Buddy MacMaster

New from Rounder Records

Piano accompaniment: - Mary Elizabeth MacMaster

temporarily out of stock

Cape Breton Tradition

This is Buddy's 4th an final solo recording. An inspired collection of new and old tunes played as only he can. Part of Rounder's North American Heritage series.

CD track listing

Ten transcriptions / arrangements -

Farewell to the Glen (J. Scott Skinner)


The Bell Piano (Dan Hughie MacEachern) - - -MP3


The Snowplough Reel (Dan Hughie MacEachern)


Miss Smyth of Methven


Kathleen's Favourite (Dan Hughie MacEachern)


Hughie and Janet's March (Andrea Beaton) )


Alistair Hunter (Bert Murray)


Scordiness (Charlie Sherrit)


Miss Baigrie


Catching Rabbits (Ian Powrie) - - - -MP3


The Forth Bridge


The above 10 tunes, arranged from this CD, can be downloaded as a single ABC File.
Note: the midi files above were generated from the abcs.

How to use ABC files  


Track Listing - Buddy MacMaster


1. Farewell to the Glen (J.S. Skinner)/ Mr. Dow (Dan R. MacDonald) / Mrs. Dow (Dan R. MacDonald)

Farewell to the Glen was published in 1957 in The Scottish Music Maker, a handwritten compilation of the music J. Scott Skinner assembled by J. Murdoch Henderson. It was recorded in the early '60s by Cape Breton fiddler Dan Joe MacInnis. Mr. and Mrs. Dow are two Dan R. reels which are often played together, both because of a Cape Breton Symphony recording, and their side-by-side placement in The Heather Hill Collection (The Music of Dan R. MacDonald Vol.1)

2. Highlanders Farewell to Ireland / Willie MacKenzie's / The Burning House (Brenda Stubbert)

First published as a two part strathspey in the mid-18th century, by 1780 The Highlanders Farewell to Ireland appeared in Robert Ross' Collection complete with 6 turns. In the 1950s Bill Lamey recorded a similar 6 turn setting. Buddy's 4 turn setting is closest to what is presented in The Athole Collection. In the Irish tradition, a 4 part reel setting circulates as Farewell to Ireland. Buddy has a fondness for pipe tunes. Willie Mackenzie's is a popular pipe reel which in The Dungreen Collection is presented as a transcribed from the playing of Donald Angus. Buddy learned The Burning House from a piece of sheet music which circulated at the Gaelic College while he was teaching there in spring 2002. Brenda had composed it a few weeks earlier for fellow fiddler Ashley MacIsaac after his home in Belle Cote had burned to the ground.

3. Nicole Fakoory (J.M Rankin)/ Gabrielle's (J.M. Rankin) / Boston Life (F. Ferrel) / Moll in the Wad / Spin-n-Glow (F. Ferrel)

Sally Rankin tells us:
"Nicole Fakoory is John Morris' niece (Genevieve's daughter) and his first Godchild. Gabrielle MacLellan is our next door neighbour who plays fiddle. She spent much time with us and of course John Morris was very aware of her love for music. When he had completed this tune he asked me for name suggestions and I immediately thought of Gabrielle".

Both Spin-n-Glo and Boston Life are in Frank Ferell's book, Music For The Feet, published by Mel Bay. Frank writes the following:

"Spin-n-Glo was written back when I lived in the Pacific Northwest, and like many of my tunes, was inspired by a fishing lure. The big winter fish that keeps fishermen salivating along the North Pacific coast are called Steelhead trout. They are more like salmon and get up to 30 lbs in weight. They are elusive, reclusive, and wiley. Fishing is done in coastal rivers, often in snowstorms. The nastier the weather the better. Bright day-glo lures seem to be consistently effective, especially if they move or spin. The Spin-n-Glo is probably the most used and popular of these lures. Its simply a little plastic bullet shape with wings, like a small propeller that rides just above a single hook, and spins and, yes, glos in the current. I caught my first Steelhead on one, and hence the tune. Boston Life is simply a celebration of all the stuff of living in Boston. Its both a statement of fact (for those who live in "The Boston States) and a dream (for those who would like to). It was inspired, as much by my decision to make Boston my home, as it was by hearing the late Herbie MacLoud's description of the promise Boston held for so many young Canadian Maritimes dreamers."

