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Category Archives: Reel

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 […]

(The) Leslie’s Reel (A)    

The tune “Leslie’s Reel” has a set of versions, though I don’t know which came first.  One close version is called “Monymusk,” named after a town close to Aberdeenshire, Scotland; another version is called “The Teileann Reel” (or “The Teelin Reel”) named after the village of Teileann in co. Donegal – a small coastal village on […]

Rolling in the Rye Grass (D)

Francis O’Neill (1848-1936) remarks in his book Irish Folk Music: A Fascinating Hobby (1915) that “Rolling in the Rye Grass” was a well-known reel in County Cork when he was a boy – the mid-nineteenth century.  Accordionist Johnny O’Leary (1923-2004) remembered that in his last year of life Kerry fiddler Padraig O’Keeffe (1887-1963) was often asked […]

Bottom of the Punchbowl (G)

The reel “Bottom of the Punchbowl” can be played as a reel or a barndance.  O’Farrell (c. 1805) lists the tune as Scotch.  It was composed by the Chamber Composer for King George III, James Oswald (c. 1711-1769), who was from Dunfermline, Scotland  but moved to Knebworth, England in 1741. He published much of his work […]

Mason’s Apron (A)

The first sound recording of “Mason’s Apron” appears to have been by New York accordion player John J. “Dutch” Kimmel in 1915.  Sligo fiddle master Paddy Killoran (1904-1965) recorded “Mason’s Apron” as a two-part reel in March, 1939. Some play it with an added third part. Some fiddlers play pizzicato notes during the tune as […]

The Glasgow Reel (Daeol)

“The Glasgow Reel” is more often called “Tam Lin” around KC and some other environs.  It has been set in Daeol, Eaeol, and Aaeol, primarily. It is often heard in sessions played first in Daeol, then in Aaeol for a variation — and I have both here.  Dublin musician Davey Arthur (originally from Edinburgh, Scotland) […]

The Abbey Reel (Ador)

Our tune here, the “Abbey Reel,” also called “Ríl na Mainistreach” in Irish, is a single reel. It is the second tune on the first track of Liz Carroll’s album Liz Carroll (1988), and the second in a set by De Danann on Colm Murphy’s CD An Bodhrán (2004).  It does have a number of names and associated variations, some […]

Heather Breeze (G)

“Heather Breeze” is #779 in O’Neill’s 1001 (1907), and it is related to the tune “Crossing the Fields,” in O’Neill’s Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody (1922).  This tune too goes by many names: “Coppers of Brass” (in Tipperary and Kerry), “The Heather Bloom” (in county Monaghan), “The Heathery Braes of Ballyhealy” (in Leitrim), and […]

Toss the Feathers (Dmix)

The Dmix “Toss the Feathers” reel seems to be more popular in Ireland than the Eaeol “Toss the Feathers” reel, and the opposite is true on this side of the pond.  Some people have taken to calling the tunes “Toss the Feathers #1” and “Toss the Feathers #2,” though in general it remains unclear which […]