Saddle the Pony (1)

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X:1 T:Saddle the Pony [1] M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig B:Jerry O'Brien's Accordion Instructor (Boston, 1949) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:G D|GBA G2B|def gdB|GBA G2B|AFD AFD| GBA G2B|def gfg|edB dBA|BGG G2:| |:B/d/|efe edB|def gfg|efe edB|dAA ABd| efe edB|def gfg|edB dBA|BGG G2:|]



SADDLE THE PONY [1]. AKA and see “Priest's Leap (2) (The),” "Red Stockings (1)," “Rough Diamond.” Irish, New England; Jig (6/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (most versions): AA’BB’ (Harker/Rafferty). "Saddle the Pony [1]" is often one of the first Irish jigs a young musician is taught in some areas, although in other regions the tune is not that well known. It breached the genre barrier and was frequently played by New England contra-dance bands for a time, perhaps due to the influence of Boston-based Irish-American accordion masters Jerry O'Brien and Joe Derrane. Martin Mulvihill gives that this tune as a favorite vehicle for the dance The Haymakers' Jig in New York in the mid-20th century.

The tune appears in William Bradbury Ryan's Ryan's Mammoth Collection (published in Boston in 1883) under the title "Rough Diamond." Despite this early appearance of the melody in print, the melody would seem to have an Irish provenance and variants, often untitled double jigs, can be found published around the the same time in R.M. Levey's second collection (1873) and James S. Kerr's Merry Melodies, vol. 4 (c. 1880's)[1]. The first strain of "Saddle the Pony [1]" is shared with the jigs "Down with the Tithes (2)" and "Widow Well Married (The)." See also the related “Boy from Home (A).”


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - New Jersey flute player Mike Rafferty, born in Ballinakill, Co. Galway, in 1926 [Harker].

Printed sources : - Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 169, p. 52. Kennedy (Fiddler’s Tune Book, vol. 2), 1954; p. 40 (appears as "The Red Stocking"). McDermott (Allan's Irish Fiddler), c. 1920’s, No. 1, p. 2. Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 1983; No. 17. Mulvihill (1st Collection), 1986; No. 46, p. 128. O’Brien (Jerry O’Brien’s Accordion Instructor), Boston, 1949. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 105 (appears as "The Red Stocking"). Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 136. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, vol. 1), 1999; p. 31.

Recorded sources : - Copley Irish Records COP 5009, Joe Derrane & Jerry O'Brien - "Irish Accordion Masters" (1995. Reissue recordings). F&W Records 4, "The Canterbury Country Orchestra Meets the F&W String Band." Saydisc CDSDL 416, The McPeake Family – “Bagpipes of Britain & Ireland”. Saydisc CDSDL449, The McPeake Family - "Traditional Dance Music of Britain & Ireland" (2018).

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



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  1. See "Down with the Tithes (2)" for both these tunes.
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