Seán Buí

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X:4 T:Shambuy M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig S:Rutherford’s Collection of 60 Choice Country Dances (1754) Z:Bruce Olson K:D D2A AFA|B/2c/2dF ~E2D|D2A AFA|B3d3| D2A AFA|B/2c/2dF E2D|(d/2e/2f/)d c/2d/2ec|B3d3:| |:d/2e/2fd c/2d2ec|B/2c/2dF ~E2D|d/2e/2fd c/2d/2ec|B3d3| d/2e/2fd c/2d/2ec|B/2c/2dF ~E2D|D2A AFA|B3d3:|]



SEÁN BUÍ (Yellow John). AKA - "Seaghan Buidhe," "Seán buidhe." AKA and see "Yellow John (1)," “Blow the Wind Southerly (Home to My Dear),” “Kinloch of Kinloch,” "Ligrum Cush," "Lacrum Cosh," "Marquis of Granby (The)," "Pot Stick," "The Shambuy/Shambuie," "Over the Water to Charlie (2)," "Wishaw's Delight." Irish; Single or Double Jig, March. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Composed in the early 18th century as “Seaghan Buidhe”, according to Grattan Flood [1], although whether by the Irish, Scots or English is difficult to say. “Seaghan Buidhe”, or “Yellow John,” is the name applied to the Irish followers of King William of Orange (William III), a term of derision and contempt; ‘yellow’ in this case seems to translate as ‘fair-haired’. In 1740 John Cunningham adapted a song to the air called "Teacht na n geana fiadhaine" (The Return of the Wild Geese). The tune was annexed by the Scots Jacobites in 1744 and appears in London publisher John Johnson's Choice Collection of Two Hundred Favpirote Country Dances, vol. 4 in 1748 (as “Pot Stick”, p. 11), and as "Shanbuie" in cellist and composer James Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 11 in 1752 (or 1760, dates vary). The title of the variant song “Over the Water to Charlie” highlights the Jacobite connection with its reference to Bonnie Prince Charlie; it first appeared in 1752 in James Oswald’s Caledonian Pocket Companion (book 4). Flood states that in 1736 in Dublin the air was published as "Shaun Bwee," and in 1742 it appeared with the title "Irish Pot Stick (The)," a reference to the English title for the tune, "Pot Stick." The English title "The Shambuy" is an attempt to pronounce the original Gaelic.

Seán Donnelly finds mention of the tune in (Dublin’s) The Universal Advertiser, 13-17 February, 1759, advertising an upcoming performance at the Theatre Royal in March: “After the Second Act there will be a Dance to the Tune of Shan-Bue, danced in a very surprising Manner by a Scholar of Signor Maranesi’s” (it was common during that period to have dance performances between acts).

Other early printings include Rutherford’s Collection of 60 Choice Country Dances (1754), Charles and Samuel Thompson’s Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1 (London, 1757), Robert Bremner’s Compleat Tutor for the Flute (London, c. 1765), Longman & Broderip’s Entire New and Compleat Instructions for the Fife (London, 1780). Bruce Olson says the earliest he found the “Shambuy” title was in Rutherford’s collection.

The melody was included by George Malecot, a musician from Whitehaven, England, in his 1776-1779 manuscript copybook. As “Shambuy” (an Englished corruption of the original Gaelic title) the melody appears in the music manuscript copybook of Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery’s invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Québec from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly’s dancing season of 1774-1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York.

Kidson finds the melody in Gow's 3rd Collection of Strathspeys as "Wishaw's Delight." See also the related Irish tunes “Mickey Murphy’s Jig” and “Nolan the Soldier.”


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - piper Willie Clancy (1918-1973, Miltown Malbay, west Clare) [Mitchell].

Printed sources : - Aird (Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs vol. 1), 1778; No. 98. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 53 (1st tune). Gale, p. 30 (1st tune). Gow (Strathspey Reels, vol. 3), 1792, p. 11. Gow (Beauties of Niel Gow, vol. 2), 1818 or 1824, p. 25 (2nd and 3rd tune). Hinde, 1770, No. 25. Hopkins (American Veteran Fifer), 1905; No. 3. Howe (Diamond School for the Violin), 1861; p. 43. Henry Philerin Hudson (ollection of Irish Music, vol. 1), c. 1840-50;, No. 54. JEFDSS, Vol. 1, p. 149. Johnson, vol. 2, 1787-1803, No. 187. Keller (Giles Gibbs Jr., His Book For the Fife...1777), 1974; pp. 36 37. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880, p. 31 (6th tune) and p. 47 (7th tune). Linscott (Folk Songs of Old New England), 1939; p. 86. Mitchell (Dance Music of Willie Clancy), 1993; No. 35, p. 49. O'Daly (The Poets and Poetry of Munster), 1849, p. 168. O'Daly Meehan, 1885?, p. 200. O’Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. 1), c. 1805); pp. 66-67. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; Nos. 1832, 1833, 1841. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion, vol. 2), 1760, p. 131. Petrie Stanford (Complete Collection), 1903 06, No. 1226. Riley (Flute Melodies, vol. 1), 1814, No. 341. Skillern, 1780, p. 20. Smith (Scottish Minstrel), 1820 24, vol. 3, p. 26. Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1), 1757; No. 78. Wilson (Companion to the Ballroom), 1840, p. 53.

Recorded sources : - Green Linnett SIF 1008, Tommy Reck - “The Stone in the Field.” Green Linnett SIF 3005, Bothy Band - "Old Hag You Have Killed Me" (1981--A reissue of the 1976 Mulligan LP. Appears as 2nd tune of track 3). Shanachie 79067, Boys of the Lough - “Farewell and Remember Me.”

See also listing at :
Alan Ng's Irishtune.info [1]



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  1. Grattan Flood, ‘’’History of Irish Music’’’