Pipers Tunes – hornpipes, jigs and reels

The Piper’s Tunes is a celebration of Irish dance tunes and the musicians who played them.

Full list of songs

More specifically, it’s about the great Irish piper John Blake. Blake was from Tuam in Co Galway and was considered one of the finest musicians in Ireland in the early part of the 19th century.

In those days, before the advent of recordings and mass communications, live music was the only kind of music available and so good musicians were much in demand.

The Piper’s Tunes lists some of the more popular tunes of the 19th century and gives us a glimpse of how they could bring so much joy to ordinary people, whether it be at dances, drinking sessions or in people’s homes.

The same tune as Courting in the Kitchen

The song’s origins are unknown but it almost certainly was written before 1850 as Blake moved to London at around that time. He died there in 1866.

The Piper’s Tunes was first recorded as a ballad sheet in the National Library of Ireland. Colm O’Lochlainn included it in his collection of Irish Street Ballads. O’Lochlainn suggested the song should be sung the tune of Bob and Joan, one of the melodies mentioned in the lyrics.

The tune is perhaps better known today as Courting in the Kitchen, which has been recorded by numerous artists including The Dubliners and The Clancy Brothers.

The Piper’s Tunes Lyrics and Chords

I roved through the town
To view the pretty  
old maids with a frown
Peeped at  
me thro’ their  
Cove we will go down
To view the lasses pretty
And the  
lor men also
Which sets forth all its beauty.
There’s Captain Burke of Grove
A very famous name, sirs.
He keeps the buck and doe
And hunts the sporting game, sirs.
He winds the whip and spur
And makes the hunters rattle
And when that home he comes
He’ll surely crack a bottle.
John Blake for to promote,
He plays some tunes so merry;
He gave some charming notes
To banish melancholy,
He’ll then blow up the pipes
To play the tune “Brave Larry,”
You’d laugh until you’d die
To hear “Sweet Paddy Carey.”
He’d play the Prussian Wars,
The falls of the Boyne Water,
Jeannette and Jeannot
And the March of Alexander,
The blooming White Cockade,
The Old Brigade is coming,
O’Connell’s in for Clare,
And All the bells were ringing.
He played the Colleen Bawn,
The banks of Kitty’s Cottage,
The affermonious jig, called
My mother’s mess of pottage.
The Wexford Rakes in style,
And Trip the world before him,
The Sailor’s Hornpipe,
And Garryowen and Glory.
He played from Kitty from Athlone,
With Moreen móra Glanna,
Noreen on the road,
And the flashy Rakes of Mallow.
Aughrim’s overthrow,
And the fall of Carrig Castle,
Brave Sarsfield took command
At many a famous battle.
He played the Chorus jig,
The ancient Ladies’ Fancy,
Jack and the Jug of Punch,
And the Bonnie highland laddie
The Ale-house in great glee,
With the Glass of brandy
The Roving sporting wheel
My love he is a dandy.
Nora Creena, he can play
With all the variations
The Rambler from Tralee,
The De’il among the Tailors.
The Job of journey work,
And the Boy she left behind her,
The song of Paddy Whack,
And Tall-hi-ho the grinder.
He played up Bob and Joan,
With Ju Ju Joice the joker
The famous jig Tow-row,
That was kept for Captain Croker.
The Ball of Ballinafad,
And the Banks of Bannow
Plunkett’s Moll in the wad,
And Shawn O’Deer a’Glana.
He played of Bonaparte
Who crossed the Alps in winter,
The Union hornpipe,
And the Killinick fox hunters,
The song of Patrick’s Day,
And the jig of Paddy Carroll
And each boy will Kiss the Maid
Behind the whiskey barrel.
So now I’ll sing no more,
Because my song is ended
If I said anything wrong
I hope you’re not offended
Of hornpipes, jigs and reels,
I’m sure I told you many,
Get up and shake your heels,
‘Tis better sport than any.

Full list of songs

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