The Old Bush reel

Also known as The Bush, Captain Rock, The Long Hills Of Mourne, The Ould Bush.

There are 119 recordings of this tune.
This tune has been recorded together with

The Old Bush appears in 5 other tune collections.

The Old Bush has been added to 171 tune sets.

The Old Bush has been added to 917 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Nine settings

X: 1
T: The Old Bush
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|:d^c|A2GA cA~A2|d^cde fdec|A2GA cA~A2|dfed cAd^c|
A2AG cAA2|d^cde ~f3g|af(3gfe fde^c|dfed cA:|
|:Ag|eg~g2 edcd|efge c3d|eg~g2 a2ge|dfed cAAg|
eg~g2 ag~g2|efge defg|af(3gfe fde^c|dfed cA:|
X: 2
T: The Old Bush
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
A2 GA cA ~A2|d^cde fdec|A2 GA cAGA|dfef cAdc|
A2 GA cAGB|Add^c defg|(3agf (3gfe fde^c|dfed cA A2||
eg ~g2 edcd|efge ~c3 d|eg ~g2 afge|dfed cA A2|
eg ~g2 ag ~g2|fgfe defg|(3agf (3gfe fde^c|dfed cA A2||
X: 3
T: The Old Bush
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
AAGA cA A2|dcde fdec|AAGA cA A2|dfed cAdc|
A2 GA cA A2|dcde fd (3efg|afge fdec|dfed cAdc|
{G}A2 GA cA A2|dcde fdec|A2 GA cA A2|dfed cAdc|
{G}A2 GA cA A2|Dcde fd (3efg|af (3gfe fdec|dfed cA A2||
eg g2 ed (3Bcd|efge c3d|eg g2 afge|dfed cA A2|
eg g2 ag g2|fdec defg|af (3gfe fdec|dfed cA A2|
eg g2 ed (3Bcd|efge c3d|eg g2 afge|dfed cA A2|
eg g2 agbg|fd (3Bcd ed (3efg|af (3gfe fdec|dfed cAcd||
A3B cA A2|(3Bcd de fdec|A2 GA cA A2|(3Bcd ed cAdc|
ADGA cA A2|Dcde fd (3efg|afge fdec|dfed cAdc|
{G}A2 DA cA A2|Dcde fdec|A2 DA cA A2|DdcA GcAG|
A3B cA A2|D2 de fd (3efg|af (3gfe fdec|dfed cA A2||
g3e dG (3Bcd|efge c3d|eggg aage|dfed cA A2|
eg g2 agbg|fded (3Bcd fg|af (3gfe fdec|dfed (3Bcd ef|
g3e dG (3Bcd|efge (c4|c)fge fage|dfed cA A2|
eg g2 agbg|fd ed (3Bcd (3efg|af (3gfe fdec|dfed cAcd||
gA GA cA A2|Dcde fdec|ADGA cA A2|ADGA (3Bcd BG|
A2 GA cA A2|(3Bcd eA fA g2|abga fgef|dfed cAdc|
{G}A2 GA cA A2|(3Bcd de fdec|ADGA cA A2|(3Bcd ed cAdc|
GAAB cA A2|D2 de fd (3efg|df (3gfe fdec|dfed cdef||
g3e dG (3Bcd|efge (c4|c)fge g2 fage|dfed cA A2|
eg g2 agbg|fded (3Bcd fg|af (3gfe fdec|dfed cA A2|
eg g2 ed (3Bcd|efge c3d|eg g2 abge|dfed cA A2|
eg g2 agbg|fded (3Bcd fg|af (3gfe fdec|dfed cAdc||
X: 4
T: The Old Bush
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
A2GA cA~A2|d^cde fde=c|A2GA cA~A2|dfed cAdc|
A2GA cA~A2|d^cde ~f3g|afge fde^c|1 dfed cAdc:|2 dfed cA~A2||
|:eg~g2 edcd|egge c3d|eg~g2 afge|dfed cA~A2|
eg~g2 ag~g2|egge defg|afge fde^c|1 dfed cA~A2:|2 dfed cAdc||
X: 5
T: The Old Bush
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
(3EFE DE G~E3|A^GAB ~c3d|ec (3dcB cAB^G|AcBA GE:|
|:Ed|B~d3 BAGA|BcdB G3A|B~d3 e2dB|AcBA GEEd|
B~d3 e~d3|BcdB ABcd|ec (3dcB cAB^G|AcBA GE:|
X: 6
T: The Old Bush
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
A2GA cA~A2|d^cde fded|A2GA cA~A2|dfed cAdc|
A2GA cA~A2|d^cde ~f2fg|afge fde^c|1 dfed cAdc:|2 dfed cA~A2||
|:eg~g2 ed^cd|efge c3d|eg~g2 afge|dfed cA~A2|
eg~g2 ag~g2|~f2fe defg|afge fde^c|1 dfed cA~A2:|2 dfed cAdc||
X: 7
T: The Old Bush
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|:d^c|A2EA ^cA~A2|d^cde fde^c|A2EA ^cA~A2|dfed ^cAd^c|
(3ABA EA ^cAA2|d^cde ~f3g|afge fde^c|1 dfed ^cA:|2 dfed ^cA A2||
|:eg~g2 ed^cd|efge {B}c3d|eg~g2 afge|dfed cAA2|
eg~g2 ag~g2|effe defg|afgA fde^c|1 dfed ^cAA2:|2 dfed ^ced^c||
X: 8
T: The Old Bush
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|:A2 GA cA A2|d^cde fde=c|A2 GA cA A2|cded cAdc|
A2 GA cA A2|d^cde f2fg|afge fded|1 cded cAdc:|2 cded cA A2||
|:eg g2 edcd|efge c2cd|egg2 agge|cded cAA2|
egg2 agge|f2fe defg|afge fded|1 cded cAA2:|2 cded cAdc||
X: 9
T: The Old Bush
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
|:A2 GA cAAA|~d2 de faed|A2 GA cAAA|dfed cAGc|
A2 GA cAAA|~d2 de fffg|afge fae^c|1 dfed cAGc:|2 dfed cAAe||
|:~g2 gg ec ~c2|ecge c2 cd|eg gg afge|dfed cA Ae|
~g2 gg ag gg|eggg defg|afge fae^c|1 dfed cAAe:|2 dfed cAGc||

