Ain’t Whistlin’ Dixie

Traditional Music for Penny Whistle and Ocarina

Ain’t Whistlin’ Dixie is, as far as I know, the Internet’s first music album. It contains a collection of traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and America performed by me on the Penny Whistle and Ocarina.

I am not a professional musician. While I have played for many years with Blackthorn, Orange County, California’s premier Irish band (and been paid for it), the wages earned for playing live music in wine bars and coffee houses hardly counts. I am best categorized as “local talent.” The fascinating thing about the Internet is that it provides us local talents with a global, yet informal, outlet for our work. We can produce albums like Ain’t Whistlin’ Dixie without the time, effort, stress (and money) required to do studio-quality work. It’s a marvelous opportunity!

It is in this spirit that I offer Ain’t Whistlin’ Dixie. I hope you enjoy it.

The Tunes

Dennis Murphy’s and Riding on the Load of Hay

These two reels are the standard opening for most Blackthorn performances. They’re happy tunes and good at getting the audience to realize that things have started. D Penny Whistle

The Kesh Jig

This tune is also known as the Saint Patrick’s Day Jig. It’s one of the first tunes I learned. D Penny Whistle

The Lonely Boat

This is a haunting air that I learned from the playing of Joe and Antoinette McKenna. D Penny Whistle

Merrily Kissed the Quaker

This tune is actually a song. The first couple of lines go “The Quaker’s wife, she baked some scones, and Johnny danced when they were done. Merrily Kissed the Quaker’s wife, and merrily kissed the quaker.” D Penny Whistle

S’Beg S’Mor

This is one of hundreds of tunes that are attributed to Turlough O’Carolan, a famous blind Irish harper. The story goes that this was his first composition. D Penny Whistle

The Star of the County Down

A “star” is a champion. This song, which I perform as an air, is about the winner of the beauty contest in County Down. C Penny Whistle

The Bargain Duet

Normally, I play this as a duet with Greg Mirken of Blackthorn on bones. We call it the Bargain Duet for two reasons: 1) it’s played on the two least expensive looking instruments any of us play, and 2) we can’t remember the names of the two tunes that make up this medley. Ocarina

Barbara Allen

Barbara Allen is a beautiful song about a young girl who spurns her lover, only to find that he dies shortly thereafter. Sounds like a 50’s love ballad, huh? Ocarina

Planxty George Brabazon

One of Turlough O’Carolan’s “planxty” tunes; planxty means “in honor of.” O’Carolan wrote hundreds of them as payment for bed and a meal. D Penny Whistle

Planxty Irwin

A tune O’Carolan wrote after a night at the Irwin’s. D Penny Whistle

Off to California

A really neat hornpipe. D Penny Whistle

The Blarney Pilgrim

It’s hard to find a traditional Irish musician who doesn’t know this set tune. It’s always made a good closing piece. D Penny Whistle

Window of Opportunity

Ain’t Whistlin’ Dixie was mentioned in ‘Window of Opportunity – CD-Roms and the Music Industry’ as the Internet’s first music “release.”  It contains interesting predictions for the future of the recording industry in 1995.



This site’s “official” URL is  When you choose to link to Ain’t Whistlin’ Dixie, please use that URL.


  • Original Posting 7/6/94
  • Text revised 10/28/94
  • MP3 version 1/21/2003
  • Text revised 9/7/2003
  • Creative Commons License added 12/16/2003
  • Text revised 1/1/2004
  • Added ID3 tags 12/28/2006
  • Moved to and servers 4/8/2016

David Walker <>

3 thoughts on “Ain’t Whistlin’ Dixie

  1. Hey David! It’s Nick! I listened to much more of your “First Internet Album.” Well done. I particularly enjoyed “Off to California” and learned what “planxty” means. I wished I had seen Blackthorn while they were still a thing.

    See you next month!


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