Rambling Pitchfork (The)

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X:1 T:Rambling Pitchfork, The M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig B:R.M. Levey - First Collection of the Dance Music of Ireland (1858, No. 21, p. 9) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Dmin (D/E/)|{G}FEF AFF|cFF AFF|G2A Bcd|fed cAG| {G}FEF AFF|cFF A>GF|G2A BAG|dAFD D2:| |:(3A/=B/^c/|d2e fed|e^cA A=Bc|d2e fed|a>gf g>fe| d2e fed|e^cA AGF|G2A BAG|AFD D2:|]



RAMBLING PITCHFORK, THE (Ab Gabhal siúlach). AKA and see “Baxter's Big,” “Fisherman's Jig,” "Fisherman's Widow (The),” “Friendly Neighbor (The),” "Guertin Boys," "Píce Fánach (An)," "Roland's Return," “St. Patrick's Day in the Evening.” Irish, Double Jig. D Minor (Goodman, Levey): D Major (most versions): G Major (Kerr). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Kerr): AABB (Cranitch, Levey, Mallinson, Taylor/Tweed): AABB' (Allens): AA'BB' (Alewine). The title “Rambling Pitchfork” refers to an itinerant farm laborer, in the same sense that ‘hired gun’ refers to a mercenary—-in other words, the main implement of one's occupation stands for the individual. An early recording of the tune, under the title “Lambert's (Jig),” was by the Ballinakill (Co. Galway) Traditional Dance Players, in London, 1931. The renowned County Sligo fiddler Michael Coleman recorded it in New York in 1921 in the 78 RPM era, as did accordion player Michael J. Conlon a few years later. Fiddler Paddy Killoran also recorded the tune in New York in 1937, but called it "Guertin Boys" after a small town in his native south County Sligo. The jig appears in the mid-19th century music manuscript collection of County Cork uilleann piper and Church of Ireland cleric James Goodman [1], set in the key of D minor, and was nearly identically reproduced under the title "Roland's Return" in Frank Roche's Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 1 (1912). First strain cognates can also be found in "Humors of Castlelyons (The)" and "Patrick Maloney's Favorite."

The tune was famously paired with “Sporting Pitchfork (The)” on the 1978 Paddy Glackin/Paddy Keenan album (Doublin’), the medley being known as The Pitchforks. Kilmaley, County Clare, fiddler, flute player and uilleann piper Peader O’Loughlin remembers that the famous Milltown Malbay, County Clare, piper Willie Clancy loved to dance the “Rambling Pitchfork.” “Willie was one of them, Willie Clancy that could do the step great.” Clancy played the tune “in his mouth” (i.e. by mouth-music) as he danced it, and always incorporated the rolls and triplets which corresponded to the dance steps. “Peader understood that when Clancy played the “Rambling Pitchfork” on the pipes that he imagined himself dancing out the steps simultaneously” (Charlie Piggott, Blooming Meadows, 1998, p. 170).


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Alewine (Maid that Cut Off the Chicken’s Lips), 1987; p. 30. Cranitch (Irish Fiddle Book), 1996; p. 56. Giblin (Collection of Traditional Irish Dance Music), 1928; 69. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; No. 38, p. 39. R.M. Levey (First Collection of the Dance Music of Ireland), 1858; No. 21, p. 9. Mallinson (100 Enduring), 1995; No. 45, p. 19. McDermott (Allan's Irish Fiddler) c. 1920’s, No. 22, p. 6. Songer (Portland Collection, vol. 2), 2005; p. 164. Taylor (Traditional Irish Music: Karen Tweed’s Irish Choice), 1994; p. 6.

Recorded sources : - Capelhouse Records, James Kelly – “Traditional Irish Music” (1996). Decca 12095 (78 RPM), Paddy Killoran (1937 as "Guertin Boys"). Folktrax FTX-154, Michael Coleman - "Stack of Barley & Wheat." Gael-Linn CEF 045, “Paddy Keenan” (1975). Great Meadow Music GMM 2003, “Rodney Miller’s Airdance” (2000). Green Linnet SIF 3018, Matt Molloy, Sean Keane & Tommy Peoples – “Molloy, Keane & Peoples.” Shanachie 79093, Paddy Glackin & Robbie Hannan – “The Whirlwind” (1995. Learned from the McLaughlin brothers, piper Joe and fiddler Dermot, of Derry). Tara 2007, Paddy Glackin & Paddy Keenan - “Doublin’” (1978). Mary Custy – “After 10:30.” Topic TSCD 602, Ballinakill Traditional Dance Players – “Irish Dance Music” (1995. A reissue of the 1931 original, titled “Lambert’s” on the recording). Viva Voce CEFCD 161, "Michael Coleman 1891-1945" (1992. Reissue recordings). Vocalion 14492A (78 RPM), Michael Coleman (1921).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Ng’s Irishtune.info [3]
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [4]
Hear the 1949 Copley Records recording by piper Felix Doran at the Internet Archive [5] [6]
Hear the 1937 Decca Records recording by fiddler Paddy Killoran at the Internet Archive (2nd tune, "Guertin Boys," following "Leitrim Jig") [7] [8]



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