Bold Captain Freney

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X:1 % T:Bold Captain Friney M:2/4 L:1/8 R:March/Air S:Stanford/Petrie (1905), No. 734 Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:A AA/B/ cd | BA A2 | ee/f/ =gf/d/ | fe e2 | ee/f/ ed/c/ | dd gf/g/ | Ae ed/B/ | gf e2 | cd {c}e>d | ec BA | E/G/A/B/ cB/>A/ | BA A2 ||



BOLD CAPTAIN FRENEY. Irish, Air or March (2/4 or 4/4 time). D Mixolydian (Joyce): A Major/Mixolydian (Stanford/Petrie). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. James Freney (1719–1788) was an Irish highwayman. There is an article about him at Wikipedia [1]

There is an air with this name in one of the Pigot MSS., now in my keeping; the same setting is in the Stanford-Petrie Collection (No. 734), copied from the Pigot MS.; and I find still the same setting in other collections. But in the Kilkenny Archaeological Journal for 1856-57, p. 59, there is given a totally different air, with the whole song about Captain Freney. This air was taken down early in the last century by the organist of St. Canice's Cathederal, Kilkenny, from the singing of an old servant of a very old lady, a relative of the late Mr. Prim of Kilkenny (a distinguished man, one of the founders of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society). This lady often conversed with Mr. Prim about Freney, and was able to sing the song. Putting all these circumstances together, we may, I suppose, conclude that the air given below, copied from the Journal, is the original 'Bold Captain Freney'. The song contains ten verses, of which it will be sufficient to give five here. Captain Freney was a noted highwayman of the county Waterford in the 18th century, who is still well remembered in Munster folklore. In the end he was pardoned, and spent the evening of his life peacefully, as tide-waiter in New Ross. In this situation 'he always maintained a character for integrity and propriety,' a fovourite with all, both gentle and simple. His full history by Mr. Prim will be found in the above-named volume, pp. 52 to 61. I have a printed copy of his life, written by himself ... [Joyce].


Additional notes

Source for notated version: - "From Mr. Pigot's MS" [Stanford/Petrie].

Printed sources : - Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 418, pp. 228-229. Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 734, p. 184.

Recorded sources: -



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