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 Band’s 1975 eponymous album, with Tommy Peoples playing solo to start. It has been recorded many times since. James Kelly and Zan McLeod do a very cool fiddle-bouzouki version on the fourth track of their CD Ring Sessions (1996), with Zan playing melody the first couple of times through and Johnny “Ringo” McDonagh on bodhrán. A recent accordion-bouzouki version is on James Keane’s Heir of the Dog (2012), which he describes as being at “more of a kitchen-style tempo,” with Eamon O’Leary playing zouk accompaniment and Tom English on bodhrán.
It’s popular at sessions in the States, and sessions in Québec, where it’s known as “Le Reel Des Sorcières” (“The Witches’ Reel”). For instance, André Brunet plays this tune with his brother Réjean in their band Les Frères Brunet; and from 1997 to 2006 he played with the well-known La Bottine Souriante which did a powerful rendition of this tune. For those unfamiliar with La Bottine Souriante, they are to traditional Québécois music what The Chieftains are to Irish music. In fact, if you want to hear them, as well as other traditional Québécois musicians, you might want to pick up the compilation CD (recorded by the Chieftains) entitled Fire in the Kitchen (1998) — actually, the Chieftains were touring Canada and ended up recording informal live sessions with every one of the “guest” musicians on the CD.
A (much more difficult) version of this tune in D is #1401 in O’Neill’s 1850 (1903) and #643 in O’Neill’s 1001 (1907). The more common, and more popular version of this tune is #51 in Tony Sullivan’s Sully’s Irish Music Book (1979), and in Phil Rubenzer’s Midwestern Irish Session Tunes (2000).
For the ABC click Julia Delaney’s Reel
Julia Delaney, slow tempo
Julia Delaney, med tempo
Julia Delaney, the dots