Tuesday, 30 October 2012


The MP3 files that are no longer available for download from this site are now available here. I have no control over, nor responsibility for, the material on this Russian site and I can't help if any of the files are corrupted or incorrect in any way, so please don't send any emails to me if you discover a problem. I'm grateful to Artyom for making the effort to keep these beautiful old recordings available, and I'm grateful to all the people who sent messages in support of this eccentric little experiment. Thanks to you all.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Time, please...

I think it's time to wrap up the experiment, and say thanks to everyone for the encouraging comments, as well as the stimulating discussions...

This project originated a long time ago with my attempts to follow the transcriptions in David Lyth's excellent book on the bowing styles of the great Munster players recorded between the 1960s and 1980s, which can be ordered here. Following the transcriptions without the recordings was an exercise in futility for someone who stumbles through written notation as I do, so I started to look for the recordings from which the transcriptions were taken. I soon discovered that most of the recordings listed at the front of the volume were long out of print, and I began to beg, borrow and buy copies, copies of copies, copies of copies of copies, anything I could listen to in order to understand the complexity and grace in the bowing of these incredible fiddle players.

I think I only used one or two transcriptions to advance my understanding of the bowing of the Munster players, but listening to the recordings changed my life, and brought about previously unimagined growth in the way that I play. I began to think that it was a terrible shame that this incredible music was so difficult to locate and, being an inveterate collector, and obsessive organiser, I began to collate and publish the material, so that other people could enjoy the beauty and grace that I found in these old recordings.

Many people have found joy in these recordings, and I hope you've enjoyed the music at least half as much as I have. But there are legal changes occurring in the world that I was naive enough to believe would never take place. I had hoped that the potential for personal publication facilitated by the internet would have revolutionised the ways in which digital information was managed from a legal perspective; that institutions of ownership would evolve to embrace the possibilities opened up by the free movement of information on a global scale. I expected to encounter at least a little resistance to this project, and I have been surprised by the absolute lack of legal interest shown in my flagrant disregard for copyright law. But, things no longer look quite so simple, and I no longer wish to take the risk involved in publishing this material, so as of today, it will no longer be available to download.

I apologise for any disappointment...

I'll still be available at pashadragutreis@yahoo.co.uk if anyone has any questions, thoughts, or suggestions.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Ceol as Sliabh Luachra (1982)

128 kbps

Julia Clifford & Billy Clifford with Manus Lunny - Ceol as Sliabh Luachra
(Gael Linn - CEF 092 - 1982)

An exceptional album, mostly featuring duets played by the Sliabh Luachra fiddle player Julia Clifford, and her son Billy. One of the album's most remarkable charms is the way in which Billy's flute matches exactly the rhythm, phrasing, and ornamentation of his mother's fiddle on the many sets of Sliabh Luachra slides and polkas that they play together. In many respects it is the way in which Billy plays the fiddle on the flute that makes his music here so distinctive and so wonderful to hear, and the closeness of the communication between the two musicians is truly exceptional. Together with The Star Above the Garter, and Denis Doody's Kerry Music, this is one of my all-time favourite recordings of Sliabh Luachra music.

You can watch Julia Clifford play the air 'The O'Rahilly's Grave', followed by two slides, here.

Many thanks to SJ for providing a digital copy of this album, after much searching.

1. The Moving Bog (O'Sullivan's)/The Green Cottage no. 1 [Polkas]
2. The Cat Rambles to the Child's Saucepan (Paddy Cronin's)/The Cullen [Slides]
3. Lomonach Cross/I'm Waiting for You [Reels]
4. Bill the Weaver/Paddy Lyons' [Jigs]
5. King Williamstown [Air]
6. The Sands/Corney Drew's [Hornpipes]
7. Neily Cleere's [Polkas]
8. The Knocknagree/The Kishkeam Lasses [Slides]
9. Johnny Spillane's Favourite/Darby's Cross [Polkas]
10. The Thrashing Reel/The Rabbit's Burrow [Reels]
11. The Killarney Wonder/Walsh's/The Gleanntán [Hornpipes]
12. Cuban Polka/Johnny Leary's [Polkas]
13. The Walls of Liscarroll [Jig]
14. The Heathery Glen [Air]
15. Art O'Keeffe's/Rain a Sup [Slides]
16. Din Tarrant's [Polkas]
17. Charlie Mulvihill's no. 2/Sheehan's [Reels]
18. The Gullane no. 1/The Gullane no. 2 [Polkas]
19. The Cobbler/Five Servants [Polkas]

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Pádraig O'Keeffe - The Sliabh Luachra Fiddle Master (1993)

131 kbps

Pádraig O'Keeffe - The Sliabh Luachra Fiddle Master (RTÉ - CD174 - 1993)

A deleted recording of the Sliabh Luachra fiddle player and teacher taken from RTÉ archive recordings made by Séamus Ennis between 1947 and 1949. This is absolutely brilliant Sliabh Luachra music, and the final set of tunes - a duet with Denis Murphy - is a classic.

