For this tune of the week I have chosen an English Polka called "Salmon Tails Up The Water". It's a really simple tune to learn, but a lot of fun to play - in my opinion. The tune comes from Northeast England, and is often played on the Northumbrian small-pipes or the melodeon. Website "The Session" has more information about it thesession.org/tunes/2903
"Salmon Tails" works perfectly as a clawhammer banjo tune, and plays out nicely in gDGBD tuning in its most common session key of G.
Although this tune is often played in jam sessions around my area, I actually first learned it from a great recording by Hunter Robertson, on his album "Hunter Robertson Sings Songs for the Masses". He plays it in an interesting medley with a couple of old-time tunes and a Greek tune.
I've attached a video of myself playing in a medley with another Northumbrian polka. I've also attached a TAB which I wrote for teaching the tune to my students, and a medium-speed audio file which could be used to play along with.
There are a lot of versions out there, on YouTube etc. Here is a nice version played on the melodeon, which is quite a lot slower and more accented than the way I usually play it youtube.com/watch?v=PwT8BEevHYY
Theo, I like this tune a lot, and the video with the whistle and banjo is a treat. The fiddler I play with at local contra dances is in a Celtic group, and I think he will enjoy this as well. Thanks for posting.
This is my first Northumbrian tune (I had to look up the word!) and it's quite enjoyable, Theo, to hear your banjo and whistle, along with the melodeon videos I was able to find. Do they have salmon runs in Northumbria? I live very close to a river that is known for its salmon. In fact, the salmon have a lot of clout here -- farmers have to compromise with the environmental advocates to make sure the salmon have enough water in the river. It's fun to see them jump as they power their way up the strong current. Here's a clawhammer version of the tune:
Nice version, Janet. I too wrote my own tab for this tune, and it is quite similar to yours. I am so used to tabs written in 4/4 time (even though we may play them in 2/4 actually) that I find tabs in 2/4 harder to read. That is my problem, I suppose. My tab is the equivalent of Theo's; it's just easier for me to read. I'll be showing this tune to our contra players nect week.
I thought I'd take a crack at it, even though being from Brooklyn means that we don't really know from salmon until the fish is rendered in a form suitable for spreading on the best bagels in the world, and teamed with cream cheese.