Week #418 ~ The Dusty Windowsills

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner, by overwhelming majority, is The Dusty Windowsills, which was submitted as an Irish Traditional jig. I'm not familiar with this tune.

    According the The Session, it is also known as Austin Barratts, Austin Barrett’s, The Blasket Sound, Chicago, The Chicago, Dust On The Windowsills, The Dusty Windmill, The Dusty Windowsill, The Grandfather, Harding’s, Harling’s, The Hiccup, John Harling’s, Johnny Harling’s, Mulvihill’s, The Trip To The Highlands.

    Here is a link to five settings of this tune on The Session. Be sure the read the lengthy comments on this tune!

    I've edited this post, to include some more info... this is not actually an Irish traditional tune, it was composed by John Harling of Chicago (not sure exactly when!)... here's a blurb from the comments on The Session:

    "Hello, I was reading past discussions tonight and thought I could answer some unsolved questions if it made any difference- in case any one was still wondering.This is Jessica, Johnny Harling’s daughter again. One question was regarding the name. He named it Dusty Windowsills…all of the other names it is known by people have made up. And quite frankly he finds some of them humorous. Second this is in regards to the parts to the tune. When he wrote it- he did it in 3 parts as known as today. Nothing was changed nor added. Also in regards to what played/s. Growing up, my dad was forced to play the tin whistle by my Papa. He refused and played the clarinet for the school. When he got into his teenage years, he started to appreciate irish music and picked up the tin whistle and taught himself how to play. The house was filled non stop with the sounds of irish music. So by the time he wrote the tune he was a master at the tin whistle. He also can play the flute. Another thing, although he is not retired, he also was never a full-time musician, he still active in the chicago music scene. He judges at feis’ year round, plays-does gigs, gets together with his old band when the lead singer comes in town, and writes music. Although "With Ourselves," and "Dusty Windowsills" are the only well known tunes of his- he has abundant amount of very popular and incredible tunes that he plays within the family. He is an unbelievable musician, great guy, a legend in my eyes, and a spectacular father on top of that. And I would say HE is the "tip of the ice berg." I hope this gives a little bit more insight of this great guy."











  2. Colin Braithwaite
    Colin Braithwaite


    A very popular session tune.
  3. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Lovely version Colin - does your Collings have f-holes or an oval hole? Either way it's very sweet sounding!
  4. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    That's a good reference version Colin. I have heard this tune so many times in sessions. The stories about its origin on thesession.org are a nice example of tune name conundrums, though I find the "written in dust" notion a bit tame - couldn't it have been written with nose blood on a mirror in the men's room on the Fishguard-Rosslare ferry? more graffiti-mystic?
  5. gortnamona
    gortnamona
    lovely Colin, clean as a whistle. in a Belfast accent..the dusty windysill
  6. Colin Braithwaite
    Colin Braithwaite
    Thanks, all. Jill, it's an f-holed MT-1, bought used a couple of weeks ago. I was sorely tempted by an MTO at the same store, but I liked the brighter sound of this one.
  7. dustyamps
    dustyamps
    Nice playing Colin.
    Here is how to play this on accordion and bodhran.
  8. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    Great job Colin - lovely tone from the Collings
    Bit embarrassing to be following those talented Kids, but here's my version anyway

  9. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Great stuff James, lovely feel and lilt!
  10. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    Thanks Jill for the kind comment - means a lot coming from a player of your ability.
  11. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Good find Dusty - those kids seem to suggest that once you take life too seriously it's too late for music; all we can do is struggle to find our way back to that station.
    Solid rendition James, another no-frills, no-nonsense cornerstone demonstrating that you don't have to get fancy to sound authentic.
  12. gortnamona
    gortnamona
    nicely played James, enjoyed that. great clip of the kids, young lad looks a right wee character , a little john joe kelly.
  13. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Here goes, paired with Rakes of Kildare.

  14. Frithjof
    Frithjof
    Itís an interesting tune. The third part of course is tricky. Good to have all your great submissions to learn from.
    I really like the pure mandolins by Colin and James.
    The Kids are great even when you close your eyes. No cuteness bonus needed.
    And after Bertram took over with his supercharger no dust is left on the windowsills.
  15. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Late getting around to this one, but here 'tis, on the banjo as the mandolin is still with my luthier:

  16. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Nothing wrong with that banjo, Jill. Its cackling laughter adds a whole new angle to this tune of many characters.

    Thanks Frith - supercharger?
  17. Colin Braithwaite
    Colin Braithwaite
    Fantastic (as always), Jill. Can I get some right-hand cell scrapings to add to my DNA, please?

    And Bertram, I loved your version. It inspires me to take my octave mandolin down from the wall, where it languishes, alas.
  18. maudlin mandolin
    maudlin mandolin


    This one took a long time to master - the third part is especially tricky.
  19. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Nice one! I know what you mean about that third part - three part tunes are a little nerve wracking to me as I generally flub a note right as I'm about to get to the end of the tune!
  20. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    That third part is working out well, Maudlin, and it does not sound like it's tricky (which is exactly as it should be, I guess).

    I did not find it tricky to play, for that matter, but then I did not adhere to what I found on thesession.org - instead, I tried to reproduce what I usually hear in our sessions, which seems to be easier. Call it cheating if you will.

    Making a mistake just before the end of a tune is a well-known and often-fought phenomenon to me. I always frantically think "it's not over 'till it's over!"
  21. gortnamona
    gortnamona
    well played all, i find the third part tricky myself, will probably just change it to suit me ! great tune though.
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