"Farewell to Ireland" is a box set of 4 CDs. CD1 - "Leaving Tipperary" CD2 - "Erin's Green Shore" CD3 - "Memories of Sligo" CD4 - "From Galway to Dublin"
Martin Beirne and His Irish Blackbirds. Very little is known about the
Irish Blackbirds 'Orchestra' other than the fact that they recorded for Columbia
in New York between 1936 and 1938 and were led by Martin Beirne who was a piper.
CD2 track 20 - Kilkenny For Me/ The Boys Of Ireland (marches)
Michael J. Cashin. A native of Co. Leitrim with a strong rhythmic fiddle style. He emigrated in the early 20s. At first he lived in New York but later settled in Chicago where he recorded six sides (his only recordings) for Victor with Tom Doyle, a flute player from Co. Mayo, and an unidentified pianist. He later settled in California where he died and is laid to rest.
CD2 track 3 - Ginger's Favourite/ The Bogs Of Allen (jigs)
Michael Coleman - (1891 - 1945). Born in 1891 at Knockgrania near Ballymote, Co Sligo. His father Jamesy played flute but it was his elder brother who taught him music and Michael always claimed that Jim was the better fiddler. In 1914, after a few months work in England, he emigrated to New York where he quickly gained a big reputation. He recorded prolifically and broadcast regularly (often daily) on local radio stations both in New York and other cities with large Irish populations such as Philadelphia. When the record industry moved on from Irish music he attempted to set up a music teaching business, with another fiddler, Tommy Cawley, in 1937. He died in a Manhatten hospital in 1945. In 1974 a monument to his memory was erected at Mount Irwin near his birthplace.
CD1 track 9 - The Job Of Journeywork (set dance)
CD2 track 9 - Mrs Kerry's (barndances)
CD4 track 14 - Bonnie Kate/ Jenny's chickens (reels)
Peter "P.J." Conlon - (d 1954). From Bellmount near Milltown, Co. Galway was a master of the ten key melodeon. He emigrated to New York in the early years of the 20th century and was among the first traditional Irish musicians recorded in America where he made his recording debut in 1910. P.J. died in New York in 1954.
CD1 track 5 - The Banks of Newfoundland (jig)
CD2 track 7 - The College Grove/ The Floggin' (reels)
Peter "P.J." Conlon and James "Jimmy" Morrison.
CD4 track 16 - The Tap Room/ The Moving Bogs (reels)
Packie Dolan - (1904 - 1932). Born in 1904 at Aghadowry near Ballinamuck, Co. Longford. Packie learned the fiddle from his father John. He emigrated to New York in 1919 where he soon became immensly popular. Together with his band The Melody Boys (which included Hugh Gillespie) he cut 24 sides for Victor (Tr.12, CD4) and several fiddle duets with Michael Coleman (Tr.10, CD2) and several fiddle duets with Michael Coleman (Tr.10, CD2) before his untimely death in an explosion on an East River ferryboat in 1932.
CD1 track 7 - A Drink In The Morning (song)
CD2 track 8 - Erin's Green Shore (song)
CD3 track 5 - Royal Charley (jig)
CD4 track 12 - The Grove (hornpipe)
Packie Dolan and Michael Coleman
CD2 track 10 - The Blackhaired Lass/ The Dublin (reels)
CD4 track 13 - The Stack of Barley/ Bantry Bay (hornpipe)
Dinny "Jimmy" Doyle. Another great performer about whom very little is known. As he sang with Larry Griffin and was described as "one of the best loved singers in New York in the 1920s" we might presume that he was based in New York. But, as he was accompanied by Dan Sullivan he might also have lived in Boston, or in both cities, or simply liked to move around. Wherever he lived, he gets my vote as one of the most enjoyable singers of this genre - he sounds like he took out his teeth to perform, and his version of Mr. Maguire is definitive.
