Iron Man (The)

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IRON MAN, THE. Scottish (originally), Canadian; Strathspey or Highland Schottische. Canada; Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Hunter, Martin, Perlman, Shears): AABB (Brody, Cranford, Phillips). Composed by J. Scott Skinner (1843–1927) for his friend and benefactor William M.F. McHardy, the Laird of Drumblair, an engineer and railway builder who gave Skinner the use of a rent-free cottage for several years. Hunter (1979) reports that McHardy could well have afforded this, for he had made a fortune of 100,000 pounds in engineering enterprises in South America before returning to live at Forgue near Huntly. Skinner also composed in his honor "Laird o' Drumblair (The)." Skinner printed the tune in earlier collections and as single sheet music [1], as late as 1923. The melody is sometimes mistakenly referred to as "Shetland Fiddler (The)," although that is the name of another melody, albeit with a few similarities.

Sources for notated versions: Joseph Cormier (Cape Breton/Boston) [Brody]; Winston Scotty Fitzgerald (Cape Breton) [Phillips]; Francis MacDonald (b. 1940, Morell Rear, North-East Kings County, Prince Edward Island) [Perlman]; Winston Fitzgerald (1914–1987, Cape Breton) [Cranford].

Printed sources: Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 141. Cranford (Winston Fitzgerald: A Collection of Fiddle Tunes), 1997; No. 73, p. 53. Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 128. Martin (Ceol na Fidhle, vol. 4), 1991; p. 18. Martin (Traditional Scottish Fiddling), 2002; p. 15. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 195. Phillips (Fiddle Case Tunebook: British Isles), 1989; p. 31. Shears (Gathering of the Clans Collection, vol. 1), 1986; p. 40 (pipe setting).

Recorded sources: Breton Books and Records BOC 1HO, Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald – "Classic Cuts" (reissue of Celtic Records CX 17). CCF2, Cape Cod Fiddlers – "Concert Collection II" (1999). Celestial Entertainment CECS001, Brenda Stubbert (Cape Breton) – "In Jig Time!" (1995). Celtic 17, Winston Scotty Fitzgerald. Flying Fish FF-250, The Battlefield Band – "Home is Where the Van Is" (1981). Rounder 7001, Joseph Cormier – "Scottish Violin Music of Cape Breton" (1974). Topic 12T280, J. Scott Skinner – "The Strathspey King."

See also listings at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [2]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [3]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [4]
Hear Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald's recording at Juneberry 78's [5] (1st tune of medley, paired with "Riddrie" and "Mrs. Douglas of Ednam").




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