Back to Whalen's Breakdown
WHALEN'S BREAKDOWN. AKA and see "Reel des lutteurs (Le)," "Whelan's Breakdown." Canadian, Reel. C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA'BB. The tune was popularized as "Whalen's Breakdown" by the great Canadian radio and TV fiddler Don Messer, originally from New Brunswick, Canada. The composition is often attributed to Messer, although curiously it does not appear in his Anthology of Favorite Fiddle Tunes (1980). It has been suggested that the reel was a composition of one of the fiddling Whalen Sisters from Amherst, Nova Scotia. Québec fiddler Isidore Soucy recorded the tune in 1955 as "Reel des lutteurs (Le)" (The Wrestlers' Reel). A 6/8 jig time variant of this reel is called “Bride of the Winds.”
Source for notated version: Vivian Williams (Seattle) [Phillips].
Messer & Doyle (Backwoods Melodies), 1949; no. 16.
Page, Northern Junket, vol. 6, No. 8, February 1959; p. 22.
Page, Northern Junket, vol. 10, No. 10, October 1971; p. 28.
Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes, vol. 1), 1994; p. 254.
Alcazar Dance Series FR 204, Rodney Miller – "New England Chestnuts 2" (1981).
Apex 26314 (78 RPM), Don Messer & His Islanders (1949).
Apex AL 1610, "The Best Of Don Messer and his Islanders – P.E.I. Series Volume 3" (1960).
See also listing at:
Hear Don Messer's recording on youtube.com