Luck Penny (The)

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LUCK PENNY, THE ("An Tuilceanac" or "An Dúthracht"). AKA - "The Luckpenny," "The Lucky Penny, "Ragan's Jig." Irish, Double Jig. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBC (Breathnach, Cranitch): AABBCC (O'Neill, Taylor): AABBCC' (Kennedy, Mulvihill). The 'lucky penny' was the extra penny paid for good-will on the price of animals at rural livestock fairs in Ireland. It is mentioned in this excerpt from an account of Glenties Harvest Fair written and published in 1972 by the late Joe Campbell, Glenties:

Around 8:00 AM business was in full swing, and what a din. The lowing of cattle, the bleating of sheep, the barking of dogs, the neighing of horses, the grunting and squealing of pigs, but above all, the shouting of drovers and the "bualadh Bhos" of the buyers and sellers trying to strike a bargain.

"How much for the "oul mincher"", one dealer would ask.

"Go along ye bligard" would come the quick reply. "How dar' ye call my two-year-oul springing heifer an oul mincher."

"She hasn't a tooth in her head", would come the retort.

"Faith, then ye haven't so many in yer own gob", would come the reply.

And so it went on until around noon when all bargains were finished and buyers and sellers made their way to the main street and to one or other of the dozen odd pubs then in the town to settle their accounts and to squabble further over the "lucky-penny" that each dealer had to receive before a bargain was complete.

The tune was recorded under the title "Ragan's Jig" in 1929 by Chicago uilleann piper Tom Ennis.

Paddy Killoran

Source for notated version: fiddler Paddy Kiloran (Ireland) [Breathnach]; set dance music recorded live at Na Píobairí Uilleann, mid-1980's [Taylor].

Printed sources: Breathnach (CRÉ III), 1985; No. 14, p. 8. Cranitch (Irish Fiddle Book), 1996; No. 9, p. 128. Cranitch (Irish Session Tunes: Red Book), 2000; 9. Kennedy (Jigs & Quicksteps, Trips & Humours), 1997; No. 108, p. 27. Mulvihill (1st Collection), 1986; No. 37, p. 72 (learned from a recording by Andy McGann, Joe Burke & Felix Dolan). O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 69. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1098, p. 207. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1986; No. 290, p. 63. Taylor (Music for the Sets: Yellow Book), 1995; p. 28.

Recorded sources: Coleman 7, James Morrison & Paddy Killoran - "From Ballymote to Brooklyn" (reissue). Columbia 33394-F (78 RPM), Tom Ennis (1929, as "Ragan's Jig"). Decca 12081B (78 RPM), Paddy Killoran (1936). Shanachie Records 33003, Paddy Killorn - "Paddy Killoran's Back in Town" (1977, reissue). Shaskeen Records OS-360, Andy McGann, Felix Dolan, Joe Burke - "A Tribute to Michael Coleman" (c. 1965).

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [2]
Hear fiddler Paddy Killoran's 1936 recording at the Comhaltas Archive [3] and at Juneberry 78's [4]
Hear piper Peter McKenn's recording at the Comhaltas Archive [5]
Hear Tom Ennis's 1929 recording of "Ragan's Jig" at the Internet Archive [6]




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