Spitfire Reel (1)
X: 1 T: Spitfire Reel  B: Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p.23. Kerr (Merry Melodies), v.3; p.38. Ryan's B:Mammoth Collection, 1883. M: C| L: 1/8 K: Bb f2|b2fe dcBd|cBAcB2BG|FGAB cdec|dcBdc2f2| b2fe dcBd|cBAcB2BG|FGAB cdec|dBcAB2:| |:fg|fdBd fdgd|fdBd fdbd|fdBd fdgd|edcde2fg| fdBd fdgd|fdBd fdbd|bagf edcB|ABcde2:|
SPITFIRE (REEL) . AKA - "Spit-Fire Reel." AKA and see "Acrobat's Reel," “Baker's Reel (1) (The),” “Whistler and His Dog (The).” American, Reel. USA; New York, New England. B Flat Major: G Major (Cazden). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Burchenal): AABB (Cazden, Cole, Miller & Perron). Although the term “spit-fire” was used as a general superlative in the 19th century, it may just be possible (although unlikely) that the tune was named for the Spitfire, an extreme clipper ship built in 1853 in Frankfort, Maine, for Messrs. Manning & Stanwood, and Thomas Gray & Co., of Boston. The ship was 224 feet long and her figurehead was a gilded eagle. The Spitfire was damaged in 1863 and sold to a London owner, but references to her drop from sight after 1874.
Paul de Grae finds a cognate tune in Breathnach’s Ceol Rince na hÉirreann, vol. IV (137), from Breathnach’s own manuscripts, and says it was recorded under the title “Whistler and His Dog (The)” by east Galway fiddler and melodeon player Rose Murphy on her 1977 Topic recording. Burchenal associates the tune with the dances Beaus of Albany and The Lady of the Lake. Perhaps the earliest sound recording is from 1913 by violinist Charles D’Alamaine, who was born in 1871 in England and died in 1943. D’Alamaine immigrated to the United States in 1888, and by 1890 had established himself as “instructor on violin” in Evanston, Illinois; by 1910 he had removed to Yonkers, and in 1920 was a chiropractor in New York City (info. from Paul Gifford).