Week #242 ~ The Boys Of Blue Hill

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is The Boys of Blue Hill, which was submitted as an IT hornpipe. I'm not familiar with this tune... but I am fond of IT hornpipes!!

    The Session.org says it is also known as: Beaux Of Oak Hill, The Beaux Of Oak Hill, Beaux Of Oakhill, The Beaux Of Oakhill, The Boys From The Blue Hill, The Boys Of Blue Hill, The Boys Of Blue Oak Hill, Boys Of Bluehill, Boys Of The Blue Hill, Buachaillí An Chnoic Ghoirm, The Lad Of Bluehill, The Lads Of North Tyne, Mildew On My Mind, Na Buacaillide Ua Cnoc-gorm, Na Buaichallí Gorm.

    Here's a link to the tune on The Session. It has 6 settings, and several more if you scroll down through the comments section!

    Here's another on abcnotation.com

    And another on abcnotation.com

    Here are some You Tube Videos:

  2. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Here's mine from a couple weeks ago when it was runner up.

  3. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    Another great performance David. I love it when the concertina kicks in, turns into a real session. It's on my list of wish I could play instruments.
    I already know this tune so I've knocked out a quick mandolin and bouzouki version

  4. dustyamps
    The Boys of Bluehill from O'Neill's Music of Ireland
  5. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    A fine version from Mr. Hansen, as well as those from James Rankine and dustyamps. Here's the Boys of Bluehill played on a Gibson F2 mandolin with backup provided by a Simon & Patrick acoustic guitar tuned DADGBD.

  6. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin

    Four great versions already! Like the change of tempo half way through, Michael. Here is mine; I made up a second mandolin part to add to the sound.
  7. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Great stuff, guys. Is this a record breaking attempt? Get all posts in on Saturday? I had to get this out of the way to go back to Pig Ankle Rag:

  8. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Once again some really interesting versions here and the old saw of a good tune being playable in lots of ways rings very true here.
    Here is a link to my attempt on my Soundcloud page. I have used mandolin and tenor guitar and added guitar and mandolin chord backing. The second tune is Jock Tamson's Hornpipe which I chose over our band's usual Harvest Home.

  9. OldSausage
    Really charming versions from everyone. I particularly enjoy the stately, Christmassy feel of David Hansen's one.

  10. langleymick
    This is the first time I've submitted anything in this group so I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right place.

  11. woodenfingers
    Another fun tune, it just rolls off the fingers. I love the well played bouzoukis and octave mandos on this tune. Dusty, you sure get great tone from your mando. Maudlin, the harmony was great. Manfred, I loved the double triplets so I stole them. John, now I'll have to learn Jock Tamson's Hornpipe and Harvest Home, very nice. Michael and OS, wonderful versions as always, you guys can sure play fast and clean. Mick, welcome to the forum, you're doing very well.

    No Bluehills where I grew up but we had a Blue Mountain. Real mountain people would sneer at our mountain as it is really an escarpment and Blue Mountain is mostly a ski resort these days. The escarpment terminates in Georgian Bay and that's where the pictures come from.

  12. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    And three more fine interpretations, gents. This tune has certainly caught the imagination.
  13. Heath
    Nice work by all! Here's my once thru…