CD2 track 4 - Let Mister Maguire Sit Down (song)
CD4 track 5 - Tommy Murphy Was A Soldier (song)
Tom Ennis - (1889 - 1931) Born in Chicago in 1889, the son of a fluter and piper Patrolman John Ennis who, like many other Irish musicians, worked under Capt. Francis J. O'Neill in the Chicago Police Department. O'Neill wrote of young Ennis - "Tom displays much musical talent and bids fair to rank high as an Irish piper". Under such expert guidance young Ennis blossomed as a piper and made his first recordings in 1917. He served on the Western Front during WWI until he was invalided home after being gassed. Ennis toured briefly as a vaudeville act before opening a store in New York (see introductory notes) where he sold "records by me"! In the late 20s he moved back to Chicago where he performed regularly on the Irish Hour radio show until his death in 1931.
CD4 track 17 - The Kildare Fancy/ The Stack Of Wheat (hornpipes)
Erin's Pride Orchestra. Not to be confused with Paddy Killoran's New York band, The Pride of Erin Orchestra, this Philadelphia dancehall band led by fiddler Tommy Caulfield featured Ed Reavy (fiddle) who eventually took over as bandleader. Other members included Jimmy McDade (banjo), Tony Pelzer (accordion), Al Payne (tenor sax) and Jimmy O'Brien (drums). Their set of barndances (Tr.2, CD4) was recorded for the Shamrock label in 1948 and is the only post 30s track included in this box set. The track was selected as an indication of the direction and sound the Irish "crossover" dancehall bands pursued in the 40s.
CD4 track 2 - The Stack of Oats/ The Shannon Waves (barndances)
Joe Flanagan. (see The Flanagan Brothers)
CD4 track 19 - Scotch Mary (reel)
The Flanagan Brothers. Brothers Joe, Mike and Louis Flanagan were born into a musical family in Waterford city in the last decade of the 19th century. The Flanagans emigrated to Albany, upstate New York where the three brothers taught themselves to play music. In the early 20s they moved to New York City in order to perform semi-professionally. The brothers were soon fronting the most popular danceband on the East coast. Between 1921 and 1933 they recorded 160 sides for various labels. Their keen guage of public taste proved consistently accurate, and this determined the content of their ever-changing repertoire. To please their mostly Irish audience they dressed in green, white and gold, wrote 'Oirish' skits in the Mike'n'Pat mould (Tr.1, CD2), and sang sentimental Irish American songs such as My Irish Molly-O (written by Schwartz and Jerome) and Tura Lura Lura (Trs. 18 & 20, CD4). However, it was the driving rhythm of their instrumental sets that pleased the largest section of their audience - the dancers. Their band played for as long as five and six hours a night in dancehalls holding several thousand people. As there were no amplification systems, they carried different sized bands for different venues with rhythm sections made up of piano, several banjo players and, when the occasion merited, a tuba to carry the bass lines. Melody instruments were adapted to deliver maximum level os sound and vocals were often sung through a megaphone. Even then, only those members of the audience nearest the stage could really hear what was being played. In the late 30s Joe and Louis died within a short time of each other and Mike returned to Albany.
CD1 track 3 - The Moving Bogs/ Miss Thornton (reels)
CD1 track 14 - The Beggarman (song)
CD2 track 1 - The Night Pat Murphy Died (song)
CD2 track 17 - Paddy In London (jig)
CD3 track 6 - The Leitrim Thrush/ Fermoy Lasses (reels)
CD4 track 18 - My Irish Molly-O (song)
CD4 track 20 - Irish Delight/ Tura Lura Lura (That's An Irish Lullaby)(song medley)
The Four Provinces Orchestra. The first of many great Philadelphia Irish dancehall bands. Led by pianist Ed Lee who was born in London of Irish parents. In 1889 and moved to Philadelphia in 1916 one step ahead of being imprisoned as a Sinn Fein organiser. His skill as an agitator found a different use when he founded the Irish Musicians' Union in Philadelphia in 1918. The 'orchestra' featured a strong fiddle section including John McGettigan, John McCormack and/or John Kennedy, plus Sam Moore (accordion), Jimmy McDade (banjo) and Thomas Jacob (piccolo). The 'orchestra' also occasionally featured the great James J. Mullan on vocals.
