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The Dusty Miller Rides Again


James Carroll <[log in to unmask]>


Irish Traditional Music List <[log in to unmask]>


Sat, 9 Nov 2002 10:33:58 -0000





text/plain (44 lines)

The BBC index of traditional music lists Ride a Mile and The Dusty Miller as
two slip-jigs recorded from fiddle player Sean Maguire in 1957. The note
says "learned from his father, who was a good performer on the tin whistle
and fife". Although Enniis worked for the BBC in the fifties, the recording
was done in the studio in Belfast and Ennis is not designated as collector,
though he might have got it from Maguire on another occasion.
Seamus' tune, which I remember hearing him play as a slip-jig, is identical
to that used by Ewan MacColl for the song, which was included on the LP
"Songs of Robert Burns" in the early 1960s. Seamus and Ewan worked together
in the '50s at MacColl's "Ballads And Blues" club in London. It is possible
Seamus picked it up from Ewan there and turned it into a dance tune, but
this is speculation. The two Petrie references (Nos. 343 and 344) are given
in connection with the Grieg/Duncan B version which is the same as the
Ennis/MacColl tune.
A tune entitled The Dusty Miller was registered as part of an Irish ballad
opera in1732.
Don't know anything about "The Ketch Called Sullivan John", but "Sullivan
John" is the title of a song sung (but I don't think written by; though not
sure about that) traveller "Pecker" Dunne (circa 1950s???).
Jim Carroll.

> From: Pierre Barre <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: The Dusty Miller
> Thanks James and Joel for the info. This was my original post about the
> Chieftains' Dusty Miller set in Water from the Well:
> I have another question concerning the set they call Dusty Miller: in the
> liner notes they mention a "first version" of the Dusty Miller collected
> Seamus Ennis; but surprisingly here it is a reel, not a jig; they call
> the 2nd "the Ketch called Sullivan John" but I can find any info about
> the next one is clearly Dowd's #9; and there is a 4th one they don't
> but it sounds very much like Hunter's House. Well the question is: do you
> know anything about this Dusty Miller's reel and the Ketch?
> Now Joel, do the American traditional dance tunes called "Dusty Miller"
> know bear any resemblance to the Chieftains' reel?
> Cheers
> Pierre

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