This is another great tune from John McCusker, who has written many fine tunes.
I think this sound better played fairly quickly, as indeed John does on his first album ‘John McCusker’, Temple Records COMD2059.
You beat me to it. This is one of my favorite McCusker tunes. He
taught it to a master class that I watched once (only advanced players
were allowed to participate to keep the class small). He changed some
8th note pairs into triplets (for example, the first 2 notes - fa - in
the 4th bar and the 12th bar - sorry, I don’t know how to do the
ABCs). For those fa pairs, he would do fga instead. Also, he pushed
the class hard on attacking the triplets (all except the EFG at the
end of the 8th bar - that is more of a pickup and it was done in one
bow and smoothly). He used short bows and had the class pick the bow
up off the string and then aggressively go after the notes. And he did
this tiny little pause right before the triplets (from picking the bow up?), that would set them off from the rest of the tune. This added something to the tune that I liked alot. Also, it does sound better faster - when he
played it in the concert the next day, he screamed through it and it
Another tune of his that is very beautiful is a slow reel named after
two friends of his Xeres and Felicia (or something like that). I
will try to put it into ABCs if I can remember all of it.
Frankly, my dear
This is a very very cool tune indeed.
I play it on the flute in G the first time around, and then take it up a step to A: it’s a thrilling change, like getting a vitamin B injection or something 🙂
I keep meaning to learn this but the B-part keeps stopping me in my tracks. There’s something about the really obvious syncopation of it that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The A-part’s nice though. Everyone else at my session loves it, purists and funkies alike, so I guess I’ll have to learn it eventually anyway.
Oh do cheer up, Dow!
I really like the synchopated B part. It may be obvious, but then, well, so is most trad! I think that’s why it’s so much fun.
I’ve always heard this tune and had the same reaction as Mark, but Brendan just sent me a recording he made of Laurel Martin playing it, and now I think I’ll learn it. Maybe it’s the speed she’s taking it (not lightning fast like you hear it at most sessions, which tends to turn it into one of Will’s "room of bees" tunes in large groups of players, but a nice steady medium pace) or maybe it’s the nice style she has…
and I just realized that the A part puts me in mind of "I’m bringing home a baby bumble bee…" 🙂
LOL. And for my part, well I must have learnt it sometime between Sept 2004 and now because I can play it now, but I *still* don’t like that B-part 🙂
Head full of bumble bees
One of my ex work colleagues unkindly told me one time that my head was full of bumble bees. 🙁
This is a great tune, even although it gets overplayed here and often far too fast.
Zina, How are you? I’ve missed you.
I actually played this to Dow in the wee hours of a drunken night in Feb 2006 and he never took the p155 out of me. Or if he did, I was too p155ed to detect it.
Perhaps he woke up hungover next morning (or afternoon) and found he could suddenly play it.
It’s just one of those tunes that got taken up a bit too enthusiastically at first by the young set, with the inevitable reaction. Still a good tune though. Some folks here play it with the B part first - not sure why.
For a similar tune in A with slightly less obvious syncopation, try Billy Thom’s Reel
Oh no, it was 2007. Where did that year go? So much for that theory
Actually it’s called Frank’s Reel in Johns book. I slowed his recording down ( a lot ) to hear what he plays and there are triplets in the first figure over and over again. It would be great if I could learn a bowing that works for the A part. Ted
Deoch n Dorus
This band does an outstanding arrangement on the first track of their eponymous debut. Arranged by their accordionist Stewart Cameron - he’s moved the triplets to the beginning of bar 4 and recapped on them near the end of part B.
The most amazing 60 seconds of music i’ve heard in a long time!
Here’s a nice rendition of this tune by Ben the Hoose, it’s the second tune.
Does anybody have Alasdair Fraser’s version of this tune?
Here’s my favourite version of this tune altough slightly different than the sheet music. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI3kK1WBEt0&feature=relmfu
In G Major
If you play the G major version on an E whistle, you will be playing in A major.
G and A
Which is commoner in sessions? Key of A or key of G for this tune?
And which key does Mike McGoldrick play it in (McCusker McGoldrick & Doyle "Live"CD)
"A" - never heard a single person in Scotland play it in "G". McGoldrick and co played it in "A" when I saw them live last year.
Factored out some repeating stuff for a shorter score
Version by Eliza Carthy is a rather English version and sounds great
I’ve discovered that lovely A tune today on Fergal Scahill "a tune a day" , day 247 and decided to learn it straigth. If you have ever found that the first bar of the second part (which is played 3 times in part B) is a little bit trickky , just look at that version very close to #5 (thanks Ian Varley) : it important to see that every note has the same length (1/8 of the bar, as a simple reel bar). Play the beginning of the bar in 6/8 as a usual jig rythm embedded for a very short break into the 4/4 reel rythm. In fact it is just a break-rythm 123 123 12. If you tap the rythm with your foot, just tap the first note of each bar in part B. ;)
Sorry, I’m not used to do that job : please, erase the first 6 lines of the abc which are written twice
As played here in Calgary, AB.
this tune is becoming very popular in Northeast Ohio. I love it.
This is the English jig version of Frank’s Reel as adapted by Eliza Carthy on her Rough Music album under the title "Mr McCusker’s English Choice".
A very popular reel in North east Ohio. At least south of Cleveland. Love it!
Here’s a version for an A whistle, based from Mike McGoldrick’s flute playing in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hYDqzYboh4&fbclid=IwAR0oTCciJTRT6VQZLChe_FA3YxMsw_0U6p6naiP5tU4bKDfJd4GXwsuPUDM
@Monxton, I was just about to comment that it seems like a jig on the Eliza Carthy album. Now I understand!
(sees Dr. Dow complaining of too much syncopation 15 years ago on a wee bit of a tune’s B part)
(meself checks every young band over the past 5 years, hears them syncopating the living beejayzus out of everything as if they were playing hip-hop or 1940s swing)
Remember when every single band didn’t go to trad college first and learn jazz?
Was it better then, or worse?
(insert self-depreciating old person joke here)
What young bands do on stage or on doesn’t matter too much but I find that, when you are in a session, it’s better that everyone does the same thing.
Invariably, with tunes like these, many players will interpret and/or "syncopate" certain notes and passages differently which can sometimes cause confusion.