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Devil in the Kitchen


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Playlist and Excerpts from Notes



For samples, click on the highlighted tunes:

  • Guitar Solo: Professor Blackie Aire by famed Scottish fiddle composer, James Scott Skinner.
  • The Bay of Fundy by Canadian fiddler Bill Guest. Over the years I developed a few built-for-banjo “variations.”
  • The Bee’s Wing/President Garfield’s Hornpipe The Bee’s Wing” is a slow hornpipe that originated in Scotland. President Garfield’s is a nineteenth century North American tune that appears in the well known collection known as Cole’s 1000 Fiddle Tunes.
  • Farewell to Killikrankie/Archie Menzies/The Haggis. The first tune is a wonderful fiddle aire; Archie Menzies is an old Scottish reel, while The Haggis was named for a traditional Scottish dish consisting of oatmeal and giblets cooked in a sheep’s stomach.
  • The Miller of Drone/Big John MacNeil. The first tune is a strathspey. Big John MacNeil is one of the most frequently heard reels in Atlantic Canada.
  • Cape Breton Johnny Cope/Miss Lyle/The Black Mill. (Key: A modal). This is a Scottish style performance set–three tunes in the same key with varied tempos. Typically the three tunes are air/strathspey/reel, or (as is the case here) march/strathspey reel.
  • MacNab’s’/The Plains of Boyle. Two Hornpipes: MacNab’s is also known in Scotland as Crossing the Minch, while The Plains of Boyle is of Irish origin.
  • Guitar Solo: Da Slockit Light/The Smith’s A Jolly Fireman/The Bride’s Reel. This cut represents another Scottish style performance set–this time of the air/strathspey/reel variety. The first tune is the most famous composition of Tom Anderson, the late Shetland fiddler who almost singlehandedly engineered a fiddling revival on his home islands.
  • Rakish Paddy. I got a lot of the ideas for the variations on this Irish reel during an encounter with English tenor banjoist Tony Sullivan at a bar in New York City’s East 30s.
  • Stella’s Trip to Kamloops/Devil in the Kitchen/The High Reel. Stella’s Trip is an example of some of the wonderful composing coming out of Cape Breton these days. Devil in the Kitchen is a mid-nineteenth century Scottish strathspey which was originally composed for bagpipes. The High Reel is actually an Irish tune, but the melody fits so well coming out of the strathspey that I felt compelled to use it here.
  • You Married My Daughter, and Yet You Didn’t. This is a French Canadian tune popular in the U.S. Northern contra dance scene. Again I’ve come up with some original variations on the tune, which I hope might become traditional.
  • Glen Coe March/ Lord Gordon.. Glen Coe is one of the most famous landmarks in Scotland–a mountain-ringed valley where the pro-English Campbell clan is said to have attacked and killed in their sleep numerous members of the rebellious MacDonald clan back in the late seventeenth century. This variant of Lord GordonJust click on the highlighted tunes is from Winston FitzGerald. There’s also an Irish version of this tune in circulation that has several variations.
  • The Stool of Repentance/Come Under My Plaidie. Both of these are old Scottish jigs.
  • Trad. Strathspey (Munlochy Bridge)/Heather on the Hill/Sheehan’s Reel/Farmer’s Reel.. The strathspey is a Cape Breton tune, while the three reels that follow are all favorites of Prince Edward Island step dancers.
  • Guitar Solo: Coilesfield House/Trad. Strathspey/Loch Earn. This performance set is really a condensed version of a nine-tune set I heard played by Cape Breton fiddler John Campbell, who now lives in Watertown, Mass. Coilesfield House is one of the best known works of Nathaniel Gow, an early Scottish composer of fiddle tunes. The strathspey is very unusual, and I’ve never heard anyone play it besides Mr. Campbell.