Sally Gardens (1)

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X:1 % T:Sally Gardens [1] R:Reel M:C| L:1/8 K: G G2DG B2GB | dBeB dBAB | d2Bd efge | dBAB GEDE | G2DG B2GB | dBeB dBAB | d2Bd efge | dBAB G2G2 :| dggf g2dg | g2bg aged | eaag a2ea | a2bg agea | dggf g2dg | g2bg ageg | d2Bd efge | dBAB G2G2 :|]



SALLY GARDENS [1], THE (Na Garranta Sailí). Irish, Reel (cut time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (most versions): AA’BB’ (O’Malley, Perlman). A once popular Irish session tune, widely disseminated, although overplaying has diminished its appeal to many. The name “Sally Garden” is a 17th century variation of 'sallow garden', the term for a willow garden. The name ‘sally’ is derived either from the Latin name salix or salyx, meaning willow (‘aspirin’, or acetylsalicylic acid, was developed from an investigation of the folk remedy of chewing willow shoots to relieve pain), or from the Gaelic word for the plant, sailleach (which itself may have been derived from the Latin). A sally garden was kept as a source for willow sprouts or osiers used in making wicker baskets, furniture and other household items but it also sometimes served as a trysting place for lovers. The theory is that over the years ‘sally garden’ was personified into the object of desire, “Sally Gardens;” a woman’s name (see also related meanings for the American tune “Sally in the Garden”).

New Jersey accordion player Luke O'Malley credits Irish accordion players Joe Cooley and Paddy O’Brien for popularizing the reel in the New York area, when they were living in the United States, and Reg Hall notes that young London accordion players in the late 50's and early 60's were also busy imitating O'Brien's recording. Paddy O’Brien (1922–91) famously recorded the tune on 78 RPM (paired with "Yellow Tinker (The)") for Columbia Records in Newtown, Co. Tipperary, in January, 1954, on the then-new B/C accordion system (the side was released in 1955). Although he did not claim composition of the "Sally Gardens", his recording was very influential and helped to consolidate the accordion in the first rank of Irish traditional instrumentation. The Tulla Céilí Band recorded "Sally Gardens" in 1956 on 78 RPM for the HMV label. Martin Mulhaire was the accordion player with the Tulla Céilí Band in 1957 after having been asked by Paddy Canney and P.J. Hayes to join for a tour of England. Later that year, they won the All Ireland Ceili Band Competition in Dungarven, Co Waterford, followed by dates at Carnegie Hall in New York City for St Patrick’s Day, 1958. The same year they released the first long play ceili record, "Echoes of Erin", featuring Mulhaire playing O'Brien's pairing of "Yellow Tinker (The)" and "Sally Gardens."

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - fiddler Seán McGuire (1927-2005, Belfast, Ireland) [Miller & Perron]; accordion player Sonny Brogan (County Sligo/Dublin, Ireland) [Breathnach]; accordion player Johnny O’Leary (Sliabh Luachra region of the Cork-Kerry border), recorded at Na Píobairí Uilleann, October, 1984 [Moylan]; fiddlers Carl & Jackie Webster (b. 1932 & 1938, Central Kings County, Prince Edward Island) [Perlman]; set dance music recorded at Na Píobairí Uilleann in the 1980’s [Taylor].

Printed sources : Breathnach (CRÉ I), 1963; No. 100, p. 43. Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; p. 246. Bulmer & Sharpley (Music from Ireland vol. 1), 1974; No. 1. Jordan (Whistle and Sing), 1975; p. 18. Mallinson (100 Essential), 1995; No. 5, p. 2. Martin & Hughes (Ho-ro-gheallaidh), 1990; p. 34. Miller & Perron (Traditional Irish Fiddle Music, vol. 1), 1977; No. 29. Miller & Perron (Irish Traditional Fiddle Music), 2nd Edition, 2006; p. 102. Moylan (Johnny O’Leary of Sliabh Luachra), 1994; No. 154, p. 89. Mulvihill (1st Collection), 1986; No. 16, p. 4. O'Brien (The Definitive Collection of the Music of Paddy O’Brien 1922–1991), 2011; p. 184. O’Malley (Luke O’Malley’s Collection of Irish Music, vol. 1), 1976; No. 17, p. 9. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 62. Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; p. 138. Songer & Curley (The Portland Collection, vol. 2), 2005; p. 177. Taylor (Music for the Sets: Yellow Book), 1995; p. 6. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, Book Two), 1999; p. 25.

Recorded sources: - Avoca 139, Seán Magurire - "Music of Ireland." Columbia CAL506-1 (78 RPM), Paddy O’Brien (1954). His Master's Voice No. 1P 1149 (78 RPM), The Tulla Céilí Band (1956, followed by "Bag of Potatoes (1) (The)" & "Congress (The)"). Kicking Mule KM-325, Banish Misfortune - "A Health to the Company" (1981). Rounder Records 7057, Jerry Holland – “Parlor Music” (2005). Sonet 763, Dave Swarbrick - "Lift the Lid and Listen." Bill McComiskey (et al) – “The Big Squeeze.”

See also listings at:
Alan Snyder’s Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [1]
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [2]
Alan Ng’s Irishtune.info [3]



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