Updated September 16, 2021
About the CD - Ryan Thomson, Tune Collector
This album is presently out of stock
On this this recording I've included many of the different instruments and styles of music that I play. Most of the music is dance music. Music plays in my head most of the day whether or not I have an instrument in my hands. Often times I'll hear a unfamiliar melody that I like. At that point my job is to pick up an instrument and transfer the tune in my head to that musical instrument.
That's how I come up with "original tunes." Of course there are lots of great tunes that have already been composed by someone else, and I learn them also! As a full time "tune collector" I have the wonderful job of traveling from here to there, learning both: tunes that I hear others play: and learning how to play tunes that I invent myself.
Arkansas Traveler and Soldier's Joy - These are some of the first "old timey" fiddle
tunes I learned for playing square dances. I played them often for dances in the old
Newmarket Town Hall with the Last Chance String Band, and Jackie Spector calling. I recorded these in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and I'm accompanied by the awesome guitar playing of my friend David Surette.
JR's Jig - This tune popped into my head one day and after learning it on my fiddle I named it for my father, J Richard Thomson. Its a 3 part jig in Irish style with a very
"modal" sound which is accompanied masterfully by my friend Dave Hallowell on DADGAD tuned guitar.
Ookpik Waltz - I learned this tune around 1976 from another fiddler in Weiser, Idaho. Its one of my favorite tunes to play for dancers. Other players at that time called it the “Eskimo” waltz, and we eventually learned that it was composed by a Canadian fiddler - Frank Rogers. I play it here unaccompanied on my Gustav Wunderlich violin.
Lake Arthur Stomp - I learned this 3 part cajun tune from fiddler Dewey Balfa whom I studied with at the Augusta Heritage Center. Paul Mangion plays triangle as accompaniment to my fiddling.
Packer's Falls is about a mile up from my house on the Lamprey River. Its actually a series of steep drops forming a rapids. At the bottom of the rapids the water empties into a pond which is good for swimming in the hot summer months. From the pond one can climb up the shelves of rocks to the top of the falls. The fourth part of my tune has a climb way up the neck of the banjo, and after reaching the top, cascades down like the Lamprey river over the rocks of the falls.
Port Largo - Irish tunes often have several different names and the second most
common name I've heard for this Kerry Polka is "the other Rose Tree."
Old Joe Clark - This is a staple of the southern mountain style clawhammer banjo
player. I play it simple and fast on my late 1800's era Washburn banjo.
Sean's Squeezebox - I often get requests for polkas when I'm playing my Frontalini
accordian, so I wrote this tex-mex style tune which I've dedicated to my nephew Sean. Paul Mangion plays along on a guiro Puerto Rican percussion instrument.
How Long - is my uptempo blues-boogie arrangement of the old traditional song,
"Hesitation Blues." I'm backed up by fellow Crawdad Wranglers on this one.
La Cucharacha- Having grown up on the Mexican Border, I'm partial to music from down south. This is an instrumental version of this tune. I'm backed up by the Crawdad Wranglers. In case you might be wondering, "La Cucharacha" was Pancho Villa's nickname for his girl friend, and this was his favorite song during the Mexican Revolution.
Diggi Diggi Lo - I learned this song from Doug Kershaw. Its a song about romance on the bayou. Its fun to sing. I'm backed by the Crawdad Wranglers.
Carribbe - I learned this song from Ralph Tufo, the composer, and my former band mate in the Boogaloo Swamis. This is a great jam tune, and in this long version, recorded at a live concert, the Crawdad Wranglers go off in unplanned musical directions.
New Hampshire Hornpipe - I originally wrote this tune for fiddle but have grown very fond of playing it on my Michael (Mekal) Copeland flute. People seem to really like it, and everywhere that I play it, other musicians want to learn it.
Silver Spear - A traditional Irish Reel that is fun to play fast. (In fact, I played it tonight at the Comhaltas ceili dance in Boston!) I play it here solo on my Michael Burke whistle.
She Beg She Mor - This waltz-like Irish aire was composed by Turlough O'Carolan on Irish harp. It sounds quite pretty played on the tin whistle. Please hold your applause until its for me.
Dunmore Lasses - A traditional Irish reel with a hauntingly beautiful and spooky melody. I play it solo on flute.
Here's a collection of some of my favorite swing tunes played solo on piano. I
play uptempo jumpy jitterbug dance style. When people ask me which piano players I listened to in order to develop my style, I tell them that I was influenced more from listening to old jazz violin records with Django Reinhardt playing guitar:
1. Hey Good Looking
2. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
3. All of Me
4. Sweet Georgia Brown
5. Honeysuckle Rose
6. Stompin' at Decca
7. It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing
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