Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

175
Banjo Lovers Online


Feb 23, 2024 - 5:58:06 AM
like this
406 posts since 5/25/2015

This week’s tune of the week is “Kiley’s Reel”. This fiddle tune seems to be most closely associated with the Canadian Maritimes, and popularised by Don Messer. Here are some Canadian-style fiddle versions:

Don Messer https://youtu.be/nPZifQLffjc?si=VD5H1hF78oNSrWSu

King Ganam https://youtu.be/BCXsTFbqaxI?si=tHFiYoSb3YJ2O7zK

Charlie Walden: https://youtu.be/NmIXN1Xifv8?si=rhDUmTK5HB-emyi3

Pete Doiron (w. Ken Perlman) Pete Doiron plays Kiley's Reel & Devil's Dream, 1991 | Bowing Down Home


The tune appears to be quite old: it’s included in Ryans Mammoth Collection (1883) and Kerr’s Merry Melodies (c. 1880s). The tune is also listed as going by the name “Hang Fire” or “Buckley’s Favourite” and is also featured as a banjo tune in Buckley’s New Banjo Method under the name “Jake Bacchus’ Reel”.

I found a few banjo versions of Jake Bachhus’ Reel online, featuring some nice 'stroke style' banjo playing.

https://youtu.be/IjPzotKvc5k?si=LCJRo-TBwZN676NN

https://youtu.be/CqSLgk0Acnk?si=18Zj8WK0fQDQoyd9

?? Keedysville | Capharnaum County Magicians Society (bandcamp.com)

I first heard this tune when researching my last tune of the week, on the album ‘Sycamore Tea’ by the Dutch Cove Old Time Stringband. Their version is a little different to how the tune is written out and usually played, though. The sleevenotes say that they learned it from Luke Smathers, who “..got it from a long forgotten record…” so it must have morphed a little as it went through this process.

Kiley's Reel | Dutch Cove Old Time String Band | June Appal Recordings (bandcamp.com)

The Fiddler’s Companion says the following:

HANG FIRE. AKA and see “Kiley’s Reel.” American?, Scottish?; Dance Tune (2/4 time). A Major. Standard tuning. AABB. ‘Hang fire’ means ‘hold your fire,’ or ‘wait a minute’. Labelled a "jig" in Ryan/Cole, meaning a type of old?time banjo tune rather than the traditional Irish 6/8 jig; Kerr calls it a clog dance. Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; pg. 85. Kerr (Merry Melodies), vol. 2; No. 364, pg. 40. Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, 1883; pg. 118

I can’t find any further information about the tune’s history beyond this, but it seems to be of Irish or Scots origin – nobody seems too sure who “Kiley” was.

A “Sand Jig”?

I’ve also seen this tune referred to as a “Sand Jig”, a tune for dancing with sand sprinkled on the floor, to help the dancer work in noisy slides and shuffles. “Sand” jigging is a fascinating sideline to “Straight” jig dancing, emerging during the variety and minstrel era, and becoming a popular speciality act in vaudeville and music hall acts well into the mid-twentieth century. Nick Gareis uses these techniques in his dancing, as seen here with Alison De Groot (this video has a long introduction that you can skip): https://www.youtube.com/live/v9VB5HbMmh0?si=Pkbi87G_vc4oOUMS

This article gives a good historical overview of step dancing, and where sand dancing fits in to this rich history. Traditional Step & Clog Dancing (itgo.com)

Tab and Video

Here is my version of the tune and tab, in standard A tuning.

Enjoy!


Edited by - gentrixuk on 02/23/2024 06:38:33

Feb 23, 2024 - 6:36:28 AM
likes this

192 posts since 9/5/2013

Mark, very pretty tune, nicely done.
And thanks for the researched information.

Feb 23, 2024 - 6:49:16 AM
likes this

ndlxs

USA

520 posts since 9/26/2006

What a nice tune; interesting how it made its way to the Buckley Method and the Canadian Maritime Fiddling. I'm going to try it on both banjo on fiddle.

If anyone needs musical notation for other instruments, there are some nice variations here:
https://thesession.org/tunes/6909

Feb 24, 2024 - 12:26:09 PM
like this

7119 posts since 6/27/2009

Thanks, Mark, for an informative post and a lively tune you play clearly and intricately.  I really like how you come up with unique offerings that fit into our TOTW repertoire.  

Kiley's Reel was a tough one to arrange for me, with its typical Canadian dexterous notiness and speed.  I tried several methods for the first measure and used the one that was easiest to play.  One trial method used a Galax lick. I found an easier hammer-on, but left the 5th string thumb in its Galax lick location on the downbeat.  

The minstrel links used a different rhythm on the B part.  I couldn't find the minstrel tab, but found the Buckley 1800's tab transcription.  I saw similarity, but the syncopation was left out of the notation.  Hard to explain...


Feb 25, 2024 - 1:42:48 PM
like this

cmic

France

221 posts since 4/17/2010

Very nice rendition Mark at the right speed for a reel (personal advice though), so to dance..
Thank you to introduce this superb tune.

Feb 28, 2024 - 5:53:49 AM
likes this

406 posts since 5/25/2015

quote:
Originally posted by JanetB

Thanks, Mark, for an informative post and a lively tune you play clearly and intricately.  I really like how you come up with unique offerings that fit into our TOTW repertoire.  

Kiley's Reel was a tough one to arrange for me, with its typical Canadian dexterous notiness and speed.  I tried several methods for the first measure and used the one that was easiest to play.  One trial method used a Galax lick. I found an easier hammer-on, but left the 5th string thumb in its Galax lick location on the downbeat.  

The minstrel links used a different rhythm on the B part.  I couldn't find the minstrel tab, but found the Buckley 1800's tab transcription.  I saw similarity, but the syncopation was left out of the notation.  Hard to explain...

 


Thanks Janet - loved your version. I like the syncopated alternative too. Its seems to be a mystery whether this started life as a syncopated minstrel banjo tune that was adapted to the fiddle, or vice versa. Either way, its a good tune for clawhammer.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Privacy Consent
Copyright 2024 Banjo Hangout. All Rights Reserved.





Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.3120117