The J.B. reel

By J. Murdoch Henderson

Also known as The J. B., J.B.’s, J&B, The JB.

There are 13 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

The J.B. has been added to 6 tune sets.

The J.B. has been added to 83 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Three settings

X: 1
T: The J.B.
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gdor
|:Bddc BGGF|DGGA Bcdc|Bcdc BGGe|fF F/F/F AFcA|
Bcdc BGGF|DGGA Bcde|f2cf egce|facf AFFA:|
|:Ggga bagf|dBBc BcdB|Ggga b2ab|c'bag fFAF|
Ggga bagb|agfe fac'a|gabg fdcB|ABcd BG G/G/G:|
X: 2
T: The J.B.
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Bdor
K: F# dorian
|:{AB}c2 c{=dc}B AFFE|CFFG AecB|{AB}c2 c{dc}B AFFd|eEEG BAGE|
{AB}c2 c{=dc}B AFFE|CFFG ABcd|dHeBe dfBd|e/f/g Be GBEG:|
|:Fffg {gg}agf{gf}e|HcAAB ABcA|Fffg {ggag}agfa|{ga}bag{ag}f eEGE|
Fffg {fg}agfa|{ga}gfed egbg|fgaTf ecBA|GABc A/G/F GE:|
X: 3
T: The J.B.
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emaj
A/B/ccB AFFE|CFFG ABcd|e2Be dfBd|e/f/g Be GBEG:|
|:Fffg agfe|cAAB ABcA|Fffg agfa|bagf eEBG|
Fffg agfa|gfed egbg|fgaf ecBA|GABc AFFE:|

Ten comments


tune requested by binioubraz.
Source: Sean Keane : “The Fire Aflame”
Transcription: g.m.p.

Recorded by Alasdair Fraser

One one of his earlier albums, possible Skyedance. I think he plays it in F#min


This is an old highland (Scottish) tune, written in Fsharp minor.

The “J.B.” Reel

Composed by Scottish music lover James Murdoch Henderson in 1932 and published in his book Flowers of Scottish Melody. If I remember rightly, it was also recorded by Jonny Hardie and Gavin Marwick. The “JB” in question was James B Paterson, a headmaster at Cullen, “a perfivid Scot; cultured musician; friend of James Scott Skinner”.


The version on Altan’s Runaway Sunday is in F# Dorian, what key should I learn it in, does anybody play this at sessions?

The J.B., X:2

Beautiful setting played as a slow air by Jonny Hardie on OBD’s “New Tricks”, c. 96 bpm. Sustain for maybe half a beat longer on the pauses if you’re including them.
I heard this tune for the first time (I thought) just this past week, really loved it, and transcribed it soon after. I was browsing my library for sessionable material earlier, and was surprised to see a familiar name in an Altan set. Glad it’s not totally obscure.

The J.B., X:3

From the playing of Alasdair Fraser and Paul Machlis available here:

Fraser and Machlis’ version is in F# Dorian (nice exercise for flute keys G#, Eb and C#: thanks Conical Bore for the suggestion!), however this key seems to be unavailable when choosing the key for a new setting here, so I put E Major in the abc, which gives the same key signature as F# Dorian.

Re: The J.B.

Altan has a deadly set on the album “Blackwater,” featuring this reel after opening with another popular Cape Breton-Scots reel… great set to play with, but fairly epic; you must stretch first! The repeating of the tunes is 3x-2x-2x-4x

Clan Ranald (aka Nine-Pint Coggie),
Paddy Mac’s (by Ciarán Tourish)
Kitty Sheain’s

Re: The J.B.

“This is the tune used by Jim Malcolm to write his very moving song, Jimmy’s Gone to Flanders.”

Jim Malcolm must have picked the tune up from the Old Blind Dogs (1992) recording because, in the song, he includes the line “And we’ll coax him tae his fiddle, Jimmy, gie’s the Bonawe Highlanders” (Old Blind Dogs followed The J.B. Reel with The Bonawe Highlanders). Pretty neat link, I think.