Annotation:Old Mother Flanagan

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X: 1 T:Old Mother Flanagan R:reel O:American (Appalachian) Z:id:hn-reel-848 M:C| L:1/8 K:A a2a2 fecd | efec BAFG | ABAF EFAB | cBcd e2 (3efg | a2a2 fecd | efec BAFG | ABAF EFAB |1 cABG A2 (3efg :|2 cABG A2E2 || |: ABAF EFAB | c2cA BAFG | ABAF EFAB | cBcd e4 | d2fd c2ec | BABc BAF2 | ABAF EFAB |1 cABG A2E2 :|2 cABG A2 (3efg || P:"variations" |: agae fecB | c2c2 BAFE | ABAF EFAB | cAcd e4 | a2ae fecB | c2c2 BAFE | ABAF EFAB | cAB2 A4 :| |: ABAF EFAB | c2c2 BAFE | ABAF EFAB | cBcd e4 | d2fd c2ec | BABc BAFE | ABAF EFAB | cAB2 A4 :|

OLD MOTHER FLANAGAN. AKA - "Mother Flanagan (1)," "Old Mother Finnegan," "Old Granny Flanagan." AKA and see "Greenfields of America (1)," "(Pretty, Charming) Molly (Judy, Miss) Brallaghan (Brannigan)," "Miss Wedderburn's Reel (1)," "Sooka Flanagan," "Sukie Flanagan." American, Reel. USA; southwestern Pa., West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina. A Major (Brody, Phillips, Silberberg): G Major (Bayard, Kaufman, Phillips, Songer). AEae or Standard tunings. AB (Bayard): AB (Silberberg): AABB (Phillips/Gardella, Songer): AA'BB' (Kaufman): AABBCC (Brody). In Phillips/Sears version all the parts are irregular. "Old Mother Flanagan" is a derivative of the Irish reel that goes variously by the names of "Molly Brannigan/Brallighan" (often with an accompanying adjective--'charming', 'pretty', etc.); see note for "Annotation:Greenfields of America (1)." Clay County, West Virginia, fiddler Wilson Douglas remarked that he didn't know where it originated; "its a Clay County tune and French (Carpenter, his mentor) said he never did know. Said the first time he ever heard it played, his dad played it. And he learned it from him and he said he never did know where it came from." Another West Virginia fiddler, Emory Bailey, also played a version. Bayard (1981) collected this rhyme to the first part in Pennsylvania:

Old Mother Flanagan, never be a man again,
Hole in her stockin', heel kept a-rockin'.

See also the related tune "Old Flanagan" and the Kentucky variant "Sooka/Sukie Flanagan," as well as the second strain of the Missouri melody "'A' and 'E' Rag." "Sooka Flanagan" is "Old Mother Flanagan" along with a strain of "Shipping Port," a derivative of the Irish “Greenfields of America (1)”. Although the Fuzzy Mountain String band recorded the tune in A Major, their source, West Virginia fiddler Lee Triplett, played it in G Major, and nowadays versions in general are fairly evenly split between both keys. Kenton Sears' "Mother Flanagan" is a different melody, although "Old Mother Flanagan" must also have been occasionally shortened to "Mother Flanagan" as well.

The title (as "Old Mother Finnegan") appears in a list of traditional Ozarks Mountains fiddle tunes compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, published in 1954.

An "Old Mother Flanagan" was recorded in the field by Alan Lomax (1915-2002) for the Library of Congress (AFS 02410 A03 ) from the playing of fiddler Fred Fuco (Grandville, Kent County, Michigan, near Baraga) in 1938.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Bayard (Dance to the Fiddle), 1981; No. 312C, p. 265. Brody (Fiddler's Fakebook), 1983; p. 208. Kaufman (Beginning Old Time Fiddle), 1977; pp. 53 & 90-91. Krassen (Clawhammer Banjo), 1974; p. 62. Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), vol. 1, 1994; p. 173. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 112. Songer (Portland Collection), 1997; p. 151. Titon (Old Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes), 2001; No. 154, p. 179 (as "Sooka Flanagan").

Recorded sources : - Bay 727, "Kenny Hall and the Sweet Mills String Band." Berea College Appalachian Center AC003, “John M. Salyer: Home Recordings 1941-42, Vol. 1” (1993). Ghe Records GR1001, Mike Cross - "Child Prodigy" (1979). Leatherwood (cassette), Bruce Greene – “Vintage Fiddle Tunes” (1986). Marimac AHS #3, Glen Smith - "Say Old Man" (1990. Learned from Wilson Douglas). Rounder 0010, "Fuzzy Mountain String Band" (1972). Rounder 0047, Wilson Douglas- "The Right Hand Fork of Rush's Creek" (1975). Rounder 0058, Haywood Blevins (Va.) - "Old Originals, Vol. 2" (1978). Rounder C-11565, Malcolm Owen & Bill Hicks - "Rounder Fiddle" (1990). Marimac AHS 6, Melvin Wine – “Vintage Wine” (1993). Rounder 0010, The Fuzzy Mountain String Band – “Summer Oaks and Porch” (1973). Yodel-Ay-Hee 003, “Dirk Powell and John Hermann” (1992).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear/see the tune played on [2]
Hear the Fuzzy Mountain String Band recording at the Old Town School of Folk Music site [3]
Hear Paul Tyler's slow [4] and fast [5] versions at the Old Town School of Folk Music site.
Hear/see Lester McCumbers play the tune on [6]
Hear east Ky. fiddler John Salyer's 1941/42 home recording at Berea Sound Archives [7] ("Sukie Flanagan")
Hear W.Va. fiddler Wilson Douglas's 1973 field recording at Berea Sound Archives [8]
Hear Lee Triplett's field recording at Slippery Hill [9]

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