Old Man Dillon

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OLD MAN DILLON (Seanduine Dillon/Diollun). AKA and see "John Naughton's Jig," "Jug of Brown Ale (1) (The)," "Mug of Brown Ale (2) (The)," "One Bottle More (2)," "Stonecutter's Jig (The)." Irish, Double Jig. A Dorian (O'Neill/1915 & Krassen, Tubridy): A Mixolydian (Mulvihill): A Mixolydian/Dorian (Moylan): A Major/Mixolydian (O'Neill/1850). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (O'Neill/1915, Tubridy): AA'B (Moylan): AABB' (Mulvihill, O'Neill/1850 & 1001): AA'BB' (O'Neill/Krassen). In Irish Folk Music (1910) Francis O'Neill relates that while he was walking his patrolman's beat on a summer evening in 1875 he chanced to hear "the strains of a fiddle coming through the shutters of an old dilapidated building on Cologne street...The musician was an old man named Dillon, who lived alone, and whom I had seen daily wielding a long-handled shovel on the streets. His only solace in his solitary life besides his dhudeen was 'Jenny', as he affectionately called his fiddle. A most captivating jig memorized from his playing I named 'Old Man Dillon' in his honor." O'Neill says "inferior versions" were subsequently found under the name "A Mug of Brown Ale," which he thinks was the original title. The earliest publication of the tune appears to be in R.M. Levey's mid-19th century collection (vol. 1), as "Mug of Brown Ale (2) (The)," however, the old Scotch tune "As I Was Kissed Yestreen/Kissed Yestreen" should also be compared.

The jig was recorded by two of the great 78 RPM Irish musicians, expatriate County Sligo fiddlers Michael Coleman (1927) and James Morrison. Coleman recorded the tune in a medley with "Kerrigan's Jig/Fancy" (better known nowadays as "Kesh Jig (1) (The)") with piccolo player Paddy Finlay. Morrison recorded with accordion player Peter J. Conlon in New York in 1929, pairing the jig in a medley with "Rose in the Heather (The)."

Chicago Irish Music Club, c. 1903. Timothy Dillon is standing in the back row, 5th from left (next to Chief O'Neill)

Sources for notated versions: Francis O'Neill had the tune from fiddler and patrolman Timothy Dillon, originally from County Kerry; accordion player Johnny O'Leary (Sliabh Luachra region of the Cork-Kerry border) [Moylan].

Printed sources: Moylan (Johnny O'Leary of Sliabh Luachra), 1994; No. 232, p. 134. Mulvihill (1st Collection), 1986; No. 67, p. 79. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 804, p. 149. O'Neill (O'Neill's Irish Music), 1915; No. 176, p. 97. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 25. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 75, p. 28. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 96. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, Book Two), 1999; p. 37.

Recorded sources: Brunswick 68002 (78 RPM), Michael Coleman & Paddy Finlay (1927). Columbia 33318-F (78 RPM), James Morrison & P.J. Conlon (1929). Front Hall FHR-010, Bill Spence and Fennig's All Stars - "The Hammered Dulcimer Strikes Again" (1977). Shanachie 79008, Clannad - "Dulaman" (appears as "The Jug of Brown Ale").

See also listing at:
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [1]
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [3]
Hear Michael Coleman's 1927 recording at the Internet Archive [4]
Hear James Morrison & Peter J. Conlon's recording at the Comhaltas Archive [5]




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