The Keel Row strathspey

Also known as Cat’s Got The Measles, The Cat’s Got The Measles, The Devil’s Fling, Jennie’s Frolics, Johnny When You Die, Keel Row Fling, The Keel Row Fling, The Keel Row Highland, Keelrow, The Keelrow, Kielrow, The Rag Row, Smiling Polly, Some Say The Devil Is Dead, Weel May The Keel Row, Weel May The Kiel Row, Well May The World Go, Yorkshire Lad, The Yorkshire Lad.

There are 32 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with Green Grow The Rushes (lots of times), The Devil Is Dead (a few times), Monymusk (a few times), The Drops Of Brandy (a few times) and Durham Rangers (a few times).

The Keel Row has been added to 3 tune sets.

The Keel Row has been added to 185 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Thirteen settings

X: 1
T: The Keel Row
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
A |B<GB>G c2 A>c | B<GB>B A>FD>c |\
B<GB>B d2 d>c | A<FA>F G2 (3edc |
B<GB>G c>BA>c | B<GB>B A>F D2 |\
B<GB>G d2 d>A | A<FA>F G>FG>A ||
B<dd>d e2 d>c | B<GB>B A>FD>A |\
B<dd>d e2 d>c | B<GA>F G2 G>A |
(3Bcd d>d (3efe d>c | B<GG>B A>F D2 |\
B<dd>d e<AB>d |(3Bcd e>f (3gag e>d |]
X: 2
T: The Keel Row
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: d>c |B2 G>B c2 A>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |
(3BcB G>B (3cdc A>c | B<GA>F G2 :|
|: d>c |B<dd>g e2 d>c | B2 G>B A<FD>c |
[1 B<dd>g (3ege d>c | B<GA>F G2 :|
[2 (3Bcd d>g e<cd>c | B<G (3AGF G2 |]
X: 3
T: The Keel Row
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: c/ |B2 G>B c2 A>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |\
B2 G>B c2 A>c | B>GA>F G2- G3/ :|
|: D/ |B>dd>g e2 d>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |\
B>dd>g e2 d>c | B>GA>F G2- G3/ :|
X: 4
T: The Keel Row
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: c | B2 G>B c2 A>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |B2 G>B c2 A>c | B>GA>F G2- G3 :|
|: c | B<dd>g e2 d>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |B<dd>g e2 d>c | B>GA>F G2- G3 :|
X: 5
T: The Keel Row
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: B2 G>B c2 A>c | B2 G>B A>F D2 |B2 G>B c2 A>c | B>GA>F G4 :|
|: BdBd e2 d>c | B2 A>G B>G D2 | BdBd e2 d>c | B2 A2 G4 :|
X: 6
T: The Keel Row
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|: a/g/ | f2 d>f g2 e>g | f2 d>f e>c A2 |
f2 d>f g2 e>g | f>de>c d2 f/a/ :|
|: a/g/ | fafa b2 a>g | f2 e>d f>d A2 |
fafa b2 a>g |1 f2 e2 d2 f/a/ :|2 f2 e2 d3 ||
X: 7
T: The Keel Row
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|: a>g |f2 d>f g2 e>g | f2 d>f e>c A2 |\
f2 d>f g2 e>g | f>de>c d2 :|
|: f<a |f>af>a b2 a>g | f2 e>d f>d A2 |\
f>af>a b2 a>g | f2 e2 d2 :|
X: 8
T: The Keel Row
