Merry Blacksmith (The)

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X:1 T:Merry Blacksmith M:4/4 L:1/8 R:Reel K:D |:AB|d2dA BAFA|ABdA BAFA|ABde fded|Beed egfe| d3A BAFA-|ABdA BAFA-|ABde fdec|dBAF D2:| |:fg|a2ag f2fe|d2dA BAFA-|ABde fded|Beed egfg| abag fgfe|dcdA BAFA|ABde fdec|dBAF D2:|]



MERRY BLACKSMITH, THE ("An Gaba Meadrac" or "An Gabha Meidhreach"). AKA and see - Gaba Meadrac (An), Gabha Meidhreach (An), Boys of the Lake (2), Collin's Reel (1), Corkonian, Devil's in Dublin (1) (The), Emminence Breakdown, Flags of Dublin (2) (The), Ike Forrester's Reel (1), Mist on the Loch, Paddy on the Railroad, Peeler's Jacket (1), Police Jacket (The), Policeman's Reel (The), Railroad (2) (The), Boy in the Gap (3), Peeler's Reel, Peeler's Cap (2) (The), Policeman's Cap. Irish, English; Reel. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (O'Neill/1850 & 1001): AA'B (O'Neill/Krassen): AABB (Allan's, Kennedy, Martin & Hughes, Raven, Tubridy): ABCD (Breathnach). A reel (and family of reels) that has enjoyed wide currency in Ireland, the British Isles and North America. 19th century collector P.W. Joyce gave the tune as "Boys of the Lake (2)" and again as an untitled tune (1909, No. 156). Researcher Connor Ward finds the earliest appearance of the tune under a variety of titles entered into 19th century manuscripts from County Longford and Leitrim. "The Larry Smyth MS (c.1900) and O'Farrell MS (c.1860s) have almost identical versions of this reel to one another entitled "Boy in the Gap (3)," remarks Ward, "The scribes of these manuscripts can trace their fiddle heritage back to the local fiddle master Thomas 'Blind' Kiernan (c.1807-1887) of Drumlish, Longford. The Stephen Grier MS (c. 1883, County Letrim) and Maggie Reynolds MS (c. 1930s) entitle their versions of this tune as "Peeler's Cap (The)" and lastly, in the Meagher MS (c. 1900) the reel is entitled "North Wall." Mid-19th century County Cork cleric and uilleann piper James Goodman's titles are "Railroad (2) (The)" and "Police Jacket (The)." "Devil's in Dublin (1) (The)" is a related tune.

County Sligo/New York fiddler Michael Coleman recorded a version of this tune in 1921 as the second tune in a medley entitled "The Boys of the Lough." However, his recording of the reel was predated by the 1915 recording by Brooklyn accordion player John "Dutch" Kimmell.

See also Montreal fiddler-composer Isidore Soucy's version of "Merry Blacksmith" as "Gigue à Tit noir," recorded in Montreal in 1929.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - piper Séamus Ennis (Ireland) [Breathnach]; "sent to me many years ago by Mr. (now Dr.) Grattan Flood of Co. Wexford" [Joyce].

Printed sources : - Breathnach (CRÉ III), 1985; No. 94, pp. 48-49. Giblin (Collection of Traditional Irish Dance Music),1928; 46. Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 156, p. 79 (appears as untitled reel). Kennedy (Fiddler’s Tune-Book, vol. 1), 1951; No. 31, p. 16. Martin & Hughes (Ho-ro-gheallaidh), 1990; p. 38. McDermott (Allan's Irish Fiddler), c. 1920's; No. 46, p. 11. O'Brien (Jerry O'Brien's Accordion Instructor), Boston, 1949. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 153. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 728, p. 128. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1509, p. 279. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 170. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, Book Two), 1999; p. 25.

Recorded sources : - Gennet 5003 (78 RPM), Tom Ennis & John Gerrity (1922). Green Linnet Records SIF 100, Seamus Ennis – "Forty Years of Irish Piping" (1977).

See also listing at :
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [3]
Hear concertina player Mick Mulcahy play the tune at the Comhaltas Archive [4]
Hear accordion player Bobby Gardinar play the tune at the Comhaltas Archive [5] (2nd tune in medley).
Hear the 1922 78 RPM recording by piper Tom Ennis & John Gerrity at the Internet Archive [6] (2nd tune in medley, preceded by "Miss Thornton’s Reel" and followed by "Bush in Bloom (The)").



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