The Fairhaired Boy reel

Also known as Fair Haired Boy, The Fair Haired Boy, The Fair-Haired Boy, The Joyful Hour, Micho Russell’s.

There are 20 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with The Fox On The Prowl (a few times).

The Fairhaired Boy has been added to 3 tune sets.

The Fairhaired Boy has been added to 71 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Three settings

X: 1
T: The Fairhaired Boy
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
~A3G FGAB|=cAdc BG~G2|ABAG FAde|fdec Add2:|
~f3d e2de|~f3d ecA2|~f3d e2de|fdec Add2|
~f3d e2de|~f3d edcB|ABcd efge|~a3g fdd2||
X: 2
T: The Fairhaired Boy
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
~A3G FGAB|=cAdc BG~G2|ABAG FAdg|fdec Add2:|
~f2df efde|~f2df ecA2|~f2df efde|fdec Add2|
~f2df efde|~f2df ecA^G|ABcd efge|afge fdd2||
X: 3
T: The Fairhaired Boy
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
c | ABAG FGAB | =cAdc BG G2 | A z AG FGAe | fdec Addc |
A2 AG FGAB | =cAdc BG G2 | A z AG FGAe | fdec Add ||
g | f2 df efdg | f2 df ec A2 | f2 df efdg | fdec Addg |
f2 df efdg | f2 df ec A2 | ABcd efge | ageg fdd ||

Eight comments

Really nice tune, seldom played

I learned this one from the Cathal McConnell pennywhistle course. I think it is associated with the playing of Micho Russell. It’s a terrific tune to play at a medium tempo with a bit of lilt. Very satisfying. Triplet figures would also fit quite nicely into a few places to give a little extra bounce, if that suits you. It would probably make a fabulous concertina tune.

I just noticed this being played on an old private recording of New York fiddlers Lad O’Bierne and Louis Quinn.

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Fair-Haired Boy - the reel

Here’s the way Michael Hynes plays it on the recording he made with Dennis Liddy called, ‘Waifs And Strays (Traditional Irish Music From County Clare)’.

X: 1
T: Fair-Haired Boy, The
S: Michael Hynes
Z: Jack Gilder
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Dmaj
~A3G FGAB|=cAdc BG~G2|ABAG FAdg|fdec Add2:|
~f2df efde|~f2df ecA2|~f2df efde|fdec Add2|
~f2df efde|~f2df ecA^G|ABcd efge|afge fdd2||

Another “Micho Russell’s”

This appears to be the tune played on the Molloy-Keane-O’Flynn album "Fire Aflame" they list as "Micho Russell’s. A search for a reel named Micho Russell’s on TheSessions gives back many different tunes of that name — which only have in common the name itself!

The Fairhaired Boy, X:3

As played by Gavin Whelan on his album In Full Flight (2009). As others did (noted above) he calls it "Micho Russell’s".

Re: The Fairhaired Boy

It’s also on the album Shifting Gravel by Four Men and a Dog (1993), and they too call it "Micho Russell’s". Mike Rafferty played the tune and called it "The Joyful Hour" (see the book Second Wind, 300 More Tunes from Mike Rafferty, 2009). It can be found in O’Neill’s Waifs and Stray of Gaelic Melody (1922) in D minor, but in my opinion it has benefitted from the addition of the F#.

Re: The Fairhaired Boy

It should be said that Micho Rusell recorded the tune as "The Fair Haired Boy" on The Russell Family Of Doolin, County Clare (https://thesession.org/recordings/544).

Michael Joseph Russell was born in Doonagore, County Clare on the 25th March 1915. His mother played concertina and his father was a sean-nos singer. At the age of eleven, after hearing a neighbour playing a whistle, he fell in love with the sound and his father brought him one from Ennistymon.

In the 1960s, Tony McMahon invited Micho to play in Dublin, which led to radio and television appearances, and Breandan Breathnach noted down hundreds of tunes from his playing. He went on to play around Europe and recorded quite a few albums. It’s a testament to his influence that so many tunes are simply known as "Micho Russell’s".