Sailor's Bonnet (The)

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X:1 % T:Sailor's Bonnet, The M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel K:D A2 FA df f2|dfef dBBd|A2 FA defe|dBAF ADDB| A2 FA df f2|afef dBBd|A2 FA defe|dBAF AD D2:| |:~a2 ab afdf|afef dB ~B2|fb(3bbb bafa|(3bbb af feef| bf f2 afef|afef dBBd|A2 FA defe|dBAG FA D2:|



SAILOR'S BONNET, THE (“Bairéad an mháirnéalaigh” or “Boinéad na tSeoltóra”). AKA and see "Highlander's Bonnet." Irish, Reel. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). ABB (Reiner & Anick): AABB (most versions): AABB’ (Moylan). The “Sailor’s Bonnet” is the third tune of a famous medley by Sligo fiddler Michael Coleman (1891-1945) (following “Tarbolton (The)” and “Longford Collector"), a recording that was so influential that the medley is still played at Irish sessions to this day. The first part of the tune is usually played single, and the second part doubled, totaling eight and sixteen bars, respectively. Harry Bradshaw and Jackie Small note that, while Coleman helped to popularize it, “The Sailor’s Bonnet” had been comparatively unknown until the 1929 78 RPM recording of it by the duet of Leitrim flute player John McKenna (1880-1947) and Sligo fiddler James Morrison (d. 1947), which predates Coleman’s 1934 recording.

Breathnach (1963) notes that Paddy O’Brien has another setting in his Irish Folk Music (176). The second strain of “Sailor’s Bonnet” is similar to the second part of the American breakdown “Billy in the Lowground (1).”

Additional notes

Sources for notated versions: - fiddler Jean Cariginan (Montreal, Canada) [Brody]; fiddler Seán McGuire (1927-2005, Belfast, Ireland) [Miller & Perron]; piper Matthew Tiernan/Maitiu Mac Tighearnain (Ireland) [Breathnach]; Michael Coleman (Co. Sligo/New York) [Reiner & Anick]; accordion player Johnny O’Leary (Sliabh Luachra region of the Cork-Kerry border) [Moylan]; New Jersey flute player Mike Rafferty, born in Ballinakill, Co. Galway, in 1926 [Harker].

Printed sources : - Breathnach (CRÉ I), 1963; No. 157, p. 62. Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; p. 243. Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 127, p. 38. Lyth (Bowing Styles in Irish Fiddle Playing, vol. 1), 1981; 48. Mallinson (100 Essential), 1995; No. 64, p. 28. Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music, vol. 1), 1977; No. 10. Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 2nd Edition, 2006; p. 102. Moylan (Johnny O’Leary), 1994; No. 279, p. 159. Reiner & Anick (Old Time Fiddling Across America), 1989; p. 159. Sullivan (Session Tunes, vol. 2); No. 5, p. 3. Taylor (Through the Half-door), 1992; No. 45, p. 31. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, vol. 1), 1999; p. 23.

Recorded sources: - Coleman Music Center CHC 009, fiddler Andy Davey (1928-2005) – “The Coleman Archive, vol. 2: The Home Place” (2005). Columbia Records (78 RPM), James Morrison & Michael McKenna (1929). Decca Records 12036 (78 RPM), Micheal Coleman (1934). Folkways FW 8876, Kevin Burke - "Sweeney's Dream." Gael-Linn CEF 045, “Paddy Keenan” (1975). Green Linnet SIF-1110, Johnny Cronin, Paddy Cronin, James Kelly & Johnny McGreevy - "My Love is in America: The Boston College Irish Fiddle Festival" (1991). Leader LEA 2004, Martin Byrnes. Mulligan 002, The Bothy Band - "1975." Philo 2001, "Jean Carignan" (appears as third tune of "Tarbolton Reel Medley" and learned from a Michael Coleman record made in the mid 1930's). Shanachie 33001, Michael Coleman - "The Wheels of the World." Shaskeen - "Shaskeen Live."

See also listings at:
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources []
Alan Ng’s Irishtune.info [1]
Hear Morrison & McKenna's Columbia recording at ITMA [2] and the Comhaltas Archive [3] (paired with "Highland Skip").
Hear Michael Coleman's 1934 medley on youtube.com [4] and ITMA [5] {"Tarbolton Reel," "Longford Collector," "Sailor's Bonnet"}



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