Steampacket (The)

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X:1 T:Steampacket, The M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel S:O’Neill – Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems (1907), No. 517 Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G A>G {A}B(3GFG AGFD|D>G {A}(3GFG AdcA|BGGB AFDE|FEFG AdcA:| ||d>g (3ggg a>g (3ggg|dggg fdcA|d>g (3ggg a>g (3ggg|dcde fdcA| d>g (3ggg a>g (3ggg|dgge f2 fg|afge fdec|dcde fdcA||



STEAMPACKET, THE (“An Lung-Gaile” or “An Long gaile”). AKA – “The Steam Packet.” AKA and see "Colamór Súgach (An)," "Connacht Rangers (The)," “Connaught Reel (3),” "Father Henebry's Reel," "Frieze Kneebreeches (The)," "Fuiseog an tSléibhe," "Gauger (2) (The)," "Lady O'Brien's Reel," "Last House of Connacht (1) (The)," "Mountain Lark (4) (The)," "O'Connell's Reel (2)," “New Tobacco,” “Steamboat (The),” "Touhey's Favorite." Irish, Reel (cut time). G Major/D Mixolydian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (O’Malley, O’Neill): AA’BB’ (Harker/Rafferty). "The Steampacket" is a member of a large family of reels with several variants and titles, although nowadays the tune is best known by the 'Steampacket' title. It is particularly associated with piping repertory, played by such early 20th century pipers such as Bernard Delaney (collected by Francs O'Neill as "Mountain Lark" in his Music of Ireland, 1903), professional piper and vaudevillian Patsy Touhey (who recorded it in 1919), and, later, Seamus Ennis. The tune predates the 20th century however; versions (titled and untitled) were collected in the 19th century by George Petrie, P.W. Joyce and others.

In 1959 Kerry fiddler Denis Murphy (1910-1974) recorded it in Dublin in a medley along with “Kerry Reel (1) (The)” and “Colonel Frazer”; "In all these tunes, the F notes are subject to inflection in traditional practice"[1].

Paul de Grae notes that the reel is a version of "Kiss the Maid Behind the Barrel", and that O'Neill's "Trim the Velvet" has a similar first strain.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - students of New York fiddler John McGrath (1900-1955), originally from County Mayo [O’Malley]; New Jersey flute player Mike Rafferty, born in Ballinakill, Co. Galway, in 1926 [Harker].

Printed sources : - Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 150, p. 46. Lyth (Bowing Styles in Irish Fiddle Playing, vol. 1), 1981; 79. O’Malley Collection, 1976; No. 58, p. 29. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 517, p. 97.

Recorded sources : - Claddagh 4CC 39, “The Pipering of Willie Clancy vol. 2” (1983). Fiddler FRLP 002, Paddy Cronin - "Rakish Paddy" (1975). Gael Linn CEF 045, “Paddy Keenan” (1975). Na Píobairí Uilleann NPU CD 001, Patsy Touhey - "The Piping of Patsy Touhey" (2005). Popcorn Behavior – “Journeywork” (1997). Rounder CD 1087, Denis Murphy – “From Galway to Dublin” (1992). RTÉ RTECD 199, Séamus Ennis - "The Return from Fingal" (1997).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Alan Ng’s Irishtune.info [2]



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  1. Paul de Grae, “Notes on Sources of Tunes in the O’Neill Collections”, 2017 [3].