Sailor on the Rock

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X:1 T:A Favorite Reel T:Sailor on the Rock M:C L:1/8 R:Reel B:Elias Howe - 1000 Jigs and Reels (Boston, c. 1867) K:D d2 (ed) BAFB|ADFD FAAc|d2 (ed) BAFA|ABdf e2d2:| faag fedf|gbba gfeg|faag fedB|ABdf e2d2| faag fedf|gbba gfeg|afef dedB|1 ABdf egfe!D.C.!:|2 Acef d2z2||



SAILOR ON THE ROCK (Maraí ar an gCarraig or "Mairnéalach ar an gCarraig (An)"). AKA and see "Johnny with the Queer Thing." Irish, Reel (cut time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Miller & Perron, Taylor/Half-Door, Tubridy): AAB (DeMarco & Krassen): AA’B (Taylor/Sets, Taylor/Tweed): AABB (Flaherty, McGuire & Keegan): AA'BB' (O'Neill). The earliest appearance of this tune in print is in Boston music publisher Elias Howe's 1000 Jigs and Reels (c. 1867), a post-Civil War compendium of tunes that Howe himself collected from New England musicians, and numerous others that he gleaned from a variety of publications. Howe's title for the tune was only the generic "A Favorite Reel," with no alternate title, and was collected from a local musician, Jimmy Norton, "The Boss Jig Player", whose repertoire included many Irish tunes. Harry Bradshaw and Jackie Small say the tune probably owes its popularity to County Leitrim flute player John McKenna (1880-1947), who recorded it in the 1920’s. “Sailor on the Rock” was said to have been a local Leitrim tune that McKenna brought into the standard repertoire through his influential 78 RPM recording. "Sailor on the Rock" was also recorded in New York in 1922 by Michael Coleman (1891-1945), originally from Killavil, County Sligo, in a medley paired with "Bunch of Keys (1)" AKA "Paddy on the Turnpike (1)." Fr. John Quinn and Conor Ward find the second strain of two untitled tunes (see "Reel (78)" and "Reel (82)") from County Leitrim fiddler and piper Stephen Grier (c. 1824-1894) is shared with "Sailor on the Rock," and identifies another of Grier's untitled reels (Grier No. 231) as a close variant in both strains.

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Denis Murphy [Miller & Perron]; Michael Coleman (Co. Sligo/NYC) [DeMarco & Krassen]; fiddler Andrew Davey (b. 1928, Cloonnagh, Mullaghroe, Keash) [Flaherty]; set dance music recorded at Na Píobairí Uilleann, in the 1980’s [Taylor]; Leo Ginley [McGuire & Keegan]; “As played by Jimmy Norton, the Boss Jig Player” [Howe].

Printed sources : - Bulmer & Sharpley (Music from Ireland, vol. 3), 1976; No. 5. DeMarco & Krassen (A Trip to Sligo), 1978; pp. 39, 53, 67. Flaherty (Trip to Sligo), 1990; p. 112. Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 49 (appears as “A Favorite Reel”). McGuire & Keegan (Irish Tunes by the 100, vol. 1), 1975; No. 37, p. 10. Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music, vol. 1), 1977; No. 42. Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 2nd Edition, 2006; p. 101. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 113. Taylor (Through the Half-door), 1992; No. 50, p. 34. Taylor (Traditional Irish Music: Karen Tweed’s Irish Choice), 1994; p. 15. Taylor (Music for the Sets: Yellow Book), 1995; p. 15. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, vol. 1), 1999; p. 22.

Recorded sources: - 3 SCONES 2008, Dermy Diamond, Tara Diamond, Dáithí Sproule - "Seanchairde/Old Friends" (2009). DMPCD 9401, Karen Tweed – “Drops of Springwater” (1994). Gael-Linn CEF 161, “Michael Coleman 1891-1945” (1992). Green Linnet GLCD 3051, Frankie Gavin – “Frankie Goes to Town” (1991). Green Linnet GLCD 1150, “Moving Cloud” (1995). Shanachie 79023, "Chieftains 3" (1971/1982). Shaskeen - "Shaskeen Live." Néillidh Mulligan – “The Leitrim Thrush” (learned from his father Tom). Victor V-29053 (78 RPM)/Montgomery Ward 8621 (78 RPM), Dan Sullivan's Shamrock Band (1929).

See also listings at:
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng’s Irishtune.info [2]
Hear the 1929 recording by Dan Sullivan's Shamrock Band at ITMA [3]



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