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 publish
Tune #3018 is, according to all three sources I list there, composed by
Chris Droney (although the Mulvihill book I cite only cites Chris Droney
as the source and as the tune title, not confidently as the composer).
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 this
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 next
oldest source is Breathnach's collection of this tune in 1966 from Jimmy
Ward in Clare.
The four sources listed for tune #635 which do offer a composer credit
are, in chronological order of publication date:
1992: Trian's first album, which credits it to Paddy O'Brien (presumably
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
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 recorded
>>> 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|