1. Quinn's/Callaghan's [Reels]
2. Gallagher's [Jigs]
3. The Banks of the Danube [Air]
4. O'Sullivan's/O'Callaghan's [Polkas]
5. Johnny Cope [Hornpipe]
6. I'd Rather be Married than Left/Chase me Charlie/The Kilcummin [Slides]
7. The Old Man Rocking the Cradle [Air]
8. George White's Favourite/Kennedy's/The Road the Newbridge [Reels]
9. Gleanntán Frolics/The Hare in the Corn [Slides]
10. The O'Rahilly's Grave [Air]
11. The Humours of Ennistymon/I Will if I Can [Jigs]
12. John Quinn's [Hornpipe]
13. The Donaghmore [Reel]
14. Caoineadh Uí Dhomhnaill (Lament for O'Donnell) [Air]
15. The Kilcummin/If I Had a Wife [Slides]
16. As I Went Out Upon the Ice/Campdown Races/Tom Billy's/Jimmy Doyle's [Polkas]

Friday, 30 December 2011

Michael Dwyer - Traditional Music of Ireland (1975)

320 kbps

Michael Dwyer - Traditional Music of Ireland
(Silver Hill Records - PSH 102 - 1975)

Recorded on his brother Finbarr's Silver Hill label, this is a lovely EP of Irish music played on the simplest of instruments by Michael Dwyer, and accompanied very tastefully by Kevin Taylor on piano. There was considerable wear on the record, so there are some intrusive artefacts here and there, but this is a lovely recording of a great player, and it's well worth a listen. Sadly Michael died tragically a number of years ago, and there is very little of his sweet whistle playing left behind. There is a short clip of Michael's playing which you can watch here.

1. Richard Dwyer's/Seán Sa Cheo [Reels]
2. The Sunshine [Hornpipe]
3. The Flax in Bloom/The Castle [Reels]
4. The Laurel Tree/Speed the Plough [Reels]
5. The Kid on the Mountain [Slip Jig]
6. The Heather Breeze/The Chattering Magpie [Reels]

Paddy Cronin - The Rakish Paddy (1975)

320 kbps

Paddy Cronin - The Rakish Paddy (Fiddler Records - FRLP 002 - 1975)

Recorded by Frank H.Ferrel in September 1975, this is an exceptionally rare (and now ridiculously expensive) recording of the famous Sliabh Luachra fiddler and flute player Paddy Cronin. He is joined on the record by Mary Irwin, who provides unexceptional vamped piano accompaniment, in accordance with the standards of the day. Nonetheless, it's a nice record, with solid fiddling from an exceptional player. The highlight of the album for me is probably Paddy Cronin's unique rendition of the Maid Behind the Bar, which he calls the Haymaker Reel. It's closely related to the variant of the Maid commonly played in C major, which is known as Jimmy McBride's. There is a nice clip of Paddy playing the East Kerry reel, The Girls of Farranfore, which you can watch here, and another where he plays The Girl Who Broke my Heart here.

1. Lucy Campbell [Reel]
2. The Humours of Ennistymon [Jig]
3. Eleanor Kane's/The Teetotaller [Reels]
4. Jenny's Welcome to Charlie [Reel]
5. The Glen Allen [Reel]
6. The Ballydesmond/Denis Murphy's [Polkas]
7. The Haymaker [Reel]
8. Drops of Brandy [Slip Jig]
9. The Drunken Sailor [Hornpipe]
10. The Green Fields of America/The Short Grass [Jigs]
11. Killaghbeg House [Reel]
12. The Bunch of Keys/The Steampacket [Reels]
13. Scully Casey's [Jig]
14. The Girls of Farranfore (The Game of Love ) [Reel]
15. The Congress [Reel]
16. Reavey's/The Old Maid at the Spinning Wheel [Jigs]
17. Crabs in the Skillet [Jig]
18. Tobín's Favourite [Jig]
19. Rakish Paddy [Reel]
20. The Gold Ring [Jig]
21. The Braes of Auchtertyre [Reel]

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Lucy Farr - Heart and Home (1991)

128 kbps

Lucy Farr - Heart and Home (Veteran - VT 123 - 1991)

A very tasteful unaccompanied recording of the brilliant Ballinakill fiddle player Lucy Farr, released to coincide with her 80th birthday. She is joined on several tracks by a concertina player, probably Roly Brown, who recorded the album. He also wrote a long and interesting article describing Lucy Farr's life and musical influences, which you can read here.

