Frank Dalton wrote:
> Lots of folks in these parts play 'The Jig Of Slurs', which I understand
> is not really part of the Irish tradition, but belongs rather to Scottish
> music, having been composed by G.S. McLennan. Can anyone elaborate on
> this? Who is G.S. McLennan, for instance? Why is it called 'The Jig Of
Here's what I have picked up in my research about this tune. Funny, I can't
remember where I got this from. I know it wasn't from Henrik Norbeck's tune
archives, the Fiddler's Companion, Fintan Vallely's Compendium, the Ballygob
archives or Philippe Varlet. But I know I heard it somewhere...
Anyway, this four part jig was indeed written by G.S. McLellan, but he
didn't put a name on it. Then, sometime after that, his brother B.S.
McLellan, who was a notorious bigot and definitely the black sheep of the
McLellan clan, wrote words to the tune and gave it a name. He called it 'The
Jig of Ethnic Slurs'. There were 57 verses in all that he wrote, each one
slandering a different ethnic group. I hear it was actually quite hilarious,
if you're into ethnic slur humor that is.
The entire thing, words and all, apparently used to be sung a lot at
sessions back in the old days. But then over the years the tides of
political correctness took their toll, and verses were eliminated one by one
with instrumental tune breaks taking their place. The last actual verse to
survive was the one about bodhran players, which apparently lasted until
sometime in the late '50s. Its eventual demise came about because it was the
49th of the 57 verses, and although it was a distinct pleasure to hear it
sung once it was gotten to, session players just couldn't handle the 48
repititions of the tune it took to get there. (Apparently there was a
codicil in B.S. McLellan's will that said the verses couldn't be performed
out of their original order.) But there was always someone game to start it
off, even though it usually petered out after three or four repetitions, so
the tune itself survived and came to be called simply 'The Jig of Slurs'.
Can anybody confirm this? I know I heard it somewhere...