Wily Old Bachelor (The)
X:1 T:Wily Old Bachelor, The M:C| L:1/8 R:Hornpipe S:O’Neill – Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems (1907), No. 923 Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G DC|B,DGA BGDB,|CEAB cAFD|B,DGA BGc>B|(3ABG (3FGE (3DEC (3B,CA,| B,DGA BGDB,|CEAB cAFD|B,DGB ADEF|G2B2G2:| |:ga|bgeg dgBg|dgBg dgBg|bgeg dgBg|fgab a2 ga| bgeg dgBg|cBAB cdef|gdBG EcAF|G2B2G2:|]
WILY OLD BACHELOR, THE (An Seangiolla Criona). AKA and see "Bashful Bachelor (2) (The),” “Obelisk Hornpipe,” “Shaw's Reel,” "Walk Your Chalk," “Where Did You Find Her? (2).” Irish, Hornpipe. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "The Wily Old Bachelor" is a hornpipe that has been part of the Irish traditional repertory since the early 78 RPM era to the present day. It was first published with the "Wily Old Bachelor" title by Francis O'Neill, who declined to list a source for the tune. However, versions that predate O'Neill are to be found in William Bradbury Ryan's Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883) as "Shaw's Reel" and "Obelisk Hornpipe." Still earlier, the melody appears in blackface minstrel George H. Coes' Coes Album of Jigs and Reels (1876) as "Walk Your Chalk."
While Coes is the earliest collection to contain both strains in one tune, it would be premature to conclude an American provenance. In fact, both strains show up in tunes in the (latter) 19th century. The first strain is also shared with “Norfolk Hornpipe (1),” credited to W.H. Whiddon in Ryan’s Mammoth Collection (c. 1883), and has similarities to the second strain of “Whiddon's Hornpipe.”