CD2 track 6 - Maggie Pickens/ Cameron's Wife (reels)
Michael Gaffney - (1896 - 1972). Born 1896 at Mullaun near Arigna, Co. Leitrim. Gaffney was a highly talented multi-instrumentalist playing fiddle, flute and accordion. On emigrating to American he took up and mastered the tenor banjo, an instrument which was then new to Irish music. He died in New York in 1972.
CD4 track 9 - The Night Cap/ The Mysteries Of Knock (jigs)
Hugh Gillespie - (b 1906). Born in Ballybofey, Co Donegal in 1906. His father was a fiddler, but it was his uncle Johnny, rated as a great fiddler, who influenced young Hugh's music. In 1928 he emigrated to New York where, within four days, he was introduced to Michael Coleman who immediately took him under his wing. Over the next few years he broadcasted fiddle duets daily with Coleman on local radio shows. He also worked regularly with Packie Dolan's Melody Boys and his cousin Jim Gillespie, a fine accordion player. One of Jim's band's regular spots was in a Polish section where the Versevanna (Tr.13, CD2) and the Mazurka (Tr.6, CD4) were in great demand. On these recordings, Gillespie was accompanied by Mark Callahan on guitar. Most traditional Irish musicians of this era favoured vamping piano accompaniment, but Hugh preferred the tone of the guitar for backup. On subsequent sessions he was backed by a guitarist Jack McKenna whose choice of church was occasionally unorthodox but whose percussive rhythm paved the way for the stringed instrument backing which has been developed to a fine art by many of today's guitar and bouzouki maestros including Paul Brady, Donal Lunny, Arty McGlynn and Steve Cooney. Of the many Irish musicians who aspired to move back to Ireland with the 'fortune' they made from music, Gillespie was one of the few to achieve that goal, and ended his days on a Donegal farm.
CD1 track 17 - Dowd's Favourite (reel)
CD2 track 13 - Versevanna
CD4 track 6 - The Irish Mazurka (mazurka)
John Griffin. Born in Ballaghadereen, Co. Roscommon, he emigrated to New York in 1917. Griffin worked on the Manhatten bus system and on some of his recordings was credited as "The 5th Avenue Busman".
CD3 track 8 - Myself And Martin Tracy (song)
CD3 track 9 - The Real Old Mountain Dew (song)
Michael (b 1880) and Connie Hanafin. Fiddler Michael Hanafin was born in Miltown, Co. Kerry in 1880. He emigrated to Boston at the age of twenty where he became a regular member of Dan Sullivan's Shamrock Band (qv) with whom he recorded over forty sides. On Rodney's Glory (Tr.4, CD4) he is featured alongside his brother Connie on accordion. Another brother, Billy, was a highly respected piper who died tragically young without ever being recorded.
CD4 track 4 - Rodney's Glory (long dance)
Eleanor Kane. A wonderful pianist, born in Chicago of Irish parents. Was a founder member of Pat Roche's Harp and Shamrock Orchestra. She married James Neary and was last heard of in 1992 at which time she was still active on the Chicago music scene.
CD4 track 10 - The Morning Dew/ The Traveller's/ Shark's Favourite (reels)
Paddy Killoran. Born at Emlagation near Ballymote, Co. Sligo. He emigrated to New York in 1929, where for several years he ran a successful bar at 138th Street in the Bronx. He remained a stalwart of the New York Irish scene all his life and is credited with having composed many standard session tunes such as The Maid of Mont Cisco. His duets with the Sligo fiddler Paddy Sweeney are regarded as benchmark recordings (Tr 3, CD4) and his Pride of Erin Orchestra (houseband of the Pride of Erin Ballroom) played live broadcasts on WBBC in Brooklyn for several years.
