X:1 T: Colonel Rogers S: Liam Og O'Flynn D: The Piper's Call M: 4/4 L: 1/8 Z: Transcribed by Dennis J. Gormley 26 March 1999 K: G (3DEF|G2 dB cAFA|GABc dBcA|G2 dB cAFA|GBAF G3 F| G2 dB cAFA|GABc defg|afge fdcA|GBAF G2 :| |:ge|fdde fdcA|dggf g2ag|fdde fdcA|GBAF G2 ge|
fdde fdcA|dggf g2ag|~f3d ecAF|GBAF G2:||
COLONEL ROGERS (Coirnéal Mhac Ruaidhrí). AKA - "Colonel Roger's Favorite," "Colonel Rodgers' Favourite," "Colonel Rogers Fancy." AKA and see "Joys of Youth (1) (The)," "McKenna's Reel (1)," "Sean McKenna's (1)," "Welcome to the Country." Irish, Reel. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (most versions); AA'BB' (Harker/Rafferty). Breathnach (1963) states the second turn of this tune is similar to the turn of Petrie's No. 154 in the Complete Collection of Petrie's work (edited by Charles Villiers Stanford). Conor Ward find the tune in the 1883 music manuscript collection of County Leitrim musician as "Welcome to the Country," which he finds is the earliest known occurrence of this tune.
"Colonel Rogers" was recorded by flute player John McKenna (1880-1947) in New York for Decca in 1934 (in a medley with "Happy Days of Youth (1) (The)"), accompanied by Michael Gaffney on banjo; both originally hailed from County Leitrim. In fact the tunes became so associated with the flute player's name that they have often simply been referred to as "John McKenna's," "Seán McKenna's" or "McKenna's Reel (1)." McKenna and Gaffney were fast friends, remembers McKenna's daughter Catherine, who told Harry Bradshaw and Jackie Small that she could not remember a week that Gaffney was not in her father's house playing his banjo or rehearsing new numbers with the flutist for recordings, dances, weddings and other events they had booked.
The reel"Colonel Rogers" had earlier been recorded by Frank Quinn (b. 1893), a fiddle and accordion player originally from County Longford who became a New York policeman. Conor Ward (personal communication 17.01.15) explans:
This tune was recorded in New York by Longford fiddlers Frank Quinn (b.1893) and Jim Clark in November, 1934 with their ensemble the ‘Smiles and Tears of Erin" Orchestra as the first tune in a set of reels entitled ‘Master Rogers - Reel Medley’. ‘Master Rogers’ refers to the fiddle master Bernie Rogers (1856-1907) of Oghill, Killoe, Co. Longford, a local national school master who taught Quinn the fiddle and most likely taught Clark too. Rogers also taught Larry Smyth (1866-1930) of Abbeylara and this tune appears in a manuscript written by Smyth in the 1920's as ‘Welcome to the Country’. I have compared versions between Smyth’s manuscript to Quinn and Clark’s recording and they are practically the same. Enter John McKenna...he recorded this tune the very same time as Quinn and Clark - November 1934. Given the evidence I think that McKenna modified the title ‘Master Rogers’ to ‘Colonel Roger’s Favourite’ either intentionally or unintentionally.