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Napoleon's Grand March (tune from Stephen Baldwin, coll Peter Kennedy)

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Source: Folktracks 45-115
Performer: Baldwin, Stephen
Place Collected: Upton Bishop
Date collected: 13 August 1952
Collector: Kennedy, Peter

Stephen James Baldwin (1873-1955) was born in Hereford, youngest son of Charles Baldwin, some of whose tunes were noted by Cecil Sharp. The family soon moved to Newent, which was his parents’ home town. He spent his working life as a railway plate layer, apart from army service in the 1st World War, from which he was invalided out after the Battle of the Somme. He played for a number of morris sides, as well as in pubs, at country dances and gypsy weddings. He ended his days at Upton Bishop, Herefordshire, where he was recorded twice. One recording was made by Peter Kennedy in 1952, and issued on Folktracks 45-115 “A Nutting we will Go”, reissued on CD as FTX-115, with 10 additional tracks, 31 to 40, which appear to have come from Russell Wortley. Where Mr Baldwin played in D or G for Peter Kennedy, the same tunes appear on Russell Wortley’s recording in C or F.  His fiddle was tuned a tone flat, as reported by Rollo Woods. It appears likely that Peter Kennedy’s recordings were speeded up to bring them up to the usual pitch. Our mp3’s have been slowed down to compensate.
Musical Traditions have re-issued both sets of recordings on MT CD 334 “Here’s one you’ll like, I think ”, with extensive information on Charles and Stephen Baldwin (see the Musical Traditions website here).

In the linked abc file this is tune number X:17

Napoleon’s Grand March  Original Keys: C as recorded by RW and A by PK. The two versions were quite different (see  X:18.) X:19 is a combination from the two versions.
An excellent version was recorded from the Yorkshire accordion player George Tremain. Peter Kennedy also recorded the tune from Billy Conroy on the tin whistle in County Durham, publ: FSA-30-122, nla.
notes by Charles Menteith and Paul Burgess

Media & Downloads

Hear the song/tune as collected (mp3 stream):

See the song/tune as collected (PDF file)
Hear the song/tune (midi file)

Hear a modern recording (mp3 stream):

Song/tune as collected (abc file)