“The Kesh Jig” is on the Bothy Band album called The Bothy Band (1975), and thereafter became a popular session tune. Often just referred to as “The Kesh,” it’s not as popular as it once was, in the 1980s for example, mostly because it is considered by some to have been over-played. It probably wouldn’t show up on the top-ten list of great tunes by any seasoned musicians. Not anymore, anyway.
Actually, most active session musicians will have played this tune more than two hundred times in a year. The fact is, when you’re first playing tunes, all of them are great fun. After many, many years, however, it’s not hard to get a little bored with some tunes, and even a little sick of playing some others. There are tunes that become very popular in sessions — and these are usually really fun tunes to play. Some of these have their heyday and it seems like everyone everywhere plays them, so you’ll end up playing them at every session. If you go to just a couple of sessions a week, then you’d end playing the tune a lot. Then, one day, “poof!” these tunes stop being played altogether by anyone, or at least not played very much by anyone except those who are just learning some session tunes. The “Kesh” is one such tune, and before it went “The Irish Washerwoman” — which is just never played at sessions anymore anywhere as far as I can tell. This is just a natural progression when you play sessions often. Even though it seems like there’s some kind of secret code to the novice, there isn’t. Some say the tunes become over-played, that they are just “too popular” and then “go out of style.” In truth, there really isn’t anything wrong with the tunes in the “over-played” bin, since they wouldn’t get into that bin if they weren’t fun tunes. Still, just how they get put there by most players at just about the same time is a bit of a mystery, since there wasn’t any kind of world-wide session phone tree (as far as I know) prior to thesession.org.
Sometimes you’ll hear players say that the standard repertoire contains some “plastic paddy” tunes, and that these litter up a good session. When such tunes are played you can identify the attitudes of the players by their facial expressions: some will have an expression like “Oh well, I guess we’re playing this one AGAIN,” while others will have an expression like “Oh geeze, why does anyone play this tune,” and still others will have an expression like “Great! I love this tune.” The more stoic sessioners will blithely play on. Just be aware that there are those who think that “The Kesh” has been in the bin for some time. However, there is also a contingent of sessioners who emphatically insist that this and other tunes in the bin should be kept alive. So, depending on the session and individual players this tune will be either be regarded as a lovely old standard, or despised as another daggy tune for the wheelie.
For the ABC click Kesh Jig
Kesh Jig, 3/4 tempo (Gary Humphrey on whistle)
Kesh Jig, 3/4 tempo (Gary Humphrey on whistle, with guitar accompaniment)
Kesh Jig, the dots