Lango Lee (2)

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LANGOLEE [2]. AKA and see "Banks of the Dee (1) (The)," "Larry O'Lee, "New Langolee (1)." Irish, English, Scottish; Air, Jig and March (6/8 time). D Major (Clinton): G Major (Mulhollan, Nixon). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Clinton): AABB (Mulhollan): AABBCCDDEEFFGG. O'Farrell (c. 1808) lists the tune's provenance as Irish and gives several variation sets. It was a very popular tune around the time of the American War of Independence, and appears earliest in several instrumental tutors published by Charles and Samuel Thompson in London, The Compleat Tutor for the Fife (1770) and The Compleat Tutor for the Hautboy (1770), being two of them. Subsequently it appears in a number of period publications, including Longman & Broderip's Entire New and Compleat Instructions for the Fife (1780), Thomas Skillern's Compleat Instructions for the Fife (1780), Straight & Skillern's Two Hundred & Four Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1 (1775), James Aird's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish, and Foreign Airs, vol. 1 (Glasgow, 1782), and Goulding's New and Complete Instructions for the Fife (London, 1790). It continued to be included in publications, particularly fife tutors and country dance collections, into the first couple of decades of the 19th century. The tune also went by the title "New Langolee (1)/New Lango Lee" (see note for New Langolee (1) for more).

"Lango Lee (2)" also appears in a great many manuscript collections from period musicians, including those of fifer Aaron Thompson (New Jersey, 1777), fiddler George Malecot (Whitehaven, England, 1779), fiddler John Fife (Perthshire and perhaps at sea, 1780), fluter Micah Hawkins (New York, 1794), fluter John Hoff (Lancaster, Pa., 1797), Thomas Molyneaux (Shelburne, Nova Scotia, 1788), and others. The march was also entered into the c. 1776-1778 music copybook of fifer Thomas Nixon Jr. [1] (1762-1842), of Framingham, Connecticut. Nixon was a thirteen-year-old who accompanied his father to the battles of Lexington and Concord, and who served in the Continental army in engagements in and around New York until 1780, after which he returned home to build a house in Framingham. The copybook appears to have started by another musician, Joseph Long, and to have come into Nixon’s possession.

'Lango Lee' was supposed to have been an Irish phrase meaning an engorged penis, as this one old set of words (from Merry Muses, Dublin) to the tune suggests:

Ye botanists yield, I've discovered a root,
Adapted to females of every degree;
How soverign its virtues, balsamic its fruit,
I hope you'll believe it when you hear it from me.

Langolee is the Irish name of it,
Great in the nation already the fame of it;
Make but one trial and quickly you'll see,
There's nothing comparing with Langolee.

A song called "Volunteers of Ireland" was composed to this tune by the British in the Revolutionary War to commemorate Irishman in their ranks (Winstock). The title appears in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes ("The Northern Minstrel's Budget"), published c. 1800.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1), 1782; No. 25, p. 9. Clinton (Gems of Ireland: 200 Airs), 1841; No. 104, p. 52. Mulhollan (Selection of Irish and Scots Tunes), Edinburgh, 1804; pp. 35-36. O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. III), c. 1808; pp. 60-61. Samuel, Anne & Peter Thompson (The Hibernian Muse), London, 1787; No. 42, p. 26.

Recorded sources:

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