• English Pub Session Tunes Book - Dave Mallinson

In this book you’ll find the holy grail of pub session tunes, the very backbone and life blood of the English traditional music scene. You’ll observe that many of the tunes aren’t exactly English but within these pages you’ll find the repertoire that crops time and time again. A sizable proportion of the tunes have been made popular by The Old Swan Band.

Pub Session Series


Easy Peasy Tunes
English Country Dance Tunes
English Pub Session Tunes
Popular English Session Tunes

101 Easy Irish Session Tunes

Only 14 notes are required to play all 404 tunes. Ideal for all traditional musicians.

The 404 tunes presented in the above four books represent the core repertoire played in English pub sessions. Each book has its own theme and identity as described by the title. Together they form a wonderful reference work, bringing the most popular tunes to your fingertips.

The tunes are suitable for every instrument associated with traditional music, and only 14 notes are required to play them all. They are eminently suitable for playing at country dances, ceilidhs, barn dances and hoe-downs and most have been recorded by notable bands and personalities.

To facilitate musicians identifying repertoire suitable for their current personal ability, the tunes in each book are presented in order of difficulty, and start and finish progressively harder throughout the series, in the order listed.

Introduction to the series

A friend remarked at Sidmouth Folk Week, “Mally, I’m going to recommend your Easy Peasy book to everybody, it’s great! It reflects very closely the repertoire we play at our local session.” Another friend commented at Cleethorpes Folk Festival, “Mally, you do a gross injustice to some really good and useful tunes by labelling them ‘Easy Peasy’, it gives the impression that they are only of any use to beginners to cut their teeth on.” “Very true,” I thought, “I play many of these tunes myself at dances, in sessions and for the morris dancers. Wouldn’t it be a great to extend Easy Peasy into a series.” The idea was born, and soon developed into this set of four books which contain the most popular tunes that are played in English pub sessions, at folk festivals and by country dance musicians and morris players. Each book has its own theme and identity. Given average luck, with these tunes under your belt, you’ll be able to join in most of the time.

Because most traditional airs only require the fourteen notes D, E, F sharp, G, A, B, C, C sharp, D, E, F sharp, G, A and B, I decided it would be a good idea to continue the theme, meaning all the tunes can be played in the first position on the top three strings of the fiddle, all the notes are in the range of the wooden flute and tin whistle and all the music is within the scope of the D/G melodeon without accidentals.

Chord arrangements are more or less as played on the soundtrack, but nevertheless, are only suggestions. The dominant chords (i.e. D in the key of G, A in the key of D and E in the key of A etc.) throughout these books are noted as plain major chords, whereas many musicians prefer to play the seventh (D7, A7, E7 etc.). Feel free to play either type of chord as the mood takes you.

You’ll notice many of the tunes are not English. It’s the pubs, sessions, folk festivals, ceilidhs etc. that are English. In, what might be termed, a general English session, melodies from Northumberland, Ireland, Scotland, America, France and Scandinavia are to be heard alongside English airs, which tend to be associated with the more southern regions of the country

Hundreds of personalities, records, bands, books and sessions have, unknowingly, made tiny, almost imperceptible contributions to the settings and choice of the tunes found in these books (some of the more influential are listed below). They have also been moulded further by the limitations of my instrument, the D/G melodeon, and, of course, the fourteen note rule. All the settings are my own versions and every tune has, to a greater or lesser degree, my own personal stamp on it. But, I’m sure you’ll find all the tunes ‘session friendly’, you can learn them exactly as written and have a perfectly acceptable version. However, I consider it unwise to learn a tune from only one source and I would suggest strongly that, when learning a new tune, you pay heed to other books, recordings and live performances.




The Muffin Man
Johnny Come Down to Hilo
Kelly, the Boy from Killan
Planxty Irwin
Sheebeg, Sheemore
The Munster Cloak
The Man in the Moon
The Drunken Sailor
Saint Mary's Polka
The Wren
A Starry Night for a Ramble
Napoleon Crossing the Rhine
Clee Hill
O’Connor’s Polka
Andrew Carr
Dennis Murphy's Polka
The Officer's Polka
The Tip Top Polka
The Ballydesmond Polka
The Ton
The Butterfly
Orange in Bloom
Sonny's Mazurka
Because He Was a Bonny Lad
Dark Girl Dressed in Blue
The Quaker
The Sloe
The Evesham Stick Dance
Michael Turner's Waltz
Church Street
The Seven Stars
Hexham Races
Rochdale Coconut Dance

The Heel and Toe Polka
Uncle’s Jig
The Redowa Polka
Smash the Windows
The Gaspé Reel
The Kirkgate Hornpipe
Lemmie Brazil’s Hornpipe
Upton upon Severn Stick Dance
Over the Hills and Far Away
Foul Weather Call
Waiting for the Federals
Scan Tester's Polka No. 1
Scan Tester's Polka No. 2
Foxhunter's Jig
The Fiery Clock Face
Merrily Kiss the Quaker
Roxburgh Castle
Girl with the Blue Dress on
Old Joe Clarke
Bonnie Kate
Harper's Frolic
John of Paris
Family Jig
Walter Bulwer's Polka No. 1
Walter Bulwer's Polka No. 2
The Little Burnt Potato
Mickey Chewing Bubble Gum
The Rocky Road to Dublin
The Lady in the Boat
The White Cockade
Soldiers’ Joy
Hot Punch

he Boys of Bluehill
Tripping Upstairs
The Rakes of Kildare
Sleep Soond i’ da Moarning
Saddle the Pony
Navvy on the Line
La Bastringue
Staten Island
The Redesdale Hornpipe
The Steamboat
Frost Is All Over
Off to California
Father O’Flynn
The Eighth of January
Shandon Bells
The Irish Washerwoman
Speed the Plough
Harvest Home
The Tenpenny Bit
The Marquis of Lorne
The Belfast Hornpipe
The Trumpet Hornpipe
Rickett's Hornpipe
The Blackthorn Stick
Woodland Revels
Athole Highlanders
Sir Sydney Smith's March
The Fairy Dance
Drowsy Maggie
The College Hornpipe
Miss McLeod's Reel
The Merry Blacksmith

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English Pub Session Tunes Book - Dave Mallinson

  • Product Code:9781899512652
  • Availability:In Stock
  • £8.95

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Tags: English, Pub, Session, Tunes, Book, Dave, Mallinson

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