Thirty-five comments

Source: Willy Clancy
Transcription: G.M.P.

I love this tune!

Me too. Sounds lovely and dark on the flute.

Old Bush

A real classic - surprised it hasn’t been posted before. A great favourite with pipers.

Kenny has it right. Its a classic.

Tune name

The Old Copperplate and The Old Bush are two different tunes, both great reels

“the old bush” . guitar chords

Hi all
I’m looking for backing chords for “the old bush”.

This tune goes between A mixolydian and A Dorian - the D is just the first note.

Captain Rock

This title was given to the tune on a recording by Michael Coleman and Galway flute player Tom Morrison.

Nice tune. Below is a version quite similar to Martin Hayes’ open and spacious treatment on “The Lonesome Touch”.
T:The Old Bush [1]
T:The Long Hills of Mourne
N:printed settings include CRE I 105, O’Neill’s DMI 781
N:(“Captain Rock”) and Petrie’s “Complete Collection” no. 907
R: reel
Z:Transcribed by Paul de Grae
A2 GA cA ~A2 | d^cde fdec | A2 GA cAGA | dfef cAdc |
A2 GA cAGB | Add^c defg | (3agf (3gfe fde^c | dfed cA A2 ||
eg ~g2 edcd | efge ~c3 d | eg ~g2 afge | dfed cA A2 |
eg ~g2 ag ~g2 | fgfe defg | (3agf (3gfe fde^c | dfed cA A2 ||

Backing chords

when not paying attention (you know, someone throws it into a set in the middle of session and when the set is done you ask, “what was that third tune you played?” “Oh yeah, the Old Bush”), I tend to want to back this tune playing A modal or minor chords in the A part and E chords on the B part. But Ged Foley and Dennis Cahill (appears that is what Dennis is playing in slainte’s link above) both taught it to me playing D modal chords in the A part and A chords in the B part. it just seems one of those tunes that defies specific chordal logic - and is all the btter for it IMHO.

I too tend to hear the A part in A modal, going to a D major chord. As for the B, I start on a C major and move up to D major (it looks like Cahill is doing something similar in the video, I think--it looks like he moves up to a D shape on the 10th fret as the second chord in the B section).

The first two measures of the B spell out a C major chord all over the place. Just another example where conventional progressions don’t fit some of these tunes (whether those are harmonic or modal progressions).

