My Only Jo and Dearie

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MY ONLY JO(E) AND DEARIE (O) [1]. Scottish; Air, "Slowish" Reel; Irish, New England, Polka. D Minor (Gow): E Minor (Howe, Wilson). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Howe): AAB (Gow). The melody was first published as a song in Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, vol. 6 (1803, p. 548). In London dancing master Thomas Wilson's Companion to the Ballroom (London, 1816), it appears among the 'figure' dances, listed as a Scotch tune. Nathaniel Gow notes that it is "Supposed Irish" (repeated by James Manson in Hamilton's), but John Glen disputes this, citing the first appearance of the tune in the Museum. Ann Heymann (1990) sees this piece as a version of Irish harper Thomas Connellan's "Celia Connellan," although the relationship between versions of "Jo(e)" and O'Neill's "Celia" appear distant at best. One of the publishers of the 'Museum', Thomas Oliver, apparently heard the melody in a pantomime and forwarded it to Richard Gail (1776-1801), asking him to write words to it. The first verse of his lyric goes:

Thy cheek is o' the rose's hue,
My only joe and dearie O,
Thy neck is like the siller dew
Upon the bank sae brierie O;
Thy teeth are o' the ivory,
O sweets the twinkle o' thine e'e,
Nae joy nae pleasure blinks on me,
My only joe and dearie O.

The tune (as "Scotch Air") was entered into the mid-19th century music manuscript collection (vol. 2, p. 122) of Canon James Goodman (County Cork), obtained from the collector John Edward Pigot (1822–1871). See also Alfred Moffat's note to "Killdroughalt Fair" for more.

Source for notated version: Wilson's Companion to the Ballroom [O'Neill].

Printed sources: Carlin (Gow Collection), 1986; No. 309. Gow (Complete Repository), Part 3, 1806; p. 12. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 123. Johnson (Scots Musical Museum, vol. 6), 1803; p. 548. Manson (Hamilton's Universal Tune Book, vol. 1), 1844; p. 55. Miller & Perron (101 Polkas), 1978; No. 50. O'Neill (Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody), 1922. Wilson (Companion to the Ball Room), 1816; p. 33.

Recorded sources:




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