Little Jack's Jig

Find traditional instrumental music
Jump to: navigation, search

Back to Little Jack's Jig


LITTLE JACK'S JIG. Canadian, Jig. Canada, Cape Breton. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABB (Dunlay & Greenberg/MacDougall): AA'BB' (Dunlay & Greenberg/MacMaster). Dunlay and Greenberg state the MacMaster learned the tune from the 'jigging' of his mother and from transplanted Cape Breton fiddler "Little" Jack MacDonald (1887-1969), who recorded in the 1930's. MacDonald was born in Judique, Cape Breton Island, and gained a reputation as an exponent of the old school of fiddling, well known for his renditions of pastoral airs. Little Jack spent many years in the United States before finally settling in Glengarry County, Ontario, Canada.

Cape Breton fiddler Winston Fitzgerald had this remembrance of Little Jack (from an extensive interview with the fiddler in Cape Breton's Magazine, No. 46, 1987):

Little Jack was down on a vacation. And I had never met him. I'd heard his re? cordings , and a lot of people that knew him--he was well known. So we had been hitting the booze fairly heavy that night, you know. Devils. But we got to bed--I don't know--3 o'clock, maybe, or something. But the next morning one of the girls came up, knocked on the door. She said, "You'd better get up. Little Jack is downstairs." And this Estwood Da? vidson, you know, he's a critic--one of the worst critics--fellow who plays with me. An awful critic. And I remember him shaking me, "Get up. Black Man." He always called me "Black Man." "Get up. Black Man. Your back is against the wall today--Lit- tle Jack is downstairs!" So I didn't care any more playing before Little Jack than I did before you. Al- though I figured he was probably a better player. Anyway, we got downstairs. And we had no liquor, no rum. Little Jack was on the keg. But he had a quart of wine. By God, we were shaky. I got a glass of wine in me, straightened out a little bit, you know. He wanted to hear me play. I said, "Okay, sure." So we go in the room, tuned up. I played for about 15 minutes, I suppose. So I walked over and passed him the violin. I said, "Here, Little Jack, I want to hear you play. I'm a better listener than I am a player." He said, "You must be a goddamn good listener then!" So that was my first and only appearance with Little Jack. I never met him anywhere else. He played some (that day). He played a few tunes. (Did you like Little Jack's playing?) Yes, I did, very much. He had a style of his own, of changing tunes, too. He had his own feeling in them. [p. 15]

Source for notated version: Buddy MacMaster and Mike MacDougall (Cape Breton) [Dunlay & Greenberg].

Printed sources: Dunlay & Greenberg (Traditional Celtic Violin Music from Cape Breton), 1996; p. 116.

Recorded sources: Rodeo Banff RBS 1255, Barbara MacDonald - "Scottish Piano Selections" (appears as 3rd in "Medley of Cape Breton Jigs").

See also listing at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording's Index [1]




Back to Little Jack's Jig