Tatter Jack Walsh

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X:1 T:Tatther Jack Welsh M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig Q:"Quick" B:R.M. Levey – First Collection of the Dance Music of Ireland (1858, No. 18, p. 8) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D a/g/|fdd ded|cAB =c2d|=cAG {A}GFG|Add d2 a/g/| fdd ded|cAB (=c2d)|=cAG {A}GFG|Add d2:| |:A|dfa afd|dfa a2f|gag {a}gfg|ecd efg| afd ded|cAB =c2d|=cAG {A}GFG|Add d2:|]



TATTER JACK WALSH (t’Athair Jack Walsh). AKA ‑ "Tatter Jack Welch." AKA and see “Cone's Favourite,” "Father Jack Walsh," “Harry Barrett's Favourite,” "Kitty of Ballinamore," "So Now My Dear Johnny," "To Cashel(l) I'm Going (1)." Irish, Jig and Air (6/8 time). D Mixolydian (Allan, Breathnach, Carlin, Harker/Rafferty, Hinds, Mulvihill, O'Neill, Taylor, Tubridy): D Major (Cole, O'Neill/1001, Russell). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (most versions): AA’BB (Harker/Rafferty, Russell). "Tatter Jack Walsh" has long been a popular jig played under several names. The title derives from the Irish "An t‑Athair Jack Walsh;” Athair meaning Father, as in a Catholic priest with the form An t-Athair being Irish Gaelic usage before a proper name. Carlin begs comparison with "Kate Caulfield's Jig" which he thinks is probably a variant of this tune. Tunes having the same basic melody are "Palatine's Daughter (The)," "Garden of Daisies (2) (The)", "Savourna Delight," and "(Garbh‑) Chnoicin Fraoigh (An)" (The Rough, Heathy Little Hill). See also the closely related Cape Breton tune "Charlie's Aunt" and the possibly partly-related “Little Brown Jug.” The title appears in a list of tunes in his repertoire brought by Philip Goodman, the last professional and traditional piper in Farney, Louth, to the Feis Ceoil in Belfast in 1898 (Breathnach, 1997).

The title is among those mentioned in Patrick J. McCall’s 1861 poem “The Dance at Marley,” the first three stanzas of which goes:

Murtagh Murphy’s barn was full to the door when the eve grew dull,
For Phelim Moore his beautiful new pipes had brought to charm them;
In the kitchen thronged the girls - cheeks of roses, teeth of pearls -
Admiring bows and braids and curls, till Phelim’s notes alarm them.
Quick each maid her hat and shawl hung on dresser, bed, or wall,
Smoothed down her hair and smiled on all as she the bawnoge entered,
Where a shass of straw was laid on a ladder raised that made
A seat for them as still they stayed while dancers by them cantered.

Murtagh and his vanithee had their chairs brought in to see
The heels and toes go fast and free, and fun and love and laughter;
In their sconces all alight shone the tallow candles bright -
The flames kept jigging all the night, upleaping to each rafter!
The pipes, with noisy drumming sound, the lovers’ whispering sadly drowned,
So the couples took their ground - their hearts already dancing!
Merrily, with toe and heel, airily in jig and reel,
Fast in and out they whirl and wheel, all capering and prancing.

“Off She Goes,” “The Rocky Road,” “The Tipsy House,” and “Miss McLeod,”
“The Devil’s Dream,” and “Jig Polthogue,” “The Wind that Shakes the Barley,”
“The First o’May,” “The Garran Bwee,” “Tatther Jack Welsh,” “The River Lee,” -
As lapping breakers from the sea the myriad tunes at Marley!
Reels of three and reels of four, hornpipes and jigs galore,
With singles, doubles held the floor in turn, without a bar low;
But when the fun and courting lulled, and the dancing somewhat dulled,
The door unhinged, the boys down pulled for “Follow me up to Carlow.”


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - Bobby Brown (Toronto) [Hinds]; Brendan Mulvihill (Baltimore, Md.) [Mulvihill]; fiddler Aggie Whyte, of the famous east County Galway ceili band The Ballinakill Traditional Players [Breathnach]; New Jersey flute player Mike Rafferty, born in Ballinakill, Co. Galway, in 1926 [Harker].

Printed sources : - Breathnach (CRÉ V), 1999; No. 12, p. 8. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 61 (appears as "Tatter Jack Welch") and 72. Harker (300 Tunes from Mike Rafferty), 2005; No. 174, p. 54. P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 2), 1858; No. 117, p. 54. Hinds/Hebert (Growling Old Woman), 1981; p. 24. Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; Nos. 9, 169, 191, 254, and 492. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 1), c. 1880; p. 39. Levey (Dance Music of Ireland), p. 8. McDermott (Allan's Irish Fiddler), c. 1920’s; No. 32, p. 8. Miller and Perron (Traditional Irish Fiddle Music, vol. 1), No. 39. Mulvihill (1st Collection), 1986; No. 22, p. 69. O'Neill (Krassen), 1976; p. 38. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; Nos. 885 and 434. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 136. Petrie‑Stanford (Complete Collection), Nos. 731, 325, and 505. Reavy, No. 21. Robbins, Nos. 55 and 31. Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 1), 1912; No. 9. Russell (The Piper’s Chair), 1989; p. 28. Taylor (Crossroads Dance), 1992; No. 43, p. 33. Tubridy (Irish Traditional Music, Book Two), 1999; p. 36.

Recorded sources : - Gael-Linn CEFCD 142, Seán Ryan – “Siúil Uait/Take the Air.” Shaskeen - "Mouse Behind the Dresser." Dervish – “A Midsummer’s Night Session” (Video. Performed with flute player Seamus Tansey).

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



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