On their album *Soulstice*, Todd Denman and Aniar play “The Old Bush” in Dmajor under the name “The New Bush.”

Posted by .


The C natural that comes out in the second part is so expressive. Love it every time.

In response to a request in discussions, here are some chords for this tune: For the version seen in the sheetmusic:

|:Am - - - | D - - - |Am - - - | D - - - |
Am - - - | D - - - | D - - - | D - Am - :|
|:C - - - |C - - - |C - Am - |D - Am - |
C - - - |A(m) - D - |D - - -|D - Am - :|

N.B. A(m) indicates that either a major or minor chord can be used, according to taste.

For the alternate setting posted by Drone above, the last line needs to be altered thus:
C - - - |D - - - |D - - -|D - Am - :|

For an alternative accompaniment to the A part, you can stay on a D5 (D, but omitting the 3rd) chord throughout.

On the descending ‘staircase’ run in the penultimate bars of the A and B parts, you could elaborate, thus:

D G D A |
D A D G |
D Em D/F#2 - |

As for the alternative A-part accompaniment, the final bar of the B-part could use D5 throughout.

These are just a few out of many possibilities. Perhaps others will offer their chord choices.

Taken from
here are Tony O’Rourkes chords. They show perhaps less of the ear-twisting influence of classical, jazz, pop and funky modern trad backers than my convoluted effort above:

"I’m using zookman’s computer but it’s Tony O’Rourke here. I often play a D without the F or F# in it and refer to the chord as D Undefined.
My chords for Old Bush are something like this:

D C/ D / D C / D C / D C / D / D /D C //(1ST PART)
C / C G/ C /C Am/C /D /D /D C//(2ND PART)
I learnt the tune from a recording by banjo player Liam Farrell in a band called Le Cheile, with Raymond Roland on accordeon.
Tony O’Rourke"

(Sorry all for the recent Cormac binge…)

Tommy Potts playing on The Liffey Banks album is very expressive. In Breathnach it is shown as collected from his father piper Sean Potts. Called the Long Hills of Mourne. Great tune. I seem to remember the tune is like a song tune , possible the Hll of the Hawthorns in Irish

Jarlath Henderson’s Version

Love this version of The Old Bush by Jarlath Henderson. This is pretty close to what Jarlath is doing.


What are the two tunes after it on The album?

for me the best of these guitar vids of the Old Bush is the one where Arty McGlynn is picking
the melody -listen to John Doyle’s version of the tune with McCusker and McGoldrick, not sure if its on YouTube but well worth looking for

Re: The Old Bush

This tune appears under the heading ‘Captain Rock’ in O’Neill’s (No.781).
I was intrigued by the name (which sounds so appropriate for this tune!) but
never looked it up.
As it turned out, years later, the name turned up again, both in relation to the Irish National Museum collections and a history book published on the subject of the 1820’s rebellions and this Robin Hood of the Romantic era; Captain Rock!
Read for yourself;

Re: The Old Bush

Bizarrely, if you enter ‘Captain Rock’ in the tunes search box on this website nothing comes up. And yet the name appears both as an alternative title to The reels The Old Bush & The humours of Ballyconell (An Captaen Roc)

Re: The Old Bush / Captain Rock

《“Captain Rock” was originally a nickname given to one Paddy Dillane of Shanagolden,
Limerick, who with thrown rocks drove off labourers come to work on behalf of Alexander
Hoskins, a particularly cruel agent of the landlord William Courtenay (himself almost a
parody, it seems, of a feckless absentee landlord). Dillane was later behind the fatal shooting
of the agent’s son.
In the disturbed times, “Captain Rock” soon began appearing on threatening notices to
landlords, agents and others all across the south of Ireland. The Rockites wanted rents,
tithes and taxes down and no evictions.》
Quoted from;

The Old Bush, X:7

This is a setting I got off a recording of boxplayer Eamon Flynn from Mountcollins, Co. Limerick. Eamon was recorded some time in the ’50s to my knowledge. Here’s hope I remembered it right -- haven’t listened to the source recording in ages. You can pick the key on this one. I enjoy playing it.

For the B/C box players out there, Eamon really leans into the B “grace note” as he transitions to the C natural to accentuate that the key has shifted in the second part of the tune. I find it particularly fun myself. Try using the push B on the outside row for added effect.