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GUEST,Murray on Saltspring irish tunes that became old timey tunes (27) RE: irish tunes that became old timey tunes 15 Jul 01


CORRECTION Sorry, I wasn't thinking when I aid that "Turkey in the Straw" = "The Rose Tree". My Irish-cum-Scottish Index [which steals one or two facts from W. B. Olson, bless him!] is as follows: Turkey in the Straw O'Neill Waifs & Strays (1922), 125 (no. 237). Key G, Cut time. From John McFadden(Chicago Irish Music Club), from Dan Emmett of Bryant's Minstrels [should be performed in "slow reel time" says O'Neill]. As to its origin, as Old Zip Coon it appeared in Howe's Collections c. 1850, and possibly earlier. Alderman Silas Leachman of Chicago (a native of Kentucky) wrote perhaps the best of several songs on the theme, and popularity of this (or others) relegated the old title to obscurity. Since the pioneers of West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee were largely of Irish ancestry, their music [varied as time went on] was Irish too. O'Neill adduces a possible ancestor of Old Zip Coon/Turkey in the Straw, namely The Kinnegad Slashers, which is also in his Music of Ireland (1903), 168 (#901), as a double jig, with alternate titles: Land of Sweet Erin; The Powers of Whiskey; Bannocks of Barley Meal. He takes it from O'Farrell's Pocket Companion for the Irish or Union Pipes (1804-10). The "Bannocks" title is from the Scottish set, in Scots Musical Museum #560, Bannocks of Barley Meal. The commentator Stenhouse, SMM Illustrations, thought the tune was Gaelic, while G. F. Graham, Songs of Scotland, II (1853), thought it was Irish. The Scottish words are 18th-century, so it's not impossible that an Irish tune was "borrowed" circa 1750.


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