Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Erskine Morris (1913 – 1997)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Golden Wedding Reel Revisited

The first tune of Erskine's I learned was the Golden Wedding Reel and it has always been one of my favourites.  Awhile back, Brian sent me a lovely recording of this tune from an old reel-to-reel of Erskine playing in the 1960's.  I was talking with Douglastowner Jan Maloney at the Wheel Club tonight and she mentioned this was her favourite tune of Erskine's so I thought I'd post this charming version for her.

Listen to the Golden Wedding Reel from the 1960's

Erskine plays in a lovely gentle, rolling style on this recording not as hard driving as the version he later played in the 1980s.  He gets more of those old Gaspesian touches in this tune in my opinion: the rolling and syncopated bow mixed with notes repeated in rapid succession.  Also, the sound of solo fiddle and feet will give you a glimpse into the old style of playing which Erskine first learned from his older neighbours, Joe and Charlie Drody. Played in this older style, it really becomes a pretty tune and almost has a lonesome touch to it.

Unlike the more conventional setting of this tune, Erskine adds an extra beat at the end of the second section. It is very common among fiddlers in Quebec to add extra beats at the end of phrases and this gives the tunes a sense of unpredictability to the modern ear. This can otherwise make the tunes more exciting although you might tend annoy your guitar/piano accompanist at the same time. Anyhow, I really like how this extended phrase rounds the tune out. 

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