Tune Notes - Fall 2017

Reels: Charlie Harris's Reel/The Blacksmith's
Charlie Harris is a button accordion player in Ireland. The Blacksmith's is a very old session tune, is also known as "John Blessing's Reel" and "The Blacksmith's Daughter"; and is related to "The Green Garters", published in O'Neill's Music of Ireland. Both reels were taught to us by John Skelton in a Craobh Riley CCE workshop this summer.

Jigs: Christy Barry's/The Butlers of Glen Avenue/Trip to Athlone
Christy Barry, a well-known Clare flute and whistle player, composed the first tune. The second is also called "Christy Barry's #2" and was composed by banjo-player Tony Sullivan. The Trip to Athlone, also called "The Newport Lasses", is a well-known session tune. Athlone is a town in Co. Roscommon on the River Shannon.

Hornpipes: Chief O'Neill's Favorite/The Blackbird
Chief O'Neill was chief of the Chicago police force in the early part of the 20th century. His collection, "The Dance Music of Ireland: O'Neill's 1001", published in 1907, is a classic source. The Blackbird Hornpipe is related to the very old air and set dance of the same name. It was recorded by the great Sligo fiddler Michael Coleman in the early 20th century.

Waltz: The Gentle Maiden
This tune was collected by Edward Bunting in 1839 from a Miss Murphy, Dublin. It is also known as "When the South Wind Blows" or "Is Fada Annso Me" ("I am a long time here"). Songs both in Irish and English have been set to this air. You can also hear our late friend Cindy Matyi playing it on flute (with Doug Mast on harp) on our 2005 tune page.

Polkas: Francie Campbell's/Out of the Ashes
Peter Morley learned this set from John Carty at Swannanoa. It's from the playing of John and Matt Molloy on their CD, Out of the Ashes. From the liner notes: Francie Campbell, box player from Co. Mayo, is the source of the first tune. He first heard it as a child, hummed by his grandfather, Hugh McGuire. He carried it in his head when he emigrated to Chicago in 1960 and called it Hugh McGuire's Polka. John learned it from the playing of Chicago flute player Sean Gavin at a house concert in Co. Roscommon. So it's traveled at least twice across the Atlantic! The second polka is from East Mayo, learned by Sean Lavin from Johnny Watt Henry. There was no name for it, so John and Matt called it "Out of the Ashes" in honor of Johnny Henry, who passed away in 1996.

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