I think this may be the first of Charlie Lennon’s tunes to have been recorded, on an early [3rd ?] “Stockton’s Wing” album. Goes very well on flute.
Frances John McGovern
Kenny, are you sure this is composed by Lennon?
This tune shows up on Damp in the Attic’s CD, ‘I was flyin’ it’ as “Gillespie’s.”
Maybe not by Charlie
radriano,- you’ve got me thinking. I’ve always believed this to be one of Charlie Lennon’s tunes, as I’m sure it was introduced as such by “Stockton’s Wing” at a concert they did in Edinburgh in the early 80s. We also had a session in Aberdeen with an old box player from Leitrim in the mid-80s, who knew Charlie, and we played this tune with him. My recollection is that he, too, said it was one of Charlie’s. It is possible that I may have misunderstood them, and that they were meaning they learned the tune from Charlie rather than he composed it.
The only recording I have of this reel is on the Comhaltas LP “Lucky In Love”. Charlie plays a solo set of 3 reels, and this one is the first. Interestingly, the sleeve notes say that he composed the 2nd* and 3rd**, but not this one. Also, I have a CD which Charlie made entirely of his own compositions, and he plays these 2 reels [ “Road To Cashel* / Charlie Lennon’s #4” **] but not “Frances John McGovern”.
This does lead me to wonder whether or not you may be correct. What do you know about the tune that made you ask whether or not Charlie composed it?
I remember this tune from a Stockton’s Wing recording years back. More recently, it turns up on piper Kieran O’Hare’s solo recording. I really like this tune a lot, but it rarely gets much play in my neck of the woods. Can’t say that I know who composed this piece, however.
Frances John McGovern
Hi Kenny. I have the “Lucky in Love” album too so I was thinking of those liner notes but I’ve never heard anyone attribute “Frances John McGovern” to Charlie Lennon. I also have the Lennon tunebook “Musical Memories” that does not include this tune. I realize that the tunebook doesn’t contain all of Lennon’s compositions but it does have “Road to Cashel” and “Charlie Lennon’s # 4” in it. I have also heard that “Road to Cashel” was not written by Lennon - the tune appears under the name “The Chesnut Tree” in some older collections. Of course I have no proof for any of this - that’s why I asked if you are sure, maybe you know something I don’t.
I recall having this one on a Stockton’s Wing recording many years ago which has unfortunately gone AWOL! It would have been played as a slow reel before Lucy Campbell played at normal speed. Interestingly the tune sounds quite a bit like “the Old Torn Petticoat” although the “B” part is different. I used to know the tune as Joe Bann’s although I’m not sure where this title originated from.
The Primrose Road (reel)
Another tune from Cathal McConnell’s first recording. He cites a Fermanagh fiddler called Edward Curran as the source. I suspect it’s a cousin of The Primrose Lass.
I suppose these two tunes are more sister and brother than cousins. In fact I believe this is only a different version of the Primrose Lasses.
Yes, but certainly not an identical twin of the Primrose Lass.
By the way, Edward Curran would be an uncle of famed Altan citternist Ciaran.
That’s an interesting discovery. I’ve passed through Charlie Lennon’s birthplace Kiltyclogher several times, and know it’s located on the border between Leitrim and Fermanagh. The version I transcribed is from Fermanagh man Cathal McConnell. So, now we can conclude this tune is not Charlie Lennon’s composition but a traditional tune played around the area.
According to Fiddler’s Companion, it’s a north Leitrim version of the Old Torn Petticoat. Don’t know if that’s true but I see Bannerman noticed the similarities too.
Foinn Seisiún 3
On Foinn Seisiún 3, it’s listed as “Joe Bane’s.” (track 70)
This is just the Old Torn Petticoat, but with B2 instead of c2 for the opening note.
I think you may be short of a note or two in bar 5 in the second part there. Looks odd and sounds odd in the midi playback.
Re: Frances John McGovern
PS - I seem to remember the accordion player I mentioned above when I posted this was called Phil Rooney. I think there’s a branch of Comhaltas in Co. Leitrim or possibly Sligo which is named after him. Funny how things can come back to you - I also seem to remember, when we mentioned “Frances John McGovern”, that Phil said something like, “Ah, the blacksmith”.
Just had a look in Fintan Vallely’s “Companion To Irish Music”. No mention of Frances John McGovern as an entry, but his name turns up associated with Ben Lennon, who apparently “learned much .. from pipes, fiddle and flute player John McGovern”. Not guaranteed to be the same person, but I’d say it’s a fair bet.
Re: Frances John McGovern
A bit more information about Francis [sic ] John McGovern from the sleeve notes accompanying the CD “Drumshanbows” by Ronan Regan and Irene Guckian :
“Francie John McGovern was a stone-mason and talented musician from Aghoo, West Fermanagh, who married and settled in Kiltyclogher in North Leitrim. He was a tasteful whistle, and flute player, fiddler and piper who enjoyed lilting while working and imparting much wisdom about the music and our musical history. The great fiddle master Brian Rooney and celebrated singer Rosie Stewart both cite Francie John as a hugely important influence on their music”.
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