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Popular English Session Tunes Book - Dave Mallinson

Pub Session Series


Easy Peasy Tunes
English Country Dance Tunes
English Pub Session Tunes
Popular English Session Tunes

101 Easy Irish Session Tunes

Only 14 notes are required to play all 404 tunes. Ideal for all traditional musicians.

The 404 tunes presented in the above four books represent the core repertoire played in English pub sessions. Each book has its own theme and identity as described by the title. Together they form a wonderful reference work, bringing the most popular tunes to your fingertips.

The tunes are suitable for every instrument associated with traditional music, and only 14 notes are required to play them all. They are eminently suitable for playing at country dances, ceilidhs, barn dances and hoe-downs and most have been recorded by notable bands and personalities.

To facilitate musicians identifying repertoire suitable for their current personal ability, the tunes in each book are presented in order of difficulty, and start and finish progressively harder throughout the series, in the order listed.

Introduction to the series

A friend remarked at Sidmouth Folk Week, “Mally, I’m going to recommend your Easy Peasy book to everybody, it’s great! It reflects very closely the repertoire we play at our local session.” Another friend commented at Cleethorpes Folk Festival, “Mally, you do a gross injustice to some really good and useful tunes by labelling them ‘Easy Peasy’, it gives the impression that they are only of any use to beginners to cut their teeth on.” “Very true,” I thought, “I play many of these tunes myself at dances, in sessions and for the morris dancers. Wouldn’t it be a great to extend Easy Peasy into a series.” The idea was born, and soon developed into this set of four books which contain the most popular tunes that are played in English pub sessions, at folk festivals and by country dance musicians and morris players. Each book has its own theme and identity. Given average luck, with these tunes under your belt, you’ll be able to join in most of the time.

Because most traditional airs only require the fourteen notes D, E, F sharp, G, A, B, C, C sharp, D, E, F sharp, G, A and B, I decided it would be a good idea to continue the theme, meaning all the tunes can be played in the first position on the top three strings of the fiddle, all the notes are in the range of the wooden flute and tin whistle and all the music is within the scope of the D/G melodeon without accidentals.

Chord arrangements are more or less as played on the soundtrack, but nevertheless, are only suggestions. The dominant chords (i.e. D in the key of G, A in the key of D and E in the key of A etc.) throughout these books are noted as plain major chords, whereas many musicians prefer to play the seventh (D7, A7, E7 etc.). Feel free to play either type of chord as the mood takes you.

You’ll notice many of the tunes are not English. It’s the pubs, sessions, folk festivals, ceilidhs etc. that are English. In, what might be termed, a general English session, melodies from Northumberland, Ireland, Scotland, America, France and Scandinavia are to be heard alongside English airs, which tend to be associated with the more southern regions of the country

Hundreds of personalities, records, bands, books and sessions have, unknowingly, made tiny, almost imperceptible contributions to the settings and choice of the tunes found in these books (some of the more influential are listed below). They have also been moulded further by the limitations of my instrument, the D/G melodeon, and, of course, the fourteen note rule. All the settings are my own versions and every tune has, to a greater or lesser degree, my own personal stamp on it. But, I’m sure you’ll find all the tunes ‘session friendly’, you can learn them exactly as written and have a perfectly acceptable version. However, I consider it unwise to learn a tune from only one source and I would suggest strongly that, when learning a new tune, you pay heed to other books, recordings and live performances.




The Railway
On Top of Old Smokey
Auld Lang Syne
The Back o' Bennachie
The Lass o’ Dallowgill
Penny on the Water
Leather Away the Whattle
The Rigged Ship
Marie's Wedding
Bricks and Mortar
The Brown Banner
The Big Ship
Nancy’s Fancy
Lord Inchiquin
Till the Tide Comes In
The Tombigbee Waltz
The Frisky Jig
Captain Maguire
Babes in the Wood
The Stool of Repentance
Louis' Waltz
The Feathers
The Nutting Girl
Auld Donald
Here's to a Maiden
The Road to Lisdoonvarna
The Derry Boat
All the Way to Galway
The Shaalds o' Foula
Green Mountain Petronella
The Star Above the Garter

Farewell to Whiskey
Teahan's Polka
Seventy Second's Farewell
Rattle the Cash
Bill Collins' Jig
Sister Jean
Thursday Night
Bonnets so Blue
The Barnacle Redowa
The Boys of Wexford
Ward's Brae
The Lass o' Patie's Mill
Liberton Pipe Band
The Minstrel’s Fancy
The Grahaemsie Jig
Morgan Rattler
The Matelot
Lamshaw's Fancy
The Hullichan Jig
The Boys of School Hill
The Lady of the Lake
The Saint Lawrence Jig
Lamb Skinnet
Paddy Whack
The Shepton Hornpipe
One More Dance and Then
Kitty McGee
O'Donnell Abu
Kate Dalrymple
Merrily Danced Quaker's Wife
Elsie Marley
The Harmonica
The Kesh Jig

he Colosseum
The Pet o' the Pipers
Morrison's Jig
La Grande Chaine
Whinham's Reel
Out on the Ocean
The Greencastle Hornpipe
Rory O'More
Bielbie’s Hornpipe
The Wonder Hornpipe
The Breakdown
Strike the Gay Harp
The Lark in the Morning
The Liverpool Hornpipe
The Maid Behind the Bar
The Teetotaller
Pigtown Fling
Donald Blue
Jack Broke da Prison Door
Flowers of Edinburgh
Far from Home
The Bellingham Boat
Sally Gardens
Pig Ankle Rag
Angeline the Baker
Colored Aristocracy
The Devil Among the Taylors
The Random Jig
The Mason's Apron
The High Road to Linton
The High Level Hornpipe
The New High Level
Ragtime Annie

Popular English Session Tunes Book - Dave Mallinson

SKU: AM304
  • Obviously, popular tunes frequently heard in English sessions have been selected for this book. However, there is a slight bias towards the more exotic and slightly more obscure, alongside some of Mally’s personal favourites. Also, you’ll find several extremely challenging airs towards the end.

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