Fiddler’s Fancy: 50 Irish Fiddle Tunes

By Tommy Peoples

  1. The Norfolk
  2. The Queen Of The West
  3. Shaun Maguire’s
  4. Coleman’s
  5. Grainne’s
  6. The Star Of Munster
  7. Mulhaire’s
  8. The Kilfenora Lass
  9. The Boys Of The Town
  10. Bank Of Turf
  11. The Laird Of Drumblaire
  12. The Fisher’s Rant
  13. John Doherty’s
  14. The Morning Dew
  15. Na Connerys
  16. Brian Boru’s
  17. Feargal O’Gara
  18. Sheehan’s
  19. King Of The Clans
  20. The Skylark
  21. Chief O’Neill’s Favourite
  22. The Tailor’s Twist
  23. Dowd’s #9
  24. Ciaran O Raghallaigh
  25. The Lisdoonvarna
  26. The Rights Of Man
  27. Kitty’s Wedding
  28. The Salamanca
  29. The Colliers
  30. The Lark On The Strand
  31. The Eavesdropper
  32. The Musical Priest
  33. The Doon
  34. The Wind That Shakes The Barley
  35. The Maid On The Green
  36. Jackson’s Morning Brush
  37. Jackson’s
  38. The Drunken Landlady
  39. Maudabawn Chapel
  40. Out On The Ocean
  41. The Green Flag
  42. The Echo
  43. Little John’s Hame
  44. Castle Kelly
  45. The Shaskeen
  46. The Corofin
  47. Coleman’s Favourite
  48. Lady Gordon’s
  49. Larry Grogan’s
  50. The Merry Sisters

Fourteen comments

“Fiddler’s Fancy”, by Tommy Peoples

This recording is a companion CD to “50 Irish Fiddle Tunes”, as arranged and played by Tommy Peoples.

The book, together with the CD, is published by Waltons of Dublin, copyright 2003.
The book alone is Order # wm1370,
ISBN 1 85720 149 3.
The CD edition is Order # wm1370CD,
ISBN 1 85720 150 7.

The contents page of the book has a couple of errors:
The Boys Of The Town is CD track 9 (not 8);
The Drunken Landlady is CD track 38 (not 28).
The contents of the tracks listed on this database are correct.

The tunes are clearly and boldly printed, 2 or 3 to the page. Some ornamemts are indicated, but only a few, bearing in mind that the details of Tommy Peoples’ playing defies accurate transcription!

One little quibble about the book’s contents page: each tune is given a page number, but the tunes in the body of the book have their individual numbers (which aren’t listed or used elsewhere) and the page numbers aren’t all that clear, so there is some scope for confusion when looking up a tune.

The book also contains 6 pages of useful information about Tommy Peoples and Irish music.

The CD contains 50 tracks, 1 track per tune. Curiously, the fiddle is always on the right- hand channel and never on the left. The left-hand channel is frequently blank or may contain a guitar or bouzouki accompaniment by Manus Lunny, which, incidentally, is not audible on the right-hand channel. The accompaniment occasionally was a bit too loud for my preference, sometimes necessitating a bit of twiddling of the balance control to bring out the fiddle more.

My personal preference would be not to have any accompaniment on this particular recording (this is certainly not to denigrate Manus Lunny’s fine playing), so that Tommy Peoples’ fiddle playing comes through in all its glory without the distraction of another instrument. If one has the right sort of audio editing software it is easy enough to copy the CD onto a computer, remove the accompaniment and copy the right-hand fiddle track onto the left-hand channel - strictly for one’s own personal listening, obviously.

The tunes are well-known standards - no surprises here, except possibly that some players may not know that “The Corofin” is another name for “The Rose In The Heather”- but all receive the inimitable Peoples treatment and interpretation which is a delight to listen to on all levels.

My thanks to Jeremy for making a quick alteration to the database so that 50 tracks can now be listed (it used to be 40).


Shouldn’t you be complimenting the producer/publisher (rather than complaining) for separating the instruments on two distinct tracks so you CAN listen to one, the other, or a blend of your own choosing? That type of “stereo separation” is so absurd in a disc intended just for listening that it HAS to be intended to maximize the utility as a teaching tool.

Or so ye can play without Tommy and with Manus? :D


Mulhaire’s in G

I found Mulhaire’s in another key, the key of G major, in the Fiddler’s Fancy instruction book. It starts on B before middle C, instead of the F above middle C. I like this version better. I just love the low notes. Here it is, if anyone wants it:
Key: G

|:Bc|d2BG dGBG|dGBG AGDG|AGAB cBcd|eA(3AAA eAce|

Mirror image

I found the photo of TP at the start of the book a bit odd - it appears that he is playing left-handed!

“Fiddler’s Fancy”, by Tommy Peoples

What is unexpected is that close inspection of the photo reveals that Mr Peoples evidently also has his shirts tailored to unbutton on the left …

Tommy Peoples - Fiddlers Fancy

I was listening to this CD again last night and felt distinctly unimpressed. TP’s playing (on this CD) is just not quite my cup of tea but it is the backing that really grates. Fiddle is wholly on right channel and backer wholly on left.

It sounds (to me) as if the backing track has been put down after the fiddle track was recorded - the two seem disjointed somehow. This is compounded by the way in which the LHS (backing track) is ‘switched’ on and off.

I’ve just done so. I’d go along with a lot of it too, but I don’t like the rendition of Laird of Drumblair. It’s just not got that Strathspey feel to it, the triplet runs sound a bit like my playing (LH fingers and bowing strokes just not in sync !) and as for the final double stop - argggh - horrible !

Laird of Drumblair

If you’re after an “incomparably precise” version of LoD’s triplets, then try KevinB on Celtic Fiddle Festival or Bothy Band 1975 - brilliant.

Actually, I suspect Jonny Cunningham had a lot to do with the rendition on CFF.

I must disagree, Domnull. There are many, many ways of playing ‘Laird of Drumblair’ and this is just one of Tommy’s many ways of playing it.

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“Fiddler’s Fancy: 50 Irish Fiddle Tunes” ~ book & CD/cassette

Tommy Peoples & Manus Lunny - on separate channels so the focus can be made either way, or a more preferred balance achieved, such as reducing the accompaniment or eliminating it all together, or if the interest is in the accompaniment - they other way round. Personally, I prefer to completely cut out and ignore the Manus side of it all, going mono and just focusing in on Tommy’s fiddling, which also comes across more clearly and cleanly without the accompaniment track…

Waltons Irish Music, 1 Sep 2011 - book and CD (first edition 1986 - w/cassette)
ISBN 10: 1857201507
ISBN 13: 9781857201505

Side 1 = Tunes 1 - 25
Side 2 = Tunes 26 - 50