Moll in the Wad is a popular 19th century Irish jig which Buddy found in 1000 Fiddle Tunes.

4. Miller of Drone (Nathaniel Gow) / The Yetts of Muckart (James Stewart Robertson) / Lochiel's Rant/ Pigeon on the Gate

The first two tunes were recorded together in a medley by Angus Allan Gillis in 1935. The classic strathspey The Miller of Drone was composed in the early 19th century by Nathaniel Gow. It is followed by The Yetts of Muckart, one of James Stewart Robertson's most popular compositions. Robertson is most famous as the compiler of the Athole Collection (1884). Lochiel's Rant and Pigeon on the Gate two pipe reels first recorded by Alex Gillis and the Inverness Serenaders.

5. Hughie and Janet's March (Andrea Beaton) / Warlocks / Tarbolton Lodge / Alistair Hunter (B. Murray)

Andrea Beaton is Buddy's niece, the daughter of Kinnon an Betty Lou Beaton. Popular at the local dances, she made her first CD last year. Sixteen of her tunes are found in her father's book, The Beaton Collection. In Cape Breton The Warlocks was popularized by a Bill Lamey 78. He had found the tune in Joseph Lowe's Collection (1840s). The composer, Robert Lowe was the compiler's son. Tarbolton is popular in both the Irish and Scottish traditions, the most influential recording being a 1934 disc by Michael Coleman. Aberdeen fiddler Bert Murray is perhaps the most prolific living Scottish composer

6. Springwell (D.R. MacDonald) / Buddy's Detour (D. Greenberg) / Francis Xavier Kennedy (D. Greenberg) / Kathleen's Favourite Jig (D.H. MacEachern)

A grouping of four locally composed F jigs, the first is found in The Trip to Windsor Collection, The next two Greenberg originals are in Jerry Holland: The Second Collection and the last one is from The MacEachern Collection (Vol.1).

7. Silverwells ( J.S. Skinner) / The Lass of Corrie Mills / The Duchess of Buccleuch (Wm Marshall) / The Highlands of Banffshire (Simon Fraser) / Carnie's Canter (J.S. Skinner)

Silverwells is one of Buddy's favourite airs by James Scott Skinner. It comes from Skinner's first book The Miller O'Hirn Collection (1880). Skinner also added the variations to Simon Fraser's strathspey, The Highlands of Banffshire. Winston Fitzgerald recorded both The Lass of Corrie Mills and Carnie's Cantor on a 78 disc. Angus Chisholm popularized The Duchess of Buccleuch.

8. Little John's Hame ( J.S. Skinner) / The Forth Bridge Strathspey /The Forth Bridge Reel (both by W. Blyth) / Scourdiness (C. Sherritt) / Miss Baigrie Reel (Robert Baillie)

Little John's Hame is found in James Scott Skinner's most popular compilation, The Scottish Violinist. The Forth Bridge strathspey and reel was published in J. Murdoch Henderson's Flowers of Scottish Melody (1935). According to the notes in The Fiddle Music of Scotland (James, Hunter, 1979) Williamson Blyth (1821-1897) wrote these two tunes to celebrate the 1890 opening of the magnificent cantilever bridge just north of Edinburgh. Buddy met the late Charlie Sherritt during one of his trips to Scotland. Charlie published many of his compositions and Scourdiness is one of his most famous tunes. Miss Baignie Reel comes from Kohlers's Violin Repository, a late 19th century compilation by W. B. Laybourn.

