A Site Dedicated to all enthusiasts of Classic Style Banjo
When I was growing up in the 1950s (am I really THAT old?) the BBC radio and TV were full of accordion music and non more prevalent was Jimmy Shand and his Band playing "The Bluebell Polka".
Now from my friend Brett Lowe in New Zealand, I have received a banjo arrangement of the accordion music... What is not to like? ;-)
Thank you Brett this is a really good arrangement of a great tune, and so nicely produced too!
I have added Brett's arrangement to the MUSIC LIBRARY.
I never liked Jimmy Shand and his band when I was young, mainly because 'Hogmanay' was a Scottish institution and we didn't really celebrate it in a big way in England. Hogmanay is a big thing throughout the UK now but Jimmy and his band only appeared on English television on New Year's Eve in the 1950s, in a programme called 'The White Heather Club' which featured Scottish dancing, and poetry by Rabbie Burns, singing by Andy Stewart and Moira Anderson and all things Scottish, which I found very boring. I came to like Jimmy Shand and his Band as a result of playing the mandolin in a Ceilidh band myself, the band was led by a very accomplished accordion player who converted me to the squeeze box. In later years my wife and I were surprised to find, whilst baby sitting our Granddaughter (now 28 years old) that whenever we put a Jimmy Shand record on, it made her fall asleep immediately. God bless Jimmy Shand and his Band wherever they are now.
But , may be , when he plays it LIVE , he will be speed up the tempo ; because , i guess , it 's the tradition for a Polka to start slow & speed up the tempo ...... ?
Getting back to the Bluebell Polka, to my ear, the first two strains live on in American traditional music as the fiddle tune Flop Eared Mule, only the strains are reshaped somewhat with a few added melody notes and a more driving tempo.
Thank you Ian and everyone for the kind and comments about the arrangement - my first for classic banjo. Also thanks to Trapdoor2 for the great research on the history of this piece. The discussions are great - I noticed a lot of comments about the tempo and whether it is a schottische rather than a polka. I wonder if the word schottische originally deriving from the word Scottish (and likely describing a Scottish dance), could possibly be a clue to the interpretation of this polka so popular in Scotland. Just an idea, but I shall have to ask some friends who use to belong to Scottish Country Dancing club if they can shed any light on this.
Schottische as a dance was 'invented' in Bohemia, as I understand it. I suppose the name is thought to be exotic and maybe try to show the the caracter of scottish music and dancing, as per view of the inventor.