Several people have requested this tune, which I’m familiar with only from a web video from the Millenium Stage of the Kennedy Center of a December 26, 2003 performance by Brendan Mulvihill, Billy McComiskey, and Zan McLeod. (Go to http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium/ and search the archives by artist.) I transcribed this based on what I could pick out of Mulvihill’s fiddling, which comes and goes behind McComiskey’s button box.
This is one of Brendan Mulvihill’s own compositions, a punchy little single reel, with a nice syncopation effect in the B part built in to the phrasing.
The end bar of the B part is also played as: |edcB ABcA| or |edcB ABce| and the boys throw some nice variations around in other places as well.
Thanks for posting this one. Definitely one of those tunes that I need to learn but never get around to because I don’t feel like digging through session tapes to find.
So Jason, do you know who Jack Riordan is, and whether I’ve done a hatchet job spelling his name?
This is a class tune. I can see why, as Billy says, this gets well played in the Bawlmer/DC area. Next time you see Brendan, tell him it’s now played in Montana too.
Good on ya Will! Thanks. I was working this out on the flute just this afternoon and so it was great to come home and see it in the flesh. Another great tune!
Haven’t a clue as to who Jack is. Gimme a week or so and I can find out.
So here’s what I found out about Jack Riordan. He was a box player in NYC in the mid 1900s. There is a picture of him with the Yonkers Ceili Club (c. 1960) on Jim Coogan’s site, http://members.aol.com/jimattheboxofc/photos.htm. Jack is the third person from the left in the front row (between the two flute players).
Now, how is he connected Brendan (Mulvihill)? From what I gather, Brendan and Jack were probably in NYC around the same time, and it’s likely that Billy (McComiskey) was around then too. Also, Jack’s daughter Peggy (fiddle player pictured second from the left in the aforementioned photo) was married to Lou Thompson, the gentleman responsible for getting the Irish Tradition (unnamed at the time) together in DC in 1975. Lou essentially became their manager as the group played together for nearly a decade.
So beyond likely having known Jack while he was in NYC, Brendan easily could have traced the line back from Lou to Peggy to Jack, and thus composed this tune in his honor.
FYI, in Baltimore, they play this tune as the first tune in a set with "Money in Both Pockets", another reel in D.
The "Money in Both Pockets" that I speak of is not the jig listed on this site. I’ve found the tune on other sites, but don’t see it listed here. If it is, it’s gan ainm or under a different name. Maybe I’ll get ambitious and post it if it’s indeed not here.
Thanks Jason—good sleuthing. Might it also be likely that Jack and Brendan’s dad were friends? Just a hunch.
On the Kennedy Center video, Brendan and Billy start off with Jack Riordan’s and then go into a tune they don’t name, but which they attribute to Johnny McGreevy of Chicago, either as one of his compositions or his setting of a tune. Is this your "Money in Both Pockets?"
I’ll have to check the clip out again and see. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it. Just gotta get my streaming video to work. Gimme another few days on this one.
LOL, I’ll quit asking so many questions. :o) Take your time Jason, no need to hurry on my part.
I don’t really accomplish much during the week, so if I’m gonna do something, it’s on the weekends. Besides, sleuthing is fun. I learn in the process as well.
Yeah, that second tune is definitely the one I’m talking about.
Ok, the deed is done. I just posted the next tune in the set. Here it is: https://thesession.org/tunes/5186.
Thanks for that, Jason. Great title, great little reel!
The latest (2005) annual post-Christmas concert at the Kennedy Center with Billy McComiskey, Brendan and Zan McLeod has been posted on the Millenium Series site. I was pleased to hear the this set of tunes played again as the final number. Prior to the tune, Billy mentions that he and Brendan were first asked to come down and play music in the Balt Wash area by Peggy Riordan and Lou Thompson (both now deceased) who wanted to bring ITM to the area. Brendan wrote the tune for Jack, who was Peggy’s father and a great fiddler who Billy and Brendan had played tunes with back in NYC in the 50s and 60s.
Thanks for the update winterhawk.
And thank you for asking Will. I often don’t get around to learning the origin of tunes and it feels like a disservice to the music. After all, it’s really a part of the package, isn’t it?
Agreed. And just imagine if *all* trad tunes were as well annotated as this one. If 300 years ago the musicians were writing down what they knew about who wrote a tune, where they learned it from, stories about the subjects of the titles, etc. I’d guess there’d be a lifetime of crack in all that….
Many thanks Will and Jason. I was in the process of learning these tunes from The Kennedy Center site. I like to learn by ear but there was a few bars with a twist or two and the sheet music saved me a lot of time and frustration.
Marvellous tunes !
Slightly different version
hi all, I’m one of the musicians in the DC area and have heard this tune many times—in fact, I just heard Brendan and Billy play the set with "McGreevy’s" Tuesday night. Finally, yesterday I started playing this one, and having done a search I ended up on this page.
I noticed that what we play at sessions in DC is a bit different from the ABC posted here. The differences, mostly in the second part, may seem insignificant, but I’d argue that they aren’t, that in fact they are correct with regard to the tonality of the tune, and in particular the statements of the V chord (A major) in the melody.
So here’s what I have:
T: Jack Riordan’s
dedB AGFD|EFGA B~E3|dedB AGFD|E/F/G AG FDDA|
dedB AGFD|EFGA B~E3|dedB AGFD|E/F/G AG FDD2||
edcA E2ed|cA B/c/d efgf|edcA EFGA|BGEA FDD2|
edcA E2ed|cA B/c/d efgf|edcA gfed|edcB Agfe||
It sounds better going down to that low E.
Brendan Mulvihill includes this tune in its correct and original notation in his tune book Brendan Mulvihill’s Irish Scroll. It is also recorded on the CD that comes with the book.
Who was Jackie Riordan?
He was my mother’s second cousin. Everyone in my family called him Jackie. I never got to meet him but I do remember his daughter, Peggy, in her last years. I used to hide under her dining room table when my mother took me to visit her. My older brothers and sister knew her a bit better.