Ewe Reel (The)

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EWE REEL, THE ("Seisd an aisg," "Cor an foisc" or "Ril na foisce"). AKA and see "Ewie Wi' the Crooked Horn (1) (The)," "Foe (The)," "Bob with the One Horn (1)," "Miss Huntley's," "Go See the Fun," "Green Blanket (1) (The)," "Sweet Roslea and the Sky Over It," "Little Girl in Danger (The)," "Pretty Girl in Danger (The)," "Red Blanket (The)," "Ram with the Crooked Horn (The)," "Kerry Lasses (1) (The)," "Merry Lasses (The)," "Lowlands of Scotland (The)," "Peter Street (2)." Irish, Reel. G Major (Breathnach, Mitchell, O'Neill/1850): G Mixolydian/Major {'A' part} & G Major {'B' part} (Flaherty, O'Neill/1001). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Mitchell): AAB (Flaherty): AA'B (O'Neill): AABB (Breathnach). Traditionally an ewe is a person's most prized possession (from Biblical allusion, see 2 Samuel 12). The "Ewe Reel" is the Irish version of the Scots "Ewe Wi' the Crooked Horn." Breathnach (1985) found the tune under the title "Sweet Roaslea and the Sky Over It" in County Monaghan, "Miss Huntly's" in Fermanagh, "Go see the fun" in Kerry, "The Red Blanket" in Clare and "The Ewe with the Crooked Horn" in Armagh. "Pretty Girl in Danger (The)" was the title printed by 19th century cleric and piper Canon James Goodman (County Cork), and Kerr gives it as "The Foe" and "The Bob with one Horn." Singer and fiddler Packie Dolan recorded the tune in New York City in 1927 (as the first tune in a set called "McFadden's").

James Kennedy is standing in the back row, extreme right.

Sources for notated versions: piper Pat Mitchell (Dublin, Ireland) [Breathnach]; fiddler Fred Finn, 1919-1986 (Kiltycreen, Kilavil, County Sligo, Ireland) [Flaherty]; piper Willie Clancy (1918-1973, Miltown Malbay, west Clare) [Mitchell]; Chicago police patrolman and fiddler James Kennedy who had the tune from his father, a celebrated local fiddler from Ballinamore, County Leitrim [O'Neill]–In a 1906 letter to Alfred Percival Graves in 1906 (printed in "A Few Gossipy Notes" in the Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, London), O'Neill wrote: "James and [sister] Ellen Kennedy, Ballinamore, Leitrim, fine violinists: father a noted player, said to be the best in the country–James is remarkable for his smooth, round tones, and the entire absence of scratching of bow."

Printed sources: Breathnach (CRÉ II), 1976; No. 145, p. 77. Flaherty (Trip to Sligo), 1990; p. 74. Mitchell (Dance Music of Willie Clancy), 1993; No. 106, p. 91. O'Neill (O'Neill's Irish Music), 1915; No. 261, p. 134. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1229, p. 231. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 504, p. 95.

Recorded sources:

See also listings at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [3]
Hear Packie Dolan's 1927 recording at the Comhaltas Archive [4]




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