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What's on "Swinging on the Gate"

These are the original liner notes submitted by the bands: these notes appear in a shorter form on the CD itself.

This page last edited on July 31, 2007 and is maintained by Craig Johnson, please email him with any questions, comments or concerns.

1. Luceo

Armando's Favorite (John Light)/ Tuttles

Lee Anne Welch, fiddle
John Light, accordion
Rebecca King, piano
Contact Luceo at

John wrote "Armando's Favorite" for his accordion, made by the Italian manufacturer Armando Bugari (but the name always just seemed to fit). "Tuttle's" is a traditional Irish reel, played untraditionally.

2. Hillbillies from Mars

Jefferson City

Ray Bierl, fiddle
Kevin Carr, fiddle
Paul Kotapish, mandolin
Daniel Steinberg, keyboards, melodica
Contact the Hillbillies at

Jefferson City is the capitol of Missouri, where this tune comes from, by way of a black fiddler named Bill Caton. But this arrangement comes by way of Mars.

3. Faultline

Salamanca/Tamlin/Whiskey Before Breakfast

Betsy Branch, fiddle
Bobbi Nikles, fiddle
Paul Kotapish, guitar, mandolin
Contact Bobbi Nikles at

"Salamanca" is an Irish reel, "Tamlin" is a Scottish reel, and "Whiskey Before Breakfast" is an American hoedown.

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4. Erik Hoffman, Ingrid Noyes, & Danny Carnahan

Wee Hours Waltz (Erik Hoffman)

Danny Carnahan, fiddle
Ingrid Noyes, accordion
Erik Hoffman, guitar
Contact Erik Hoffman at (510) 444-4397 or

Erik thought he wrote "Wee Hours Waltz" in February and March of 2000, when the idea took shape and got massaged into its current form. But listening to earlier "idea" tapes suggest that a good portion of the A part was an earlier but forgotten idea. Much of the tune was fleshed out in the wee hours of the morning, hence the name.

5. Suzy's Floozies

Half Past Four/ Blackjack Grove

Suzy Thompson, fiddle
Maxine Gerber, banjo
Kate Brislin, guitar
Contact Suzy Thompson at 510-848-5018.

"Half Past Four" comes from the legendary blind fiddler Ed Haley, who traveled around eastern Kentucky and western West Virginia. We learned "Blackjack Grove" from the playing of two great Kentucky fiddlers, Walter McNew and Art Stamper.

6. The Guppies

Scotch Cap/Boyne Water/frailach

Kathrine Gardner, fiddle
Jim Oakden, recorder, mandolin, and clarinet
Craig Johnson, piano
Email:, webpage:

"Scotch Cap" is an old modal tune from the 1st Edition of John Playford's The English Dancing Master (1651). The dance is done in 3-couple sets. The Guppies next take a couple of turns through "Boyne Water", which despite its Irish name they learned as a Southern tune. It's rarely recorded, but it's been in their repertoire since their beginning (1981). Finally, they finish off this vagabond set with a frailach (literally "joyful dance") from the klezmer tradition, squared up a bit (but not too much) for the contradance.

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7. Tipsy House

Dick Gossip/ Glass of Beer/ Pick of the Litter (Chris Knepper)

Chris Knepper, fiddle
Jack Gilder, flute
Junji Shirota, guitar
contact Jack Gilder at (415) 931-9192 or see their webpage at

"Dick Gossip", also known as "Girl Talk", and "Glass of Beer" are Irish Reels. "Pick of the Litter" (Knepper) was named by Jack, as a pun on Chris' antique business.

8. The Earls

Spotted Pony

Ray Bierl, fiddle
Marty Cutler, banjo
Alan Senauke, guitar
Mary Gibbons, acoustic bass
Contact Ray Bierl at (510) 834-4756

The Earls' bluegrass tune is known in the Northwest as "Spotted Pony" but seems to have come there from Texas and Oklahoma where it's known as "Snowshoe". (You'd think it would be the other way around.)

9. Jon Berger, Shira Kammen, Judy Linsenberg, & Chuck Ward

Mr. Isaac's Maggot

Jon Berger, violin
Shira Kammen, viola
Judy Linsenberg, soprano recorder
Chuck Ward, piano
Contact Jon Berger at

"Mister Isaac's Maggot", which refers to a whim or fancy, is an English country dance tune, written in 1695.

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10. Bobbi Nikles, Charlie Hancock, & Kyle Thayer

Hudie Gallagher/ The Orphan

Bobbi Nikles, fiddle
Charlie Hancock, accordion
Kyle Thayer, guitar
Contact Charlie Hancock at (510) 548-7337

Hudie Gallagher's, also spelled Hiudi Gallagher's, and The Orphan are both Irish jigs. Bobbi learned the latter from Kathleen Collins.

11. QuébecQuasi

Reel à Jules Verret/Les Siamois (André Marchand)

Kevin Carr, fiddle
Laurie Rivin, fiddle
John Hamstra, mandolin
Daniel Steinberg, flute, clogging
Barbara Mendelsohn, piano
Carolyn Cirimele, acoustic bass
Contact Daniel Steinberg at (650) 947-9669.

"Reel à Jules Verret", from the Verret family of Lac St-Charles, Québec, is normally played with an extra beat in the B part, which was removed so that contra dancers wouldn't trip in the middle of the dance. "Les Siamois" was composed by André Marchand, a wonderful guitarist and singer from Joliette, Québec.

12. Stump Tail Dog

Valentine's Waltz (Dan Engle)

Dan Engle, fiddle
Ray Frank, guitar
Contact Dan Engle at or Ray Frank at

Valentine's Waltz got its name by appearing in Dan Engle's head on St. Valentine's day in 1999. Since then it's become a much requested final waltz for Stump Tail Dog.

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13. Shira Kammen & Jim Oakden

The Night Cap/Bolt the Door

Shira Kammen, fiddle
Jim Oakden, clarinet, recorder, guitar
Contact Shira Kammen at

"The Night Cap" is from an English country dance from 1932, and "Bolt the Door" is for the dance "Jack's Health", Playford 1686.

14. dotgals

Crow Creek/ Salty River Reel

Susan Sullivan, fiddle
Karen Warrick, mandolin
Dan Warrick, guitar
Adam Cavan, acoustic bass
Contact Karen Warrick at

"Crow Creek" is found on the record "Southern Clawhammer Banjo" (Kicking Mule) on a cut by David Winston and Brad Leftwich. Leftwich learned the tune from George Ainley, a good old-time fiddler from Vermont who used to get down to the southern fiddler's conventions back in the 1970s. "Salty River Reel" comes from the playing of Cyril Stinnett of Missouri.

15. Contrabandits

The Winds of Change/ Grapevine Breakdown/ Knepper's #3 (all by Chris Knepper)

Kathrine Gardner, fiddle
Chris Knepper, fiddle
Charlie Hancock, piano
Kit Nelson, electric bass
Contact Charlie Hancock at (510) 548-7337

"The Winds of Change" (Knepper) was named on the windiest day of the year. "Grapevine Breakdown" (Knepper) refers to a friend's brush with death when his brakes went out on the Grapevine on Hwy 5, and he had to drive onto an emergency sand ramp (he saw red glowing metal bouncing behind him, which was what was left of his brakes). "Knepper's #3" follows the equally wonderful reels #1 and #2, and is a testament to his continuing inability to find names for his tunes.

16. Jon Berger & Rebecca King

Never Love Thee More

Jon Berger, violin, accordion
Rebecca King, piano
contact Rebecca King at

"Never Love Thee More", written in 1686, is not a waltz but an English country dance tune in 6/8 time.

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