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X:1 T:Uncle Jim T:Steamboat Quickstep M:6/8 L:1/8 K:A {3efg|:a2e c2A|Ace a2 (3e/f/g/|agf edc|Bed cBA| a2e c2A|Ace a2 (3e/f/g/|agf edc|edB [A2e2] [Ae] :| |:ece efe|efe cBA|Ad[df] [d2f2] [df]|fee e2 (3e/c/B/| Ace efe|efe cBA|a2f edc|edB [a2e2] B :|]



UNCLE JIM. AKA and see "Is Fearr Paidir ná Port," "Minion (The)," "Prayer is Better than a Tune (A)," "Reel de Beaupré," “Steamboat March,” “Steam Boat Quickstep," “Washington Quickstep.” Canadian, Jig. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Jarman): AA’BB’ (Perlman). Credited to Ontario fiddler John Burt by Jarman, and the tune is a staple of fiddling in that region. It was picked by by American contra dancers and became associated with the dance Steamboat Quickstep, acquiring the name of the dance (there is a reel "Steamboat Quickstep" as well). However the tune is quite a bit older, and may have a Scottish or English provenance. North Yorkshire musician and miller Joshua Jackson entered it into his 1798 music manuscript collection under the title "Minion (The)."

Perlman (1996) records that these words were sung to the ‘B’ part on Prince Edward Island:

Mrs. MacArthur have you a daughter?
Yes, I have and a pretty one, too!
She has gone for a bucket of water,
When she comes in I will give her to you!

The Newfoundland song "Lots of fish in Boniface Harbor" also uses a variant of the tune.

Lots of fish in Bonavist' Harbour
Lots of fish right in around here
Boys and girls are fishin' together
Forty-five from Carbonear.

The melody was recorded by the Kilfenora Ceili Band, who added it to their 5-part "Kilfenora Jig (1)." Irish versions go under the title “Is Fearr Paidir ná Port”, or “Prayer Is Better Than A Tune (A)." In the United States the melody was used for an old college song called "Co-ca-che-lunk," popular before the American Civil War, and in print by 1855. It is said the American version of the tune had an Irish provenance (no details).

Additional notes

Sources for notated versions: - Elliot Wright (b. 1935, Flat River, Queens County, Prince Edward Island; now resident of North River) [Perlman]; Dawson Girdwood (Perth, Ottawa Valley, Ontario) [Bégin].

Printed sources : - Bégin (Fiddle Music in the Ottawa Valley: Dawson Girdwood), 1985; No. 32, p. 46. Jarman (The Cornhuskers Book of Square Dance Tunes), 1944; p. 16. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 139.

Recorded sources: -Arc A650, Ned Landry - "More Ned Landry Fiddle Favorites" (1968).



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