Here’s a story by Seamus Tansey, from the liner notes in his beautiful "Easter Snow" cd:
"Ah Surely is a very old Sligo reel, played first by a great Sligo flute player by the name of Willie Snee who lived in the hills of Darroon outside Ballymote. Nobody know how Willie Snee had so many tunes stored up in his head. This was the turn of the century before Coleman had gone to America to make records, long before radio or recording studios came to Ireland. Willie would answer quietly that he first heard these tunes from ‘the little people’. The boys however would not believe him. One Sunday there was a great gathering of flute players, the PReston Brothers and many more. They decided to have a contest amont them to find out how many tunes each of them had. The contest went on all day, but in the end Willie Snee won out, playing [this tune]. In admitting defeat, all of them said in tribute ‘Ah Surely Willie, Ah Surely’ and that is how this old reel got its name."
"Willie Snee died, alas, in Sligo while he was heading home. People perhaps thought Willie Snee was mad with his talk about the fairies and so on, but the people then (and now) didn’t understand the close affinity between musicians and the environment. In actual fact maybe Willie Snee was saner than all of them."
Posted on March 4th 2002 by glauber
I’ve been playing the tune like this:
A3c BG~G2|BGBd g2fg|eA~A2 BGBd|egdc BAGB|
A3c BG~G2|BGBd ~g3a|bgag (3efg fa|gedc BG~G2:|
bg~g2 agef|~g3e dega|bg~g2 aged|eaag a2ga|
bg~g2 agef|~g3e dega|bgag (3efg fa|gedc BG~G2:|
Try playing this after the Boys on the Hilltop: https://thesession.org/tunes/1197 The two tunes make a really nice set.
Liz Doherty and friends…….
That’s a lovely story. As this is one of my favourite tunes, I’ll come back to that. Gorgeous. Thanks glauber.
But 😏 how come it is - # Posted on March 4th 2002 by dirk - ???
It’s obviously in G major but doesn’t sound that great over an unchanging G drone, as it happens..
Ah Surely, X:3
My own transcription of Michael Gorman’s great version, with its fairly distinct first part.
Re: Ah Surely
Shanachy records had a lovely version by Andy McGann and Paddy Reynolds with Paul Brady on guitar in the
late 70’s, like so much of my vinyl I don’t have it any more , if anyone could post an audio clip I’d love to hear it again