    Langleymick - welcome! Nice work with your first vid, keep 'em coming!
  14. richieb
    Fine versions all. If had to pick a favorite, I would say Dusty's slow version with the beautiful slideshow is a sublime highlight. I'm curious though, for all you chord players, what chords are you using? I wish these sites like the session and abc notation would list the chords more often. There are chords listed on the 6th version (6th setting) of the session. However, those chords are changing constantly, which makes the arrangement far too busy for my taste.
  15. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    richieb - you have hit on a potentially controversial area - accompaniment in ITM. Some hardcore ITMers think that accompaniment detracts from the purity of the melody and generally frown on it. The problem often arises when there is more than one accompanists in a session potentially playing different chords. The chords are not set in stone and it is the one area of ITM where a degree of on the hoof improvisation can take place. It's the one thing that sets it apart from bluegrass where the chords tend to be fixed and improvisations take place with the melody whereas in ITM it is the melody which is fixed. That's why you generally don't find chords listed on the music listed in "the session".
    I do like counter melody on a bouzouki but I agree it is a fine line between this and too busy ever changing accompaniment. I think though this is more of a problem with standard tuned guitar rather than GDAD bouzouki or DADGAD guitar though, as a lot of the chords are far from full chords - often just modal without the 3rd.
    I'm far from an expert but I like to vary the accompaniment as I go along using the 1,4, 5 and 6 chords so for ITM I record the melody first then an accompaniment whereas for a bluegrass style tune I lay down the rhythm first, theoretically alowing me to improvise the melody (currently beyond my ability).
    I don't always get the accompaniment right. I noticed for my submission this week I threw a badly clashing wrong chord in at one point necessitating a hasty panic correction!
  16. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    James, I couldn't agree with you more. When I back up bluegrass on the guitar there is a definite set of "rules" to follow. Maybe it is because it is a relatively new style of music and the instrumentation was determined at it's inception. As a bluegrass and old timey guitar player, I find it hard to use what I know from American music in backing up Celtic musical styles. For inspiration I always try and find a harpist to steal ideas from. The guitar usually ends up in some modal tuning -- either DADGBD or DADGAD, and a lot of partial chords and chords stacked in fourths end up being used along with drone notes that go along with the tune. Making up a "bass" line that sketches out these 'chords' helps me remember what to play. It's interesting to note that Celtic music styles and techniques from Canada (especially Newfoundland, Cape Breton Island and Prince Edward Island) have a tradition of using the piano to accompany the songs -- especially those of Scottish origin. It is very syncopated and reminds me of what a guitar would play to back up a Texas fiddler of all things...

  17. richieb
    Umm, thanks? Lol. Yeah, the hardcore traditionalists kill me. Even the difference between "old time" and "bluegrass," that can be a pretty fine line. It's the genre hoppers who make the music grow and keep it alive. Almost all good musicians I know listen to everything and incorporate much of it into their playing.

    On the other hand I kind of like the idea of making up my on chords to accompany this tune. I would probably stick to the I, IV and V, I don't really hear the melody needing any minor chords. Thanks guys, interesting discussion.
  18. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    An interesting point, Richie. I must admit I stuck fairly closely to the chords I found attached to one of the versions of the tune from The Session. As such, there is a B minor I utilised. On my Jock Tamson's Hornpipe I used a B minor and an E minor in bars 3 and 4 but otherwise it's a 1, 4, 5 set of chords in D. Mind you, I am coming from a Scottish background rather than an Irish one and Michael's point about the piano being used a lot is very valid. Listen to many of our Scottish fiddle players accompanied by a pianist and there's a wealth of ideas in there. Mnay of our top young bands on the Scottish Scene are playing stuff that would well be frowned upon in many circles. As you say, there's scope for the "genre hoppers".
  19. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Removed! Repeated posting
  20. woodenfingers
    Richieb: I'm with you on the chords. Too many of them. I played it with no capo and I'm too slow and sloppy to get to a Bm fast so I did:

    D/D A/D A7/D/
    D/D A/D A7/D/
    D/G/D A7/D/
    D/D A/D A7/D

    Sounded OK to me but others might cringe.

    James, Michael, John: Interesting discussion. I have seen a few serious and funny threads about the differences between bluegrass/OT and ITM and I see some substantiation here. In bluegrass/OT generally only one person solos at a time whereas in ITM there are a load of fiddles all going at once - in the leading video that looks to be in an Irish pub there were about 12 fiddles, 1 guitar, 1 mandolin, 2 flutes, and perhaps 1 bagpiper. The fiddles have to all play the same melody or havoc will ensue. No improv allowed... Whereas in blueg/OT part of the idea is to go off in different directions but that's OK with a solo soloist. But there are still many variations on ITM tunes. Looking in the sessions, you can find quite a number of variations of the same tune under the same name and also under different names. I guess these are regional dialects and to play in the group you need to play the regional dialect.

