Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

I have heard that Brendan McGlinchey might have composed the tune but not certain about that. Anyone any ideas?

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Not sure of the composer but I remember someone telling me that he (or she!) also composed a companion reel called ‘The Sinking Plank’.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

It’s not a McGlinchey composition. If you check the cover of the album on which he recorded it you’ll see three tunes are acknowledged to be his compositions, and it’s not one of them. One of its older names is the Rathcroghan Reel, and it’s been around since at least the early 1970s. A floating crowbar is something you’d find in a toilet bowl.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Thank you, Dragut Reis, for that thought to carry into the New Year! And there was me thinking it referred to some kind of saintly miracle. Next you’ll be making outrageous suggestions for the meaning behind other well-known tune titles, such as Boy in the Boat….Oh, you already did!

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

‘A floating crowbar is something you’d find in a toilet bowl’.
But only if you’ve being taken ‘Iron Tablets’
Didn’t come across the name until the late eighties. Old fellow told me he picked it up at a Fleadh In Sligo. The reel that is , not the crowbar!!!!.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

I heard that the title refers to a way of testing recently poured concrete. You lay a crowbar on the surface, and wait to see if it sinks.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

I think I like the concrete story better…

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

I heard from an older box player that spent years in London it was a Finbar Dwyer composition and when he asked about the title replied, "well if a pitchfork can ramble?"

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

In Glasgow it’s usually your adversaries who are tested to see if they float in concrete.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

As someone who’s spent far too much time on building sites I can assure you that the last thing anybody would ever do is to chuck a crowbar on top of ‘recently poured concrete’ and ‘wait for it to sink’. Any experienced builder knows roughly how long it takes for concrete to set and would certainly not throw anything onto the top of it (especially a relatively expensive tool like a crowbar) to test how fast it was setting.

This story is a myth which seems only to appear on traditional music fora and ‘The Fiddler’s Companion’ website. The latter also has some nonsense about an electrical switch.

It strikes me that the tune’s title is far more likely to have originated from some wag like Bobby Casey or Danny Meehan.

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Actually I was disappointed to hear that concrete-setting story. I assumed it was a ribald reference to, er, something stiff that levitates itself….

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

i should mention that the wife of the box player i got the well if a pitchfork can ramble story from played piano on one of Finbar Dwyers recordings so it gives it some credence.

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Well if a pitchfork can ramble a crowbar can ?????

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

I forgot to quash the Dragut Reis suggestion. If he’s defecating turds shaped like crowbars he really does need to see a coloproctologist.

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

You’ve never seen a turd that curled a bit at the end?…

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

I’ve certainly never seen one that looks like this - http://www.fine-tools.com/t307300a.jpg. Mind you, bog-bowl-surveying was never one of my hobbies.

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

"played piano on one of Finbar Dwyers recordings "

Teresa McMahon or Mary Corcoran?

Floating Rathbar. Rathcrow Barfloat.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Can I borrow your crowbar?
Sure — when will I get it back?
In about a half hour.
…….

So where’s my crowbar?
I set it down right here.
I don’t see it at all.
Must be a floating crowbar.
……..

Can I borrow ten pounds?
What now … a ten pound float?

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

A flute player I know Gary Hastings use to play it along with a Tune called ’ The Farting Badger ’ - lol.. but true !
jim,,,

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Crowbars aren’t that expensive. Concrete tools can get pricey, especially when you add up all the trowels & floats needed to finish the job.

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Jim, is ’ The Farting Badger ’ the same one as ’ The Concertina Reel ’ ? It’s in the comments for one of tunes here.

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Pheew! I have to wash my hands, air out the room and spray
something on my computer

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

From the excellent book "Last Night’s Fun":

"Even the new tunes, like ‘The Floating Crowbar’ (I have heard it attributed to the fiddle-player Brendan McGlinchey), corresponded to a neo-Druidic sympathetic magic, where — so the story goes — the forged-steel murder weapon ditched in the river floated to the surface with the blood and hair of the victim still clotted to it. The reel took on the antique connotation of a Grimm’s tale, with its talking horse’s head that revealed the nub of the story in a cryptic rhyme. Mick would tell us tall tales…."

