Tune Notes - Fall 2018

Speed the Plough/Rakish Paddy/The Virginia (reel)
Speed the Plough
This reel was first recorded on the 1952 album Kerry Fiddles (with Padraig O'Keeffe, Denis Murphy, Julia Clifford), and was performed by Julia Clifford under the title "Mulvihill's". Popular across Sliabh Luachra (around the Cork-Kerry border area), this tune has a very bouncy feel to it and lends itself well to céilís. It has been recorded on the uilleann pipes by Séamus Ennis, Liam O'Flynn and Joe Shannon, on accordion by Joe Burke, Johnny O'Leary and Seamus Begley, and on whistles and flutes by The Chieftains, Matt Molloy, Paul McGrattan, and many others, including several céilí bands. The tune is also known as "Mulvihill's", "Charlie Mulvihill's", "O'Keeffe's Plough", "Cronin's Fancy Hornpipe", "Paddy Cronin's", and "Tom Billy's Reel", among other names.
Rakish Paddy
The first known recording of this reel is a 1904 wax cylinder collected by Sgt. Francis O'Neill, played on the Uilleann Pipes by Patsy Touhey. Born in Loughrea, County Galway, Ireland, Touhey's family arrived in Boston in 1868 when he was around 3 years old. Growing up in New England, Patsy lost his father, an accomplished player, at a young age and did not pursue the pipes until he was in his late teens. As early at 1901 (with Edison's invention of the wax cylinder) Patsy began advertising wax cylinder recordings, later switching to 78s when those became available. He played left-handed, with an ornamentation style that came to characterise American uilleann pipers. In 1922 this tune was recorded by Michael Coleman, a Sligo-New York fiddler. Since then it has been recorded numerous times by many including James Morrison, Johnny Doran, Willie Clancy, The Chieftains, Eddie Moloney, Tommy Potts, Planxty, Paddy Glackin, Altan, Joe Ryan, and Jackie Daly. Remarkably, given the numerous recordings, its single most common title remains "Rakish Paddy", "Rakish Pat", or "Sporting Pat" (and variations in Irish). Other names include "Caper Fey", "The Deer's Horns", and "Castle Street Reel".
The Virginia
This reel appears in the 1976 tune book The Dance Music of Willie Clancy, by Pat Mitchell, and on a 1976 album called The Gentleman Pipers: Classic Recordings of Irish Traditional Pipers, performed by Pat Mitchell. Willie Clancy was an influential musician (uilleann pipes, whistle, flute) from Miltown Malbay, County Clare, Ireland. He picked up the pipes after hearing the playing of traveling piper Johnny Doran, and became a cornerstone of Irish traditional music in Ireland, as well as London where he emigrated as an adult and played among many musicians including piper Séamus Ennis and fiddler Bobby Casey. Liam O'Flynn played this tune with Planxty where he introduces it as "The Virginia", and mentions that "some people call it 'The Virginian' for some reason or another, but it's not". "Virginia" here is thought to refer to the town in County Cavan.
Across the Black River/Fasten the Leg in Her/The Kilmovee (jig)
Across the Black River
This jig was composed by Kevin Burke, appearing as the title track on his 2007 album with Cal Scott. Burke describes naming this tune after a locality where his mother spent time as a girl in County Sligo, Ireland. Maintaining close ties with his Sligo roots, Kevin Burke was born in London in 1950 and took up the fiddle at 8 years old. Over the decades he has been well recorded as a member of the Bothy Band, Patrick Street, and other groups, as well as recording several solo and duet albums. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon with his wife and children.
Fasten the Leg in Her
Appearing as early as 1861 (James Goodman manuscripts), this jig is known most commonly as "Fasten the Leg in Her" or "Fasten the Leg on Her" (and other lexicon variations). Possible origins for the title include references to cow milking, horse racing, and sailing ships. The first known recording is a wax cylinder from 1919, played on the uilleann pipes by Patsy Touhey. A few years later in 1928, this jig was recorded on a 78 disk by the Sligo-New York fiddler James Morrison. Morrison emigrated to New England in 1915 at the age of 22, already leaving behind a legacy as a teacher of Irish step dancing and language in Counties Sligo, Mayo, and Leitrim. In New York he made his living primarily as a professional musician and music teacher, as well as operating a dance hall, and made several influential commercial recordings. It was recorded again in the late 1970's by uilleann piper Joe Shannon and fiddler Johnny McGreevy, and is now a popular session tune.
The Kilmovee
Kilmovee is a town in County Mayo, Ireland, after which this jig is sometimes called, and first appearing as such in a 1992 recording by Matt Molloy. It is a popular session tune. Other names include "Grogan's", referring to Dermot Grogan, the Planxty accordionist from Kilmovee, Co. Mayo. Mike Rafferty recorded this tune on flute with Wille Kelly on fiddle, on their 2001 album Speed 78, under the title "Pauline O'Neills".
James Gannon's/Belle of the Ball (barndance)
James Gannon's
The first known recording of this barndance comes from 1927, played on fiddle by Michael Coleman. Coleman was a 20th century Irish music icon who immigrated from Co. Sligo to New York in 1914. The title given at that time is "James Gannon's", and it is played in a set with "The Belle of the Ball". Paddy Killoran and Paddy Sweeney, fellow Sligo-New York fiddlers from that period, recorded this tune in 1931 under the title "The Chaffpool Post". On a 1934 recording, Louis E. Quinn and His Shamrock Minstrels (Louis E. Quinn and James O'Beirne on fiddles), this barndance is played with a setting and feel similar to Coleman's and is called "Gannon's Favourite". Quinn (originally from Co. Armagh, who emigrated to Canada, eventually settling in New York in the 1930's) played this tune in a set with "The Belle of the Ball" and another barndance. According to Cranford Pub it has also long been popular in Cape Breton.

