Back to Miss Montgomery's
MISS MONTGOMERY’S. AKA and see “Lady Montgomery's Reel (1)," "Phelim's Frolic.” Irish, Reel. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. A version of "Lady Montgomery's Reel (1), recorded by Hugh Gillespie (paired with “Donegal Traveler Reel”). Gillespie (1906-1986) was an immigrant from County Donegal, born in Ballybofey. Arriving in New York in 1928 he found employment as an engineer for the local electric company, and came under the tutelage of Sligo fiddler Michael Coleman, who became his mentor.
The reel was collected in the Slieve Gullion region of south County Armagh by the Rev. Luke Donnellan, a rector at Dromintee, who published a collection of over 100 tunes, mostly reels, in 1909 in The Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society (vol. II, No. 2). Donnellan was enthusiastic about P.W. Joyce's then recently published Old Irish Music and Songs (1909), but found Irish music rather rare in his area.
The old people of Dromintee will tell you of the number and the skill of musicians who used to come to [nearby] Forkhill fair. I was told there used to be as many as thirty playing at it. They display an extensive knowledge of the names of songs and dance tunes, but cannot sing them. The reel known as “Black Haired Lass (2) (The)” No. 66 inf., seems to have been a great favourite with everyone. These facts point to a vanishing and disappearing musical culture.
Forkhill Fair, held on Michaelmas Day (Sept. 29th) was once the great horse and cattle fair, and festival of the area (St. Michael is the patron saint of horsemen).
The "Phelim's Frolic" title is a 20th century appellation, attached when the tune was recorded in the 1960's in New York by the trio of Andy McGann, Joe Burke and Felix Dolan. They had no name for it, and decided to name it after the very young son of pianist Dolan.
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Black (Music’s the Very Best Thing), 1996; No. 193, p. 102. Donellan (Journal of the County Louth Archaeological Society, vol. II, No. 2), 1909; No. 30.
Topic 12T364, Hugh Gillespie – "Classic Recordings of Irish Traditional Fiddle Music".
Decca DE 12233 (78 RPM), Hugh Gillespie (1938).
See also listing at:
Hear Hugh Gillespie's recording at Capeirish.com  (2nd in medley with "Donegal Traveler").