George White's Favorite
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GEORGE WHITE'S FANCY/FAVORITE (Rogha Sheoirse de Faoite). AKA and see "Carrowcastle Lasses (The)," "George White's," "Lass of Carrowcastle (2) (The)," "Bessie Sweeney's" and "Bessie Sweeney's Dream." Irish, Reel. E Minor ('A' part) & G Major ('B' part). Standard tuning (fiddle). In New York in 1934, Paddy Sweeney (1894–1974), a fiddler originally from the townland of Powellsborough in the south Sligo parish of Achonry, recorded a pair of reels titled "George White's Favorite" and "The Lass of Carracastle." The names subsequently became confused with each other, so that "George White's" has also been called "The Lass of Carracastle" (or "Carrowcastle Lass").
George White was a piccolo player who, according to the liner notes of "The Fiddler's Delight" (Oldtime Records OTR 107), performed weekly on the radio in the mid-1930's on fiddler Jim Clark's "Smiles and Tears of Erin" program, broadcast by the Paulist Fathers' station WLWL from Kearney, New Jersey. The musical group 'Smiles and Tears of Erin', which also included Eileen Burke White (George's wife) on piano, was an ensemble led by County Longford fiddler Jim Clarke (1887–1938), which sometimes included fiddle and melodeon player Frank Quinn (1893–1964). Quinn and Clarke lived a few miles away from each other in Drumlish, Longford before they both emigrated to New York. In December, 1934, Jim Clarke and George White teamed up on a business opportunity and opened Clarke and White's bar and restaurant at 42 West 60th Street in Manhattan, a few blocks north of the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan. Fiddler Paddy Sweeney served as musical director at the establishment.
White, who later relocated to Boston, is said to have taught and composed music. Authorship of both "George White's" and "Lass of Carracastle" (aka "Miss Langford") has been attributed to Sweeney, but Mayo accordionist Vincent McGrath contends that "George White's" was a composition of his uncle John McGrath, a fiddler, accordionist, bandleader and music teacher in New York from the 1920s until his death in 1955. McGrath's name for the tune was "Bessie Sweeney's" after a New York-based accordionist unrelated to Paddy Sweeney. Fiddler Jackie Roche, a former student of both James Morrison and John McGrath, recorded the tune with his dance band as "Bessie Sweeney's Dream" on an Avoca 45 rpm disc.
Some see resemblances between "George White's" and the "Old Maids of Galway" family of tunes.
"George White's Favorite" has been recorded frequently, notably by Paddy Sweeney, Paddy Killoran and Leo Rowsome.
Sources for notated versions: Frank McCollum (Ballycastle, County Antrim) [Mulvihill]; accordion player Sonny Brogan (County Sligo/Dublin, Ireland) [Breathnach]; New Jersey flute player Mike Rafferty, born in Ballinakill, Co. Galway, in 1926 [Harker].
Breathnach (CRÉ 1), 1963; No. 97, p. 42.
Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 105, p. 32.
Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music vol. 1), 1977; No. 30.
Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 2nd Edition, 2006; p. 73.
Mulvihill (1st Collection), 1986; No. 19, p. 5 (appears as "George White's").
O'Brien (Jerry O'Brien's Accordion Instructor), Boston, 1949.
Coleman Center CD CC004, Paddy Ryan & Jim Corry – "The Mountain Road" (1999. Various artists. "A Compilation of tunes popular in South Sligo").
Green Linnet Records SIF 1058, Matt Molloy & Sean Keane – "Contentment is Wealth" (1985).
See also listings at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index 
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources 
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info 
Hear Paddy Sweeney's 1934 recording at the Comhaltas Archive