Online liner notes on Rustic Reel / Top O' Cork Road / Calliope House


I got Rustic Reel from our collaborator and dance master, Dr. Briant Bohleke.  He has been invaluable in providing authentic period music for us to play at many Civil War dances.  He also provides authentic choreography for the dances, including the one that is the namesake of this tune.  His expert prompting and engaging teaching are always a treat to play behind.

Top O’ Cork Road is a great old dance tune from the Emerald Isle both Patty and I already knew from many sessions over the years.  I like the powerful lift in the transition from Rustic Reel in F, with its relative key of D minor, to D major for Top O’ Cork Road.  The B minor relative of D in the second part of Top O’ Cork Road completes the symmetry. 

Calliope House (© 1984, D. Richardson, Gilderoy Music, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) was written by Dave Richardson of Boys of the Lough and he writes:

“One afternoon in summer, in I think 1982, I was sitting on a south-facing stone bench in my front garden in Edinburgh in Scotland enjoying the sun and waiting for my young daughter to appear at the gate of the primary school across the street, at which point I would go over and see her safely across the road. To pass the time I was amusing myself with the mandoline and this tune surfaced. After a while we got it down on a Boys’ 1983, on the Boys of the Lough album "Open Road" on Topic in the UK. 

Since then the tune has diffused out into the everyday repertoire of musicians in the tradition. It helped that it was recorded by artists who sold more CDs than ourselves, especially when the track made its way onto compilation CDs. Sharon Shannon added it to a Waterboys' song "Room to Roam". Alistair Frazer played it on a "Celtic Odyssey" compilation. It was pirated into "Lord of the Dance" and hence onto millions of CDs and DVDs.”


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