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: d>c |B2 G>B c2 A>c | B2 G>B A>F D2 |\
B2 G>B c2 A>c | B>GA>F G2 :|
|: B<d |B>dB>d e2 d>c | B2 A>G B>G D2 |\
B>dB>d e2 d>c | B2 A2 G2 :|
X: 9
T: The Keel Row
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: c/ |(3BcB G>B c2 A>c | (3BcB G>B A>F D2 |\
(3BcB (3GAB c>DA>D | B>GA>D G2- G3/ :|
|: c/ |B<d d2 (3efe d>c | B2 G>B A>F D2 |\
B<d d2 (3efe d2 | B>GA>D G2- G3/ :|
X: 10
T: The Keel Row
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
d>c |B2 G>B c2 A>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |\
(3BcB G>B (3cdc A>c | B<GA>F G2- G>d |
B>G (3GGG c>A (3AAA | B>G (3GGG A>F D2 |\
B2 G>B c2 A>c | B>GD>F G2- ||
G>c |B<dd>g e2 d>c | B2 G>B A<F D2 |\
B<dd>g (3ege d>c | B>GA<F G2 d>c |
(3Bcd G>g e>Gd>G | B>D (3GAB A<FD>c |\
B>d (3def g>de>c | B<dD>F G2 |]
X: 11
T: The Keel Row
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: c |B2 G>B c2 A>c | B2 G>B AF D>c |
B2 G>B c2 A>c | B<G A<F G3 :|
|: d |B<d d>g e2 d>c | B2 G>B AF D>c |
B<d d>g e2 d>c | B<G A<F G3 :|
|: "Variation 1" d/c/ |\
Bd GA/B/ ce E>G | FA DE/F/ G/A/B/c/ d/e/f/g/ |
Bd GA/B/ ce E>G | FA DE/F/ G3 :|
d |Bd g>f ed cB | cB AG FA A>d |\
Bd gf ed cB | ce dF G3 d |
Bd g>f ed cB | c/d/B/c/ A/B/G/A/ FA A>c |
Bd ^ce df eg | fb a>^c "D.C." d3 |]
|: "Variation 2" c |\
(3Bdg (3GBd (3cea (3ABc | (3Bdg (3GBd (3FAd D>d |
(3Bdg (3GBd (3cea (3ABc | (3Bed (3cBA G3 :|
|: d |(3BGB (3 dBd (3gdc (3BAG | (3FDF (3AFA (3dAG (3FED |
[1 (3BGB (3dBd (3gdc (3BAG | (3Fed (3cBA G3 :|
[2 (3EFG (3FGA (3GAB (3ABc | (3Bcd (3^cde d3 |]
|: "Variation 3" c |\
B/G/B/d/ g2 c/A/c/e/ a2 | B/G/B/d/ g/d/B/d/ c/A/F/A/ D/F/A/c/ |
B/G/B/d/ g/d/B/d/ c/A/c/e/ a/g/f/e/ | d/g/d/B/ A/e/d/F/ G3 :|
|: c |Bd de/f/ g/f/g/a/ b>B | cA/B/ c/B/A/G/ F/G/A/B/ A>c |
[1 B/G/A/B/ c/d/e/f/ g/f/e/d/ c/B/A/G/ | Fe dF G3 :|
[2 Bd ^ce df eg | fb g^c d3 |]
"to finish" ^c/=c/ | B2 GB c2 A>c | B2 G>B AF Dc |
B2 G>B c2 A>c | B<G A<F "FINE" G3 |]
X: 12
T: The Keel Row
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amaj
d|c2 A>c d2 B>d|c2 A>c B>GE>d|c2 A>c d2 B>d|c>AB<G A2 A:|
|:d|c<ee<a f2 e>d|c2 A>c B>GE>d|c<ee<a f2 e>d|c>AB<G A2 A:|
X: 13
T: The Keel Row
R: strathspey
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|: G>A |B2 G>B c2 A>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |
B2 G>B c2 A>c | [1 B>GA<F G2 :| [2 B>GA<F G2 c2 |]
|: B<dd>g e2 d>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |
B<dd>g e2 d>c | [1 B>GA<F G2 c2 :| [2 B>GA<F G2 |]

Forty-two comments

Paddy Joe Gormley -

Chatting about Fermanagh fiddlers - "All played the fiddle from the breast (chest) or shoulder (into the shoulder, not under the chin). Some played from the belly, older fiddlers."

