High Part of the Road

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HIGH PART OF THE ROAD (Ard an Bhóthair). AKA and see "Hill on the Road," "Top of the Road." Irish, Double Jig. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Mitchell): AABB (Taylor): AA'BB (Breathnach): AA'BB' (Cranitch, Songer). A two-part version "Blooming Meadows (1)" to which Breandán Breathnach applied the name "Ard an Bhóthair" in Ceol Rince na Éireann, vol. 1, where the endnote on the tune read: "Mé fein a thug an t-ainm seo air," i.e., "named by myself".

A possible source of Breathnach's name is found in Ryan's Mammoth Collection, where a two-part version of "The Blooming Meadows" appears directly before "[[Top of Cork Road (1) (The)]"Top of Cork Road - Jig]]" (aka "Father O'Flynn"). Breathnach (or the piper Willie Clancy, his source) may have accidentally transferred the "Top of the Road" name from the latter tune to the former. "Top of the Road" was then translated into Irish for publication in Ceol Rince na hÉireann, vol. 1, where it appears as "Ard an Bhóthair." A clumsy retranslation back to English yielded "The High Part of the Road," the title tune on Tommy Peoples' first Shanachie LP, and the name by which this version of "Blooming Meadows" is now popularly known.

Sources for notated versions: piper Willie Clancy/ Liam Mac Flannehadha (1918–1973, Miltown Malbay, west Clare) [Breathnach, Mitchell]; Jimmy McGettrick (b. 1909, Aughris, Rathmullen, Ballymote) [Flaherty]; set dance music recorded at Na Píobairí Uilleann in the late 1980's [Taylor].

Printed sources: Breathnach (CRÉ 1), 1963; No. 18, p. 9. Cranitch (The Irish Fiddle Book), 1996; p. 58. Flaherty (Trip to Sligo), 1990; p. 139 (appears as "Unknown"). Mitchell (Dance Music of Willie Clancy), 1993; No. 133, p. 106. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 95. Taylor (Music for the Sets: Blue Book), 1995; p. 3.

Recorded sources: Wild Asparagus WA 003, Wild Asparagus – "Tone Roads" (1990).

See also listing at:
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [1]
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [2]




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