The Fun Flute Improvers group are learning Farewell to Whisky, a Scots fiddle tune from 1799 written by Neil Gow (1727-1807), fiddler to the Duke of Atholl in Perthshire.
The tune commemorates the prohibition of whisky-making in Scotland at a time when the barley crop had failed. In 1801 the ban was lifted and Gow wrote Welcome Whisky Back Again, but that particular tune is less well known.
I first learned the tune from a recording by Scots band Ossian, but it is very well known in Ireland as a polka and was recorded by John McKenna in a set with The Dark Girl Dressed in Blue. After the learning the slow, Scottish version, we’ll be looking at the polka set that McKenna made famous and the differences between them.
Music and MP3s of the tunes can be downloaded by the Fun Flute resources page at The Flow.
Image of a late night Laphroaig (CC) by Thord Daniel Hedengren.