Britches Full of Stitches (The)
X:1 T:O the Breeches Full of Stitches L:1/8 M:2/4 B:Roche - Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 2 (1912, No. 240) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G G>A B>G|A>G A<B|G>A B>G|A>G E>D| G>A (3BAG|A>d (3dBA|G>G (3GED|E>D D2:| |:d>d dB|A>G A<B|d>d d>B|A>G E2| d>d dB|g>g ge|1 d>e dB|A>G G<E:|2 d>d (3dBA|G>E E>D||
BRITCHES FULL OF STITCHES (THE). AKA and see "O the Breeches Full of Stitches," "Breeches On (The)," "Britches (The)," "Irish Lad (The)" "Irish Lad's a Jolly Boy (The)." Irish, Polka or Single Jig. A Major (Sullivan): G Major (Roche, Tubridy). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The American tune "Leather Britches" appears to be a variant. Peter Wood (in his 1996 book The Living Note: the Heartbeat of Irish Music), remarks on County Clare fiddler Martin Hayes' version:
That's an old tune, played in different settings all over the country. It's a simple tune and his version of it follows Joe Bane, the whistle player from Feakle. When Bane played it in a session it was like a lull in the converstation, a breathing space. He learned it from Paddy Canny's father, Martin's uncle. Listening to Martin play it, it's like music from a séance--it goes way back, that tune.
The tune is perhaps first mentioned in Irish novelist and Fenian Charles Kickham's novel Knocknagow, or the Homes of Tipperary, first published in 1879, in which this ditty is sung by a jew's harp player who first plays the tune for a vistor who has torn his pants, then sings:
Oh, my breeches full of sticthes,
Oh, my breeches buckled on.