October 21, 2008 at 10:40 AMIt was a slow evening at the coffee shop, and since it was mostly my friends that comprised my audience, I took things a little more casually with my fiddle paying. With O’Neill’s 1001 Jigs and Reels before me, I had no shortage of repertoire, to say the least. So tonight, rather than playing through the usual fare, I decided it would be more interesting--at least to myself--if I sight read through some new stuff.
The most interesting thing about O’Neill’s jigs is definitely the titles. I often wonder about the stories, long forgotten, that brought about their naming. ...I know. Maybe I could take turns dedicating a jig to each of my friends. With the rosin to the bow, I began.
Paul, this one’s for you, it’s called “The Jolly Old Man”. Paul smiled and chuckled as I played for him. And for Janette, I played “Get Up Old Woman and Shake Yourself”–she laughed as I fiddled along. There’s Joe now, come in from who knows where, with drink on his breath and red on his nose; for him, I play “The Humors of Whiskey”. And for my absent brother, there’s that one called “Tom Steele.” And to the early change of seasons I played “The Frost is All Over” and “The Snow on the Hills”.
At one point, I began a random jig and played it through three times before I began to look for an exit and discovered none existed. It looped until finally I stopped mid-phrase: “There’s no ending to ‘Up and Down Again!’” I cried with a shout. Another I began in a major key and played it through before realizing the key signature had requested minor. This jig was a grump, not a grin! And the title? “Get up Early.” Ha, I should have known...
“This next one reminds me of my parents.” I announced.
“What’s it called”
“Smash the Windows.”
“Hey, do you know Orange Blossom Special?”
“Um... no. This next jig’s called ‘Another Jig Will Do.’”
The flitch of Bacon. Mixing the Punch. The Barronstone Races, and First of March. Denis Delaney and Doctor O’Niell, Drive the Cows Home, the Maid at the Well.
“Evening was Waning”, and soon it was dark. “Happy to Meet You and Sorry to Part!”
I like Kitty's Rambles.
Here are some names of fiddle tunes that I like. The Muckin' of Geordie's Byre (The Cleaning of Geordie's Horse Stable"), Sally with Mud between Her Toes, Cherish the Ladies, Dill Pickle Rag, Give the Fiddler a Dram (measure of alcoholic beverage), Going to Jail, Jock Broke da Prison Door (and escaped), Whisky before Breakfast (dedicate that to someone you really like), The Ale is Dear (The Ale is Expensive), Faroe Rum, The Iron Man, Snoring Mrs. Gobeil (I wonder who she was), Rights of Man, You Married My Daughter and Yet You Didn't (I wonder what that means), Bonaparte Crossing the Rocky Mountains, The De'il's Awa with the Excise Man (The Devil's Away with the Tax Man), Sail Away Ladies, Shoot the Turkey Buzzard, I love My Love in Secret, Devil in the Kitchen (dedicate it to a fellow cook)...It would be fun to go on and on with this.
It must have been fun pairing the tunes with the people you know. It was a good idea for a really fun gig.
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