Friday, 27 November 2015

Mayor Harrison’s Fedora (reel): Brendan (eile)

Mayor Harrison’s Fedora (reel):

Mayor Harrison’s Fedora, or simply The Fedora, appeared in Francis O’Neill’s Dance Music of Ireland (1907), a collection of jigs, reels, hornpipes and other dance tunes.

The tune is name after Mayor Harrison of Chicago and his trademark fedora (like the one Indiana Jones wore in Raiders of the Lost Ark). Carter Henry Harrison Junior served as Mayor of Chicago from 1897 to 1905 and again from 1911 to 1915. In fact, it was Mayor Harrison Jr. who appointed Francis O’Neill Chief of Police for Chicago in 1901.

 Carter Henry Harrison wearing his trademark fedora, 1924

Harrison Junior’s father – Carter Henry Harrison Senior – served as Mayor of Chicago between 1879 and 1887. Just months after his re-election to a fifth term in 1893, he was assassinated by a deranged Irishman named Patrick Eugene Prendergast.
Anyway, enough of the background history ... the three-part, sometimes two-part, reel has been widely recorded but perhaps the most influential version appears on The Banks of the Shannon (1973), a Comhaltas EP recording of Tipperary accordion player Paddy O’Brien with the Clare fiddler Séamus Connolly. There's a nice recording by Matt Molloy and Seán Keane from Contentment is Wealth (1985).

And a lovely banjo version (though in a different key) by Angelina Carberry on An Traidisiún Beo (2005).

Any here's my go at it ... hoping to pick up a bit of speed with a bit more practice. 

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