To add to Ian's comment. Actually the North American equivalent of this story is
the French Canadian "Hangman's Reel" (direct translation from the French "Reel
of the Hanged One).
This story goes that a Fiddler was condemned to be hanged. The Sheriff had an
old fiddle that hadn't been tuned in years and was an ardent admirer of fiddle
music. He promised the prisoner that if he could play a good reel on that
fiddle, without re-tuning it, he would comute the sentence. He picked the fiddle
up and played the now famous Hangman's Reel. The now deceased Jean Carignan was
well known for playing this Reel, but only as the last number, often an encore,
at a concert. He said it took to much time to tune the fiddle for the special
tuning of the Hangman's Reel and then to retune it for standard play to do
another number after it.
Find a recording of the Hangman's Reel (Reel de Pondeau -my French spelling may
be wildly off base). It is a great tune.
> The now deceased Jean Carignan was > well known for playing this Reel, but only as the last number, often an encore, > at a concert. He said it took to much time to tune the fiddle for the special > tuning of the Hangman's Reel and then to retune it for standard play to do > another number after it.
Your mention of Jean Carignan brings back many memories. Between 1967-70, I
danced to him in Les Feux-Follets, Canada's national folk ensemble. He was
incredible. I never danced the hornpipe like that again. His music made me sail!
He also had a way of making the fiddle sound like the pipes. Mind you, we were all
a few sheets to the wind by the time he would ever demonstrate this, so...
It's a pity his name is not better known in the Scottish community.
> > Find a recording of the Hangman's Reel...It is a great tune. > > Ben Stein
Jean Carignan - or 'TiJean' (Little John) as he was known, made at least
one recording of the Hangman's Reel. I have it. Unfortunately the record
has a skip. No guessing where the skip is. I'm not sure if it appeared on
any other of his other recordings.