There are also a number of interviews with Lucy Farr which have been preserved in the Sound Archive of the British Library, which you can listen to here.

Reg Hall recorded Lucy Farr playing a number of tunes, which are also preserved in the British Library Sound Archive. They can be downloaded as a single file here. Many thanks to BS for putting this together (and, of course, the hard-working and wonderful people at the Sound Archive itself).

1. Within a Mile of Dublin [Reel]
2. John Naughton's/John Blessing's [Jigs]
3. Sliabh Aughty [March]
4. The Fisherman's Lilt (The Kerryman's Daughter) [Reel]
5. The Regent (The Boys of the Town)/The Killimor [Jigs]
6. Paddy Fahey's [Reel]
7. Packie Byrne's [Jigs]
8. Gan Ainm [Fling]
9. The Kilnamona [Barn Dance]
10. Frank Downey's [Hornpipe]
11. Stepping Stones/McShane's Rambles [Jigs]
12. Lucy Farr's [Reel]
13. Paddy Fahey's [Jig]
14. The Pullet and the Cock (Drag Her Round the Road) [Reel]
15. The Ballinakill [Polka]
16. Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine/Tomgraney Castle [Hornpipes]
17. Andy Davy's [Reel]
18. Pat McMahon's [Jig]
19. The Hunter's Purse/The Hare's Paw [Reels]
20. Sonny Comer's [Fling]
21. Terry Teahan's/Gan Ainm [Polkas]
22. McGovern's [Reel]
23. Martin Kirwan's [March]
24. Pat Burke's [Jig]
25. The Ragged Hank of Yarn/The Maids of Mitchellstown [Reels]

Once again I have used a piece by the wonderful painter Jane Ridout for the album cover. Her paintings of a number of traditional musicians are quite exceptional, and they are available to view here.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Fluters of Old Erin (1990)

48 kbps

Various Artists - Fluters of Old Erin: Flute, Piccolo & Whistle Recordings of the 1920s & 30s (Viva Voce - 002 - 1990)

1. John McKenna & Michael Gaffney
2. Gardiners' Sligo Traditional Trio
3. Tom Morrison & John Reynolds
4. Tom Morrison & John Reynolds
5. Stephen Moloney & Tommy Whelan
6. Tom Doyle & Michael Cashin
7. Peter Guinan
8. Dan Sullivan's Shamrock Band
9. The Rosaleen Quartet
10. William Cummins
11. Paddy Finlay & Michael Coleman
12. The Fingal Trio
13. John Sheridan and His Boys
14. John Sheridan and His Boys
15. Tommy Breen
16. Dan Sullivan's Shamrock Band

A series of 78 recordings from the 1920s and 1930s, put together and released on cassette by Harry Bradshaw in 1990. Unfortunately, the bit-rate here is ridiculously low, so modern compression artefacts detract from the already technologically limited sound quality. Nonetheless, it's a valuable recording, and a great source for anybody interested in the sound of traditional Irish music in the United States during this period. There is some lovely playing here, and great techniques that have long-since ceased to be used by most traditional Irish musicians. Be prepared for typical 1930s piano accompaniment...

The cover features an old photograph of John McKenna and Michael Gaffney.

1. The Five Mile Chase/The Duke of Leinster [Reels]
2. The Cork/The Quarrelsome Piper [Hornpipes]
3. The Sweet Flowers of Milltown/The Boys from Knock [Schottisches]
4. The Dunmore Lassies/The Manchester/The Castlebar Traveller [Reels]
5. The Pipe On The Hob [Jig]
6. The Kerry/The Shannon Shores [Reels]
7. Off To California/The Liverpool [Hornpipes]
8. My Darling Asleep/Yesterday Morning [Jigs]
9. The The Newport Lass/The Hag With The Money [Jigs]
10. Dwyer's [Hornpipe]
11. Lord McDonald/Miss McGuiness [Reels]
12. Brian Boru's/The Return From Fingal/Brian the Brave [Marches]
13. Bradley's Favourite [Reel]
14. The Black Rogue [Jig]
15. Eileen [Set Piece]
16. The Blackberry Blossom/Bonnie Kate [Reels]

