Saucy Bess | The Piper’s Weird

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Folk: Scottish Traditional Folk: Scottish Traditional Moods: Instrumental
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The Piper’s Weird

by Saucy Bess

Traditional Scottish airs, marches, strathspeys, jigs, and reels, played on fiddle, accordion, pipes, and piano.
Genre: Folk: Scottish Traditional
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Shetland Set
2:50 album only
2. Frasier's Jig Set
2:34 album only
3. Ca' the Yowes Set
3:42 album only
4. Pikeman's March
3:06 album only
5. Return to Kintail Set
3:58 album only
6. Braes of Castle Grant Set
3:59 album only
7. Maids of the Black Glen Set
4:46 album only
8. Mason's Apron Set
3:54 album only
9. Air: Heather and Eilidh
4:16 album only
10. Air: The Piper's Weird
4:39 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
1. Shetland Set: Da Full Rigged Ship, Da New Rigged Ship, Sleep Soond i’da Moarnin,’ Jack Broke da Prison Doar
These famous old North Sea tunes were championed by fiddler Tom Anderson, Aly Bain’s teacher. We first heard them at Pinewoods in 1997 as played by the inimitable Arlene Leich Patterson, also a student of Tom Anderson.

2. Frasier’s Jig Set: Frasier’s Jig, Paddy Carey, Kenmurra’s Up and Awa’
There are very few true Scottish jigs - it was really an old Irish style of music. Frasier’s and Kenmurra’s are likely of Scottish origin, Paddy Carey surely isn’t! Mike plays these as a set on the low A small pipes.

3. Ca’ the Yowes Set: Ca’ the Yowes to the Knowes, Source of Spey, Lord Byron’s Favourite, Pitnacree Ferryman, Jenny Dang the Weaver
This set begins with a mournful old air made famous by Robert Burns as “Ca’ the Yowes to the Knowes.” We segue into two of our favorite 18th-century strathpey tunes, and end the set with two of the most famous old Scottish reels, adored by fiddlers and dancers everywhere (well, everywhere WE go!).

4. Pikeman’s March
This tune first appeared in print as “Sgéal M’Athar” (My Fathers Story), composed by Carl G Hardebeck in Belfast in Gaelic League circles circa 1908-1912. It has since become a favorite among pipers everywhere. We return it to it’s lyrical origins in our arrangement with Mike on the D small pipes.

5. Return to Kintail Set: Return to Kintail, Miss Drummond of Perth, Wind That Shakes the Barley, Jack is Yet Alive
The striking air “I Will Go Home To Kintail“ is said to have been written at the Battle of Sheriffmuir during the first Jacobite uprising in 1715. We follow immediately with a powerful old strathspey, Miss Drummond of Perth, and finish up with some of our favorite reels. Jack is Yet Alive is a Shetland tune, and while Wind That Shakes the Barley may be of Irish origin, we couldn’t help but lilt and swing them both.

6. Braes of Castle Grant Set: Braes of Castle Grant, Banks of Allan, Grace Hay’s Delight, Willie’s Brogues, The Kilt is My Delight, Willie Davey
We start this set with a fine old march composed in 1863 by Duncan MacDonald. We lead right in to two of our favorite old Scottish jigs. Mike then takes over on the D small pipes to end the set with three of his favorite reels.

7. Maids of the Black Glen Strathspey Set: Maids of the Black Glen Set, Devil in the Kitchen, Rose Amang the Heather
Three of Mike’s favorite strathspey tunes played on the low A smallpipes, accompanied only by Tom on the piano.

8. Mason’s Apron Set: Mrs. Jamieson’s Favourite, Major Graham of Inchbrackie, Haughs of Cromdale, Mason’s Apron
We start this set with a famous old air, composed by Charles Grant (1806-1892). We follow up with two of the most engaging and energetic strathspey tunes we know. This prepares us to launch into one of the most famous reels on either side of the pond, Mason’s Apron. We learned this version, and it’s variation, from our good friend Scottish fiddler Paul Anderson.

9. Air: Heather and Eilidh, (© 2002 by Paul Anderson)
Our good friend and the one who gave Saucy Bess her name, Scottish fiddler Paul Anderson, has composed many fine tunes, and this is among his finest. Thanks you, Paul!

10. Air: The Piper’s Weird (by J. Scott Skinner)
James Scott Skinner (1843-1927) was a legendary fiddler and personality. “The Piper’s Weird” means “The Piper’s Fate” and one of Mike’s signature tunes. We couldn’t help but indulge in some studio legerdemain to fill out Mike’s two-pipe duet on both D and A small pipes to end our adventures.

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An Entertaining Scottish Music Album
I have always had great pleasure dancing to Tom Pixton’s Scottish music, as he brings energy and drive to the dance floor through his musicianship. His previous production, Live from C Sharp, has been one of my favorite Scottish music albums as I relive the atmosphere of open-air dancing at Pinewoods Camp every time I play it. So I was quite excited to get my hands on Tom’s next album Saucy Bess.

This is an album full of pleasant surprises: Unlike the previous album which captured the spirit of live dancing (it was recorded during the dance), this new CD aims to take the audience through a concert hall performance. Catherine Miller provides vocal-like richness in texture on her fiddle, while Mike MacNintch’s small pipes blend well with the other instruments without losing their characters. The musicians complement each other so well that it was surprising to learn each instrument was recorded separately (except Heather and Eilidh) without a rehearsal as an ensemble.

I was especially intrigued to find both piano and accordion in the same tracks (both played by Tom Pixton). Not only was an extra instrument added to the ensemble, it effectively created a double dose of Tom Pixton, both playing with his inimitable masculine, driving style. A good example is the Ca’ the Yowes set, where you can hear both instruments ending the driving reel on a high note.

My favorite track is the Mason’s Apron set: It starts with a beautiful interpretation of Mrs. Jamieson’s Favourite on fiddle, then the music begins to build steam in the next tunes, before launching into Mason’s Apron with great excitement. This track is one of many that feature thoughtful tune arrangements, great performance, and skillful post production work, which together make this album a highly entertaining and enjoyable listening experience.