I had several different ending from Paddy over time, but as you can’t use a ‘less-than’ symbol in this area I’ll give them in a group of headers:

|B
d e
d|Bd||

- - -

B
d ed|(3Bcd e>f (3gag e>d||

- - -

|ef g/a/g/f/ g>e||

I came across ‘The Keel Row’ all over Eire, and was surprised to not find it one site. I did try a number of arrangements in three different keys, as I’ve come across and have recordings of it in ‘G’, ‘D’ and ‘A’. There are a lot of variants and I’m sure there will be some collecting here, and I suspect I’ll be adding a few. The tune has quite a history and I know of it being used for Morris dancing as well as having at least half a dozen lyrics attached to it over time.

http://www.mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=7682

The tune goes back a ways… Despite that Scottish feel, and it being known as a Highland/Fling/Highland Fling in Eire, it is claimed by Northumberland and the Tyneside (the song)…

|:d>c|
B2 G>B c2 A>c|B2 G>B A>FD>c|
(3BcB G>B (3cdc A>c|B*GA>F G2:|
|:d>c|
B*dd>g e2 d>c|B2 G>B Ac|
1 B*dd>g (3efe d>c B*GA>F G2:|
2 (3Bcd d>g e*cd>c|B*G (3AGF G||

Because of the problem associated with the ‘less-than’ symbol being read as an HTML command in this field, I’m using an asterisk, ‘*’, in its place…

As you’ll see above, where accidentally a ‘less-than’ symbol was missed, everything that follows it up to the next symbol just disappears… Here’s the corrected copy, another version as I have known and played it:

|:d>c|
B2 G>B c2 A>c|B2 G>B A>FD>c|
(3BcB G>B (3cdc A>c|B*GA>F G2:|
|:d>c|
B*dd>g e2 d>c|B2 G>B A*FD>c|
1 B*dd>g (3efe d>c|B*GA>F G2:|
2 (3Bcd d>g e*cd>c|B*G (3AGF G||

& Paddy Joe’s tempo - approximately 175 bpm…
(& that last ‘G’ immediately above should have read ~ G2||)

Cats measles

Its also known in the south-west as "The cat’s got the measles"

Tune that is USUALLY played before/after The Keel Row?

Eh? Eh? EH?!

Cheers indeed!
Armand

Re: Tune that is USUALLY played before/after The Keel Row?

What key do you play the Keel Row in?

Posted by .

Re: Tune that is USUALLY played before/after The Keel Row?

I wish you would take this thread seriously dk3658, I was thinking more along the lines of front door key :-)

Posted by .

Re: Tune that is USUALLY played before/after The Keel Row?

No it’s a Chubb - or generously proportioned, if you don’t want to offend :-)

Posted by .

Re: Tune that is USUALLY played before/after The Keel Row?

My, that a big one!

Posted by .

Re: Tune that is USUALLY played before/after The Keel Row?

Nae Luck About the House / The Keel Row

Re: Tune that is USUALLY played before/after The Keel Row?

I play it in GGGGGGGGGGG. Or G.

Re: Tune that is USUALLY played before/after The Keel Row?

what about bogan lochan? that’s the one i have usually heard before it. in D.

This one appears in a some of the old manuscripts as "a reel". It’s always considered to be a Tyneside tune (as well as song) but I dunno - it’s very flingy and Scottish-sounding… Anyway, regardless of its origins, it’s been part of both traditions for a very long time.

Re: Tune that is USUALLY played before/after The Keel Row?

Armand,

There is no tune that is "usually" played with the Keel Row because the Keel Row’s basically a song rather than a tune that goes in any particular set. You could put it with something if you wanted though. It really depends on how you play it. If you play it as a single reel, then you could play it with something like "Anything For John Joe" (the one in D). If you play it like a fling with heavy swing, then you could put it with any highland fling/schottische - there are plenty on this site but they’re scattered all over the place - mostly in the barndance or strathspey sections.

