Cooley's Reel (1)
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COOLEY'S REEL . AKA and see "Joe Cooley's Reel (2)," "Lutrell Pass," "Put the Cake in the Dresser," "Reynold's Reel," "Ríl na Tulai," "Tulla Reel." Irish, Reel. E Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Carlin, Laufman): AABB (Brody, Mallinson, McNulty, Mulvihill, Songer, Taylor): AA'BB (Miller & Perron, Moylan): AA'BB' (Alewine, Harker/Rafferty, O'Malley). The tune is associated with the renowned button accordion player Joe Cooley (1924–1973), originally from Peterswell, County Galway, near the northern boundary of the Sliabh Aughty mountians. Cooley spent much of his later life in an itinerant lifestyle in various cities in America, and back and forth to Ireland. He was a member for a time of the famous Tulla Céilí Band in Ireland.
Peter Wood, in his book The Living Note: the Heartbeat of Irish Music (1996), had this to say about Cooley:
Cooley's accordion playing made a great impression on all those who heard him. He had great energy and style. Everything for him was wrapped up in emotion. There was at the time, and there have been since, technically better players, faster players, players who know their way round the box better than Joe did, but it was always about Joe that you'd find the crowd gathered, looking at him, watching him drive his whole body behind his box. You could be standing at the back of a place when Cooley came to play, the place emptied out into the corners, but when he strapped on the box and launched into a tune the crowds would start toward him, even if they didn't know who he was. He inspired people. Oh, they'd say, can't he make it talk.
There are several stories circulating regarding the origins of this extremely popular session tune. According to David Taylor (1992) the reel was the composition of Co. Mayo and New York fiddler John McGrath (1900–1955), although this assertion does not seem supported elsewhere. Philippe Varlet maintains it was the invention of accordion player Joe Mills of the Aughrim Slopes Céilí Band, who originally entitled it "Luttrell's/Lutrell Pass," a place-name near the site of the Battle of Aughrim (July, 1691). Henry Luttrell was a Jacobite cavalry commander whose forces had been held in reserve to cover the flank, however, when the opportune moment came to counterattack, Luttrell inexplicably had his forces withdraw following a route now known locally as "Luttrell's Pass". He was accused of treachery and having been in the pay of the Williamites and was assassinated in Dublin after the war.
Charlie Piggott, writing in his book co-authored with Fintan Vallely, Blooming Meadows (1998), has yet another version of how the composition came to be, related to him by Joe's brother Séamus. Its origins date to the 1940's when the teenaged brothers attended a house session in the neighboring county of Clare. There they listened to an old man with a battered concertina playing in front of an open fire (Séamus remembers some of the buttons had been replaced by cigarette ends!), and one tune in particular caught their attention. On returning home the brothers tried their best to remember what the old man had played, staying up through the night working and worrying the remembered fragments until finally the reel took shape. Séamus credits Joe with the first part of their refashioned piece, while himself taking credit for the turn.
See also London-based Country Sligo fiddler Michael Gorman's three-part version of the tune under the title "Put the Cake in the Dresser." The melody is often paired with "Wise Maid (The)," a medley recorded by Cooley himself on his Gael-Linn album.
Source for notated version: Jay Ungar (West Hurley, New York) [Brody]; accordion player Johnny O'Leary (Slaibh Luachra region of the Cork-Kerry border), recorded in recital at Na Píobairí Uilleann, November, 1990 [Moylan]; Jim Bly (Co. Roscommon/Northampton, England) & Frank McCollam (Ballycastle, Co. Antrim) [Mulvihill]; set dance music recorded live at Na Píobairí Uilleann, mid-1980's [Taylor]; New Jersey flute player Mike Rafferty, born in Ballinakill, Co. Galway, in 1926 [Harker].
Alewine (Maid that Cut Off the Chicken's Lips), 1987; p. 13.
Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 74.
Carlin (Master Collection), 1984; p. 117, No. 197.
Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 78, p. 25.
Laufman (Okay, Let's Try a Contra), 1973; p. 35.
Mallinson (100 Essential), 1995; No. 27, p. 12.
McNulty (Dance Music of Ireland), 1965; p. 7.
Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 1977; vol. 1, No. 33.
Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 2nd Edition, 2006; p. 58.
Moylan (Johnny O'Leary of Sliabh Luachra), 1994; No. 170, p. 98.
Mulvihill (1st Collection), 1986; No. 7, p. 2.
O'Malley (Luke O'Malley's Collection of Irish Music), 1976; No. 65, p. 33.
Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 54.
Taylor (Music for the Sets: Yellow Book), 1995; p. 21.
Vallely & Piggott (Blooming Meadows), 1998; p. 66.
Avoca 139, Sean Maguire – "Music of Ireland."
CAT-WMR004, Wendy MacIssac – "The 'Reel' Thing" (1994).
Coleman Music Center CHC 009, fiddler P. Fitzpatrick & flutist Desmond Higgins – "The Coleman Archive, vol. 2: The Home Place" (2005. Various artists).
Coleman Music Center CHC 009, whistle player Jim Donoghue – "The Coleman Archive, vol. 2: The Home Place" (2005. Various artists).
Fretless 118, Marie Rhines – "The Reconciliation."
Gael-Linn Records, Frankie Gavin & Paul Brock – "Tribute to Joe Cooley."
Green Linnet 1009, Patricia Conway and Mick Moloney – "Irish Music: The Living Tradition" (appears as "Joe Cooley's Reel").
Great Meadow Music GMM 2018, Frank Ferrel & Joe Derrane – "Fiddledance" (2004).
Greenhays GR 710, John McCutcheon – "Fine Times at Our House" (1982).
Philo 1040l, Jay Ungar and Lynn Hardy – "Catskill Mountain Goose Chase" (1977. Appears as third tune of "Four Reels").
Rounder 0111, Russ Barenberg – "Cowboy Calypso."
Tara Music TARACD 2006, Tony Linnane & Noel Hill (1978).
Voyager 320-S, Frank Ferrel – "Fiddle Tunes."