Wild Irishman (2)

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X:1 T:Wild Irishman [2] M:C| L:1/8 K:D f|:edcB A2 (cA)|eAcA (e2 e)f|edcB A2 (de)|fage dcdf| edcB A2 (cA)|eAcA (e2 e)f|edcB A2 (de)|fage dAFA| d2 (fd) Adfd|A2 (3cBA eAcA|d2(fd) Adfg|(3agf (ge) dAFA| d2 (fd) Adfd|A2 (3cBA eAcA|d2 (fd) Adfg|1 (3agf (ge) dcdf:|2 agfe d2||



WILD IRISHMAN [2], THE. Irish, Reel. A Mixolydian ('A' part) & D Major ('B' part). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (Allans): AA’B (Feldman & O’Doherty). Unrelated to "Wild Irishman (1)," but related to the "Wild Irishman (6)" tune family that includes "Anderson's Reel (1)," “Don't be Foolish,” “Flowers of Redhill (1),” “Hod Carrier (The),” “Jilly Neary's Favourite,” “Maids of Palestine,” “Paddy Taylor’s Reel (4),” "Queen of the May (The)." See also the closely related "Old Wild Irishman (The)" and the first strain of "Maude Miller." Caoimhin Mac Aoidh (1994) believes McDermott's setting in Allan’s Irish Fiddler (1927) to be a County Donegal version of the melody, and remarked in 1997: “This is the old Donegal setting which until about 10 years ago was unknown outside the county.” Mac Aoidh has subsequently further delineated Donegal settings of this tune, and has called the version printed in Allan’s Irish Fiddler a "bones" version that was known from the area of Dungloe in the north of the county (recorded by the Folklore Commission by Donegal fiddler Neillidh Boyle) down to around Ballyshannon. Mac Aoidh further states: “It is well known to the Campbell's in the Croaghs and as such derived the alternative title The Glenties Reel from associations with them. A more melodically elaborate version exists in the southwest of the county and is strongly associated with The Deargs and James Byrne.” The famous Donegal fiddler Con Cassidy disliked the tune and avoided playing it, according to Mac Aoidh.

A version of the reel is contained in the early 20th century music manuscript of curate and fiddler Rev. Luke Donnellan (1878-1952), Oriel region, south Ulster[1]. Donnellan's tune has a principle title of "Behind the Bush in the Garden (7)" with an alternate title of "Wild Irishman." The second strain of Donnellan's reel corresponds to the first strain of "Wild Irishman (2)," and, while there are similarities between the other parts of the tunes, they also have some significant harmonic and melodic differences.

Montreal fiddler Isidore Soucy (1899-1963) included his irregular version of the tune in his "Gigue irlandaises (1)" as the last in a medley of three tunes on his first recording, in 1925.


Additional notes
Source for notated version : - fiddler Simon Doherty (County Donegal) [Feldman & O’Doherty].

Printed sources : - McDermott (Allan's Irish Fiddler), c. 1920’s, No. 52, p. 13. Feldman & O’Doherty (The Northern Fiddler), 1979; p. 106.

Recorded sources : - Gael-Linn CEF060, “Paddy Glackin.”




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  1. Donnellan researcher Gerry O'Connor came to believe the ms. is not the work of the curate but rather was originally compiled by an unknown but able fiddler over the course of a playing lifetime, probably in the late 19th century. The ms. later came into the possession of Donnellan, who was also a fiddler.
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