Jimmy O'Brien's Jig

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JIMMY O'BRIEN'S JIG (Port Seumus Uí Briain). AKA and see "Casey's Jig (2)," "Copey's Jigg," "Cossey's Jig," "Crags of Burren," "Greenfields of America (4) (The)," "Jackson's Wife on the Road," "Keg with the Tap in it (The)," "Maid in the Meadow (1)," "Mist on the Meadow (2)," "Stone in the Field (The)." Irish, Double Jig. G Major (O'Neill): A Major (Moylan). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Moylan): AABBCC (O'Neill): AABBCCDD (Connolly & Martin). The great compiler Francis O'Neill learned this tune from County Mayo piper James O'Brien, who visited Chicago (where O'Neill worked in the police department) in 1876. O'Neill describes him as "a neat, tasty Irish piper of the Connacht school of close players, and though his Union pipes were small, they were sweet and musical...One of his peculiarities-and an unpleasant one, occasionally-was a habit of stopping the music in order to indulge in conversation. He could not be induced to play a tune in full, when under the influence of stimulants, as his loquacity was uncontrollable, and he never hesitated under such conditions to express a passing sentiment. Amiable and harmless at all times, he died at a comparatively early age in Chicago, a victim to conviviality, his only weakness."

O'Neill states that the jig was unknown among Chicago musicians prior to O'Brien, even by musicians from Mayo, somewhat surprising given its long history in Ireland. The original title apparently was "Cossey's Jig" ("Copey's Jig") attributed to the 18th century Irish gentleman-composer Walker "Piper" Jackson in Clinton's Gems of Ireland (London, 1841). O'Neill said he found a version of "Copey's Jigg" in "an extremely rare volume of Irish music called The Bee, but undated." "Cossey's Jig" appears in Jackson's Celebrated Irish Tunes (1774), published in Dublin and republished in 1790. The 'A' part of the tune is similar to "Greenfields of America (1)."

Fiddler Séamus Connolly says the first two parts of the tune were played by Newtown, Nenagh, County Tipperary fiddler Dinny O'Brien (father of the famous accordion player Paddy O'Brien), and were a favourite of his, although he had no name for the tune. The same two parts of the tune Connolly found on an OKeh 78 RPM recording of fiddler James Morrison under the title "Mist on the Meadow (2)." Researcher Conor Ward points out that O'Neill's first publication of "Jimmy O'Brien's Jig" had the three original strains of the tune ACD, as it appears as "Cossey's Jig" in O'Farrell's early 19th century collection. However, O'Neill's subsequent version in Waifs and Strays contains an extra second part, ABCD.

Source for notated version: accordion player Johnny O'Leary (Sliabh Luachra region of the Cork-Kerry border) [Moylan]; Jimmy O'Brien (County Mayo) [O'Neill].

Printed sources: Connolly & Martin (Forget Me Not), 2002; pp. 46-47. Moylan (Johnny O'Leary), 1994; No. 214, p. 123. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 49. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 991, p. 184. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 206, p. 48. O'Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922; No. 196.

Recorded sources:

See also listing at:
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [1]




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