Tag Archives: wrong key

Hoban’s on 63rd and O’Keefe’s Mother

I play these two jigs in A fairly often. They were learned off of the Bohola album Bits of Bohola and a Bit.  I have learned many tunes from the accordion playing of Jimmy Keane, but I think these may be my favorites. While I had learned the tunes over a year ago, I hadn’t done much digging into where they came from until just recently. I knew that on Hoban’s I took liberties and changed the key to A, but I wasn’t aware of how far I had traveled from the original tune.

It turns out that Hoban’s on 63rd was composed by the banjo player Owen Hackett in the 1970s for his father, and is actually called Tom Hackett’s Dream.

Here is a nice recording of him playing the tune. It has been recorded over the years by many different groups under wildly varying titles: The Ballinteer, Carmel Doyle’s, Owen More, Patty Gavin’s, Port Patrick, and The Road to Ballinakill.

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O’Keefe’s Mother or Mamo O’Keefe as Bohola titled it was written in D by the late flute player James McMahon. McMahon is well known for his popular composition The Banshee. This jig has been titled James McMahon’s, James McMahon’s Favorite, and Caherlistrane Jig.

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I’m not certain where the connection to O’Keefe’s Mother came into the picture, but while I was looking around, I found an interesting 1912 article in the San Francisco Call paper about Ellen “Mother” O’Keefe who founded the St. Zita’s Home for Friendless Women. It must be the notion of fallen women, or a kindly woman helping troubled souls – but I plan on continuing to call McMahon’s lovely Jig Mother O’Keefe in her honor.