Bare Necessities - Recordings

Bare Necessities - English Country Dances
"Take catchy English country dance tunes, devote some instruments to the melody, to the pulse and flow of the dance, and free the rest for boldy improvised countermelodies, runs, ornaments, and soaring flights of fancy: this is the way of Bare Necessities.
Although the music spans the years from the reign of the first Elizabeth to the second, the group draws upon its Baroque, classical, folk and jazz backgrounds to make music of the present day. One of the ensemble always sustains the melody line to propel the dance forward. This frees the others to surround the melody with improvised lines creating textures and moods which intrigue the mind and beguile the ear, yet lift the dancers and float them along in a way that few dance musicians achieve, let alone sustain."
Albert Blank
Bare Necessities - English Country Dances, 1983. (CD and Cassette)
Side One: Jamaica Waters of Holland Maiden Lane Well Hall Juice of Barley Barham Down . Side A (on cassette): Easter Thursday Dick's Maggot Bare Necessities The Maid Peeped Out at the Window Trip to Kilburn.

Take A Dance
"A thoroughly charming set of English country dance music, stately yet flirtacious, sublimely innocent. Like folk chamber music, and wonderfully played."
Scott Alarik, The Boston Globe,
Top Ten Folk Recordings of 1991
"With complex harmonies and flowing counterpoint, the tunes burst the boundaries of traditional dance patterns to become sprightly and elegant tone-poems reminiscent by turns of Vivaldi, Handel, Edward MacDowell and the Cheiftains."
Sing Out! Magazine
Take A Dance, 1991. (CD and Cassette)
Side One: Take A Dance Scotch Morris Irish Lamentation Fandango The Wood Duck. Side 2 (on cassette): Miss DeJersey's Memorial Nonesuch St. Margaret's Hill Knives and Forkes Trip to the Jubilee Hambleton's Round O.

"Bare Necessities is a working band that plays regularly for English Country dances. On this recording they get a chance to let loose some of that pent up creativity that they've held back in the interest of providing good dance music. They have selected some of their favorite tunes from the repertoire and pressented them here decked out with a subtle sense of humor and artful improvisational touches. The arrangements are breathtakingly beautiful as they manipulate the speed, melody, rhythm and harmony in a way that highlights the essence of the music itself. This recording exudes a sense of delight and enchantment, which is a product of both the music and the talent of the musicians."
Sing Out! Magazine
"A different aspect of British-based traditional music is represented by Bare Necessities, a quartet of New Englanders who since the early 1980's have been fusing English country dance music, a classical sense of elegance, and a wondrous ear for melodic ornamentation into an etherial mixture that transcends genres. The violins and violas of Mary Lea and Earl Gaddis, the flutes and whistles of Peter Barnes, and the piano of Jacqueline Schwab all interweave with a complexity and emotion seldom matched by any other traditional band. It's a folk-baroque sound of unique beauty and grace."
The Folk Almanac
Nightcap, 1996. (CD and Cassette)
Side One: Ashford Anniversary Joy After Sorrow Grimstock The Night Cap Portsmouth St. Martin's Lane The First Lady. Side 2 (on cassette): King of Poland Heidenroslein Barney Brallaghan Chestnut The Dusty Miller Barbarini's Tambourine.

The Boston Centre Dance Series
In 1999 The Boston Country Dance Society decided to start issuing a series of dance-oriented English country dance recordings. Each cut on the recordings is recorded at a danceable tempo and is long enough for a satisfying set. As of the fall of 2006 we have nine CD's available.

You can see information on all of the currently available titles (and hear mp3 samples) at

Ordering Information:
Compact Discs are $15.00 apiece plus $1.75 for postage (Fourth Class).
Cassette Tapes (limited availability) are $10.00 each plus $1.75 postage (Fourth Class).
Please send your order and a check (drawn on a United States Bank and
made out to Bare Necessities) to:

Peter Barnes
10 Myrtle Street
Greenfield, Massachusetts
USA 01773
Earl Gaddis
11101 Gilkey Rd.
Plainwell, MI
USA  49080-9065

Several of us in the band have also produced solo recordings and music books -
please check out the Band Members section on the home page!

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