Tune Notes - Winter 2018

Anything for John Joe
Reel in D also known as "The Bag of Potatoes," "Anything When you Die," and "The Lisheen Reel." It was frequently played together with "Johnny When You Die" by Johnny O'Leary, the great Sliabh Luachra accordion player, and is also associated with Kerry fiddlers Julia Clifford and Denis Murphy.

Glass of Beer
This popular session tune is also known as "Chase Her Through the Garden," "Flight of the Earls," "Johnny Maguire's," "The Jug of Beer," "Listowel Lasses," or "McFadden's." A variant called "Pick your Partner" shows up in the O'Neill's compendia of Irish tunes.
Some sources give authorship of this tune to the county Mayo fiddler John McFadden (1847-1913), born in Carrowmore. His father and brother were also fiddlers, and he was said to possess a celebrated ability to remember tunes in their original form, and come up with an array of variations. He emigrated to Chicago, and as a contemporary of the renowned Captain Francis O'Neill, McFadden was one of O'Neill's sources. In addition to this tune, McFadden is credited with composing "The Queen of the Fair" and some other dance tunes.

Bucks of Oranmore
The Bucks of Oranmore, often abbreviated to just "The Bucks" is an interesting traditional 5-part reel, normally played in D major. The word "Bucks" refers to young men (Irish: Buachaillí). Oranmore is a town on Galway Bay.
The great uilleann pipe player Seamus Ennis thought this the very best of Irish reels. It goes especially well on the pipes, and all good pipers have their own special versions of it. He was once asked what reel to play following it in a medley. He thought a bit, then replied "You can't play anything after the Bucks." The fifth part was added by piper Johnny Doran, according to well-known fiddler Mairtin Byrnes. It is often played as the last tune in a traditional session.

The Orphan
A great well-known traditional jig in E minor, similar to the Star of the County Down and to Miss Casey's jig from O'Neill's Music of Ireland. It falls below D to make it a challenge for flutes, but there are many excellent flute versions that find a way around it. It is used by the brilliant fiddler Kevin Burke in his excellent online tutorials.

Castletown Connors
A jig in E Dorian with many names, including "The Forget Me Not," "The Galway Miner's," "Ned Coleman's," "O'Connell's Welcome To Parliament," and "Tommy Mulhaire's." In one reference, Tommy Mulhaire, father of great box player Martin Mulhaire, is credited as the author.

Whistling Postman
Jig in D, also called Charlie Mulvihill's, after the great New York born box player, but it is not clear if he wrote it or learned it from his father, a concertina player from County Limerick. It is also sometimes called "The Kerry Jig." We will play it in D but it is often played in other keys, and John Carty taught it in G on the fiddle.

The Cock and the Hen
Slip jig in F# minor or sometimes B minor, also known as "Cathal McConnell's" (by Lunasa), "Dennis Ryan's," or "Doodley Doodley Dank." Cathal McConnell is a flute player and founding member of the Boys of the Lough, and on their album, he named it "Dennis Ryan's" in a slightly altered setting. Dennis Ryan was a fiddle player from County Offaly.

Humours of Derrycrossane
Slip jig in G major (sometimes played in D major), with various spellings, often paired with "Hardiman the Fiddler." Derrycrossan is a small hamlet in County Monaghan, just south of the Ulster border, with a population of 13 in the last census. The term "Humours of" always precedes a place name in the title of a tune, and has always been a curiosity. Brendan Breathnach, author of "Folk Music and Dances of Ireland" says the word in a title denotes character, mood and exuberance of spirit. It has also been described as a whim, fancy or caprice. In current vernacular this tune could be called "The Vibe of Derrycrossane."

Chanter's Song
This modal march was collected by Edward Bunting from an E. Shannon, Esq. in 1839 and was published in Bunting's 1840 volume "The Ancient Music of Ireland." Since the melody is contained in one octave, it can be played on early bagpipes, suggesting that it may be a very old piping tune.

South Wind
The likely author of this song (An Ghaoth Aneas in Irish) is "Domhnall Meirgeach Mc Con Mara (Freckled Donal Macnamara)" according to O'Sullivan's "Songs of the Irish" (Crown, New York, 1960). Allegedly he wrote it in the 1700s about his homesickness for County Mayo. The song's Irish words ask the wind from the south to blow to the north, where the author once lived, to "give the taste of my mouth to that country." Edward Bunting collected the tune from a musician identified as "Poor Folk." It is often played as a waltz in G major.

For additions or corrections to the website, please send email to .