“A Lifelong Home” ~ Alex Francis MacKay
UK ~ Greentrax: CDTRAX 149, 1997
USA ~ Rounder Records
Alex Francis MacKay ~ fiddle
Gordon MacLean ~ piano
"Alex Francis began playing the fiddle at an early age and because the MacKay family home was a regular stopping point for musicians he met and learnt from many of Cape Breton’s finest players. Of the visiting musicians, those who made the most lasting impressions on Alex Francis were fiddler-composers Dan R. MacDonald (Alex’s first cousin), Dan Hughie MacEachern and Gordon MacQuarrie." ~ Paul Cranford
The Living Tradition ~ review
" ~ if you have an appreciation of authentic traditional music and the required ability to "Stick with it" you will gain reward and much enjoyment from the real "Old Word" feel of "A Lifelong Home"."
"Gaelic in the Bow" ~ Alex Francis MacKay
Track 4, fourth tune — unnamed Dmaj reel
Here is an .ABC transcription of the nameless Dmaj reel that is the fourth tune in the Dmaj set on the fourth track – between Nathaniel Gow’s strathspey "Lady Mary Ramsay" and the reel "Miss Graham."
According to Alan Snyder’s Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index, it appears to have only been recorded (so far…) by Alex Francis MacKay. The harmonic similarities that it shares with "Miss Graham" are salient enough that it makes sense to have begun the reels in the medley with those two adjacent tunes.
I’ve taken care to transcribe both iterations of this unknown reel so as to highlight the subtly snapped rhythmic variations that MacKay used to color each time through the tune, in addition to the differences in melodic contour that he also chose to deploy.
(E<D)DB ADFB | A<FdA BEEF | D/D/D AB ADFB | A<FdA F<DDA, |
D2 DB ADFB | AFdA BEEF | D/D/D AB ADFB | A<FdD F<DDg ||
f2 fd ecdD | F<ADF B<EEg | f2 fd ecdA | BdAD F<DAg |
f2 fd ecdA | BdAF E2 EF | D/D/D AB ADFA | Bdce fd d2 ||
"second time" D2 DB ADFB | A<FdA BEEF | D/D/D AB ADFB | A<FdA F<DDA, |
D2 DB ADFB | AFdA B<EEF | D/D/D AB ADFB | A<FdD F<DDg ||
f2 fd ecdD | F<ADF B<EEg | f2 fd ecdA | B<dAD F<DDg |
f2 fd ecdA | F<ADF B<EEF | D/D/D AB ADFA | Bdca fd d2 ||
Track 13, fourth tune — unnamed Emix reel
Here is an .ABC transcription of the nameless Emix reel that is the fourth tune in the primarily Edor set on the thirteenth track – between Niel Gow’s Edor reel "Dunkeld Heritage" (for which the set is titled on the album) and the ever-popular "Tarbolton Lodge."
I’ve taken care to transcribe both iterations of this unknown, sort-of-double-tonic reel so as to highlight the variation that’s applied by MacKay to the second time through – especially that surprising final bar that sounds cadentially like it’s in straight Emaj!
E2 eB GEBG | F2 dA FDAF | E2 BB EBeg | feBd e/e/e eF |
E2 eB GEBG | F2 dA FDAF | E2 eB GBeg | feBd e/e/e eb |
geBe gebg | fdAd fdaf | geBe gebg | fdBd e/e/e ea |
geBe gebg | fdAd fdaf | gbge fdec | dBAF E/E/E EF ||
"second time" E2 eB GEBG | F2 dD FDAF | E2 eB GBeg | feBd e/e/e eF |
E2 eB GEBG | F2 dD FDAF | E2 eB GBeg | feBd e/e/e ea |
geBe gebg | fdAd fdaf | geBe gebg | fdBd e/e/e eb |
geBe gebg | fdAd fdaf | gbaf gefd | ecBG E2 EF ||