Boys of Laoise

Boys of Laoise

I’m currently exploring this on Anglo C/G as it goes down on the dark side to low As. I have found the music in Brendan Breathnach Vol 1 where it is describe as Scottish (Albain) and from a tin whistle player Eamon de Stabatun. Gerdy Commane plays it about the same way on Two Gentlemen of Clare and he ahd been playing for many years.

Is there any early recording? , I understand Andy McGann did it and I’d like to know more about the history of the tune. It is said to be linked to Boys of Leith or Leath( which looks like B.B. just changed the name to Laoise , (which was Queen’s County til quite recent i time ) from 18th C but and also Sic a Wife as I hae Gotten and even Ali Crocker. I also try it as a Strathspey because that feels right. Robert Burns may have written a song to the tune too.

Any help very welcome

Re: Boys of Laoise

Tommy Potts played it. A lot of fiddllers followed, Paddy Canny etc. Not really ‘early’ but by now half a century back I suppose.

Posted .

Re: Boys of Laoise

It appears as "Sr Adam Ferguson’s Reel" on page 13 of "A collection of Scots reels, minuets, etc. for the violin, harpsichord or German flute. Greatly improved", by John Riddell of Ayr (late 18th century).

A recording from 1977 is here:

Re: Boys of Laoise

I made a mistake it’s The Lads of Laoise so that may help!

I read somewhere that Paddy Killoran recorded it in the 40s.

I think if it was in Breathnach Tommy Potts would have got or given it to him, they were friends.

Thanks for the info . Is the Coen Topic LP still available as a CD?

Jack thanks for the fascinating link to Edinburgh and music! The Lads of Leith Tunes are 6/8 jigs ( as in Vickers MS) and don’t sound the same, I wonder how the name shift came about?

Re: Boys of Laoise

Just ordered it thanks.

Re: Boys of Laoise

From the Fiddler’s Companion:

"The tune is the Irish adaptation of the ancestral Scots reel “The Lads of Leith,” and in fact the Irish word Laois is similarly pronounced ‘leash’. The earliest Irish printing appears in Breathnach’s Ceol Rince na hÉirreann (vol. 1) where he identifies it as Scottish in origin. Philippe Varlet says Paddy Killoran was the first to record it around 1945 for the Standard label, in a medley simply titled "Dublin Reels." Despite it being recorded on the influential 1965 Michael Coleman tribute album by Andy McGann, Felix Dolan and Joe Burke, there is no evidence that Coleman ever recorded the reel. McGann’s version is much admired and imitated in North American traditional circles. It appears that another line of influence for the “Lads of Laois” stems from Liberties area, Dublin, fiddler Tommy Potts, somewhat altered to make it his own, although it does not appear in his commercially recorded output. “The Lads of Laois” is occasionally attributed to him (e.g. Mallinson’s Evergreen Irish Session Tunes) although he did not claim it. Fiddler Sean Keane learned his version of the tune from Tommy Potts (according to the liner notes of Molloy, Keane, O’Flynn’s “Fire Aflame” album). Paul de Grae poses the possibility that Killoran, who visited Dublin in the 1940’s, could have met Potts and played with him. Killoran’s “Dublin Reels” titling of the medley that included “Lads of Laoise” (paired with “Martin Wynne’s No. 1”) may also be a clue to the connection, suggests Paul. Kevin Reitman notes there is an acetate recording, unlabled but probably of the playing of New York fiddlers Lad O’Beirne and Louis Quinn, that is contemporary with the Killoran recording (Kevin points out that they followed “Lads of Laoise” with another of Martin Wynne’s tunes, his “No. 2”)."

Re: Boys of Laoise

On Folktune finder Lads of Leith is a reel and the same as Lads of Laoise, On FTF it is also called Sir Adam Ferguson’s and Sic a Wife as I Hae gotten

On Abc notation Lads of Leith is a 6/8 jig and a totally different tune

That’s cleared something up for me. Now to look in Kerr’s Merry melodies

Re: Boys of Laoise

Hi Weejie, those are the same tune and the one’s I was after in working out my version.

I find that many Irish reels seem to derive from earler Scottis Strathspeys and reels. and get smoothed out as they evolve for the local dance or playing styles.

If I’m listening to a tune to get the notes I find it helps to do a strathspey type version

All tunes seem to go back to Shepherd’s Hey anyway!