Well gang.. you may like to know that it has just gone 1am here on the cold and damp side of the pond.. I have not long got back from 4 hours playing down the pub with fingers bleeding and am frantically trying to get my head around all the facts that have bombarded it in the last 24 hours regarding this damn tune..LOL
By the way, I've got Tubular Bells playing as I do so (just to let you know Mary I am taping it for you).
There is a whole mountain of source material I would kill to get my hands on, namely the entire 18 editions of Playford, plus the 12 vols of Oswalds Caledonain Pocket Companion, alas the library service where I live in Leicester is as much use as a chocolate teapot and that is with a so called "music library"..
I haven't assimulated all the pertinent facts yet, but I have noticed that St Patrick's Day is listed on page 132 of Oswald's C.P.C., but if my memory serves me right, this was published in 1711, about 50 years after Playford (no doubt you will correct me if I am wrong Bruce... by the way do you have a copy of C.P.C.?), which begs the question somewhat of him writing the tune.
As Mary knows I am still somewhat sceptical that Never Love Thee More is the tune, but as she also knows I am a musical illiterate where such things are concerned. Not having access to all the tunes Playford published is a bit of a set back to say the least. I am also blinkered to some extent by only really knowing the version that we play at our session. I need to spend a lot of time comparing alll the various variations we have gathered so far.
I am also interested in finding out how the tune Barbary Bell fits into the scheme of things, as this is basically the same tune. Then there is the whole gambit of its influence in America. Apparently it was a popular tune during the civil war, I'm not sure if this was only amongst the Irish brigades or not.
Another point I find fascinating is that today bearing the title of St Patrick's Day and thus epitomising all that is "Irish", appears to have been relegated to the second division as far as session tunes are concerned. Here in the UK it only seems to exist as a set dance, rather than a celebration of Paddy's Day.. instead people seem to embrace tunes like "Wearin' o' the Green", which as Bruce will confirm, is a Scottish tune.. "The Tulip", which was written by James Oswald...
That's probably enough rambling from me for now...
Thanks everyone who have contributed so far, hopefully we will get to the bottom of this someday.