Oak Tree (1) (The)

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OAK TREE [1], THE (An crann darach). AKA and see "Mary Hold the Candle Steady While I Shave the Chicken Lip," "Saighean (Na)," "Northern Lights (2)," "Old Oak Tree (The)," "Old Simon's Hornpipe," "Tommy Peoples' Reel (4)." Irish, Reel. Ireland, County Donegal. D Major ('A' and 'C' parts), B Dorian ('B' part). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Breathnach): AABBCC (Brody): ABBC (Breathnach). A popular reel in County Donegal. Caoimhin Mac Aoidh (1994) lists this as one of the Donegal tunes played with long bowed double stops, reminiscent of piping. A close County Tyrone variation is "Grand Turk's March (The)," while the Scots strathspey "Miss Montgomery" is quite similar to the version played by Donegal fiddler John Doherty. Doherty also called the tune "Old Simon's Hornpipe" as well as "The Oak Tree", a reference to his grandfather, An Dochartach Mor (1820-1899) (liner notes to his recording "The Floating Bow"). Breathnach prints two versions in his 1976 volume, one version collected from Tommy Peoples and the other from Donegal fiddlers Micky and John Doherty. He labels Peoples' tune correctly as "An Crann Darach" (The Oak Tree), but names the tune collected from the Doherty brothers as "Bean a' Tí ar Lár," possibly influenced by Tommy Peoples recording on his album "The High Road," where he follows "The Oak Tree" with "Bean a' Tí ar Lár." Shetland fiddlers have played the tune as "Birlie Reel (Da)."

Sources for notated versions: Boys of the Lough (Ireland/Shetland) [Brody]; fiddler Tommy Peoples, 1968 (Co. Donnegal and Dublin, Ireland) [Breathnach]; fiddlers Micky and John Doherty, 1966 (Stranorlar, Co. Donnegal, Ireland) [Breathnach].

Printed sources: Breathnach (CRÉ II), 1976; No. 133, p. 72 (mistakenly labelled "Bean a' Ti ar Lar"). Breathnach (CRÉ II), 1976; No. 193, pp. 100-101. Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 204. Bulmer & Sharpley (Music from Ireland), 1974; vol. 1, No. 50.

Recorded sources: CCE CL13, Tommy Peoples. Claddagh Records CCF31CD, John Doherty - "The Floating Bow" (1996. Recorded in 1974, appears as "Old Simon's Hornpipe"). Philo 1026, Boys of the Lough- "Live." Shanachie 29003, Tommy Peoples and Paul Brady- "The High Part of the Road." Green Linnet SIF 3051, Frankie Gavin - "Frankie Goes to Town."

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

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