    I have also wondered what comes first in creating a tune. The chord structure or the melody. Which drives which? It seems reasonable that both approaches work but maybe in some genres one approach predominates over the other? Especially jazz...?

    Dusty's version also sounded great to me. Probably the purist in the ITM sense with no accompaniment and also his great technique. But James, I loved your version with the bouzouki and it seemed to me you were playing chords and I'd say your version sounds better than mine. Is that because of your stumming technique, the difference in sound between a guitar and bouzouki, or the specific or part chords you played?
  21. Heath
    Just doing a bit of hunting on this tune and found this interesting page with a number of recorded examples dating back to as early as 1934.


    There seems to be a variety of ways to approach this tune...
  22. jonny250
    very interesting discussion about backing - very helpful for me at the moment sitting in on some 'folky' sessions and having no idea whats going on lol.
    You all sound pretty good to my ears this week - good stuff!
    Welcome LangleyMick
  23. laura809
    It's nice to see so many versions of our tune this week. I left in my daughter's laughter at the beginning of the recording because it seemed to fit the mood of the tune nicely. I should of taken this a little slower to avoid all the dead notes, but for now I am happy to get something posted.
  24. Landyrover
    Greetings from the UK and my first posting on this esteemed forum!

    No video I'm afraid, but I did record a version of this fine tune about a year ago using octave and electric mandolins. Here's the SoundCloud link:



  25. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Relaxed playing, Laura. Nick, I listen to your postings over on Soundcloud regularly and that electric mandolin is always interesting! I have a page there under my "Mandosounds" name. I like your arrangement here though the purists must have palpitations when they hear your all-electric line-up (minus octave unless that's electrified too!)
  26. Landyrover
    Hi John, good to see you are here too, I listen to your frequent uploads to SoundCloud and really like your music! Yep, I guess the eMando is a bit less expected, but I guess the sort of music we play lends itself to interpretation, including what it's played on? In BoBH the octave mando is acoustic, and in my latest upload to SoundCloud it's an all accoustic line up with octave mandolin, mandolin and tenor guitar. Be interested to see what folk make of it
  27. 9lbShellhamer
    Nice job everyone!

    I checked out the tempo on a lot of these and a lot of you are playing at about 180! Super right hand technique- impressive.

    I'm enjoying this tune more than Pig Ankle. So much easier!

    David- excellent arrangement- you've outdone yourself with so many backing instruments, it sounds great.

    James- I like the pip on your video. I like how you pick it up a bit on the B part, it gets lighter and happier, embodying the melody.

    Dusty- You put together a lovely piece. the solo mandolin accompanied by the snow pics really feels lonely but I mean that it all the right ways. It feels intimate and the sound quality is really capturing your playing.

    Michael- first off, very cool F2. your backing is awesome. you're a rhythm man. nice bass accents on the guitar, then you pick up the timing and it gets very excited. really fun and frantic, but played with control. lots of flourishes, slides and hammers.

    Maudlin- very jovial- makes me want to grab a big pint of beer and toss my arm around someone. a celebration.

    Manfred- your triplets sound great. you play with great tone.

    Old Sausage- once again, this belongs on an album, maybe hornpipes for mandolin. the tempo is played flawlessly with the emphasis on tone and clarity, you make it seem effortless. You're the man.

    langlelymick- good first vid! nice job.

    Woodenfingers- impressive arrangement with multiple instruments. it had an old timey/ hornpipe feel, and managed to feel different and original while staying true to the melody. good work

    Heath- great job as usual. your tune this week stayed more true to the original arrangement it seemed. Your tone sounded superb this week, not that it ever was lacking, but really top notch tone this week.

    landyrover- cool choice of instruments, i enjoyed it!

    laura- nice job- playing at that tempo has got to be tricky, good job getting through it! A good final product and the backing sounds nice too.
  28. richieb
    Here's my short, unadorned version. I decided not to muck it up with any chords or other accompaniment!

