Maid Behind the Bar (1) (The)

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X:1 T:Untitled T:Maid behind the Bar [1] M:C L:1/8 R:Reel B:Stephen Grier music manuscript collection (Book 2, c. 1883, No. 278, p. 58) B: http://grier.itma.ie/book-two#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=57&z=-464.6511%2C313.344%2C3106.4674%2C1258.8443 N:Stephen Grier (c. 1824-1894) was a piper and fiddler from N:Newpark, Bohey, Gortletteragh, south Co. Leitrim. Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G F|A3B AFED|FAAB ABde|fBBA Bdeg|fdec dBAG| FAAB AFED|FAAB ABde|fBBA BcdB|AFGE D3|| a3g fddg|fdad fddf|gfga beef|gebe geeg| fgaf bgaf|defd dcBc|dcBA BcdB|AFGE D3||



MAID BEHIND THE BAR [1], THE (An Gearrchaile taobh thiar den Bheár). AKA and see "Barmaid (The)," "Bartender (The)," "Green Mountain (2)," "Haymaker Reel (1) (The)," "Honeycomb (The)," "Indy's Favorite," "Little Judy," "Long Island Reel," "Judy's Reel," "Maid Behind the Barrel (The)," "Maid Behind the Counter (The)," "Maids of Castlebar (The)." Irish, Reel. D Major (most versions): C Major (Cranitch). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (most versions): AA'BB (Bain). The tune was popularlized through the recording by Sligo fiddle master James Morrison (and piper Tom Ennis) and has become (along with its variants) one of the most ubiquitous tunes in modern Irish sessions. "Maid behind the Bar [1]" was entered as an untitled reel in Book 2 (No. 278) of the large c. 1883 music manuscript collection of County Leitrim fiddler and piper Stephen Grier (c. 1824-1894). Versions of the melody appear earliest in published collections as "Indy's Favorite" and "Judy's Reel" in Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883). O'Neill prints the tune also under the title "Maid of Castlebar," but title may be a corruption of "Maid Behind the Bar," or vice-versa.

Lynn "Chirps" Smith, citing Spottswood[1], finds early recordings by uilleann piper and stage entertainer Patrick J. Patsy Touhey (1865-1923) recorded on cylinder records made between 1901-1919 ("Maid behind the Bar", paired with the jig "Humors of Glynn (1)")[2]. A few years later accordion player Edward Herborn with banjo player James Wheeler recorded "The Maid Behind the Bar (1)" and paired it "The Rambler Jig", a close version of the "Kesh Jig (1) (The)"[3]. Ellen O'Byrne was an entrepreneur who saw an opportunity supplying early commercial 78 RPM recordings to the niche market of the Irish community in America. She convinced Columbia to take a chance recording Irish musicians with the Herborn and Wheeler accordion/banjo duo as the first musicians to record Irish dance tunes. "Since the deal required O'Byrne to buy 500 to 1,000 copies in advance to sell through the O'Byrne Dewitt store, she went door-to-door in the Irish neighborhoods to announce the impending release of the recording. The disc sold out in no time and proved there was a market for Irish music in America"[4]. Further early 78 RPM recordings include accordion player James Murphy in 1920 and accordion player John "Dutch" Kimmel (who recorded the reel the same year, calling it "The Bartender"). Kimmel also included it in his 1920 cylinder recording for Edison as the last tune in a medley of Irish reels called "Oh gee!" Philippe Varlet notes that flute player John Sheridan waxed it as "Maid Behind the Barrel" in 1928. Much later, County Clare fiddler Vincent Griffin recorded the tune in 1977, played in the rather unusual key of 'C' major.

The second strain of 'Maid' was employed as the third strain of the French-Canadian tune "Ronfluse Gobeil/Snoring Gobeil/Snoring Mrs. Gobeil/Reel St-Siméon," recorded by Jos Bouchard in 1938. See also note for "Long Island Reel."


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Bain (50 Fiddle Solos), 1989; p. 12. Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 181. Cranitch (Irish Fiddle Book), 1996; No. 68, p. 151. Cranitch (Irish Session Tunes: Red Book), 2000; 67. Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 4, p. 1. Mallinson (100 Essential), 1995; No. 21, p. 9. Martin & Hughes (Ho-ro-gheallaidh), 1990; p. 34. O'Brien (Jerry O'Brien's Accordion Instructor), Boston, 1949. O'Malley (Luke O'Malley's Collection of Irish Music, vol. 1), 1976; No. 70, p. 35 (appears as "The Barmaid"). Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 73. Sullivan (Session Tunes), vol. 2; No. 7, p. 4. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, vol. 1), 1999; p. 20.

Recorded sources : - Canadian Broadcasting Corp. NMAS 1972, Natalie MacMaster - "Fit as a Fiddle" (1993). Coleman Music Center CHC 009, whistle player Jim Donoghue - "The Coleman Archive, vol. 2: The Home Place" (2005. Various artists). Columbia A2147 (78 RPM), Edward Herborn & James Wheeler (1916). Edison 50870 (78 RPM), John H. Kimmel (1866-1942, accordionist from N.Y.C.), 1920 {appears in "Oh Gee Medley Reels"}. Edison Blue Amberol 3985 (Cylinder), John H. Kimmel (1920, "Oh Gee Medley Reels"). Flying Fish FF 70572, Frank Ferrel - "Yankee Dreams: Wicked Good Fiddling from New England" (1991). Gael Linn CEF 175, Colm Murphy - "The Irish Drum/An Bodhran." Green Linnet 1022, Michael and Andrew Carnase- "Irish Music: The Living Tradition, vol. 2." Green Linnet SIF 1040, Touchstone - "The New Land." Green Linnet SIF 1131, Tom Doherty - "Take the Bull by the Horns." Green Linnet 3008, "Matt Molloy." Green Linnet 3098, Brendan Power - "New Irish Harmoica." Green Linnet SIF 3051, Frankie Gavin - "Frankie Goes to Town" (appears as "Maid Behind the Barrel"). Mulligan 004, "Matt Molloy." Ossian OSS 6, Matt Cranitch - "Irish Fiddle Music 2: Give It Shtick!" Topic 12TS338, Vincent Griffin - "Traditional Fiddle Music from County Clare" (1977). Voyager 320-S, Frank Ferrel- "Fiddle Tunes."

See also listing at :
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recording Index [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [3]
Hear Kimmel's 1920 recording at the Cylinder Preservation Project [4] (2nd tune in “Oh Gee” medley”)
Hear Ed Herborn and James Wheeler's (accordion & banjo) Sept. 1916 recording from the Ward Irish Arhives on Soundcloud [5] (paired with a jig they called "The Rambler" but which is a close version of the "Kesh Jig (1) (The)").



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  1. D. Spottswood, "Ethnic Music on Records, Vol. 5", 1990.
  2. This has been reissued on NPU 001 (cassette).
  3. Apparently, Jig & reel medleys were not uncommon pairings in the early 20th century.
  4. See accompanying note from the Ward Irish Archives [6].