Mama's Pet (1)

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MAMA'S PET [1] (Peata Mamaí). AKA and see "Downing's Reel," "First House in Connaught (The)," "Timothy Downing." Irish, Reel. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (O'Malley): AA'B (O'Neill, Taylor). Francis O'Neill printed a few versions of the tune, under different titles. In Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody (1922) he explains:

In boyhood days I memorized the first part of this reel from the fiddle playing of Mr. Downing a gentleman farmer who taught me the rudiments of music on the flute. Thirty-five years later the second part was supplied by A.S. Beamish, another West Cork musician. Being without a name the tune was called 'Timothy Downing' or '[[[Downing's Reel]]', in the O'Neill Collections. With a third part obtained from the famous fiddler John McFadden of Mayo, this tripartite reel is presented under its presumably true name.

O'Neill appears to have condensed two tunes that share the same first strain. The first version, which appears to have Munster origins, appears in the "Timothy Downing" tune (with the second part from the West Cork musician, Beamish. The second version was popularized by Sligo fiddler Michael Coleman (see "Mamma's/Mama's Pet (2)"). "First House in Connaught (The)" seems a related, but more distanced version of "Mama's Pet" in the first strain. Brendan Breathnach (1963) was of the opinion that Carl Hardeback (1921, No. 3) had a “faulty version” that he calls “First House in Connaught (The).”

See also earlier versions of the tune under title "Mammy's Pet (1)," printed in R.M. Levey's 1873 collection in the key of 'C' (c.f. O'Niell's "Timothy Downing") and James S. Kerr's c. 1880's collection. An even earlier appearance of the tune (as "Mamma's Pet") is in the mid-19th century music manuscript collection of County Cork uilleann piper and cleric James Goodman (3/108c). "Paddy's Pet" corresponds closely to the first and third parts of "Mama's Pet (1)."

Sources for notated versions: Pat O'Brien [Bulmer & Sharpley]; students of New York fiddler John McGrath (1900-1955, originally from County Mayo) [O'Malley]; Timothy Downing/A.S. Beamish/John McFadden [O'Neill]; piper Seán Potts (Ireland) [Breathnach].

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Printed sources: Breathnach (CRÉ I), 1963; No. 106, p. 45 (as "Peata Mamaí"). Bulmer & Sharpley (Music from Ireland, vol. 1), 1974; No. 34. O'Brien (Jerry O'Brien's Accordion Instructor), Boston, 1949. O'Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922; No. 205. Taylor (Through the Half-Door), 1992; No. 20, p. 16.

Recorded sources: Green Linnet, Gabe O'Sullivan - "Joe and the Gabe" (1970's). Green Linnet GLCD 1211, Kevin Crawford - "In Good Company" (2001. Learned from button accordionist Máirtin O'Connor, although the version is credited to East Galway flute player Eddie Moloney). Shaskeen - "Atlantic Breeze."

See also listings at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [2]




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