Gooseberry Bush (1)

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GOOSEBERRY BUSH [1] ("An Spionán" or "An Tor Spionán"). Irish, Reel. D Major (O'Neill): D Mixolydian (Breathnach): D Major/Mixolydian (Harker/Rafferty, Vallely). Standard tuning (fiddle). ABC (O'Neill): AABBC (Breathnach): AABBCC (Harker/Rafferty, Vallely). A gooseberry bush is a spiny Eurasian bush that has greenish purple-tinged flowers and yields berries that are yellow-green or red-purple in color. The name stems from the association of the berries which were once used to make a sauce for cooking a goose, but the thorns on the plant also resemble a goose's foot. 'Gooseberry Bush' has been used as a euphemism for female pubic hair and genitalia, and indeed, countless children were informed in past times that babies were found 'under a gooseberry bush'. This usage may have derived from the French for gooseberry, groseille a marquerea. Marquereau is the word for pimp, while une femme gross is the term given to a pregnant woman.

Source for notated version: fiddler John Loughram, 1968 (Pomeroy, Co. Tyrone, Ireland) [Breathnach]; New Jersey flute player Mike Rafferty, born in Ballinakill, Co. Galway, in 1926 [Harker].

Printed sources: Breathnach (CRÉ II), 1976; No. 262, p. 136. Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 64, p. 20. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1252, p. 235. Treoir, vol. 2, 1988. Vallely (Armagh Pipers Club Play 50 Reels), 1982; No. 27, p. 15.

Recorded sources: Gael-Linn CEF CD150, Paddy Glackin - "In Full Spate" (1991). Green Linnet SIF 1058, Matt Molloy & Seane Keane - "Contentment is Wealth" (1985). Green Linnet SIF 1027, Mick Moloney - "Strings Attached." Larraga Records TR1103, Mary Rafferty - "Hand Me Downs" (2002). "The Paddy O'Brien Collection."

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




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