Bob and Joan

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BOB AND JOAN. See "Boban John," "Bobbing Joan," "Bobbing Joe," "Hey for Stoney Batter," "Fill the Bumper Fair," "Love and Whiskey," "Stoneybatter (1)." Irish, Air or March (9/8). G Major (Colclough): D Major (Kennedy). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Roche): AABB (Breathnach): AABB' (Kennedy). A variant of the Scottish tune "Boban John" here given in a different time signature, although based on a triple hornpipe (3/2 time) theme that goes by various titles. The air was used in the opera The Wife of Two Husbands for the song "Love and Whiskey," to which Thomas Moore later wrote "Fill the Bumper Fair." Breathnach (1963) gives these words:

Hi for Bob and Joan,
Hi for Stoneybatter;
Leave your wife at home
Or surely I'll be at her.

Crofton Croker mentions "Bob and Joan" in conjunction with James Gandsey (1769-1857), the famous Kerry piper (as reported by Brendan Breathnach in The Man and His Music {1997}). Gandsey, who was nearly blind from smallpox contracted as an infant, nevertheless was an incomparable talent of his time on his instrument, whose talents also included telling a good story, singing a good song and holding his own at capping Latin verses (a skill learned as a youth in a hedge school) with any educated person in the county. Croker describes several musical encounters with Gandsey at Gorham's Hibernian Hotel, at one of which a request was made of the piper for a lively song. "Come boy, scrape away," said Gandsey to his son, a fiddler, and responded by singing "Bob and Joan," to which he had set his own words:

To Killarney we will go,
And see fair nature's beauties,
The mountain topped with snow,
And covered with arbutus.
Oh! Then, to hear at night,
At Gorham's, how entrancing,
Old Gandsey play his pipes,
Which steps the maids a dancing!
Tow, row, row, row, row etc.

See also Robert Bremner's related "Miss Murray’s Reel (2)."

Source for notated version: piper Seán Potts (Ireland) [Breathnach].

Printed sources: Breathnach (CRÉ I), 1963; No. 63, p. 27. Colclough (Tutor for the Irish Union Pipes), c. 1830; p. 17. P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs, vol. 2), 1858; No. 196, p. 89. Johnson (A Further Collection of Dances, Marches, Minuetts and Duetts of the Latter 18th Century), 1998; p. 3. Kennedy (Fiddler's Tune-Book: Slip Jigs & Waltzes), 1999; p. 4, No. 6. Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 2), 1927; No. 343, p. 61.

Recorded sources:




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