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Bare Necessities

Bare Necessities, a quartet known for its creative interpretations of English country dance tunes, has been playing together since 1980. Earl Gaddis and Mary Lea both play violin and viola, Peter Barnes is on winds and guitar, and Jacqueline Schwab plays piano. Together they have redefined the sound of English country dance music with an improvisatory and playful style that reflects their classical background and extensive experience playing for all kinds of dancing. Besides these three CDs, they have been putting out recordings for Boston CDS (Country Dance Society) since 1999. The group has played for dancers and audiences from Hawaii to York, England, from Alaska to St. Croix, VI, doing concerts, week-long dance events and workshops.

Bare Necessities - English Country Dances

cd cover

1983 (CD and Cassette)


  1. Jamaica
  2. Waters of Holland
  3. Maiden Lane
  4. Well Hall
  5. Juice of Barley
  6. Barham Down
  7. Easter Thursday
  8. Dick's Maggot
  9. Bare Necessities
  10. The Maid Peeped Out at the Window
  11. Trip to Kilburn.

"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