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Liver & Lights

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

This week’s musical offering is a set of hornpipes arranged for dancing: the Liverpool Hornpipe & the Lamplighter’s Hornpipe, so of course I’m calling it the Liver & Lights set. I’m playing a barn dance later this week, its a fundraiser for Blue Rock School — a sweet little charter school just up the road from me. [It's from 7:00 to 9:00 this Friday, 11/8, in the Congers Lake Memorial Park Auditorium, 6 Gilchrest Road, Congers, NY, 10920.]

Eric Hollman is the caller, and this is my third year doing this gig with him; lately he’s had me up to fiddle at dances in Orange County where he’s based. Being up there always puts me in mind of a list printed in a book called “Old Time Music Makers of New York State” (Bronner, 1987) which had this great bit of info — a list of tunes remembered by Lettie Osborn, she remembered fiddling these tunes at barn dances in Orange County at least as far back as the 1930’s.

Have a listen to the Liverpool and Lamplighter's Hornpipes; both tunes appear on Lettie Osborne's list of dance tunes --

And here, check out Lettie Osborn's tune list --

I’ve divided the tunes up into general dance categories, reels, jigs, hornpipes, and then a catch-all category for tunes whose names are to general for me to classify (some titles are just too vague, some I’ve really never heard of, and some I know only as songs not dances). Many of these tunes appear in Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, a wonderful book that was printed in Boston in 1883, so I am making a notation for tunes that appear there, and in certain cases giving an alternate title if it appears in Ryan’s under a different name.


1.) Arkansas Traveler (Ryan’s, 1883)

2.) Coming Through the Field (does not appear in Ryan’s, but the tune is closely related to ‘Miss Thornton’s Reel’ in O’Neill’s Music of Ireland, 1903)

3.) Devil’s Dream (Ryan’s, 1883)

4.) Emigrant’s Reel (Ryan’s 1883)

5.) Flogging Reel (Ryan’s, 1883)

6.) Flowers of Edinburgh (Ryan’s 1883)

7.) Galway Reel (although there are a number of tunes that go by this name, I’m assuming it’s the most common of them, called Connemara Stocking by some, and known as ‘Boston Rattlers’ in Ryan’s, 1883)

8.) Girl I Left Behind Me (Ryan’s, 1883)

9.) Golden Slippers

10.) Kingdom Coming

11.) Marching through Georgia

12.) McDonald’s Reel (Ryan’s, 1883)

13.) Miss McLeod’s Reel (Ryan’s, 1883)

14.) Money Musk (Ryan’s, 1883)

15.) My Love Is But A Lassie Yet

16.) Old Crow

17.) Opera Reel (Ryan’s, 1883)

18.) Rakes of Mallow

19.) Soldier’s Joy (Ryan’s, 1883)

20.) Speed the Plough (Ryan’s, 1883)

21.) Turkey In The Straw (Ryan’s, 1883 - known here by its original minstrel show title ‘Old Zip Coon’)

22.) White Cockade (Ryan’s, 1883)

23.) Wind That Shakes The Barley (Ryan’s, 1883)


24.) Bonnie Dundee

25.) Captain Jinks

26.) Gary Owen (Ryan’s, 1883)

27.) Haste to the Wedding (Ryan’s, 1883)

28.) Irishman’s Heart to the Ladies (Ryan’s, 1883)

29.) Irish Washerwoman (Ryan’s, 1883)

30.) Larry O’Gaff (Ryan’s, 1883)

31.) Paddy Whack (Ryan’s, 1883)

32.) Pop Goes the Weasel (Ryan’s, 1883)

33.) Praties are Dug (Ryan’s, 1883)

34.) Rory O’Moore (Ryan’s, 1883)

35.) St Patrick’s Day In the Morning (Ryan’s, 1883)

36.) Top of the Cork Road (most likely a jig called Father O’Flynn’s -Ryan’s, 1883)


37.) Delaware Hornpipe (Ryan’s 1883)

38.) Dick Sand’s Hornpipe (Ryan's, 1883)

39.) Durang’s Hornpipe (Ryan’s, 1883)

40.) Fisher’s Hornpipe (Ryan’s, 1883)

41.) Lamplighter’s Hornpipe (Ryan’s, 1883)

42.) Liverpool Hornpipe (Ryan’s, 1883)

43.) New Century Hornpipe (Ryan’s, 1883)

44.) Rickett’s Hornpipe (Ryan’s, 1883)

45.) Sailor’s Hornpipe (Ryan’s, 1883 - appears under it’s earlier name, the College Hornpipe)

46.) Moonlight Clog (Ryan’s, 1883)


47.) Emerald Isle (a slow 3/4 air titled this appears in O’Neills Music of Ireland, 1903)

48.) First Two Gents Square Dance (hmm...)

49.) Flower of Donnybrook (the only tune I find any trace of called ‘Flowers of Donnybrook’ is basically identical to ’Flowers of Edinburgh’ which appears on this list as well, so… who knows?)

50.) Highland Fling (once again, not so helpful.)

51.) Kerry Dance (this vague moniker is commonly applied to the jig ’St Patrick’s Day In the Morning’ however, that tune appears elsewhere in the list)

52.) Little Brown Jug (I’ve seen this same tune played as a reel, a polka & and a schottische, it even appears in Ryan’s as a jig, so I’m filing it under miscellany)

53.) Low-Back Car (this is an Irish song, so I guess it's the melody played as a jig)

54.) Oh Susanna (again, hard to classify this as anything other than a song.)

55.) Old Rosin the Bow (another Irish song likely repurposed as a waltz or perhaps a jig)

56.) Ta-Ra-Ra Boom De Ay (& again, hard to classify this as anything other than a song.)

57.) Virginia Reel (this is a term that usually denotes the formal dance rather than any specific tune, I’m used to Lord McDonald’s Reel being used for a Virginia Reel, but that’s already on the list. Some folks use a tune called ‘Rustic Reel’ - and yes it appears in Ryan’s - but just to make things even more complicated, Rustic Reel is technically a jig)

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