Friday, 8 July 2011

Joe Heaney & Gabriel O'Sullivan -Joe & the Gabe (1979)

320 kbps

Joe Heaney & Gabriel O'Sullivan - Joe & the Gabe: Songs and Music of Galway
(Green Linnet - SIF 1018 - 1979)

Recorded by Peter Bellamy in 1979, this raw, unaccompanied album features songs by Joe Heaney (Seosamh Ó hÉanaí) and tunes by Gabriel O'Sullivan, known affectionately as the Gabe, on whistle, flute and fiddle. The Gabe was from Headford in East Galway, and he first learned his music from Tommy Coen, a fellow East Galway musician, when he went to work in Galway City. He later became interested in the Ballinakill style of flute playing, listening to 78s of the Ballinakill Céilí Band, and the flute playing of Tommy Whelan ('the greatest flute player of all from Ballinakill') and Stephen Maloney in particular. Gabe's flute playing, with its punchy, breathy attack, contrasts dramatically with the unbroken flow of the music of Paddy Carty, who might be considered the most famous exponent of the East Galway style of flute playing. The Gabe's personal style seems to have come from the old Ballinakill players:

Indeed it was the flutes that made them so special. Their breath control, their fingering, their timing, but above all they employed a very hard way of blowing, which, honest to God, the modern players now haven't a clue about. They always blew a very, very hard low D and went up to their tune from that, and the living echo of that hard D was right through their music. There's very few people outside of East Galway I've heard able to do this, and indeed nobody these days even tries. So that's it - the music shaped my being. It's my whole reason for existing.

Joe Heaney, or Seosamh Ó hÉanaí, came from Carna in West Connemara, a place where few could afford musical instruments, and where music was more often expressed in song. Heaney learned many of his English songs from his father, also a fine singer, and his Gaelic songs from his cousin Colm Keane, from whom Séamus Ennis is said to have collected no less than 280 songs.

You can watch a short video of Heaney singing the comic song Cúnla here.

1. Jack Coughlin's Favourite [Reel]
2. The Gabe's Miss McLeod [Reel]
3. The Widow from Mayo [Song]
4. The Duke of Leinster/The Kylebrack Rambler [Reels]
5. My Blessing on the Big Jug and it Full [Air]
6. Amhrán Muiginse (The Song of Mynish) [Song]
7. Whelan's [Jig]
8. The Lady on the Island [Reel]
9. The Banks of the Sweet Dundee [Reel]
10. Mama's Pet [Reel]
11. The Pipe on the Hob [Jig]
12. Martin Wynne's 2 [Reel]
13. Skibbereen [Song]
14. The Shaskeen [Reel]
15. Dónal Óg [Air]
16. Badoinn Tir Niad (The Teer Nee Boatman) [Song]
17. The Carraroe [Reel]
18. The Belles of Tipperary (The New Policeman) [Reel]
19. The Bogs of Shanaheever [Song]
20. The Green Blanket [Jig]

Paddy Cronin - Kerry's Own (1977)

256 kbps

Paddy Cronin - Kerry's Own (Outlet - OAS 3002 - 1977)

Paddy Cronin: Fiddle
Shea Walker: Guitar
Gogey McCullough: Bodhrán

A classic recording from the Outlet Records stable, featuring Gneevegullia native and Boston immigrant Paddy Cronin, brother of Johnny Cronin. The bodhrán accompaniment is a little wild and obtrusive but, thankfully, it was recorded on a separate channel, so it has been possible to remove it from the mix. Therefore both the original recording, and a version without the bodhrán accompaniment, are available for download. The latter is a few cents lower in pitch than the original recording.

Many thanks to BS for providing the manipulated version of the recording.

1. The Girl Who Broke My Heart/Tom Steele [Reels]
2. The Frieze Breeches [Jig]
3. Biddy Mickey's/The Drunken Sailor [Hornpipes]
4. Apples in Winter/The Trip to Galway [Jigs]
5. Jenny's Welcome to Charlie [Reel]
6. This is My Love, Do You Like Her? [Single Jig]/The Pipe on the Hob [Jig]
7. Tom Billy's (The Ballydesmond)/Din Tarrant's [Polkas]
8. The Boys of Cunnamore/Billy McCormick's [Jigs]
9. The Bashful Batchelor/Reavy's [Hornpipes]
10. Dowd's 9/Kennaw's [Reels]
11. Farewell to Ballinahulla/The Kilkenny [Jigs]
12. The Mullingar Races/The Humours of Newcastle [Reels]
13. The Maids of Mount Cisco [Reel]
14. The Kid on the Mountain [Slip Jig]