as the 'Scotch Measure') used for longways country dances since the 1600s.
Two fiddles: Tom and Wattie, Guitar: Sid.

21: LADY MARY RAMSAY/ ORANGE AND BLUE (Strathspeys) 2.47
Tom and Wattie play Lady Mary Ramsay in the old style Tom learnt from his family, making liberal use of double stops and ringing strings. The second tune is widespread in tradition and probably very old.
Two fiddles: Tom and Wattie, Guitar: Brian.

22: LILLIESLEAF POLKA 1.15
This rather fine old-style polka from Tom's family is named after the small village of Lilliesleaf near Denholm. Tom uses a range of snap bowings, Scotch snaps, double stops and ringing strings.
Solo fiddle: Tom Hughes.

23: FAREWELL TO WHISKY/ ROXBURGH CASTLE (Country Dance: Roxburgh Castle) 2.42
Farewell to Whisky was composed by Niel Gow as a lament around 1800. The two tunes form a set for the country dance Roxburgh Castle, still popular in the Borders in the1920s.
Two fiddles: Tom and Wattie, Guitar: Sid.

24: MILLlCENT'S FAVOURITE/ TAM'S UNTITLED HORNPIPE (Hornpipes) 1.44
The popular hornpipe Millicent's Favourite, known in Ireland as The Royal Belfast, is followed by an untitled hornpipe from Tom's family repertoire.
Solo fiddle: Tom. 

25: GREENCASTLE HORNPIPE/ OFF TO CALIFORNIA/ THE DUNDEE HORNPIPE (Hornpipes) 2.07
Tom had no names for the individual tunes in this set, but merely referred to them as Irish Hornpipes. All three are in O'Neill's Music of Ireland. While they may be tunes of Irish origin, Tom's versions have a distinct Scottish Borders flavour. The third tune is known in Scotland and Northumberland as The Dundee Hornpipe and may well be of Scottish origin but is named The Kildare Fancy in O'Neill's.
Solo fiddle: Tom.

26: BOYS OF BLUE HILL/ THE HARVEST'D LONG IN COMING (Hornpipes) 1.28
A great tune for tin whistle as well as fiddle, Boys of Blue Hill is one of the most widely known and popularly played hornpipes, as well known in Scotland as in England or Ireland or in North America. Although Tom was happy to refer to the second tune by its widely known name of Harvest Home, he preferred The Harvest's Long In Coming – the old name by which the tune was known in the Borders and by his family.
Solo fiddle: Tom.

27: MORPETH RANT (Country Dance: Morpeth Rant) 1.19
This excellent longways dance with a distinctive rant stepping is still popular in Northumberland and was clearly part of local tradition north of the border is Tom's younger days. Tom: "This wis a very popular dance up the Kale Water an the Bowmont, at weddings an kirns mostly - at Hownham, Pennymuir, Mowhaugh, Auld Graden, Caverton an Primside. It's never danced now." Tom's version is essentially what is now referred to as 'the old way' of the tune.
Solo fiddle: Tom. 

28: MORPETH RANT (Country Dance: Morpeth Rant) 2.26
Two fiddles: Tom and Wattie, Guitar: Sid.

29: KELSO HIRING FAIR (Victoria Waltz) 2.03
Tom picked up this unusual tune from an old street fiddler at the hiring fair in Kelso in 1928. It is in Kohler's Repository (1882) under the title Victoria Waltz, but the dance seems to have died out by the 1920s.
Solo fiddle: Tom.

30: LADY MARY RAMSAY/ SOLDIER'S JOY (Strathspey & Reel) 1.21
One of Tom's favourite strathspey tunes here played in a set with the reel Soldier's Joy – what is perhaps the most popular and widely known of all fiddle tunes from Shetland to Cornwall and throughout North America.
Solo fiddle: Tom.

31: THE TRIUMPH (Country Dance) 1.00
When Tom first started playing fiddle with the family band in the 1920s The Triumph was often the first dance of the night at village hall and kirn dances. A longways set dance, it became a popular country dance throughout the country in the 1800s after being introduced to the London ballrooms near the end of the 18th century.
Solo fiddle: Tom.

32: OLD RUSTIC BRIDGE (Song Air) 2.23
An old Victorian ballad long popular with fiddlers as a fireside tune.
Two fiddles: Tom and Wattie.

33: AULD GRADEN KIRN (St. Bernard' s Waltz) 1.30
When Tom and his father played for dances this was the common tune for the St Bernard's Waltz. Tom had no title to the tune but the kirn at Old Graden near Yetholm was always a great gathering.
Solo fiddle: Tom.

34: LIBERTON PIPE BAND (Polka) 1.57
A fine polka made famous by Jimmy Shand in the 1950s. The tune belongs to a large family of related tunes known throughout the British Isles and North America dating back at least to the 1840s and appears to have gained its name from the Liberton Boys Pipe Band formed in 1883 at Dr Guthrie's Ragged School in Liberton, Edinburgh. The opening bars are clearly related to Tom's older tune‚ Faudenside Polka.
Two fiddles: Tom and Wattie.

35: REDESIDE HORNPIPE 2.33
Composed quite recently by champion moothie player Willie Atkinson of Alnwick, this tune has become popular throughout the Borders‚ played here as a grand finale to the album by Tom along with three other fiddle players‚ Bob Hobkirk, Wattie Robson and Tom Scott along with Brian Miller on guitar.
Four fiddles: Tom and Wattie, Bob Hobkirk, Tom Scott, Guitar: Brian.



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