The traditional folk music of East Suffolk has probably been the best documented regional style in England over the past thirty years. Whereas much of the music and singing recorded in this period would appear to be indigenous to a general ‘East Anglian style’. It is possible. even within such a relatively small area. to detect various distinctive traditions often revolving around either a particular pub, village or influential musician. Basically during this period, there were four such quite separate local groupings in this area, with of course some interaction between them (primarily in the case of the travelling pub musician).
The best known of these was undoubtedly that centred around the singing pubs along the Aldeburgh coastal district, such as Blaxhall ‘Ship’ and the ‘Eel Foot Inn’ at Eastbridge. Here the music and singing was highly organised. generally as a Saturday night’s entertainment with chairmen introducing the singers and maintaining order. Secondly the nearby towns of Woodbridge and Wickham Market boasted a fair number of dance and string bands led by men such as Walter CIow, Fred Whent, Billy Hall and Lennie Pearce. A third tradition was active around the pubs in Halesworth and Yoxford area, revolving around the charismatic Seaman Family from Darsham. Finally_ the small villages between Framlingham and Debenham sported a great musical tradition dominated by melodeon players Walter Read and Alf Peachey and fiddlers Walter Gyford and Harkie Nesling. It is from the last two traditions and through four generations that this recording is drawn.

Harkie Nesling Fiddle
Reg Reeder Dulcimer
Font Whatling Melodeon
Fred Whiting Fiddle

1 Polkas (Harkie’s Polkas) Fred Whiting
2 Cat Among the Tails / Rakes of Mallow Reg Reeder
3 The Earl Soham Slog / Flowers of Edinburgh Fred Whiting
4 Mick’s Tune / Pigeon on the Gate Font Whatling
5 The Sultan’s Polka / Untitled Polka Harkie Nesling
6 Waltz Medley: Oscar Woods’ / Charlie Philpotts Reg Reeder
7 Jigs: The Maid at the Well / The Old Kerry Fiddler / The Priest and His Boots Fred Whiting
8 Come and Be My Little Teddy Bear Harkie Nesling
9 Polkas Font Whatling
10 Hornpipes: The Weaver’s / The Bristol Sailorman / Ballinalig in the Morning Fred Whiting
11 Imprudence Schottische / Rakes of Mallow Harkie Nesling
12 Polka Medley : 1,2,3,4 5 / Jenny Lind / Joe, the Boat is Going Over Reg Reeder
13 The Hurling Boys (‘Old Country Dance’)/ Jack Tar Hornpipe Fred Whiting
14 Untitled Tunes Font Whatling
15 The Barn Dance Harkie Nesling
16 Off to California / Will the Waggoner (Gypsy Hornpipe ) Fred Whiting
17 Pigeon on the Gate Font Whatling

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