Durang’s Hornpipe is an old standard American fiddle tune, apparently named after American dancer, John Durang (1768-1821) and supposedly composed for him in 1785. It has Maine roots as well, as champion fiddler Mellie Dunham included it in his repertoire of the 1920s. My version comes from the playing of accordion player Jackie Daly of Patrick Street, and appears in the group’s album “All in Good Time” as “Dennis Murphy’s Reel”. There is an almost identical version played by Irish accordion player Johnny O’Leary, and appearing as tune #191 in “Dance Music of the Cork/Kerry Boarder”. Oakum Bay String Band has long played this tune as an opening reel in a dance set along with “Sligo Maid” and Maid Behind the Bar”. The driving rhythm of this setting makes it an excellent contradance tune. A slightly different version appears in the “The New England Fiddler’s Repertoire”, collected by Randy Miller.

–George Fowler

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