Captain with His Whiskers (The)

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X:1 T:Captain and His Whiskers M:4/4 L:1/8 S:Howe - 1000 Jigs and Reels (c. 1867) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G GA | B2 BB B2cB | BAAA A2 Bc | d2 cB dcBA | AGGG G2 :| gf | eccc c2 ge | dBBB B2 dB | cAAA A2 cA | G2G2z2 ||

CAPTAIN WITH HIS WHISKERS, THE. AKA and see "Balance the Straw (1)," "Lads a Bunchum (1)," "Month of May (The)," "Captain and His Whiskers (1) (The)." English, Morris Dance Tune (4/4 or 2/2 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB x7, A (Mallinson): AABA (Howe). "The Captain and His Whiskers" is comic music hall song by Thomas Haynes Bayley (c. 1820), with music by Sidney Nelson, although the first strain is adapted from an older traditional tune called "Balance the Straw (1)." However, the whole tune "Captain with His Whiskers" also found its way into traditional dance accompaniment and military use. Bayley's words begin:

As they marched down this way to the foot of the street,
The band began to play and the music was so sweet,
My heart it was enlisted and I could not get it free,
For the Captain with his whiskers took a sly glance at me.

The morris version is from the village of Brackley, Northamptonshire, England. The following ditty was sung by the morris dancers during the performance of the dance:

Oh! I wish he'd do it now,
Oh! I wish he'd do it now,
Oh! the captain with his whiskers,
Oh! I wish he'd do it now.

The above appears to come from a bawdy song to the same tune called "I Wish They'd Do it Now," which begins "I was born of Geordie parents, one day when I was young..." The tune and title were widely known in tradition in America: it was in the repertoire of fiddler and Confederate veteran Arnold A. Parrish (Willow Springs, Wake County, N.C.), as recorded by the old newspaper Raleigh News and Observer. Parrish was a contestant at fiddler's conventions held in Raleigh prior to World War I. The title also appears in a list of traditional Ozarks Mountains fiddle tunes compiled by folklorist/musicologist Vance Randolph, published in 1954. A strain of the tune was used in Ira Ford's "Old-Fashioned Schottische." See also note for "Good Lager Beer."

Douglastown, Gaspé, fiddler Erskine Morris's "Captain and His Whiskers (2)" is musically unrelated to "Captain with His Whiskers."

Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Cecil Sharpe, and Dr. Kenworthy Schofield from Blackwell & Giles, 1937 [Bacon].

Printed sources : - Bacon (Handbook of Morris Dances), 1974; pp. 100 & 104. Howe (Diamond School for the Violin), 1861; p 78. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 33. Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, Dec. 1955. Mallinson (Mally's Cotswold Morris Book, vol. 1), 1988; No. 27, p. 19. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 81. Westrop (120 Country Dances ... for the Violin), c. 1923; No. 51.

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