CD2 track 12 - The Jolly Tinker/ The Pretty Girls Of Mayo (reels)
CD3 track 7 - McDermott's/ Memories Of Sligo (barndances)
(with Paddy Sweeney) CD4 track 3 - Farrell Gara/ The Silver Spear (reels)
John McGettigan [and his Irish Minstrels] - (1882 - 1965). Born in 1882 at Glenree, near Carrigart, Co Donegal, John was one of a family of thirteen many of whom were musicians taught by their father who played accordeon, fiddle and banjo. He showed great promise as a fiddler at an early age but, above all else, he loved to sing. Following a period of studying to be a priest in Rome, he lived for a while in Scotland before emigrating to Brooklyn, New York in 1907 where he stayed only a few months before settling in Philadelphia. A shrewd entrepreneur, he prospered in the liquor, furniture making, hotel and travel bureau business. A flamboyant and charismatic performer he quickly became the most popular musician in Philadelphia, performing frequently at his own saloon "McGettigan's Home Of Irish Music" on Lancaster Avenue, West Philadelphia. He also appeared regularly at his own hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey as well as in New York and Washington. A household name among Irish Americans, he recorded over 80 sides for several companies all of which sold in large quantities particularly Martha, The Flower of Sweet Strabane (Tr.15,CD2). Writing about Ireland in the 20s and 30s, John Paddy Browne tells us that "in Derry and Donegal ... it was a rare household in those days which could not boast a McGettigan record". He died in Philadelphia in 1965.
CD1 track 11 - The Stone Outside Dan Murphy's Door (song)
CD2 track 15 - Martha, The Flower Of Sweet Strabane (song)
CD3 track 1 - Rare Old Irish Whiskey (song)
CD3 track 2 - Fisher's/ The Cliff (hornpipes)
CD3 track 3 - Maggie In The Woods/ Spanish Ladies/ Rose Tree (polkas)
CD3 track 4 - Lovely Molly (song)
CD4 track 11 - Me Husband's Flannel Shirt (Song)
John McKenna - (1880 - 1947). Born in 1880 near Tarmon, Co. Leitrim an area with a strong tradition of flute playing. In 1909 he moved to Scotland with his wife Mary Jane but two years later they emigrated to New York. By 1920 he had taken a job with the New York Fire Department and some of his early recordings are credited to "Patrolman John McKenna". Between 1921 and 1937 he recorded some 60 sides for various companies. The tracks included in this box set were recorded for Columbia in the late 20s. His driving, rhythmic, breathy style has been a major influence on successive generations of flute players. He died in New York in 1947. A memorial to his memory was erected in 1980 in Tarmon where an annual traditional festival is held in his honour.
CD1 track 16 - Back In The Garden/ The Flowers Of The Red Mill (reels)
CD3 track 16 - Colonel Frazier (reel)
Maurice McSweeney's Stars Of Munster - (1895 - 1936). NOTE: This is an elaborate hoax. These recordings were probably made in a pub in London in the 1990's. The snare drum being used is characteristic of jazz bands in the 40's or rock bands in the 70s', but not American-Irish music of the 20s or 30s. The instrumental balance is to perfect to be an early recording. Early microphones had to be close to the fiddles. There are also three percussionists - an unlikely extravagance in early recordings. The tune "Martin Wynne" probably did not reach the USA until the late 1940s.
CD3 track 11 - Bank of Ireland/ Wind That Shakes The Barley (reels)
CD3 track 12 - Martin Wynne's/ Craig Pipes (reels)
Eddie Meehan - (d 1940). Born in Kilrushiter near Templboy, Co Sligo, Meehan played accordion and flute. He accompanied John McKenna on second flute on several recordings (Tr.2, CD2). He was also a member of the highly regarded Rosaleen Quartet with McKenna, Larry Redigan (fiddle) and Frank Fallon (piano). He died in New York in 1940.
