If Chris Droney claims he did indeed compose it, i.e., a first-hand
source, that would constitute the strongest claim of any I've
documented so far. As I detailed, the other four published composer
attributions I discussed are all second or third-hand claims and as
usual I wouldn't trust such claims any farther than simply quoting them.
I wasn't quite aware of Chris's true age (nor was I making any
confident statement relating to it) - he sure plays like a much
And yes, I, too, don't put much stock in the Raymond Roland claim -
especially because the "Drop in the Ocean" book, despite the core
value of its transcriptions, is full of a great many ... um, let's
say "unique" ... tune titles and composer claims that disagree with
the rest of the body of my tune research.
On Jun 23, 2009, at 7:02 AM, Blarney Star wrote:
> Thanks Alan, but a 1949 recording date does not make it impossible
> for Chris Droney, who would have been 23 or 24 at the time, to have
> composed the "Bellharbour Reel" that is on The Flowing Tide (i.e.,
> your no. 635). Many composers are at their most prolific at that
> age (Martin Mulhaire would be a good example).
> Paddy O'Brien's posthumously published tune collection does not
> include this tune, and the only reason it is attributed to him is
> that Martin Mulhaire had the impression it was one of Paddy's and
> passed that info on to Billy McComiskey, who put it in the liner
> notes of the Trian recording. I don't know what Josephine Keegan's
> source was for her attribution to Raymond Roland. It is not clear
> from Jardine's thesis whether he got the tune directly from Droney
> or from the Flowing Tide LP. I don't think that any of these tune
> book or recording citations prove anything decisively.
> Unfortunately, the mere assertion of authorship by a senior and
> respected musician doesn't prove anything either. I have had quite
> a few experiences with that problem. Memories are faulty. But if
> Chris, who is still in great shape and playing very well, claims
> the tune as his, I'd want to give him the benefit of the doubt.
>> Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2009 20:11:12 -0500
>> From: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: The Bellharbour Reel ?(was New Town Bridge (reel) ABC)
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Gentlemen, you may not have availed yourselves already of
>> irishtune.info. A solution to this particular long-standing
>> confusion of
>> titles and authors was published there some years ago:
>> Here are the nitty-gritty details about the authorship claims I
>> Tune #3018 is, according to all three sources I list there,
>> composed by
>> Chris Droney (although the Mulvihill book I cite only cites Chris
>> as the source and as the tune title, not confidently as the
>> This tune seems to be the "real" Bellharbour Reel.
>> Tune #635 is the one that Sean posted the abc for and is the one
>> that is
>> publicly and clearly in dispute (yes, that sounds like an
>> oxymoron, but
>> it's true). Most of the fourteen sources I list do not claim that
>> tune has any particular composer (i.e. implied "traditional"), and a
>> slight majority of sources agree that the title is "New Town Bridge".
>> The fact that we have a 1949 recording of this tune (see the "CmA 1"
>> source) probably eliminates Chris Droney as a likely composer. The
>> oldest source is Breathnach's collection of this tune in 1966 from
>> Ward in Clare.
>> The four sources listed for tune #635 which do offer a composer
>> are, in chronological order of publication date:
>> 1992: Trian's first album, which credits it to Paddy O'Brien
>> the Tipperary one), and acknowledges Martin Mulhaire as their source.
>> 1998: John Whelan's "Come to Dance" album also credits it to Paddy
>> O'Brien (again, presumably - but not clearly - the Tipperary one)
>> At some point before 2001 Henrik Norbeck's online tunebook
>> includes this
>> tune and credits it to Chris Droney. I suggest that Norbeck's
>> attribution simply and accurately reflects the obviously popular
>> confusion (via title alone) of this tune with the "real" Bellharbour
>> Reel tune #3018.
>> 2004: Josephine Keegan's tunebook "A Drop in the Ocean" credits it to
>> Raymond Roland.
>> I hope this is helpful in some way.
>> Alan Ng, PhD . Madison, Wisconsin, USA
>> [log in to unmask] . http://www.alan-ng.net
>> Blarney Star sent on 6/22/09 5:38 PM:
>>> "The Flowing Tide" was a Topic LP and is entirely different from
>>> "The Fertile Rock," which was issued many years later and
>>> includes piano accompaniment from George Byrt. I don't have the
>>> CIC disc handy but I'll take your word that the two "Bellharbour"
>>> tunes are different as well.
>>> I have had plenty of experience with disputes over authorship and
>>> titles of tunes and don't wish to get in the middle of another
>>> one. My original source for the claim that Droney composed the
>>> tune called "The Bellharbour Reel" on the Topic LP was Stephen
>>> Jardine's master's thesis from UCC. If Mr. Droney comes over to
>>> New York for another visit, I'll have to ask him directly.
>>> Don Meade
>>>> Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2009 23:12:10 +0100
>>>> From: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Subject: The Bellharbour Reel ?(was New Town Bridge (reel) ABC)
>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> A couple of months ago there I contributed to brief discussion
>>>> regarding a
>>>> tune allegedly composed by Chris Droney called variously The
>>>> Bell Harbour
>>>> Reel or Newtown Bridge or The Rough Road or The Sailor's
>>>> Farewell or The
>>>> Sailor's Return (what I knew it as).
>>>> Blarney Star had written:
>>>>> This is really "The Bellharbour Reel" by Chris Droney, which he
>>>>> as the first tune on his Topic LP "The Flowing Tide."
>>>> I had to wait until now to get my hands on a friend's copy of
>>>> Droney's CIC
>>>> CD "The Fertile Rock" on which track 6 is "Thady Casey's Fancy
>>>> and the Bell
>>>> Harbour Reel" to confirm that the Bell Harbour Reel on this CD
>>>> is NOT the
>>>> tune that Jeff posted.
>>>> Is it the same tune as Track 1 on his LP "The Flowing Tide" ?
>>>> Any help in solving this one appreciated - it's one of my
>>>> favourite tunes.
>>>> I always thought it was a Paddy O'Brien Composition anyway :-)
>>>> As posted by Jeff:
>>>>> T:New Town Bridge
>>>>> C:Paddy O'Brien
>>>>> D~G3 DGBd|g2dg (3efg dB|~A3G AcBA|GBAF GFEF|
>>>>> D~G3 DGBd|gd (3Bcd eBdB|GA (3Bcd gBdB|1 AcBA G2 GE:|2 AcBA G2 Bc||
>>>>> dggf gGBd|gbaf gfed|eaag abag|eaag edBc|
>>>>> dggf gGBd|gbaf gedB|GA (3Bcd gBdB|1 AcBA G2 Bc:|2 AcBA G2 GE|
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