9. The Real Thing / Upper Denton Hornpipe / Catching Rabbits (Ian Powrie)

The Real Thing is a hornpipe found in O'Neills Music of Ireland (1903). Many Cape Bretoners associate it with fiddler Angus Chisholm. Upper Denton was first published in the late 19th century in Kerr's Collection of Merry Melodies. It was recorded by Bill Lamey. Catching Rabbits is a 20th century composition from Scottish fiddler Ian Powrie. In the 1980s Powrie's tunes were published in two small volumes.

10. Margaret's Waltz (Patrick Shuldham-Shaw) / The Rosewood Jig (Skinner) / The Judique Jig

Pat Shaw composed Margaret's Waltz for Margaret Grant on her retirement in 1959 as English Folk and Country Dance Society representative in Devon. The Rosewood Jig was written for Skinner's concert agent, George Rosewood of Aberdeen. Buddy got his version of The Judique Jig from a handwritten setting based on performances Dan J. Campbell and Angus Allan Gillis and supplied by Westmount, Cape Breton music enthusiast Danny Fraser.

11. Happy-Go-Lucky Clog (Donald MacLean) / Saratoga Hornpipe / The Irish American Reel

Happy Go Lucky Clog was composed by Donald MacLean, who was Sydney Mines railway operator when Buddy worked in Sydney. A favourite of Angus Chisholm it was later published in Jerry Holland's Collection of Fiddle Tunes (1988). The Saratoga Hornpipe and The Irish American Reel are late 19th century American tunes originating in Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883).

12. High Bass Set&endash; Christy Campbell Strathspey, Anthony Murray, The Bridge of Bamore / Marquis of Tullybardine /The Margaree

For this medley the fiddle is tuned AEAE. The tunes are written out in  The Dungreen Collection. For the first three tunes, and for raised bass music in general, Buddy particularity remembers the playing of Hughie MacDonald. Originally from Mabou , Hughie spent most of his life in the Detroit area where he was a member of The Five MacDonald Fiddlers. The Margaree Reel got it's name in the '60s after Dan Joe MacInnis recorded it with that title. Dan Joe associated the tune with fiddlers from Margaree. The name stuck.

13. Sir Wilfred Laurier's Jig / Gordon's Trip to Sydney (D.R. MacDonald)/ Kohler's Jig (Alex Deas) / Miss Sophia Campbell (Robert Mackintosh)

Sir Wilfred Lauriers' Jig is found in Brenda Stubbert's Collection. Gordon's Trip to Sydney was written for Gordon MacQuarrie and he included it in The Cape Breton Collection (1940). Miss Sophia Campbell was first recorded on 78 disc by Angus Chisholm

14. The Bell Piano Strathspey (D.H. MacEachern) / Snowplough Reel (D.H. MacEachern) / Mrs. Smyth of Methven / The King's Reel / Miss Lyall / Sandy Cameron / Miss MacLeod's Reel

The first two Dan Hughie tunes are amongst the most popular tunes composed in 20th century Cape Breton. Mrs. Smyth of Methven is from Niel Gow's Repository. Sandy Cameron's was recorded on 78 as a duet by fiddlers Bill Lamey and Joe Maclean. The other three are all Scottish favourites found in The Skye Collection.

15. The Grey Seal's Lament for its Pup (W.R. Aim) / Miss Ann Moir's Birthday / The Duke of Gordon's Birthday (Wm. Marshall) / London Lasses/ West Mabou

The first air is a modern Scottish composition. The next two 18th century strathspeys are ever-popular for stepdancing. The last two reels both have 19th century Irish origins. The current Cape Breton setting of London Lasses likely originated from Donald Angus Beaton. According to local legend the popular version of  The West Mabou Reel comes from Dan 'The Tailor' Beaton.


More Buddy recordings -The Judique Flyer - Judique on the Floor

Other Recordings | Music Notation and abc samples

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