  29. Sasquatch
    One of the reasons I thoroughly enjoy the SAW is that I have to force myself to play tunes from a variety of genres. This type of tune here may be easy for some, but I struggle with the right hand movement. I feel that I have made some progress. Have a ways to go yet. I always remember that I am running a marathon, not a sprint!!

  30. 9lbShellhamer
    Here's my best take. As basic as it gets. I'm trying to get used to my scooped florida but I still keep getting a bunch of gnarly pick noise...a constant work in progress. Hahaha...the crashing in the background is my daughter at my feet on a rampage trashing some toys and knocking stuff over. I decided to keep it in as it was the best take, regardless.

  31. Manfred Hacker
    Manfred Hacker
    Good effort, Shellhamer. If you have a scooped Florida and still get pick noise, maybe you are digging in too much? Going in too deep between the strings slows you down and you may also get 'tripped up' sometimes. Just my two cents'.
    Do you practice with a metronome?
  32. 9lbShellhamer
    Thanks for the tips Manfred. I'm probably digging too deep like you mention. Not that I can blame a pick at all, but I'm changing shapes to see if that helps at all. Right now I use a pro-plec 351 guitar pick. I'm ordering a rounder style to help me with this... I play with a metronome when I learn a song, but then stop. I would guess only about 30%-40% of the time though. I guess I need to get it out more...it couldn't be any more convenient since I have one on my phone, i just need to do it!
  33. SMH
    Couldn't sleep - on my new (to me) Breedlove American OO - perfect for traditional Celtic

  34. Gelsenbury
    I'm staying with the in-laws for Christmas and don't have my mandolin with me! So here's one I made earlier.

    This one always seems to be played in a set with Harvest Home around here. The Galway Hornpipe works well too.
  35. gortnamona
    good stuff G. had a go at it on the tenor, great tune for practising picking direction.

  36. Obiwan
  37. AaronVW
    I finally got a chance to record this tune. Up in the mountains and only had my campfire mandolin and cell phone.....gortnamona, great version on tenor guitar! James,Michael, and John, interesting thoughts around backing up Irish trad/Celtic music on guitar. I am a big fan of John Doyle. He is a great guitar player and definitely worth a listen when thinking about Irish rhythm guitar. He seems to do quite a lot without having it distract one's ear from the melody.....

  38. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    Great lively version Aaron. I'm with you on john Doyle - all round amazing guitarist. I know he doesn't play with them anymore but Solas are a great trad band.
  39. crisscross
    One thing I like about hornpipes is the fact, that triplets fit in very smoothly. So once in a while, I manage to place a picked triplet almost OK.
  40. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Fine version there, crisscross! Cleanly picked and good triplets too.
  41. Jess L.
    Jess L.
    Many excellent versions above!

    I used to play this tune normally. Then I went for decades and didn't play much of anything at all.

    My recent fascination with unorthodox chords and, well, whatever this style of backing is (the app calls it "Guitar Trio", in the jazz category) tends to result in my practice sessions sounding like this:

    (or direct link)

    Fun to play though.

    Mandolin is an Hola HM-SB.
  42. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    The chords sound great Jess, fine mandolining too.
    Hmmm. Interesting graphics.
  43. Jess L.
    Jess L.
    Thanks Simon! The graphics were fun to add (just internet clip-art stuff, nothing original), but I did try to time-adjust each one (using Adobe After Effects which I use for making my videos) to approximately match each clip's movements to the beat of the music... the first clip (the b/w dancing couple) was difficult because the dancers themselves aren't keeping a steady beat, so that one was a compromise as far as getting it lined up with the beat. Anyway, the tune just seems to have a dance vibe, so I went with that theme.
  44. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    That was very enjoyable to watch - and more so to listen to a great rendition of this song and I like the dance vibe you have put to it. (And thanks for your words of wisdom - sounds very similar to my situation. )
  45. Jess L.
    Jess L.
    Thanks Ginny!
  46. Frithjof
    Thanks, Jess, for this very enjoyable video! Audio and visuals.
  47. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Nice work, Jess! You take an Irish honpipe and turn it into some 40s swing.
  48. Jess L.
    Jess L.
    Thanks Frithjof and Christian!
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