Our particular setting comes from the flute playing of John Creaven, who recorded this tune on his album The Story So Far in 2001. Creaven, who notes that he got the tune from Michael Coleman, plays it without the low B note, which does not appear on the Irish D flute.

The Belle of the Ball
This barndance was first recorded by Sligo-New York fiddler Michael Coleman in 1927, along with another barndance "James Gannon's". As a set, these two barndances have been recorded together several more times, including by Sligo-New York fiddler Louis E. Quinn (1934) and on the 1991 album Grace Notes - Nótaí Maise by Buttons and Bows (with Jackie Daly and Séamus McGuire). "Belle of the Ball" was also recorded in 1931 by Paddy Killoran and James Morrison, fellow Sligo-New York fiddlers, where it was called "Memories of Sligo" and coupled with another barndance titled "McDermott's" (a Michael Gorman composition).

According to the the Irish Traditional Music Archive, barndances are musical relatives to schottische social dances and European polkas, emerging in the late 19th century with a similar feel to highland flings and hornpipes. As a type of Scottish dance it was distinguishable from the other mentioned musical forms, however in Ireland barndances are played similarly to many hornpipes and flings. In older recordings of both "James Gannon's" and "Belle of the Ball", a snappier rhythm can be heard, as is more common in Donegal and Scottish derived tunes. In contemporary recordings from regions farther south in Ireland (e.g. John and James Kelly or John Creaven), the rhythm is slightly more squared out.

Leslie's March (march)
This old 6/8 march is also known as "General Leslie's March to Marston Moor", referring to a battle fought on July 2, 1644 during the first English civil war. It was featured in the pantomime opera "Oscar and Malvina", or "The Hall of Fingal", which was staged in London in the late 18th and early 19th century, and which featured the piper O'Farrell, author of several important early collections of Irish music. It appears in O'Farrell's Pocket Companion, vol. 1 (1805) as "Highland March in Oscar and Malvina". It has been recorded by the Chieftains, Cherish the Ladies, and many other contemporary musicians.
Carolan's Welcome (O'Carolan) (waltz)
This tune is a composition of the Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738). Carolan was a contemporary of J. S. Bach who was influenced by baroque composers, but also wrote traditional-style airs like this tune. Its original name is unknown; the name "Carolan's Welcome" was apparently coined by the Chieftains, who played it for Pope John Paul II on his visit to Dublin in 1979. It is now commonly played as a waltz, although waltzes were not danced in Ireland during Carolan's time.
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