CD2 track 2 - Bridie Morley's (reels)
James "Jimmy" Morrison - (1891 - 1947). Born in 1891 at Drumfin near Riverstown, Co. Sligo, Morrison was an enthusiastic and accomplished dancer and showed great promise on the fiddle at an early age. According to another famous Sligo fiddler Michael Gorman, there were four local musicians of great reputations who were a big influence in his formative years: Jamesy Gannon, Thomas Kilmartin, Pat Mannion and Kipeen Scanlon, all of whom had learned from the doyen of Sligo fiddlers - Blind Tom Healy from Grayfort. In the early 20s he emigrated to Boston where he lived with his brother Tom while working nights in a hotel. Shortly after he moved to Brooklyn, New York where he became a regular on many of the 26 local radio stations broadcasting Irish music at the time. Like all the other major Irish American musicians he recorded many sides for a variety of labels and was often compared to Michael Coleman in terms of technique and influence. In his excellent booklet Michael Coleman, 1891 - 1945", Harry Bradshaw tells us that Morrison and Coleman were boyhood friends in which case each was probably a major influence on the other. Despite rumours that they didn't get on, another great fiddler Lad O'Beirne, the accordion player Tom Carmody and Coleman's daughter Mary Hannon all insisted that the two fiddlers were great friends and had tunes together whenever possible both in public and in private. By the time the depression hit, Morrison's reputation was solid enough for the record companies to make an exception and continue recording him. However, as times got harder sales hit an all-time low and he was forced to go back to working a day job. Another Jim Morrison (son of the Galway flute player Tom Morrison) reported that he used to see his namesake, the fiddler, working as a "ticket agent on the NY subways. He lived on W96th Street where he gave fiddle lessons to the Irish kids in the neighbourhood". He died in 1947 in the same hospital where Coleman had passed on two years earlier. By a strange coincidence the two fiddle masters and boyhood friends are buried in the same graveyard - St Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx.
CD1 track 2 - Farewell To Ireland (reel)
CD2 track 5 - The Tailor's Twist/ The Flowers Of Spring (hornpipes)
James "Jimmy" Morrison and Tom Ennis
CD3 track 13 - Black Rogue/ Saddle The Pony (jigs)
Tom Morrison - (b 1889). Born in 1889 at Whitepark near Glenamaddy, Co. Galway. As a young man he worked in the North of England until emigrating to New York in 1909 where he settled in Brooklyn. Between 1924 and 1929 he recorded twenty seven sides. He is accompanied by John Reynolds from Drumsna, Co. Leitrim on 'tambourine' (in this case a bodhran - Irish hand drum - with small cymbals/ jingles attached to the cross-bar of the drum).
CD1 track 6 - Dunmore Lasses/ Manchester Reel/ Castlebar Traveller (reels)
CD2 track 18 - Sweet Flower Of Milltown/ The Boys From Knock (hornpipes)
William J. Mullaly - (b 1884). Born in 1884 at Milltown near Mullingar, Co Westmeath. At the age of twenty one he went to work in Birkinhead in England for five years. In 1910 he emigrated to America where he joined the army. He left the armed forces in the mid 20s and settled in New York. Although the concertina had become relatively common in Irish music circles back in the old country, it was still a rare sight in Irish American traditional circles at this stage and his expert touch won him great popularity. The selections included here were recorded for Victor in November 1926 in Camden, New Jersey with pianist Ed Lee providing backup. Legend has it that Mullaly was not too keen on the 'professional' music business and shortly after these recordings gave his instrument to a nephew in Philadelphia and gave up music. If this was in fact what happened, then it was a real loss to traditional music as William J. Mullaly is one of my favourite Irish American musicians of the era (Tr.14, CD2 & Tr.17, CD3).
CD2 track 14 - The Green Groves Of Erin/ The Ivy Leaf (reels)
CD3 track 17 - Humours of Mullingar/ Jackson's Wife To The Road (jigs)
James J. Mullan. Little is known of Mr Mullan other than that he worked as an insurance salesman and was known as "the singing insuranceman". He occasionally sang with the Four Provinces Orchestra with whom he recorded Arrah, Come In Out Of The Raid, Barney McShane (Tr.4, CD1). As you can hear, he sounds like quite a character and obviously sang with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek ...
CD1 track 4 - Arrah, Come In Out Of The Rain, Barney McShane
Edward Mullaney and Patrick Stack fl 1920s - 1939 Mullaney was a player of uilleann pipes. (see entry for Patrick Stack)
CD2 track 16 - The Rambling Pitchfork (slip- jig)
CD4 track 7 - The Chicago Reel (reel)
Frank Murphy - (1898 - 1975). Born in 1898 in Ballina, Co Mayo into a family of melodeon players. He emigrated to New York in 1922. His only recordings were for Victor in 1928. He ended his days in his\native Co. Mayo where he died in 1975.
