I’ve played this one for years and was always clueless about the name - just figured it was a sheep with only one horn. Then an old Scottish fiddler I know told me that "one-horn sheep" is a slang term for a still (for making illicit whiskey) - the coil of wire is the "horn". Amazing what you can learn from the old guys…
This is a great old tune - I believe it is Scottish, Aberdeenshire, or around the Buchan area, in origin.
This tune is very well known throughout the Borders and down into Northumberland too.
I didn’t know about the still reference, but illicit distillation of whisky was also carried out at least down as far as Durham at least up till 1900.
The Old Horned Sheep
This is "The Old Horned Sheep" with the alternative title "The Humours of Donnybrook". I am doubtful of claims that it’s a Scottish jig, although it has been known in Scotland for a while. It was played by a bothy band on one of the Scottish Traditions LPs, and they made it SOUND so Scottish that I wonder if that’s the reason?
The Dog’s Tail
recorded by this name on the Evergreen album (https://thesession.org/recordings/display/267), it is dentical to the transcription here except for the last bar, which goes:
1| CBC A2D :|2 A3 A3
Fiddler’s Companion (1)
OLD HORNED SHEEP, THE (An Sean Caor-Adrcac). AKA and see “Bangor Regatta,” "Humors of Donnybrook." Irish, Double Jig. G Major (O’Neill): B Flat Major (Cranford). Standard tuning. AABB.
The melody appears to be an amalgam of two old Irish tunes, “The Humours of Donnybrook” and “Sweet Biddy Daly” (the ‘A’ and ‘B’ parts, respectively). It was first printed in Ryan’s Mammoth Collection (1883) under the title “The Boss.” Donegal fiddler John Doherty played a version he called “The Pet in the Kitchen,” a reference to his fiddle. See also “Original One-Horned Sheep.” Source for notated version: Winston Fitzgerald (1914-1987, Cape Breton), had had the tune from his friend Don Brown who had learned it from O’Neill’s [Cranford]. Cranford (Winston Fitzgerald), 1997; No. 184, pg. 73. O’Neill (O’Neill’s Irish Music), 1915/1987; No. 169, pg. 93. O’Neill (Krassen), 1976; pg. 55. O’Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903/1979; No. 1026, pg. 192. O’Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907/1986; No. 238, pg. 53. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; pg. 108.
T:Old Horned Sheep, The
(3d/e/f/|:g2G GFG|EGG DGG|g2G GFG|EAG FED|
g2G GFG|EGG DGG|EGG FGA|BGG G2:|
|:z|Bdd dBG|Bdd d2G|Bdd dBG|cAA A2c|
Bdd dBG|Bdd def|gfe dcB|ABG FED:|
Fiddler’s Companion (2)
ORIGINAL ONE-HORNED SHEEP, THE. Irish, Jig. G Major. Standard tuning. AABB.
O’Neill (1922) remarks: “An Irish song extolling the many good qualities of An sean caora adarcach in supplying drink, food, and clothing , to her owner, was sung to this air. No. 238 in O’Neill’s Dance Music of Ireland is a sprightly variant” (See “Old Horned Sheep”). O’Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922; No. 120.
T:Original One-Horned Sheep, The
GA | BGG AGG | BGB "tr"c2 A | BGG AGG | BGB "tr"A2 G |
BGG AGG | BGB c2 e | GBd efg | dBG "tr"A2 G :|
|: Bdd dBG | Bdd "tr"d2G | Bdd dBA | GED G2 A |
Bdd dBG | Bdd "tr"e2 d | BcB ABA | GED G2 A :|
A different take on the tune
Mike Rafferty plays this tune (with parts reversed) under the title Sorry to Part. See setting in "Second Wind: 300 More Tunes from Mike Rafferty" compiled by Lesl Harker (2009).
The One Horned Sheep
24 August 2015
There is a discussion thread on the bowing of this jig on
Re: The One-Horned Sheep
Reminiscent of the Jig Of Slurs, too: https://thesession.org/tunes/35
The One-Horned Sheep, X:4
Taken from ‘A Fine Selection of Over 200 Irish Traditional Tunes for Sessions’, compiled by David Speers with a Forward by Matt Cranitch. This setting is similar to X:1, with the runs in the B part starting on G rather than B (if that’s not too confusing!). I’ve seen musicians bobbing up from their seats on the high G’s in the first part - great fun if you’ve got the energy!
The One-Horned Sheep = Pet in the Kitchen
Although it’s been noted in the alternative titles and in the extract from the Fiddler’s Companion, I’m surprised over 14 years n0-one has linked this discussion to https://thesession.org/tunes/3611 The Pet in the Kitchen.
I’m sure Jeremy’s made a positive decision not to count these as duplicates and merge them and I think that’s the right call as PitK seems like a well-established enough variant to be known by its own title but they are unambiguously the same tune near-as-damnit.