X:0 T: No Score C: The Traditional Tune Archive M: K: x
WHISTLING BARBER. Irish, The tune was taken down by Sgt. James O'Neill, who serendipitously wandered into a barbershop while on a detail at a polling station at the intersection of Halsted and 32nd Streets in Chicago, during the elections of 1901. The barber was attempting to comfort a shrieking child, by dandling the toddler on his knee and whistling a reel. O'Neill, quick to spot a tune that had heretofore eluded the Chicago collectors, started to transpose the tune on the spot. The barber, perhaps becoming alarmed at the sight, took to his apartments in the back of the establishment, followed by an intense James who pleaded with the barber for the second strain. That obtained, O'Neill asked for a title, which had completely gone out of the man's head. However, the O'Neills christened the tune "Whistling Barber" in commemoration of the event.