Baz Parkes with The Old Bridge Specials, 18 January 2020 – REVIEW

Is it a barn dance, an English Country Dance, a ceilidh, a square dance, or is it a host of other names?  The curse of dancing dances from the rich and varied canon of English dance to English tunes is that it does not have a unique and descriptive moniker.  None of the above describe the energetic enjoyment of dancing relatively simple figures to bouncy, hummable tunes many of which have been played for centuries.

The Old Bridge Specials and dancers at Waring Green 18 January 2020

A couple of groups of new dancers came along to the Ryburn 3 Step Barn Dance at Waring Green on Saturday and discovered for themselves how much fun you can have on a Saturday night with your clothes on.

This was not serendipity.  The Old Bridge Specials are a convivial bunch of enthusiastic and talented musicians who meet weekly on Monday evenings at the Old Bridge Inn in Ripponden, (thanks to Tim and Lindsay for their support and indulgence) and, between putting the world to rights, play a range of mainly Northern English tunes.  Saturday’s repertoire was drawn from the most popular of these and included sets such as the Seneca Reel and John Brown’s March, the Curlew and Kirkgate Hornpipe, Jamie Allen and Because he was a Bonny Lad, Stan Treacey’s Waltz and the Swedish Waltz.

The Old Bridge Specials were:
Johnny Adams – keyboards and fiddle;
Chris Partington – fiddle;
Andy Day – Concertina;
Trevor Whittam – Harmonica;
Alan Taylor – Guitar

Particular thanks to Johnny Adams and Chris Partington who were responsible not only for mixing the excellent sound but also for their work on the Village Music Project which has unearthed many fine dance tunes from old and sometimes forgotten manuscripts, some of which were played on Saturday.

Baz Parkes, Photo: Steve Jones

As for the dances themselves, these were called with humour and wit by one of our favourite callers.  Baz Parkes is simply a top caller and on Saturday he steered both novices and experts through a varied repertoire of English Dances.  These included the Holmfirth Square, La Russe, Four Jolly Sheepskins, Cumberland Square 8, the Norfolk Lomg Dance, the St Bernards Waltz, the Cornish 6 Hand Reel, la Bastringue, Eddie Upton’s Chancellor’s Farewell and Heartbreaker (written by Pete Coe.)  Some of these are not easy dances but a willing crowd threw themselves into it and eventually mastered them.  Yet another great night.

Steve Jones

The Long Company Mummers – January 2020

The Long Company Mummers have finished their 4 performances to welcome in the New Year of 2020. Each performance attracted large crowds of excited onlookers, and below are some photos of the 4 performances.
Ryburn 3 Step would like to thank the Golden Lion in Todmorden, the Fleece in Elland, the Hogs Head in Sowerby Bridge, and the Old Bridge Inn in Ripponden for hosting each performance. 

The Long Company Mummers at the Golden Lion in Todmorden, January 2020. Photo: Alan Day
The Long Company Mummers at the Fleece Inn in Elland, January 2020. Photo: Ed Day
The Long Company Mummers at the Hogs Head in Sowerby Bridge, January 2020. Photo: Ed Day
The Long Company Mummers at the Old Bridge Inn in Ripponden, January 2020. Photo: Chris Adams

At each venue, after the performance, the Long Company Mummers asked for donations from the audience. The collections have been given to 4 local charities:
Music for the Many – Todmorden;
Overgate Hospice – Elland;
Happy Days – Sowerby Bridge;
St. Bartholomew’s Church – Ripponden.

Happy Days
St. Bartholomew’s
Overgate Hospice

Thanks to all who supported and helped the Long Company Mummers in 2020.