Quick Step Old Buffs
Back to Quick Step Old Buffs
QUICK STEP OLD BUFFS. English; March (2/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "The Old Buffs" was the nickname of the 3rd Regiment of Foot , said to have originated from the adoption in the 17th century of soft-leather buff coats for use when the regiment saw service in the Netherlands. Although the buff coats gave way to the army red-coat, the regiment retained buff-colored facings and waistcoats as uniform distinctions and wore equipment of natural buff leather (rather than pipe-clayed white or other regiments). They were one of five regiments given the "Freedom of London" by Royal Warrant, to march through the city with drums and fixed bayonets to recruit. At the time of Glasgow publisher James Aird's Selections, the regiment was in service in Ireland commanded by Lt-Gen. William Style.
Gregory Blaxland, in his book The Buffs (2012) explains and sometimes quoted story regarding the quick march:
Legend has it that the lively quick march adopted by the Regiment, and known to posterity only as "The Buffs," was specially written for them by [George Frideric] Handel. Probing deeply in the 1920's, researchers decided that legend had gone astray. "The Buffs" is not in fact typical of Handel; it has probably been confused with a slow march entitled "Old Buffs' March" which was unearthed in the British Museum and can definitely be attributed to Handel. The Buffs in the meantime had adopted "Men of Kent" as their slow march.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1), 1782; No. 16, p. 6.