Episode 8 of the second series of The Old Songs Podcast, supported, so very kindly, by the English Folk Dance and Song Society, is an unusual one as it focuses on an old tune rather than an old song. Prepare yourself to delve into the background of one of the most well-known Morris dancing tunes, 'Princess Royal'.
Joining Jon Wilks to discuss the tune is one of the country’s finest melodeon players, John Spiers, or "Squeezy" as he’s fondly known as on the English folk scene. Many of you will know Squeezy as a founding member of Bellowhead, not to mention a myriad of other bands he steps in and out of when the road calls.
Over the course of an hour or so, the pair look at the history of 'Princess Royal' tune. Did it start life as an accompaniment to English Morris dancing, or does it stretch further back and over greater distances than that?
Squeezy tells us a bit about growing up, somewhat hesitantly, in the Morris tradition, and talks about the difference between being a musician performing this tune on stage and a musician playing for a Morris side. He explains what a jig is, what a reel might be, how to recognise a slow, and who’s wearing the trunkles in this relationship?
Squeezy mentions video clips and different versions throughout, which we have listed and embedded below.
Over the course of the episode, John Spiers and Jon Wilks mention the following things:
For more info on John Spiers, head to johnspiers.co.uk.