The version I know is like one of the ones you’ve given here in the comments, ‘c’:

X: 1
T: Keel Row, The
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: fling
K: Gmaj
|:c|B2G>B c2A>c|B2G>B A>FD>c|
B2G>B c2A>c|B>GA>F G3:|
|:c|B*dd>g e2d>c|B2G>B A>FD>c|
B*dd>g e2d>c|B>GA>F G3:|

All Star Ceili Band plays the tune in D

X:9
T:The Keel Row
C:As played by All Star Ceili Band (transcribed by Miklos Nemeth)
M:4/4
L:1/8
Q:1/4=160
K:D
a/g/|:f2d>f g2e>g|f2d>f e>cA2|f2d>f g2e>g|f>de>c d2f/a/z:|fafa b2a>g|f2e>d f>dA2|fafa b2a>g|1f2 e2 d2f/a/z:|2 f2 e2 d3z|]

On the casette http://www.regorecords.com/allstarceilb.html the band plays the tune in D as a barndance/hornpipe.

Confusion of names again ~

Hey, this is great, I enjoyed the carry on up above.

Basically, I know, I’m repeating myself for the umpteenth time, the ‘highland fling’ is swung, sometimes skipped, akin to the Strathspey, and 16 bars, more usually with a 2 to 4 measure second ending for the B-part, but it is also all in the dance, of which there used to be several, from solo stepping to couple, to 3 and 4 hand, and even up to the quadrille and other formations… It has often become a reel where the dance was no more, a good melody persists and they do make damned nice single reels on the whole, but not every single reel makes a nice fling… Even the old farts, however great they were with their music, forgot names and origins and forms, whatever the influences working on them…

Spongebob?!?

Its a funny thing, I happened to have Spongebob Squarepants on a few days ago and, I heard a concertina playing in the background a familiar little tune, of which I did great research on and it came out to be this tune. I wonder now if the other sea chanties they play as background have the same traditional origin…

It wouldn’t surprise me, since it’s a show with a nautical theme… 8-)

"The Keel Row" & "Green Grow the Rushes O’" swing well together…

“The Keel Row” ~

now that < works, here’s the other transcription at the top, corrected, cleaned up and repeated with the less than (<) symbol in place ~

X: 2
T: Keel Row, The
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: strathspey
R: highland fling
K: Gmaj
|: d>c |\
B2 G>B c2 A>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |
(3BcB G>B (3cdc A>c | B<GA>F G2 :|
|: d>c |\
B<dd>g e2 d>c | B2 G>B A<FD>c |
[1 B<dd>g (3ege d>c | B<GA>F G2 :|
[2 (3Bcd d>g e<cd>c | B<G (3AGF G2 |]

“The Keel Row” ~ a duplication that persists, good comments!

Submitted on July 18th 2009 by tallship.
https://thesession.org/tunes/9755/comments

X: 5
T: Keel Row, The
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: highland fling / highland schottische
K: Gmaj
|: c |\
B2 G>B c2 A>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |
B2 G>B c2 A>c | B>GA>F G3 :|
|: D |\
B>dd>g e2 d>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |
B>dd>g e2 d>c | B>GA>F G3 :|

“The Keel Row” ~ Dow’s contribution from above…

X: 3
T: Keel Row, The
N: # Posted on June 13th 2005 by Dow
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: fling
K: Gmaj
|: c |\
B2 G>B c2A>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |
B2 G>B c2A>c | B>GA>F G3 :|
|: c |\
B<dd>g e2 d>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |
B<dd>g e2 d>c | B>GA>F G3 :|

“The Keel Row” ~ ‘The All Star Ceili Band’ ~ G & D

~ minor adjustments, but basically still Miklos’ transcriptions…

X: 4
T: The Keel Row
S: As played by All Star Ceili Band (transcribed by Miklos Nemeth)
N: # Posted on November 9th 2005 by nemethmik
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
Q: 1/4=160
K: GMaj
|: d>c |\
B2 G>B c2 A>c | B2 G>B A>F D2 |
B2 G>B c2 A>c | B>GA>F G2 :|
|: B<d |\
BdBd e2 d>c | B2 A>G B>G D2 |
BdBd e2 d>c | B2 A2 G2 :|

