Far from Home

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FAR FROM HOME ("Slan Beo Leat" or "Fad Ua Baile"). Irish, English, Shetland, American; Reel. USA; New England, Northwest. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (O'Neill/1850 & 1001): AABB (Cranitch, Frets Magazine, Miller & Perron, O'Neill/Krassen, Raven). Bayard (1981) collected a version in Pennsylvania called, "Butcher's Row (The)." Many have pointed out the similarity to the popular hornpipe "Going to California/Off to California (1)," especially in the first four measures of the 2nd strain, which are quite similar, as is the return to the 1st strain theme for the finish of the 2nd (i.e. AA'BA form). Nigel Gatherer remarks that "many people think of this tune as a Shetland reel; I've even seen it on CD's as 'Far Frae Home'!" He attributes this to its being included in sets of Shetland tunes by the Boys of the Lough on their albums "Good Friends...Good Music" (1977) and "Far From Home."

Source for notated version: Francis O'Neill learned his version of the tune in the San Joaquin Valley, California, when he was aged 19 in the 1870's "from the whistling of a companion while herding a flock of 3,000 sheep on the plains at the foot of the Sierra Nevada range" (ed.—presumably the title appealed to the young O'Neill, who left Ireland in his mid-teens, or was his own invention) [O'Neill/Irish Folk Music].

Printed sources: Cranitch (The Irish Fiddle Book), 1996; No. 59, p. 148. "Boys of the Lough," Frets Magazine, October 1980; p. 31. Kennedy (Fiddler's Tune-Book, vol. 2), 1954; p. 11. Miller & Perron (New England Fiddler's Repertoire), 1983; No. 86. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 107. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1261, p. 237. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 530, p. 99. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 188. Silberberg (Fiddle Tunes I Learned at the Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 43. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 76.

Recorded sources: Philo 1051, Boys of the Lough – "Good Friends, Good Music" (1977).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [2]




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