The Mother And Child reel

Also known as The Yellow Cow.

There are 22 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with Big John McNeil (a few times), The Broken Pledge (a few times), Poll Ha’Penny (a few times) and The Primrose Lasses (a few times).

The Mother And Child appears in 1 other tune collection.

The Mother And Child has been added to 14 tune sets.

The Mother And Child has been added to 177 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Two settings

X: 1
T: The Mother And Child
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:cAAB cdeg|fdec dcAB|cAAB cdeg|1 fdec d2ed:|2 fdec d2ec||
X: 2
T: The Mother And Child
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:c3A cded|fded cAAB| c3A cded|fdec d3e|
c3A cded|fded cAAe|f2ec dfed| cABc d4||

Nine comments

Submitted in response to a request. This reel was originally a song which comes in different versions. On Arty McGlynn and Nollaig Casey’s "Lead The Knave" it is known as "The Yellow Cow". This name came about because one of the verses in one of the versions can be translated as:

I wish I had a yellow cow, a yellow cow, a yellow cow,
I wish I had a yellow cow,
And welcome from my darling.

The chorus translates as:

And Oh, I call to thee, I call to thee,
And the love of my heart art thou,
And Oh, I call to thee, I call to thee,
And thou art the fair child of your mother.

This is a type of song called a "dandling" that would have been sung by a mother to her child. This tune is therefore known by some as "The Mother And Child Reel", e.g. Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill: "The Lonesome Touch", and one of the Danu albums, the title of which I can’t bring to mind.

Yellow cow

thanks, dow, for posting the tune. i have the other tunes from arty’s set and wanted to work up the whole thing on guitar. dont

Posted by .

If you want a transcription of the exact version played by Arty McGlynn, it’s on Henrik Norbeck’s site.


This feels more like A mixolydian than D - it seems to centre on A rather than D

Posted by .

No, it’s D. The start of the 1st part and beginning of the 2nd part have an A chord tho’.

The Mother And Child, X:2

As played on the Mary Staunton album "Bright Early Morning". The B section is a bit different, in particular with the phrasing in the 1st and 2nd bars. The "cded | fded" bit threw me for a loop, it doesn’t seem particularly idiomatic until you hear it played, but it really makes the tune stand out.

Re: The Mother And Child

Ian, thanks for posting that. Just to be clear, the transcription from Mary Staunton’s recording was done by my friend Mike Gregory, Grand Forks, ND. I gave Ian a copy of Mike’s transcription and Ian was kind enough to share it here. If he tweaked anything, you’ll have to check with the recording, or ask him, but he didn’t list anybody as transcriber in the headings to the abc. Thanks again, Ian.