Jackson's Morning Brush
X:1 T:Jackson’s Morning Brush M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig B:Aird – Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1 (1782, No. 22, p. 8) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D D|DFE EFD|DFA AFA|BAB d2e|fee e2f| DFE EFD|DFA AFA|BAB d2e|fdd d2:| |:g|fdf ece|dBd AFA|DFA d2e|fee e2g| fdf ece|dBd AFA|DFA d2e|fdd d2:|]
JACKSON'S MORNING BRUSH ("Sgaile Micseoin" or "Muisguilt Mhicseoin"). AKA and see "Fairy Haunts," "Jackson's Favourite (1)," "Jackson's Morning Brew," "Morning Brush," "My Mountain Home," "Such Beauties in View." Irish, Double Jig. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Forde): AABB (Roche, Songer): ABC (O'Flannagan): AABBC (Cole, Miller & Perron): AABBCC (Harker/Rafferty, Kennedy, Kerr, Mulhollan, O'Farrell): AABBCC' (Kershaw): ABCD (O'Sullivan/Bunting): AABBCDD (O'Neill/1850, 1001 & 1913): AABBCCDD (Moylan): AABBCCDD' (O'Neill/Krassen). "Jackson's Morning Brush" is the most famous composition by the Irish gentleman musician and composer Walker "Piper" Jackson, who fashioned it in the middle of the last half of the 18th century ("1775," states Bunting). The title refers to the tail of an unfortunate fox (the 'brush'), believes Breathnach (1996), and is sometimes shortened to "Morning Brush." Jackson's home has been cited as either Creeve, Ballibay, County Monaghan (by Bunting), or Ballingarry, County Limerick, although Breathnach (1996) finds sound evidence that the townland of Lisduan in the parish of Ballingarry is correct. Jackson (d. 1798) was a man of some wealth and land who lived in a residence known as the Turret that commanded a magnificent view of the countryside, although by 1826 it was in ruins having been struck by lightening some years previously. Jackson's name appears as president in notices of a convivial society in Limerick called Cuideachda gan Cúram (company or companionship without care). Grattan Flood says that upon his death he willed sixty pounds a year to the Ballingarry parish, half to go to the Catholic pastor and half to the Protestent rector; Breathnach finds this to be in error, as are many of Flood's assertions, and that the bequestor was actually Miles 'Hero' Jackson, a Sheriff of the city of Limerick and the piper's brother.
A volume of his original melodies plus older airs was published in Dublin by Samuel Lee c. 1774 (as Jackson's Celebrated Irish Tunes, reprinted in 1790), and is probably the manuscript O'Neill (1913) refers to as containing the oldest setting of "Jackson's Morning Brush" (which he finds republished in Grattan Flood's The Story of the Bagpipe, a version which consists of only the first and third strains of O'Neill's setting). Soon after Lee's publication a version with dance directions appeared in Exshaw's Magazine and Walker's Hibernian Magazine in 1778; the same dance instructions appear in the Dublin publication The Charms of Melody, 1776. London publishers Charles and Samuel Thompson picked it up for their Compleat Collection of 200 Country Dances, vol. 4 (1780). "Jackson's Morning Brush" was introduced, according to O'Neill (1913) in John O'Keefe's opera The Agreeable Surprise in 1781 and thereafter was included in almost every collection of Irish music. The melody retains some currency among traditional musicians today. "Jackson's Morning Brush" appears in several American musicians' copybooks of the late 18th century, including those of William Morris of the First Regiment Hunterdon (County, New Jersey), compiled 1776–1777, fifer Aaron Thompson (New Jersey, 1777–1782), Eben Iriving (Middletown, N.Y., 1796), fluter John Hoff (Lancaster, Pa., 1797), and Major John Gaylord (Conn., 1816). Henry Moore Ridgeley entered dance steps for the tune in his copybook of 1799.
According to Donal Hickey (Stone Mad for Music, 1999), "Jackson's Morning Brush" in the Sliabh Luachra region of the Cork/Kerry border was associated with James Gandsey, 'the Killarney Minstrel', who died in 1857 at the age of 90. Gandsey survives in folk memory in Sliabh Luachra and some facts are clearly remembered. The son of a soldier in Ross Castle and a native Killarney mother, Gandsey was almost completely blinded in infancy by smallpox. He became known as Lord Headley's Piper and contributed several tunes to the regional repertoire, including as well "Madam Bonaparte" and "Fox Chase (3) (The)." He is buried in Muckross Abbey, Killarney, where a plaque has been erected in his memory.