Tommy Coen tunes

Tommy Coen tunes

I know of two well known reels that were composed by Tommy Coen - now called Christmas Eve and the Cottage in the Glen but I have read (Fiddlers Companion I think) that he composed myabe half a dozen or so. I stumbled across another on this site - called Tommy Coen’s No 2 (in Gmin) which I hadn’t seen before.

Does anybody have a full list of his tunes - and is there any agreed numbering (as I have seen the Cottage in the Geln refrerred to as Tommy Coen’s No 2 also

I think the Cottage in the Glen is one of the best tunes I have heard so I’m hoping that some of the less well known Tommy Coen tunes may be really good too

Re: Tommy Coen tunes

The tune is not actually called ‘Cottage in the Glen’. De Dannan recorded it and called it ‘Cottage in the Grove’, it was probably jackie Small who applied that name. There’s a tune under that name in O’Neill’s ‘Waifs and Strays’ that has a passing similarity (but no more than that) to the Tommy Coen one.

Christnmas Eve was used as a name after a broadcast , on Christmas Eve., on the radio during the fifties. it was not the name the composer used.

The Meelick Team is a jig TC composed and it has done the rounds for a long time under all sorts of other names. There are a few more.

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Re: Tommy Coen tunes

This tune: https://thesession.org/tunes/558 is one of my favourites. Dow in the notes reckons it was composed by Tommy Coen and called Coen’s Memories. It’s called that on the Mulcahy Family’s cd Reelin’in Tradition (what a lovely cd that is), and on the cd Music at Matt Molloy’s it’s called Tommy Coen’s but the link on the cd track listing on this site leads to this different tune: https://thesession.org/tunes/5246

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In regard to "The Meelick Team", I thought it was composed by Eddie Kelly of East Galway. It’s definitely been called "Eddie Kelly’s" on occasion and maybe that’s where I’m getting confused.

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You’re probably right, I may well have had a brainfart this morning

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Re: Tommy Coen tunes

‘The Meelick Team’ is indeed composed by Eddie Kelly. And a mighty tune it is too.

Re: Tommy Coen tunes

The A minor versions of Coen’s Memories are sometimes associated with the Caseys, Bobby, Scully, and Thady, and recorded as the Crosses of Annagh. Though the tune is also played in E minor, most of the musicians from East Galway and East Clare recorded it in G minor. Watch Mary MacNarama and Martin Hayes play the tune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TABSf0AcdVQ Claire Keville recently recorded the composer’s version of the tune on her solo recording.


Sean Moloney from Ballinakill, East Galway recorded another of Tommy Coen’s compositions, which is called the Drill of Mangles. I’ll transcribe it in a week or so if I’m not too busy.

Re: Tommy Coen tunes

Thank you slainte - that clip is 2.5 minutes of perfection.

Re: Tommy Coen tunes

I can add a bit to slainte’s post, the tune was referred to as ‘The Crosses of Annagh’ because it was played there a lot when Junior Crehan, Josie Hayes, Michael Downes, Pat Kelly and Paddy Kelly played and that group played at The Crosses of Annagh during the seventies. This is what Kitty Hayes told me, she said they didn’t have a name for the tune so they christened it after Nell and Jimmy Gleeson’s pub while they were playing there. The group followed Nell and Jimmy when they sold the Crosses and took over the Gleeson family home and opened the pub and shop there. Molloy/peoples called it The Crosses as well I believe.

Bobby Casey did play the tune but I think associating it with Scully and Thady is maybe a bit fanciful.

Martin Rochford played the tune on both the pipes and fiddle (notice the connection to Felix Doran’s version there) and showed me how he played it in three different keys on the fiddle.

Kitty Hayes and myself played the tune a lot, she linked it up with the Caoilte Mountain, another one Martin Rochford gave me at some point. She had it from the radio, Martin Hayes playing it. He too got it from Rochford, it would be interesting to find out who composed that one.

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Re: Tommy Coen tunes

Thank you Professor for the first-hand info. I just read about the link between the Caseys and the tune in the notes of Paul O’Shaughnessy and Paul McGrattan’s recording "Within a Mile of Dublin." London-based veteran musicians Liam Farrell and Joe Whelan recorded the tune and named it after Raymond Roland.

I’ve just found another of Tommy Coen’s reels Sean Moloney recorded is pretty much like a version of Julia Delaney’s. I’ll try to transcribe yet another of Tommy Coen’s reels, which Claire Keville recently recorded.

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I’d be interested the Julia Delaney sound-alike. I have a version of JD from Rochford with a lovely second part on it and it would be interesting to compare. Martin had those Coen tunes and other tunes from that area, although I think Julia Delaney as we know it is pretty much a Tommy Potts invention (but then, he too left traces in East Clare during the 40s and 50s).

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It actually sounds like Maude Miller on a chromatic scale. I’ll try. But if it’s too much for me, I’ll send the file to you, "Professor."

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That could be the Julia Delaney that’s in O Neill’s. Which I believe is where Potts started off from.

Rochford stayed close to the regular first part but departed from that for the turn, which is much nicer actually the way he did it.

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