Would normally be played in A major but played in G by the kilfenora c
Far and away the best known name for this tune is Big John McNeill’s, certainly in Scotland, and I’m pretty sure it is Scottish in origin. There is another quite different tune called "Lord Ramsey’s" - I think Joannie Madden might have recorded it. Scottish fiddlers would usually play it in A with all the G notes sharp. I’ve heard a version of it in Ireland in A but with the Gs natural - the Dubliners used to play it that way, and possibly De Danann. First time I’ve encountered it in G.
I’m pretty sure Big John’s is a Canadian tune. I will make an effort to back myself up with some solid facts and get back to you…
This is almost identical to John McNeill’s reel (Big John McNeill) but, as Kenny says, the key is different. I’ve always believed this to be a Scottish tune composed by Peter Milne who certainly usually gets the credit for it back home.
"Big John McNeil"
Big John McNeil
Key signature: A Major
Submitted on October 1st 2002 by MichaelBolton.
Lord Ramsey/Big Joe McNeill’s
I learnt this reel at the Fleadh Cheoil in Listowel, Co. Kerry. in 1981 from a Canadian fiddler who called it Big Joe McNeill’s, so I’ve always thought it is from Canada. But the version I was taught has an A minor first part that must be played twice, and a A major second part that must be played only once. There were other two people with me, Massimo Greco, a banjo player from Rome, and an English fiddler named Dominick something who then lived in Milan, but I met him again in Umbria last summer (2006). Massimo, this Dominick and me were the ones who spread this tune in Italy, so if you hear this version in Italy put the blame on us.
Hi, all fiddlers:
Do any of you have a particular fingering for playing the B part of this tune, especially the first phrase (I play a triplet instead of the roll, incidentally)? Do you slide up to third position? Or do you just bend or flatten your third finger down from the G to the d and use your pinky for the e? Include the bowing, too, if it’s relevent.
If you respond, email me to let me know that you did.
Another version in G
One of Jimmy Mullarkey’s favourites:
G,2B,D EDB,D|GDB,D EDB,D|G,2B,D EDB,D|GEDB, A,2B,A,|
G,2B,D EDB,D|GDB,D EDB,D|C2EC B,2DB, |1 A,B,CD EDB,A,:|2 A,B,CD EFGB||
|:dG~G2 dGeG|dG~G2 FGAB|dG~G2 gfed|cA=FA c2Bc|
dG~G2 dGeG|dG~G2 FGAd|gfed edcB|1 AGFG ABcA:|2 AGFE DCB,A,||
Lord Ramsey reel versus Big John MacNeil
It seems to me on the two tunes the A parts are nearly identical but the B parts are distinctly different? I have always thought Big John was a Canadian tune — most of the better known fiddlers up there play it. I’d never heard of Lord R until I read this on Sessions. I wonder if John is maybe a Canadian alteration of Lord?
Re: Lord Ramsey
I am surprised that the recording "Meiteal" by Stephen Cooney & Seamus Begley is not on the list.
Re: Lord Ramsey
It’s in the DB, alright, but track 5b leads to the first tune called Lord Ramsey (the same tune, I believe):