Dick Sands' Hornpipe

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DICK SANDS' HORNPIPE ("Crannciuil Ristaird Sands" or "Crannciuil Ristaird Mic Allastair"). AKA - "Dick Sand's Clog Dance," "Sand's Hornpipe (1)." AKA and see "Anybody’s Hornpipe." American, Irish; Hornpipe. USA; New York, Missouri. G Major (Allan's/O'Neill): A Major (Cole, Howe). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Cole, O'Neill): AA'BB (Phillips). American sources appear to pre-date the tunes inclusion in O'Neill's Music of Ireland (1903), and it appears likely that O'Neill gleaned the tune from either Howe's or Ryan's related publications. "Dick Sand's Hornpipe" is one of the tunes listed by Lettie Osborn (New York Folklore Quarterly) as having been commonly played for dances in Orange County, New York, in the 1930's. Howe notes that his source was Jimmy Norton, the 'Boss Jig Player', whom Don Meade believes was a mid-19th century stage performer and former child prodigy, who, among his many talents, played the violin. The tune was arranged for 9 parts-violins, clarionet, coronet, bass, flute, viola, trombone, cello and piano-in another of Howe's publications, Howe's Full Quadrille Orchestra (c. 1876, No. 262). It is on Charlie Walden's list of '100 essential Missouri fiddle tunes'. Likely original sources, again, are the Howe and Ryan volumes.

Dick Sands was a celebrated stage performer of step dancing in the United States during the latter half of the 19th century (1860's on), who also sang and did 'Irish character' performances. A publication by J.F. Finn (New York, 1879/1880) bears his name: Dick Sands' Irish Jig, Clog and Dance Book, being "a history of the personal, political and professional sentiments and peregrinations of Dick Sands with complete and practical instructions in the art of clog-dancing." Edward Le Roy Rice, in his book Monarchs of Minstrelsy (New York, 1911), gives:

DICK SANDS (George R. Sands), famous for many years as (P.T.) Barnums's "Old Woman in the Shoe," was one of the world's greatest clog dancers. His first appearance was made at Pierce's Varieties in Providence, R.I., in 1857. Late that same year he joined Bryant's Minstrels in New York, and in February, 1859, reappeared there. In 1866 he was associated with Jack Haverly in a minstrel company bearing their name. Mr. Sands played important engagements With the Morris Brothers, Pell and Trowbridge Minstrels in Boston, and many other high-class minstrel and circus companies. Dick Sands was born at Mill Bridge, England, May 2, 1840; he died in New York, March 28, 1900.

The reference to circus promoter P.T. Barnum is interesting, although I have not been able to find any further information regarding Sands' employment with him. Barnum did have fairy-tale and nursery rhyme themes in his shows, however, and may have had skits that featured characters from them, in an effort to draw in families with young children (and to mitigate the impression that the circus was suspect entertainment for some classes). His circus parade featured floats based on these themes, including a mother goose float that perhaps Sands was associated with. Perhaps the earliest recording is from 1913 by violinist Charles D'Alamaine, born in 1871 in England, who died in 1943. D'Alamaine immigrated to the United States in 1888, and by 1890 had established himself as "instructor on violin" in Evanston, Illinois; by 1910 he had removed to Yonkers, and in 1920 was a chiropractor in New York City (info. from Paul Gifford).

See also the French-Canadian "Reel St-Ignace," which shares the first strain with "Dick Sands'", although the second strains differ.

Source for notated version: Cyril Stinnett (Mo.) [Phillips]; "As played by Jimmy Norton, the Boss Jig Player" [Howe].

Printed sources: McDermott (Allan's Irish Fiddler), c. 1920's(?), No. 104, p. 26 (appears as "Sand's Hornpipe"). Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 100. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 31 (appears as "Dick Sand's Clog Dance"). O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 216. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1777, p. 231. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 953, p. 163. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 2), 1995; p. 190. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 135.

Recorded sources: Green Linnet GLCD 1149, Joe Derrane with Felix Dolan – "Give Us Another" (1995).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index [1]




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