X:1 T:Colln. McBean’s Reel M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel B:Robert Ross – Choice Collection of Scots Reels or Country Dances B:& Strathspeys (Edinburgh, 1780, p. 19) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Gmin c|(B/c/d) (Gd) BGdB|(A/B/c) (Fc) AFcA|(B/c/d) (Gd) BGdG|(^F/G/A) DF (G2 G):| A|B3f B/B/B (fB)|(c>dTc>)B ABcA|G (g2a) bag^f|gba^f g2 (ga)| (g/a/b) (=fd) Bdfd|(c>d)TcB ABcA|Bdg^f gBce|dBcA (G2 G)|]
COLONEL McBAIN'S (An Ardtaoiseac Mic Baeitine). AKA - "Captain McBain," "Colonel McBean." AKA and see "Boston Rattlers'," "Brian Boru's March (1)," "Dan Sullivan's Reel," "Devonshire Reel (1) (The)," "Duke of Clarence Reel (The)," "General McBean," "Hobb's Favorite," "Johnny's Wedding," "Miss Abercrombie's Reel," "Mother's Delight," "Phelan's Fancy," "Seán Frank," "Sporting Paddy (3)," "Sporting Molly (1)," "Suìridhach a phoca mhine," "Woer with the pock of meal." Scottish (originally), Irish; Reel. G Minor (most versions): E Minor (O'Neill). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Howe, O'Neill, Surenne): AAB (most versions): AABB (Cole). Glen (1891) finds the earliest publication of the tune in Robert Bremner's 1768 2nd collection (p. 101). O'Neill (1922) remarks: "'Col. McBain's Reel' first appeared in print in Bremner's 2nd Collection of Scots Reels, or Country Dances (London 1768), and reprinted in McGoun's Repository of Scots and Irish Strathspeys, Reels, etc. (Glasgow 1803).
The reel's popularity was not confined to Scotland for we find it named 'Duke of Clarence Reel (The)' in Lavenu's New Country Dances for the Year 1798, published at London. "Colonel Mac Bean's Reel" is also contained in vol. 2 (p. 156) of the large c. mid-19th century music manuscript collection of County Cork cleric and uilleann piper James Goodman. It also was entered in to Goodman's contemporary, fiddler and piper Stephen Grier (c. 1824-1894) x, 1883 music manuscript collection as "Captain McBain." A setting of this noted reel as played by the experts of the Irish Music Club of Chicago may be found on page 116 of O'Neill's Dance Music of Ireland. In composition and fluency of rhythm the variant above presented compares very favorably with the original especially when given expression on the fiddle in the inimitable style of the genial Paddy Stack from whom the manuscript was obtained." The tune was first recorded by Galway melodeon player Peter Conlon in 1921, under the title "McBan's Reel" (thought the different spelling may be due to an error by the record company). Irish versions are in E Minor, Scottish in G Minor. Paul Cranford (1997) remarks that he has heard a strathspey setting (in G) of "Colonel McBain's" played by Cape Breton fiddler Johnny Wilmot who learned it from his uncle Joe Confiant. "Johnny's Wedding", "Mother's Delight," and "Seán Frank" are related tunes. See also O'Neill's "Smoky House (1) (The)," a variant.