The Horse’s Tale

By Zoe Conway

  1. Sport
    Petticoat Loose
  2. The Drunken Sailor
    Colonel Frazer’s
  3. Wild Strawberry Hill
    The Horse’s Tail
  4. George Peoples’
    Sean Sa Cheo
  5. The Smiling Bride
    The Handsome Young Maidens
  6. A Ghaoth Andeas
  7. Planxty Joe Burke
    Kitty Gone A Milking
  8. Dannan’s
    The Scordisae
  9. The Blackbird
    Jenny’s Welcome To Charlie
  10. Doogary Crannog
    Sraid Na Cathrach
  11. Westlin’ Winds
  12. Hugh Gillespie’s No 2
    The Baker’s
    The Calgary
  13. The Ballydesmond
    The Belles Of Ballinderry
    The Hot Scone
  14. The White Deer
    Diabolo Lyon
  15. The Shetland Fiddler
    Round The House And Mind The Dresser
    The Contradiction
  16. Wild Strawberry Hill
    The Horse’s Tail

Eleven comments

Tara CD 4018, released 2006. With Steve Cooney (guitar), Robbie Harris (bodhran), John McIntyre (guitar) and Lisa Conway (fiddle).

I like this cd but prefer her previous one

How can you prefer her old one?

How can ye prefer her old one
Come on Cousin ZOE!!!!


I’m only joking I like her first CD as much as this one and I’m not really her cousin 🙂

Gan Ainm Track 4

Does anyone have a name for the first reel on track 4?

Track 12

T:Hugh Gillespie’s No.2
S:CD, Zoe Conway, The Horse’s Tail, 2007
Z:Nigel Gatherer
E>A | c2 c>BA>c | e2 e2 B>c | d>cd>fe>d |c>e a2
E>A | c2 c>BA>c | e2 e2 B>c | d>cd>BGB |1 B>AA>F :|2 B>AA ||
ga>g | f2 d>fd>f | f>ec>ec>e | d2 B>dB>d | c>e a2
a>g | (3faf d>fd>f | f>ec>ec>e | d>cd>BG>B | B>AA :|

Dear Listener,

This album was recorded on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of June 2006. We recorded in a beautiful restored barn in Omeath, Co. Louth, Ireland overlooking Carlingford Lough and The Mourne Mountains. I wanted to create a recording that would be as natural sounding as possible and that would make the listeners feel that they were in the same room as the musicians. I also wanted to capture the spontaineity and magic of people playing "Live" together, so we simply sat in a circle and played. There were no overdubs, no headphones, no clicktrack and no safety nets! of course there are some blemishes and imperfections, but hopefully these will fade into the background and the spirit of the music will shine through. Special thanks to Steve, Robbie, John and Lisa who trusted me and were good enough to risk recording like this.

1. Spórt (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)
Petticote Loose (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

These are two very old traditional tunes. They are also two of the most melodic jigs I know.

2. The Drunken Sailor (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)
Colonel Frazers (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

These are two of my favourite tunes. The first is a slow mournful piece and the second is a popular old piping reel. I am playing the more unusual five part version of the reel.

3. Wild Strawberry Hill (Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd),
The Horse’s Tail (Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

The first tune here is one I wrote a few years ago and promptly forgot about, but recently found again in an old manuscript! The name ‘Wild Strawberry Hill’ comes from the place where my granny lived - we used to collect the tiny wild strawberries in margarine tubs as children. The second tune I wrote recently at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annamakerrig. The hair from the horse’s tail is the raw material used to make violin bows. The fiddle is tuned to E’ A E A, + there is a mixture of spicato (bouncing the bow) and both left hand and right hand pizzicato.

4. Ril Gan Anim (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)
Sean Sa Cheo (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

Two great session tunes. The first I couldn’t find a name for anywhere (and I tried every musician in my phonebook) and the second I learned from the late Donnacha O’Briain

5. The Smiling Bride (C Lennon / IMRO)
The Handsome Young Maidens (C Lennon / IMRO)

These are two lovely jigs written by the gifted composer, Charlie Lennon. I must give Lisa, my sister, the credit for the harmony line!