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Someone told me many years ago that it may have been composed by Jimmy McHugh. I have absolutely no idea whether this is so. I certainly first heard it from Glagow musicians.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Dulahan, I too heard this use of the term many years ago on a construction site. The curved bar is a pry bar (or prising bar to the old timers) and the pointed one is a crow bar. This seems to be from the railroad usage
http://www.rrtools.com/catalog/TrackTools9.asp#42

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Huh? It’s not a Donegal or even an Irish name. ‘Crowbar’ is simply the normal name for that particular tool. It’s as normal a word and as descriptive as ‘hammer’.

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

What Ben said. Even I know what a crowbar is and I’m just about the most un-handy person in the world. Would be impressive if one could float.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Wrecking bar around here..

Posted .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Jayz, I really hate people who write as the Royal ‘we’.

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Yeah, what I’m saying, dulahan, is that that’s what I’ve always known as a crowbar. Wherever.

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Thanks for all the info everyone but think I’m more confused than ever now about the origin of the tune.

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Welcome to my world, whistlemad.

I didn’t realize "crowbar" was used to describe the long straight bars. But, I have heard wrecking bar, (fairly common to me) to describe the curved one which can be used for pulling nails. Usually I call the long heavy one simply *bar*. You don’t always want to waste a lot of breath with adectives when there’s work to do. They’re different lengths, and can have different ends depending on what you want to do. Various types & names I’ve heard are pinch bar, digging bar, spud bar. I’m surprised if any are made at 2" diameter. The 5 - 6’ long bars are handtools after all, with some pretty good weight at a bit smaller diameter.

Great story JerryH;
https://thesession.org/discussions/29053/comments#comment617949

Posted by .

Are we pleased with ourselves, dulahan?

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Perhaps dulahan was including my comments, though If you check their member page you will see they are a duo.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

I believe dulahan is having a we joke at MacCruiskeen’s expense…

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Don’t know why you think you may have caused offence, dulahan. You’ve completely confused me now … 😏

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

I’ve always known a crowbar to be one of those cages that you put onto a chimney in order to stop pigeons and crows falling down…never knew it was a D.I.Y. tool! Great tune which I’ve also heard attributed to Brendan McGlinchy and, up till now, I was convinced he wrote it. Now I’m not so sure 😏

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

I always believed it to be composed by Finbar Dwyer. Ritchie Dwhyer lives near me and I occasionally see him. I’ll ask him, he ought to know.

I also knew it as The Rathcrogan (sp?) Reel.

David

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

To add to the confusion: Around here, the heavy straight bar with a point on one end and a chisel on the other is called a pry bar, or pinch bar. The shorter job with the curve and claw is a crowbar. The little version of this is a cat’s paw. My Dad always insisted that the names of the first two tools are the other way around. Can’t shed any light on the "floating" phenomenon. Great name for a tune though.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

It’s a pity this discussion isn’t in the comment section for the tune.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

I think the title is a variance on "The Sword in the Stone" and was written by the metallurgist posing as "The Merry Blacksmith."

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Teresa and Martin macmahon were my source of the tune. She played on oneof Finbars recordings I think. Martin played it with the Crib or Perches my favorite reel. I went home and learned them both that night.

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

I believe that the gentleman asked "Where did you get that tune?"
And the answer was "The Floating Crow Bar."
Or maybe it just appears to float in the air while you look up when dropped at a construction site.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

I also learned it as the Rathcroghan reel. Heard that it was an older tune. My impression is that "Floating Crowbar" isn’t the original name, but a name that came later partly because it’s a bit easier to say and a bit better of a conversation piece.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

I spoke to Richie (brother of Finbar) Dwyer who said it’s one of Finbarr’s compositions. He (Richie) mentioned a Michael McMahon who was present when Finbar composed it.

According to Richie, Finbar has composed around thirty tunes. Some are pretty weird. Michael, another of Richie’s brothers, is another composer of "traditional" tunes.

Richie himself seems to sprout tunes.

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

Michael died in 1996, DavidT,

Posted by .

Re: Who composed The Floating Crowbar?

You mean Michael Dwyer, Scutcher (as opposed the the Michael McMahon I mentioned)? Yes, I knew that. I should have said ‘was’, sorry. I believe Finbar is in a nursing home at the moment, not in good form either. 8(

David