X: 4
T: The Keel Row
S: As played by All Star Ceili Band (transcribed by Miklos Nemeth)
N: # Posted on November 22nd 2005 by nemethmik
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
Q: 1/4=160
K: DMaj
|: a>g |\
f2 d>f g2 e>g | f2 d>f e>c A2 |
f2 d>f g2 e>g | f>de>c d2 :|
|: f<a |\
fafa b2 a>g | f2 e>d f>d A2 |
fafa b2 a>g | f2 e2 d2 :|

I think those BdBd-s & fafa-s work better swung ~ B>dB>d & f>af>a…

“The Keel Row” ~ a bit more fun with this one, and options

X: 5
T: Keel Row, The
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: highland fling
K: GMaj
d>c |\
B2 G>B c2 A>c | B2 G>B A>FD>c |
(3BcB G>B (3cdc A>c | B<GA>F G2- G>d |
B>G (3GGG c>A (3AAA | B>G (3GGG A>F D2 |
B2 G>B c2 A>c | B>GD>F G2- ||
G>c |\
B<dd>g e2 d>c | B2 G>B A<F D2 |
B<dd>g (3ege d>c | B>GA<F G2 d>c |
(3Bcd G>g e>Gd>G | B>D (3GAB A<FD>c |
B>d (3def g>de>c | B<dD>F G2 |]

From the FARNE website:

"The Sandgate area referred to in the song was a riverside district of Newcastle. The Sandgate, from which the area takes its name, stood on the main traffic route between Shields and Newcastle. This gate and the old city wall to which it was attached gave the area a somewhat segregated feel to the rest of the town, and even after the gate and wall were pulled down it still retained a feeling of semi-independence. The area was the most densely populated in Newcastle and was dominated by the keelmen and their families. Keelmen were the largest male occupational group in Newcastle and were employed in ferrying coal from the staithes to the ships and wharves. The keelman’s labour, however, was physically punishing and many were unfit for work by the time they reached their forties. The ‘row’ referred to in the song was infact the giant oar used by the keelmen in times of poor wind or adverse tide."

X: 11 “The Keel Row” ~ and played that way as a set of variations

B: "The Charlton Memorial Tune Book", Alan Hall & W.J. Stafford, 1956, pages 24 & 25
N: Shield’s variations
N: Adjusted from 2/4 to 4/4

I’ve experienced a few derailments of sessions by nut cases that insisted on playing such things - by the book, variation after variations, and not understanding why others dropped out as the variations continued and, as here, went off the mark, in my opinion. I never cared much for dancers that did something similar, starting with some basic steps and progressively getting more and more complicated, never mind the music. They could have done the same thing with a metronome as their basic beat. Both approaches, to music and to dance, are O.T.T., but there are all kinds of ‘traditions’ in the world and I don’t know of any rule that we have to like them all. I’m quite happy there’s no more guillotining going on…

In a ‘concert’, OK! In a session? ~ at the least not more than once in an evening, please, out of respect of the general purpose of a session, to ‘share’ the music in a collective fashion…

12th Setting in A

From The Cape Breton Scottish Collection from Cranford Publications. Can be played easily in A cross (AEAe) or as the book says ‘raised bass’ tuning.

The Keel Row, X:13

Setting as played at the Golden Guinea pub session, Bristol, UK.

The Keel Row - The Lyrics of the Song

As I came thro’ Sandgate,
Thro’ Sandgate, thro’ Sandgate,
As I came thro’ Sandgate,
I heard a lassie sing:

"O, weel may the keel row,
The keel row, the keel row,
O weel may the keel row
That my laddie’s in."

‘He wears a blue bonnet,
Blue bonnet, blue bonnet,
He wears a blue bonnet
A dimple in his chin.

"O, weel may the keel row,
The keel row, the keel row,
O weel may the keel row
That my laddie’s in."