Molly Brallaghan (1)

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MOLLY BRALLAGHAN [1]. AKA and see "Charming Molly Brannigan," "Cossey's Jig," "Greenfields of America (1)," "Miss Wedderburn's Reel (1)," "Old Mother Flanagan" (Pa.), "Pretty Molly/Judy/Miss Brallaghan/Brannigan," "Purtie Molly Brallaghan." Irish, Reel. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. A tune family that apparently derived from the first strain of earlier 6/8 time versions, first printed in Jackson's Celebrated Tunes (1774) under the title "Cossey's Jig" (see also "Copey's Jigg," "Stone in the Field (2), "Maid in the Meadow (1)," "Jimmy O'Brien's Jig"). A bridge of sorts between the 6/8 and reel-time versions appears in Frank Roche's Collection of Traditional Irish Music vol. 1 (1912) in his jig entitled "Molly Brallaghan (2)," which is a jig setting whose first strain is very close to "Cossey's Jig," but whose second strain is a 6/8 form of the second strain of the reel version. "Molly Brallaghan" was entered into the mid-19th century music manuscript collection of County Cork uilleann piper and Church of Ireland cleric James Goodman [1], on the same page above the similarly titled "Judy Brallaghan (2)." The latter tune is an unrelated slip jig, although the similarity in names sometimes makes for confusion.

The Scottish "Miss Wedderburn's Reel (1)" bears considerable resemblance to "Molly Brallaghan" and may be ancestral or cognate.

At some point (latter 19th century?) words were set to the tune; the famous Irish tenor John McCormack recorded the song "Charming Molly Brannigan" on January 3, 1913, at the Victor studios in Camden, New Jersey, with Spencer Clay at the piano. The original 78 RPM was reissued by Murray Hill, 920344). Words to the tune begin:

Man did you ever hear of purty Molly Brannigan?
She stole away my heart and I'll never be a man again.
There's not a spot on my hide will another summer tan again,
Since Molly's gone and left me all alone for to die.
Dee idle diddley dootle...[etc]

There's a hole in my heart you could easy round a turnip in,[etc]
As big as any pavin' stone from Dublin to the Divil's lin.[etc]
If she chose to take another sure she might have left mine back again,[etc]
And not to leave me here all alone for to die.[etc]
Dee howdle duddley dootle...[etc]


Source for notated version:

Printed sources: P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs, vol. 2), 1858; No. 120, p. 55. Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 1), 1927; No. 157, p. 62.

Recorded sources: Claddagh 4CC 32, Willie Clancy – "The Pipering of Willie Clancy, vol. 1" (1980. Appears as "Pretty Molly Brannigan"). Folkways FW 8821, K. Scanlon – "Irish Dance Music" (1973. Various artists). Topic TSCD 602, K. Scanlon – "Irish Dance Music" (1995. A reissue of the 1973 Folkways LP, but the original was recorded in 1929 as the 3rd tune in a medley under the title "Molly Brannigan." The identified fiddler, 'K. Scanlon', has never been identified, although plays in a South Sligo style similar to Coleman and Morrison. Whether 'Scanlon' is a pseudonym for either musician, or an heretofore unknown player, is unknown. It is probably not Kip Scanlon, a South Sligo fiddler who taught Michael Coleman's brother to play.).

See also listing at:
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [2]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [3]




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