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  • Writer's pictureSteve Crowther

Redesdale Hornpipe performed by Dave Webb (harmonica)

The Redesdale Hornpipe also known as the Underhand Hornpipe is an Irish fiddle tune in G major composed by James Hill. He was born in Dundee but who lived much of his life in Gateshead, County Durham.

The tune is attributed to him in Kohler’s Violin Repository (Edinburgh, 1881-1885) under the title Underhand, and was, like several of Hill’s other compositions, named for a famous racehorse. Indeed, Underhand won the Northumberland Plate in 1857.

Listening to Dave Webb playing the tune did ring a bell and some connection with Paul Simon. So I did a bit of digging and sure enough found this:

‘There is a little snippet of Louis Killen playing this tune on English Concertina on one of the tracks on Bookends. It comes immediately after the memorable spoken line "Hello Mr Leach, have you had a busy day?

I also discovered that it has been recorded several times, including one by the great Catherine Tickel.

Here is the tune:

And here it is recorded and performed by Dave Webb as part of his Dave Folk Harmonica YouTube series: Redesdale Hornpipe

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