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Daily Archives: May 5, 2014

Riding on a Load of Hay (Eaeol) 

“Riding on a Load of Hay” is a West Kerry polka, and was in the repertoire of Kerry fiddler Denis Murphy (1910-1974). It is pretty clearly a polka adaptation of the Scottish strathspey “Miss Ramsay of Barnton” (c. 1884). This title probably refers to Betty Hamilton (1770-1809), the wife of William Ramsay of Barnton.  He was […]

Riding on a Donkey (G) 

This simple polka, “Riding on a Donkey” or “Donkey Riding,” is a good for beginning players, and for set dancing.  It is #1000 in O’Neill’s 1001 (1907), and called there “The High Caul Cap.” Though the setting here is in G, you will also find it played in A and D, as well as in […]

The Bride’s Favorite (G)     

This jig, “The Bride’s Favorite,” is “Rogha Na Brídeoige” in Irish. Though once played often at weddings, it is now mostly played in sessions, but might be struck up if a wedding party happens to pass through the session space.  Now, according to the Fiddler’s Companion this three-part jig was composed by county Mayo fiddler […]

Haste to the Wedding (D)      

The jig “Haste to the Wedding” is surprising in that it has retained the same name despite being popular for at least two centuries. In the London stage pantomime “The Elopement” (1767), a featured tune was called “Come, Haste to the Wedding.”  This is that tune.  William Chappell (1809-1888) notes that the tune was “more […]

Elizabeth Kelly’s Delight (Ador)  

This slip jig, “Elizabeth Kelly’s Delight,” is tune #68 in Breandán Breathnach’s (1912–1985) Ceol Rince na hÉireann 1 (1963).  It is on Edel Fox’s CD The Sunny Banks (2013).  She’s a great concertina player. The alternate title “Catherine Kelly’s” is from Martin Hayes, on his CD Under the Moon (1995).  Some say that it’s a […]

Langstrom’s Pony (Amix)

This four-part jig is called “Lanxtrum’s Pony” in The Gunn Book (Fermanagh, 1865), a collection of one hundred and seventy-eight dance tunes compiled by the fiddler John Gunn, an ancestor of John McManus, author of Irish Ceili and Set Dances (1992). The tune may appear to be pretty complicated, but it is less so than […]

Banks of Lough Gowna (Baeol)

This traditional jig, “Banks of Lough Gamhna,” (or “Banks of Lough Gowna” in English) is sometimes attributed to Paddy O’Brien (b. 1945), but is in fact tune #264 in O’Neill’s 1001 (1907).  Barring time-travel, and its concomitant paradoxes,  it would not be possible for him to have composed it. It is played, as here, in […]

The Boyne Hunt (D)    

“The Boyne Hunt” reel is called Tóir na Bóinne in Irish. It is #1241 O’Neill’s 1850 (1903) and tune #514 in O’Neill’s 1001 (1907). Even though O’Neill’s has three parts, the tune is usually played with the first two parts only.  The tune was originally composed by Miss Striling of Ardoch, Perthshire, Scotland and called […]

Jenny’s Chickens (Baeol)

“Jenny’s Chickens” is a reel is usually preceded by “Bonnie Kate” due to the recordings of Michael Coleman and Joe Burke. Michael Coleman was the first to make this tune popular. I have been told that every time he played it, he would change it a little bit.  This may make the tune more interesting […]

Toss the Feathers (Eaeol)

There are a few tunes that go by “Toss the Feathers.” This one, in Eaeol, is popular.  The other, in Dmix, is popular too.  This one is identified by Stanford and Petrie as a Clare reel. Brendan Breathnach says it is known in County Tipperary as “Thresh the Feathers” and “The Humours of Ballagh” (1976). […]