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Nick Barber's English Selection Book - Nick Barber

This book was compiled for musicians who, though competent on their instrument, would like some help getting involved in the English folk session scene. It follows on from a previous Mally publication, Nick Barber’s English Choice. 


A music session is like a conversation, and in order to take part you need certain basic tools. If you’re going to join in with the tunes you hear being played, you need to know which tunes to expect. And if you plan to learn these tunes, you will probably find a printed version of the tune useful. If you plan to start a set of tunes during a session, you need to know which tunes other musicians would be likely to know and join in with. This book aims to present a selection of tunes for this purpose.


Because there is an element of fashion in the repertoire of any session, I have tried to select tunes which have been around for years, and which no doubt will still be played for years to come. Wherever possible I have noted the sources of the tunes. If you like a particular tune, I would urge you to pursue it a little and go to the source, whether this is a manuscript, a published book, a recording or a real live musician. In the words of Barry Callaghan, “Tunes…have a life story, and have participated in the life stories of the countless musicians who have played them…they all come trailing their history.” He goes on to encourage us to “look for the life stories as we meet further tunes”.


You will notice that I have included a few tunes of French and Danish origin – these tunes have been taken on board by English session players, and are played in an English style.




The Cream Pot

Bang Upp


Sally Sloane’s Jig

The Feathers

Lord Zouch’s Maske

Angela Mary Lee

Chelsea Reach

Chelmsford Assembly

The Honeymoon

Oldham Rant

Spanish Patriots

Duke of York’s Hornpipe

Cuckolds All a Row


Lady’s Plaything

Red Lion

Tumblers Hornpipe

Lilly Lips


London Hornpipe

Stony Steps

Fête du Village

Mittell’s Hornpipe

The Quarryman

Lemonville Jig

Uncle Jim’s

Prince Albert’s Jig

Soldiers’ Joy (Suffolk)

Three Jolly Sheepskins

Butcher’s Hornpipe

Sadlers Wells

Coleford Jig

Albert Farmer’s Bonfire Tune

Watson’s Hornpipe

Grand Chain

Hill’s Fancy

Double Figure Eight

Will’s Way

Sweeps Hornpipe

Tom Tolley’s Hornpipe

Little Burnt Potato

Basquet of Oysters

The Valiant


Poolside Polka

Dennington Bell

Bath Hornpipe

Cook Hornpipe

Cuckoo’s Nest

Miss Gayton’s Hornpipe

Miss Menager’s Hornpipe

Holywell Hornpipe

Officer’s Polka

Mr Rew’s Polka

Clee Hill

Roman Wall

East Bolden

Ann Frazer McKenzie

Duke of York’s Quickstep

Boys of School Hill

Mount Hills

Maiden Lane

Bus Stop


Rosalie Prairie Flower

Kirkgate Hornpipe

March in Bluebeard

Shropshire Lass

LNB Polka

Radstock Jig

Leeds Polka

Grand Hornpipe

Fourpence Halfpenny Farthing

The Flight 

The Ball

Bellingham Boat

Draper’s Maggot

Bloomsbury Market

Robertson’s Hornpipe

The Plane Tree

Said Too Much Already

Cumberland Waltz

L’Inconnue de Limoise

The Leaving of Lismore

Jour d’Été


Hole in the Wall

French Waltz

In the Toyshop

Mick’s Tune

South Downs


Never Again

Les Filles de mon Pays

Nick Barber's English Selection Book - Nick Barber

SKU: AP109
  • Nick Barber has been part of traditional English music sessions for many years. This, his second book contains 95 of his favourite tunes, accurately transcribed, referring to original sources wherever possible. Also included is information about each tune, with Nick’s choice of chords suitable for squeezebox and guitar players alike. Every tune is a gem, tried and tested not just by Nick, but by generations of players.

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