From a New England collection. This is one of those beguiling reel tunes that is spoiled by too much speed.
There is also a slightly ornamented version in O’Neill (#1261), apparently credited to Francis O’Neill.
This is the first tune I ever learned. It remains one of my favorites. The tune is usually played at an even pace, but the Chieftains kick it up on Water From The Well with the Kilfenora Ceili Band. Laurence (Larry) Nugent plays this tune slowly with a Bb flute on The Windy Gap album. He also calls this tune The Windy Gap.
I was always under the impression this was a Shetland tune. Does anyone know for sure?
Dow - I can’t say I’m any surer than you are, but as far as I know it does originate from shetland. Like a number of other Shetland tunes, it has become integrated into the repertoire of many Irish players, but it is surprising that it was being played by Irish musicians - and Chicago Irish musicians, at that - as early as Francis O’Neill’s time.
I first heard this tune paired with a song called Johnny Somethingorother (the chorus starts "Weep nae more, my own sweet Jeannie/Lay your bairn upon your knee") performed by Ossian. The song has a similar melody, which they sing, and then kick up the tempo to perform "Far From Home." I looked it up in O’Neil’s, and was pleased to find it there in more or less the same version as the record.
It’s Johnny Todd
it’s Johnny Todd, peformed by Ossian, with additonal words by the late Tony Cuffe
This tune goes great with the Banshee, too.
PJ Hernon plays the tune as Patsy Hanley’s
PJ Hernon plays this tune on his B/C button accordion instruction video under the name Patsy Hanley’s.
Also played in A.
Isn’t it a shetland tune?
Far From Home
There is an impression that this tune is from Shetland, but as far as I can see there is no evidence for that. I think there are two reasons for this misconception: 1) The Boys of the Lough and Tom Anderson recorded it in a set of Shetland reels, and 2) it SOUNDS like a Shetland tune. In my research, its origin is O’Neill.
“New England Fiddler’s Repertoire”
by Randy Miller and Jack Perron, first published in 1983.
Page 86: "Far From Home"
Far from Home
Always liked this tune and I find it hard to play it without throwing in The Green Fields of America after it
In A, par example
Session A9 do a lovely version on their album Bottlenecks and Armbreakers
|:AFEF A3B|c2cB cde2|AFEF A3c|B3c BAFB|
AFEF A3B|c2cB cde2|fefg afed|1cABG A4:|2cABG A2fg|
|:a3f g3e|f3g fece|afec A3c|B3c BAFB|
AFEF A3B|c2cB cde2|fefg afed|cABG A4:|
Far from Home
I think Boys of the Lough are playing c# for that c in the second bar.
Far Frae Hame Correction
In TrevorJenning’s bar 2 of this tune, it shouldn’t go from C# to D, it’s just two Ds.
And there isn’t any C# - the tune’s in "G", so it would be C natural.
Far From Home, X:3
Here is the version published by O’Neill in Dance Music of Ireland - 1001 Gems (1907), p. 99, no. 530.
Great reel that I play since the mid ’70s.
Far From Home, X:4
I learnt this tune from Shannon Heaton so I’ve tried to reproduce her basic version/setting of the tune.
You can listen to it, with a few beautiful variations, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBWqzwiSy2M&list=PLNBgNicF6tU2yX0QV-whW8NuRRuVeAjuC&index=3
Far From Home - O’Neill’s Source for this tune
In Breandan Breathnach’s 1977 preface to a reissue of Francis O’Neill’s 1913 book Irish Minstrels & Musicians; he quotes O’Neill:
"When in California two years before I picked up Far from Home from the whistling of a companion while herding a flock of 3000 sheep on the plains at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Range"
Slainte, Pat Mac Swyney
Los Angeles, California