Old Grey Cat
X: 1 T:The Old Grey Cat L:1/8 M:4/4 B:Kerr - Merry Melodies vol. 1 (c. 1880's, No. 8, p. 28) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Emin e2 e2 E3 F|(GF)GA (BA)B^c|d2 d2 D3 E|FAdB AFED| e2 e2 E3 F|GFGA BAB^c|d^cBA BAGF|E4 E2 z2|| B2 e2 e3 d|Bdef gfed|A2 d2 d3 B|ABde fedf| e2 B2 g2 B2|a2 B2 b3 a|gfed BAB^d|e4 e2 z2|]
OLD GREY CAT. AKA and see "Smuggler's Reel." Scottish, American; Reel. USA; New England, Northwest. E Dorian (Kerr, Lerwick, Martin & Hughes, Phillips, Silberberg, Songer, Sweet): E Minor (Miller & Perron). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Kerr, Martin & Hughes, Silberberg): AABB (Jarman, Lerwick, Miller & Perron, Phillips, Songer, Sweet). A popular tune at North American contra dances, borrowed from Scottish repertoire, although claims have been made for an Irish provenance. Charles Gore identifies 'the old grey cat' as Sean Liath, an Irish cat. He finds Scottish printings only as far back as the 1880's, where it is listed as an Irish tune, and does not find it in the listings of Great Highland Bagpipe repertoire. The first part of the tune is similar to "Wabash Jig AKA "Hell on the Wabash (5)" and "Night We Made the Match (The)," and an untitled Pennsylvania-collected reel (Bayard, 1981; No. 140 p. 76). Infrequently, selected pizzicato note(s) are used as a variation. See "Cattle in the Cane (1)" for a possible cognate in American old-time tradition. Triple time versions of the tune are the jigs "Rollicking Boys of Tandaragee (The)" and "Hills of Glenorchy (1)," and the Northumbrian air "Wild Hills of Wannie's (The)."
The earliest sound recording of the reel is by Scottish melodeon player Frederick James Cameron (1883-1949, Elgin), who (as "W.F. Cameron") recorded it in January, 1910, as the second tune in a set with "Flowers of Edinburgh (1)" (the title of the recording mentions only "Flowers of Edinburgh").