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Category Archives: Very Popular

Julia Delaney’s (Ddor)

Julia Delaney was the sister-in-law of our beloved Captain Francis O’Neill — she was the sister of O’Neill’s wife Anna (née Delaney).  The tune is from around the turn of the last century, and most likely composed in the Chicago area. The reel “Julia Delaney’s” (or just “Julia Delaney”) was the fourth track of the Bothy […]

Newport Lass (D)

The double jig “Newport Lass(es)” or “Gearrchaile Bhaile Uí bhFiacháin” in Irish, is a two part jig played AABB, and also called “Trip to Athlone.” For instance, it’s called the latter on Paddy Canny (1919–2008) & P. J. Hayes (1921 – 2001) recording (with Peadar O’Loughlin, and Bridie Lafferty) entitled All Ireland Champions: Violin (1959), re-released as An […]

Ships are Sailing (Edor)

The reel “Ships Are Sailing,” or “Longa Ag Seolad” in Irish, is usually played AABB, but sometimes played ABAB. It has been recorded many, many times.  The Flanagan Brothers do a banjo version on their The Tunes We Like to Play on Paddy’s Day (1930), there’s an interesting solo fiddle version on Bobby Casey’s Casey in […]

Anything for JohnJoe (D)

This is a popular session tune in many places, but it’s not played much in KC area sessions. It is also called “Anything for Johnjo” and “Anything for John Joe.” It is played in a set “Johnny When You Die > Anything for John-Joe” on the Denis Murphy (1910-1974) & Julia Clifford (1914-1997) The Star […]

Chief O’Neill’s Favourite (D)

Chief O’Neill, the eponym of this tune, “Chief O’Neill’s Favourite,” was Francis O’Neill (1848-1936), born in county Cork. He was a cabin-boy on an English merchant ship in the 1860s, eventually immigrating to the States. He moved to Chicago with his wife and joined the police force at the age of 25. He became the […]

Glass of Beer (Baeol)

This reel, “Glass of Beer,” has a number of variations.  One of them, listed as “Pick Your Partner,” is #1391 in O’Neill’s 1850 (1903), and #635 in O’Neill’s 1001 (1907).   The idea that “Pick Your Partner” is a variant of “Glass of Beer,” or vice versa, is for many people a rather easy one, depending on […]

The Teetotaler’s (G)

This tune is most often called “The Teetotaler’s Reel” in Irish sessions, but is also popularly known as “The Temperance Reel” among old-time and bluegrass players, and is much less popularly known as “Prohibition, My Foot!”  This tune starts off like a few others, and doesn’t really distinguish itself until the third measure, where it […]

Killavil (D)

“Killavil”  is a (double) jig from co. Sligo. Killavil is a parish south of Sligo, and the birthplace of the great twentieth century Irish fiddler Michael Coleman (1891-1945).  The name is probably an endocentric compound (or perhaps just a copulative compound) of “cill” (church) and “abhaile” (home, or lit. homeward), and so means something like “Home-Church” […]

Burnt Old Man (D)

When I first played this tune, Becky Pringle called my attention to an old Civil War tune, a close variant called “The Campbells are Coming” (G) that is still often played by fife and drum bands.  In the 1950s the tune, at least the A part, was used in a Campbell’s Soup commercial for Scotch Broth. […]

Blackthorn Stick (G) 

The Blackthorn tree (prunus spinosa), is a member of Rosaceae (the rose family), and has reddish-black bark with protruding sharp spines, and so it’s also called the “European spiny plum.”  Blooming as early as March, it is, like dandelions, an important first-food for bees.  The Blackthorn is an hermaphroditic insect-pollinated hard-wood tree with small white flowers. It is […]