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Chris Smith: Words & Music

Polkas: Pat and Mike/As I Went Out Upon the Ice/The Knocknaboul

(Chris Smith (banjo), Randal Bays (fiddle), Roger Landes (bouzouki))
Three nice polkas, two of which I learned from the boys at the session—they’re so simple, that’s the way you should learn them. I have only the title of the first tune, but no info on its origin—sometimes one learns a polka in a session without ever learning anything else about it! The second tune (A/K/A “Ag Dul amach ar an Leac Oighir dom” or “The Glin Cottage Polka #2”) is a Sliabh Luachra classic, also associated in a slide version with the comic, macaronic (Gaelic-English) song “Taglioni”: “As I went out upon the ice/The ice being rough and stony/The ice it broke and down I went/And wet my tanlee ownee.” It’s another Sliabh Luachra tune from Denis Murphy and Johnny O Leary. The final, which appears in Breathnach’s CRE II as #117, is also known as one of the three “Ballydesmond Polkas,” usually played as a set, and once again associated with Denis Murphy and Julia Clifford.