Here’s a wee march that I wrote in 1997 and dedicated to Campbell Service, or Paddy as he was known around Oban.
Originally from Ballycarry in County Antrim, Paddy was a skipper of large cargo vessels and spent much of his time at sea. He loved guitars and had a fair collection of them at one point. He didn’t hoard them however, preferring to leave them in the care of local guitar players. He left a limited edition Martin D35 with me for a number of years, a guitar I eventually purchased from him.
The trip the tune is named after was a rather eventful occasion. Not long after he moved to Oban he was making a return trip to Whitehead in Antrim, where he previously lived, to collect his hi-fi, his large collection of blues CDs and some other stuff. He asked for some assistance and I was glad to help. What he neglected to tell me until we were on the ferry was that this was his first time back after the break up of his marriage and a brush with some local paramilitary gangsters.
I won’t reveal the full details here, the story is best shared over a dram or three, but it involved an involuntary visit to the police cells (him, not me), our expulsion from Northern Ireland and the dodgiest hotel stay of my life. Not a trip that I’ll ever forget and one that definitely deserved a tune
Below is the tune in ABC Notation. ABC is a great way to share simple, single staff notation and is popular amongst traditional musicians. You can learn about ABC notation here and I recommend EasyABC to convert the tunes into standard notation, for editing and playback (although a fully working version isn’t yet available for macOS Catalina or later).
T:Captain Service’s Trip to Whitehead
C:© 1997 S P McNally
|: A>FFF | E>DE>G F>DDFFA | d>cf>e f>ddFFF | E>DE>G F>DD>F | D>FFGGcf>e d4 :|2 d>cf>e d2-d>E ||
|: F>Af>e d4- | d>FG>A B>AFAf>e G4- | G>FG>A Bcf>e d4- | d>FG>A B>AFFFGGcf>e d2-d>E :|2 d>cf>e d4 ||