Ships are Sailing (1) (The)

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SHIPS ARE SAILING [1] (“Ta na lungaide” or “Longa ag seolad”). AKA and see "Boy in the Boat (2) (The)," "Misses is Sick (The)," "Take Her Out and Air Her (1),” “White-haired Lass." Irish, New England; Reel (cut time). E Dorian (Em). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Taylor): AA'B (Mulvihill, O'Neill/1850 & 1001): AABB (Brody, Cole, DeMarco, Flaherty, S. Johnson, Mallinson, Miller & Perron): AA'BB' (Martin & Hughes, O'Neill/Krassen, Tubridy). A reel that has held currency as a popular session tune among Irish traditional musicians for some time. A version was printed in Ryan's Mammoth Collection (Boston, 1883) under the "Ships are Sailing" title that is very similar to the one O'Neill printed in 1903, and a version was entered into the 1890's music manuscript collection of London dancing master Patrick D. Reidy under the title "Misses is Sick (The)." This would seem to indicate that it was widespread at least since the latter 19th century.

Ken Perlman, writing in 1979, said this reel was very popular among Irish musicians in New York City. It is occasionally heard played in that city's sessions today, though considered somewhat worn. See also the related “Trim the Bonnet.”

Additional notes

Sources for notated versions: -fiddler John Vesey [DeMarco & Krassen]; fiddler Kathleen Morris (Corlisheen, Ballyrush, County Sligo) [Flaherty]; “from my mother” [Mulvihill].

Printed sources : - Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; p. 255. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 14. DeMarco & Krassen (A Trip to Sligo); pp. 36, 50, 65. Flaherty (Trip to Sligo), 1990; p. 60. Giblin (Collection of Traditional Irish Dance Music), 1928; 44. S. Johnson (The Kitchen Musician No. 4: Collection of Fine Tunes), 1983 (revised 1991, 2001); p. 7. Jordan (Whistle and Sing), 1975; 41. Mallinson (100 Essential), 1995; No. 66, p. 28. Martin & Hughes (Ho-re-gheallaidh), 1990; p. 11. Miller & Perron (New England Fiddlers Repertoire), 1983; No. 82. Mulvihill (1st Collection), 1986; No. 10, p. 3. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 108. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 1264, p. 237. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 532, p. 99. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 36. Taylor (Through the Half-door), 1992; No. 10, p. 9. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, vol. 1), 1999; p. 22.

Recorded sources: - Bellbridge Records, Bobby Casey – “Casey in the Cowhouse” (1992. Originally recorded 1959). Flying Fish FF055, the Red Clay Ramblers - "Merchant's Lunch" (1977. Learned from West Virginia fiddler Frank George). Green Linnet 1022, Gail Mulvihill and Mick Moloney - "Irish Music: The Living Tradition, Vol. 2." Rounder 0113, Trapezoid - "Three Forks of Cheat" (1979). Shanachie 29005, "Johnny Cronin and Joe Burke." Shanachie SH29006, John Vesey - "First Month of Spring." Shaskeen - "Shaskeen Live."

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

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