Jerry Holland

Piano: Hilda Chiasson | Guitar: Dave MacIsaac


Jerry Holland's Collection of Fiddle Tunes

Jerry Holland: The Second Collection

In 1982, when Jerry Holland recorded Master Cape Breton Fiddler, he set a new standard for the up and coming generation of Cape Breton fiddlers. Although long out of print, this classic album continues to influence the tradition, and today, many of the tunes remain popular standards throughout the world.

Digitally remastered for the first time, this recording and accompanying booklet provide a glimpse of the flowering career of one of Cape Breton's finest fiddlers and composers. Tune listing.

Notation Links


Mom's Jig (J.H.)


Father John Angus Rankin's (J.H.)


Andy Dejarlis Jig (traditional)


Reichswall Forest (Dan R. MacDonald)


Brenda Stubbert's Reel (J.H.)


Mutt's Favourite (J.H.)


The Sweetness of Mary (Joan MacDonald Bowes)


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1. Reels
  • Reichswall Forest - Dan R. MacDonald (SOCAN)
  • Easter Elchies - William Marshall
  • Winston in the '50s
  • Mrs. Gordon of Knockspoch - William Marshall

    Dan R. MacDonald, a 20th century Cape Breton fiddler, is generally considered Cape Breton's greatest composer. William Marshall was 18th century Scotland's greatest. "Winston in the '50s" is Winston Fitzgerald's reel setting of a Niel Gow strathspey, "Miss Erskine of Torry."

2. Jigs

  • Andy Dejarlis (apparently written by DeLarlis a 1960s LP he called it Scotch Style Jig)
  • Ingonish Jig
  • Mrs. McGee - John Riddell

    The first two tunes were heard from fiddler Mike MacDougall of Ingonish, Victoria County. Jerry adapted "Mrs. McGee" from the setting found The Glen Collection after his friend Willie Joe Chiasson of Cheticamp suggested it. The composer, John Riddell, was an 18th century blind fiddler from Ayr, Scotland.

3. Slow air, strathspey and reel

  • My Lily
  • The Sweetness of Mary - Joan MacDonald Boes
  • Hughie Jim Paul's - Joan MacDonald Boes

    Jerry learned this medley from pianist Joan MacDonald Boes. Originally from Foot Cape, Inverness County, as a young woman Joan moved to the Detroit, Michigan area where she played with The Five MacDonald Fiddlers.


4. Irish Reels

  • The Street Player - Ed Reavy (ASCAP)
  • Mrs. Crehan's
  • Gerry Commane's

    "The Street Player" was learned from an LP of Andy McGann. The last two reels came from Irish tin whistle player Mary Bergin.


5. Strathspeys and Reels

  • Cutting Ferns
  • Alex Dan MacIsaac's
  • Brenda Stubbert's Reel - Jerry Holland (SOCAN)
  • Mutt's Favorite Reel - Jerry Holland (SOCAN)
  • Bernadette's Reel - Jerry Holland (SOCAN)
  • Lady Gordon of Gordonstown - William Morrison

    "Cutting Ferns" is a popular Scottish strathspey which is often sung as a puirt a beul. "Alex Dan MacIsaac's" was learned from Dave MacIsaac. William Morrison was a 19th century Scottish composer.

6. Hornpipes and Reel

  • Dundee
  • Forester's
  • Lord Gordon's

Popular tunes Jerry learned from Winston Fitzgerald and later played during his tenure with The Cape Breton Symphony.

7. Irish Reels

  • Miss Johnson
  • Micho Russell's
  • Carrigaline

    Many settings of the first and last reels are circulating in Irish sessions. In the '30s Paddy Killoran recorded "Carrigaline" as "The Steeplechase".

8. Jigs

  • Mike MacDougall's
  • Mom's Jig - Jerry Holland (SOCAN)
  • Carrickfergus

    The first tune is a popular traditional jig heard all over Cape Breton. The name "Mike MacDougall's" simply refers to Jerry's source. The last jig came from a house-tape of Donald Angus Beaton.

9. Strathspey and Reels

  • Sir Archibald Dunbar
  • The New Brig of Dee
  • Glenlyon

    Jerry associates these older Scottish book-tunes with Bill Lamey.

10. Strathspeys and Reels

  • Donald John the Tailor
  • Alex Beaton's - Dan Hughie MacEachern (SOCAN)
  • Billy the Hook - Jerry Holland (SOCAN)
  • Pigeon on the Gate

    The first two tunes were learned directly from Dave MacIsaac. Dan Hughie MacEachern was a fiddler and composer from Queensville, Cape Breton. Dave and Jerry are particularly fond of Dan Hughie's music.

11. Jigs

  • Beauties of the Ballroom
  • The Tripper's
  • Miss MacGregor's Favourite

    Many remember Little Jack MacDonald playing "The Beauties of the Ballroom". A popular melody in the 18th century, it first appeared in G minor as "The Lads of Leith." Later it was adapted to song by Robert Burns. The last two tunes come from the highland bagpipe repertoire.

12. March and Reels

  • John MacColl's Farewell - John MacColl
  • Father John Angus Rankin - Jerry Holland (SOCAN)
  • Jock Wilson's
  • Kay Girroir - Joey Beaton (SOCAN)
  • Dan Rory MacDougall's
  • Sleepy Maggie

Many John MacColl tunes are circulating in Cape Breton. He was an early 20th century, highland piper from Scotland. One of his students, piper Sandy Boyd, immigrated to Cape Breton during the 1940s. Joey Beaton is a piano player from Mabou, Inverness County. He was the accompanist on Jerry's first LP.

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