6. A Ghaoth Andeas (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

This is one of Turlough O’Carolan’s many beautiful melodies. I recently came across the words in the Irish Traditional Music Archive. the author was a native of Irrul, Co. Mayo called Domhnall Meirgeach Mac Conn Mara (Freckled Donal Macnamara),

7. Planxty Joe Burke (C Lennon / IMRO)
Kitty Gone a Milking (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

Another great tune first from Charlie Lennon, followed by an old traditional tune.

8. Dannan’s Reel (Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)
The Scordisae (Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

I wrote the first tune for my wee scamp of a nephew, Dannan, and the second tune is named after the Celtic tribe who founded Belgrade and other Balkan areas.

9. The Blackbird (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)
Jenny’s Welcome to Charlie (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

I learned this slowair off the fiddle player Nicholas McCauliffe and folowing it is possibly my favourite reel of all time - Jenny’s Welcome to Charlie.

10. Doogary Crannog (Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)
Straid Na Cathrach (Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

My mother was brought up on the shores of Doogary Lough in Co. Armagh, and this name is from the island fort or crannog in the middle of it. Straid Na Cathrach is the Irish for Miltown-Malbay. There is an annual festival there called Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, and I have been to it every year of my life so far!

11. Westlin Winds (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

I learned this Robert Burns song off Len Graham and I have always loved the simple melody.

12. Hugh Gillespie No. 2 (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)
The Baker’s Reel (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)
Mark O’Connors (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

This set starts with a lilting Donegal mazurka and then continues into a Scot Skinner tune from Scotland and finishes up in America with a bluegrass tune that I learned from Cathal Hayden.

13. The Ballydesmond No. 1 (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)
The Belles of Ballinderry (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)
The Hot Scone (Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

These are three great polkas. The name of the last one comes from a time when I was on an artists residency in Annamakerrig. I was trying in vain to come up with something, so I went downstairs to the kitchen for a break and the chef was just pulling a tray of hot scones from the oven! The tune came quickly after that.

14. The White Deer (Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)
Diabolo Lyon ( Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

The first tune has a definite Scottish influence + I suspect that it would sound better on the bagpipes! I have named this tune after an adventure that took place while touring with Rodrigo y Gabriella. After being couped up for hours in the car we escaped by scaling a 10 foot fence to catch a glimpse of a white deer! The second tune is a piece I composed while on tour in France. It is in 11/8 and has a breton influence - a little skip on the last beat of the bar.

15. The Shetland Fiddler (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)
Round The House and Mind The Dresser (C Lennon / IMRO)
The Contradiction (Trad Arr. Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

A driving set of reels here - the first was composed by a pipe major from Glasgow called D.S. Ramsey, The second is a Charlie Lennon tune, and the last is a more progressive tune as it goes up to the third position.

16. Bonus Live Track Wild Strawberry Hill (Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)
The Horse’s Tail (Z Conway / Zöe Music Ltd)

This track was recorded live at the fiddle recital, Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy 2006. Special thanks to Martí Joe Sheamuis who drove all over Connemara to get this recording to me on time!

Re: The Horse’s Tail

I think the "Gan Ainm" on Track #4 may have been composed by the late Jimmy McHugh [ RIP ], of Co. Tyrone and Glasgow. I’m sure I’ve heard him and his son Benny play it.

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Re: The Horse’s Tail

Hi Kenny. How’s post-Ballyvourney treating you?

We know that Gan Ainm as Joe Cassidy’s, written I think by Seamus Gibson.


Re: The Horse’s Tail

Hi Jim - slowly returning to what passes for normality around these parts. Thanks for the correction on the tune title. I’m sure I heard Jimmy play it once, and because it’s his type of tune, I jumped to the conclusion that it was one of his own. Good to meet up with you, and thanks for the tunes - we must do it again some time 🙂.
All the best.

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