This reel, “Gravel Walks” or “The Gravel Walks,” is also called “The Gravelled Walks to Granny,” and “Jenny Tie your Bonnet.” In Vallely’s Fiddler’s Companion Caoimhin Mac Aoidh writes that Granny (or sometimes Grainne or Cranny) is a secluded and unpopulated glen between Ardara (pronounces Ar-DRA) and Glencolmcille (pronounced Glen-CULLIM-kill) in southwest co. Donegal. People from the nearby villages of Ardara, Kilcar, and Glen would bring their sheep to Granny for the summer and come back for them in autumn. To get there they’d have to walk and climb up several gravel paths. It was not smooth going. The tune, perhaps, mimics route.
The title “Jenny Tie your Bonnet” appears to have originally been a Scottish tune called “Janet Tyed the Bonnet Tight” as printed in The Piper’s Assistant (1877). Two brothers, fiddlers from Donegal, tell the tale of a man who had only two tunes in his repertoire. However, upon meeting some of the wee folk, they imparted to him many, many more tunes, vastly increasing his repertoire — which is not an unknown benefit of meeting favorable folk of their kind in Ireland — this being one of the tunes. So if you are having trouble with this one, you know where to go . . . and who to blame.
In the KC area we play this Ador|C tune with the structure AABBCCDD. Apparently, in Donegal, where the tune is a favorite, it is often played as ABCCDD. In the key of Ador (which means the tune has all the same notes as the key of G), the first three parts of the tune can be simply backed with Am and G chords (and an occasional Em), while the fourth part has a nice uplifting change, starting on a C major chord. There are many more possibilities, of course.
For the ABC click Gravel Walks
Gravel Walks, the dots