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There are now five volumes of recorded music for Gary's English country dances, four from the original
Friends series, plus Fast Friends, which is Volume 15 in the continuing Bare Necessities series.
In all cases, the music is played by superbly talented musicians working in a variety of combinations to create all
kinds of moods, styles, and flavors for our enjoyment. On some cuts, you can just see them frolicking; on others,
you can visualize a serious chamber ensemble blending its sounds beautifully. (You can hear sound bites below.)
All the tunes are played at dance length and tempo. The liner notes give lots of detail about each dance – formation,
music sources, key and time signatures, number of times through, overall time, and starting time for the first B music.
You will find listings below of which dances are on which CDs. There is enough variety on each CD to build a whole program around. Or you may just enjoy listening to the CDs in the car, or while you are making supper, or cleaning house, or dancing around the living room in your PJs.
|The Fabulous Musicians!
|OLD FRIENDS and NEW FRIENDS|
Left to right: Margaret Ann Martin, Mary Lea, Gene Murrow,
Barbara Greenberg, Jonathan Jensen, Daniel Beerbohm
(Thanks to photographer, Carolyn Klinger)
|BAND OF FRIENDS|
| Jessica Murrow, Peter Barnes
|| Erica Morse, Anna Patton,
| Van Kaynor, lydia ievins
|Mary Lea, Margaret Ann Martin|| Gary (who played no instrument),
|Gene Murrow, Doug Creighton|
|Left to right: Peter Barnes, Jacqueline Schwab, Mary Lea, Earl Gaddis|
|Left to right: Gary (who makes not a sound on the CD), Karen Axelrod, Mary Lea, Peter Barnes|
All of the dances on the CDs have appeared in one of Gary's eleven books or are
available on this web site (see New Dances and Old), but these CD-specific books are also
available. They reprint the instructions and the teaching tips for all the dances on their
respective CDs (the sheet music is not included). These books are a convenient way to have
complete packages, but if you have the other books, you really don't need these.
Here's what people said about Old Friends
"Old Friends is a winner. Great tunes, played with vitality, wonderful contrast, clear phrasing, delightful humor
and general cheerfulness. Whimsical and informative liner notes. Attractive appearance."
--- Marshall Barron, New Haven, CT
"The playing is superb throughout. The variety of instrumentation and the sheer professionalism make this a recording you will want to listen, as well as dance, to.  It's eminently danceable throughout, with some magical moments and very sensitive playing." --- Colin Hume, Letchworth, England
"This CD sets a new standard for English country dance recordings." --- Mary Conser, Amherst, MA
"The artistry of the musicians is outstanding. Gary selects very interesting music to begin with, but what these folks do with it is just marvelous. The track of "Good Man of Cambridge" is worth the cost of the whole CD! Hats off to Mary Lea, Gene Murrow, Margaret Ann Martin, Dan Beerbohm, Barbara Greenberg, & Jonathan Jensen!" ---Margherita Davis, Hudson and New York, NY
"This CD makes a great gift even for people who don't dance. I am buying them for all my friends." ---Richard Brown, Conklin, NY
"Old Friends looks and sounds great! Susan's liner notes are great. I appreciate both the comments and the amount of detail on each dance and tune. [This CD] is a gift to the world of country dancing." ---Brad Foster, Amherst, MA
"[Old Friends] is totally wonderful! We love it!! Everyone did such a good job with it." ---Mary Devlin, Portland, OR
"What a superb CD of music! We particularly like the clever arrangements and the variety given by the different combinations of instruments. The best description for "The Good Man of Cambridge" is WOW! We are sure that if Mozart had known, he would have written more dance tunes for you folks." ---David and Kathryn Wright, Lichfield, England
"I clean house to this CD. It gives me energy." ---Barbara Kaufman, Binghamton, NY