Week #536 ~ Drive the Cold Winter Away

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is Drive the Cold Winter Away, which was submitted as an English Country Dance.

    I was able to find this:

    Here's a link to notation on thesession.org, which says it's a jig.

  2. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Here is mine from back in 2010. It looks old and worn out from being on YouTube for 10 years but it still sounds pretty good.

  3. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Barbara!

    It's definitely an English country dance: it appeared in the first edition of Playford's Dancing Master in 1651 and then in every edition thereafter. In the first 11 editions, it was notated in 3/4 time. Thereafter, it was changed to 6/4 time by combining two measures into one, so I guess that can be called jig time, except it would be much slower than a jig. However, its roots are really as an Elizabethan Christmas carol -- the song is also known as "All Hail to the Days" or "In Praise of Christmas". Loreena McKennitt called it by the latter name on her recording, but then named the album "Drive The Cold Winter Away". My favourite recording is that by Horslips, on their acoustic Christmas album of the same name:

    Or in a live version:

    I recorded it back in 2012 as a tenor guitar trio:

    Notation for that trio arrangement is here:


    I'll try to record a mandolin version this week.

  4. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I'm sorry I didn't catch it that this tune was already an official song of the week back in 2016. Here is the link to that one.... It would be best if we could keep all the current submissions together, here on this one... but I'm sure they will end up in both places... so here's the link to the discussion in 2016
  5. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Here is my new recording on mandolin, with tenor guitar backing and harmonies coming in on the repeat.

    The arrangement I have used for my recording is by Steve Hendricks:


    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar (x3)
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello

    Maybe we can get a few more recordings of this lovely tune than we managed last time around!

  6. Gelsenbury
    I have actually recorded this before, too. The year was 2011, I was in my mid-thirties and had owned a mandolin for about 2 years, and nobody had heard of Brexit or Covid-19 yet. I played Drive the Cold Winter Away together with The Swedish Waltz, both learnt from Padraig Carroll's book about the Irish mandolin. There's a couple of other somewhat Christmassy tunes as well.

    When I just played it back after all these years, the audio and video were terribly out of sync. I hope the problem is fixed now.

    If I find the time to do a 2020 re-recording, I'll add it here. But with the family essentially being stuck at home over Christmas because of the pandemic, opportunities are limited.
  7. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Suitably seasonal offerings from you both, so thanks, gents. Lockdown looming here from Boxing Day according to latest Scottish Government edict, so it looks like a fertile time coming up for recording and posting.
  8. Frithjof
    Martin – very orchestral and
    Dennis – very autobiographical.
  9. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, John and Frithjof.

    John: I'm in Wales, so we're already in lockdown now. No Christmas visits here. I have another two weeks leave from work, so a few more recordings are in the pipeline.
    Frithjof: The first repetition of the tune is actually very sparsely arranged, just mandolin and tenor guitar arpeggios, but it sounds surprisingly lush playing back. The additional harmony voices kick in on the repeat halfway through the recording.

  10. Gelsenbury
    Haha, I managed to revisit this lovely piece by grabbing a few minutes here and there. This 2020 recording was done literally while dinner was simmering on the stove.

    The mandolin is my 5-year-old Fylde Touchstone Walnut mandolin ("Élodie"), with D'Addario medium strings and played with a Gravity Gold Series 1.1 mm pick.

    Happy holidays, everyone!

  11. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    That sounds lovely, Dennis -- thanks for recording it during this busy time!

    I've just noticed that my video was accidentally set to "contains paid promotion". I just wanted to reassure everybody that the composer of this piece has not paid me for playing it... (now edited to correct this).

  12. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Good to see three entries already for this lovely tune. Spectacular David, very nice Martin, great tone and authentic rhythm.
    I really like this one Dennis, with a slow pensive and reflective feel. Well done all.
  13. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Great versions of this week's tune of the week, Martin and Dennis.
  14. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Well played, Dennis.
  15. Callum Murray
    Callum Murray
    Lovely versions David, Martin and Gelsenbury!

    Managed to rope in my brother to play some guitar to accompany my mandolin playing. It was a fun tune to learn together over Christmas!

  16. Frithjof
    Dennis – your revisited version sounds lovely, including the bells on the end.
    Callum – clean mandolin playing and a good idea to make it a family project over Christmas.
  17. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Callum, a great version of this lovely tune, and as Frithjof says, nice to have Samuel playing along with you. Super photos too - your own, I assume?
  18. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Very nice music and pictures, Callum.
  19. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Fine playing on the mandolin and nice to hear your family playing with you. Thanks for posting, Callum.
  20. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    REALLY nice john, you seem to have a lot of sustain there, and the harmony is lovely.
  21. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    I have had my recording bits and pieces put away over Christmas as I needed the table for serving food on! Got it back in order today so here is my version using the arrangement Martin pointed us to. I used the melody and two of the harmony parts, all played on mandolin, and added guitar chords rather than the bass part. It is a lovely tune and thanks again to all who posted their versions here.

  22. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Yes very respectable tone and sustain on your mandolin, John.
    How much deeper did you build the body compared to a standard, skinny, deep-tone-challenged mandolin?
  23. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Hi Simon. Thanks for your comments. The mandolin I play most of the time is 66mm deep at the tail tapering to 62mm at the neck joint. Slightly longer scale too, as I came to mandolin from guitar and like the extra room on the fingerboard. The body is Indian Rosewood and the soundboard is cedar.

    I fitted a JJB pickup inside it for when I play at gigs with the band, but I always record it through a condenser mic for my videos except when using the Tascam DR-05 with the Boya mic you recommended a while back.
  24. Gelsenbury
    Those harmonies are very nice, John. Your mandolin really shines here.
  25. Frithjof
    Thanks John, for this nice rendition. Only strings – and nothing to miss!
    I always listen carefully to your guitar accompaniment (have neglected my own guitar playing to long while learning new instruments).

    OTOH I also listened to David’s old and worn out video. Okay. No UHD video quality. But the bass and the concertina bring so much power into the mix – gorgeous!
  26. Callum Murray
    Callum Murray
    Nice playing John! Nice tone and lovely harmony parts.

    Thanks everyone for the comments. The photos are my own, tried to find some wintery photos from Scotland and a few taken when I was working in Northern Ireland.
  27. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, Dennis, Frithjof and Callum. It is one of those tunes that just gets into your head when you hear it.
  28. Gelsenbury
    Sorry, Callum. I forgot to say something about your nice version. I like the wintry video and the family band of mandolin and guitar. I hope you and your brother will have opportunities to do this more often.
  29. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Here is an updated video of my previous recording of this tune with some newly recorded parts and an updated mix. I have at times added way too much reverb to the mix and I'm learning to scale that back and in some instances omit reverb entirely. Also of note, the concertina player, bassist and guitarist didn't show up for the video, only the mandolin player showed up. Figures.

  30. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    David, good to see you posting again here on the Cafe. Lovely arrangement and fine playing, as usual, from you.
  31. Gelsenbury
    As I said on your YouTube channel, I really like your sprightly and uplifting version, David. Your arrangements are always great and probably the biggest single reason why I started multi-tracking as well.
  32. Frithjof
    David, your updated mix gives the natural sound of your great instruments more room.
    Nevertheless I still like the other mix, too, which gives the melody more force – willing to drive the cold winter away.
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