CD1 track 12 - The Rakes Of Clonmel (jig)
Neil Nolan - (1894 - 1984). Born in 1894 on Prince Edward Island, he lived for a short time in Maine before moving to Boston in the early 20s. He played banjo with Dan Sullivan's Shamrock Band as well as making solo records with Sullivan providing piano backup (Tr.13, CD1). Nolan died in nBoston in 1984.
CD1 track 13 - Miller's Reel/ Duffy The Dancer (song)
Frank Quinn - (b 1893). Born in 1893 at Greagh near Drumlish, Co. Longford. His family emigrated to New York when he was ten When he left school he he worked as a traffic cop and his early recordings are credited to "Patrolman Frank Quinn". An accomplished fiddle and accordion player was well as a singer, he was the most recorded Irish performer of the era with over 180 sides on various labels to his credit between 1921 and 1936. Paddy McGinty's Goat (Tr.18 CD3) is the archetypal American 'Oirish' song and while some culturally sensitive souls seem to find such songs offensive because of their so-called 'stage Irishness', I find it difficult to see any reason to be offended when the performer's tongue is so obviously in his cheek, subverting rather than promoting the stereotype ... charming, delightful, wonderful.
CD2 track 19 - The Wicklow Mountains High (song)
CD3 track 18 - Paddy McGinty's Goat (song)
CD3 track 19 - The Cherry Blossom (jig)
CD3 track 20 - Twelve Stone Two (song)
CD4 track 8 - The Tan Yard Side (song)
Murty Rabbett and his Gaelic Band. Born Mortimer Rabbett in Oranmore, Co. Galway, he moved to Boston in 1927. He sang and played piccolo, flute and tin whistle with Dan Sullivan's Shamrock band. Following the second world war he left his own band. He died and is buried in Boston. Molly Durkin (Tr. 11, CD2) is a different take on the well known Mursheen Durkin.
CD2 track 11 - Molly Durkin (song)
CD4 track 15 - Tickling Mary Jane (song)
Ed Reavy - (b 1898). Born 1898 at Barnagrove near Cootehill, Co Cavan, he emigrated to Philadelphia in 1912. Not only was he a superb fiddler (Tr. 10, CD3), he also composed a number of tunes such as The Hunter's House which have passed into the standard repertoire. He was a longtime member of Tommy Caulfield's Erin's Pride Orchestra (Tr. 2, CD4). For over 60 years he played an active part in the local music scene in Philadelphia where he died and was buried.
CD3 track 10 - Tom Clarke's Fancy/ The Boys At The Lough (reels)
Pat Roche's Harp and Shamrock Orchestra. Roche was a stepdancer and dance teacher from Co. Clare who formed this band to perform at the Chicago World Fair in 1934. The 'Orchestra' featured Jim Donnelly and Jimmy McGreevy (fiddles), Pat McGovern (flute), Packey Walsh (accordion), Pat Richardson (drums) and the wonderful Eleanor Kane on piano.
CD1 track 15 - Boys of Bluehill/ The Stack of Wheat (hornpipes)
Patrick Stack. A superb fiddler from North Kerry who emigrated to Chicago in his late teens. He was the source of many of Capt. Francis J. O'Neill's transcribed tunes. His duets with piper Edward Mullaney are strictly traditional in style, using no accompaniment other than the drones and regulators of Mullaney's pipes.
Edward Mullaney and Patrick Stack
CD2 track 16 - The Rambling Pitchfork (slip- jig)
CD4 track 7 - The Chicago Reel (reel)
Dan Sullivan - fl 1926 - 1934 (solo piano)
CD1 track 20 - Nano's Favourite (medley) (reels)
Dan Sullivan's Shamrock Band. Pianist and bandleader Dan Sullivan was born in Boston, the son of a fiddler also named Dan Sullivan. Sullivan senior was described in O'Neill's book Irish Minstrels And Musicians as "the great Irish fiddler, known to everybody in Boston and the adjoining towns". In 1926 Sullivan Jr. founded Dan Sullivan's Shamrock Band with Tipperaraymfiddler Thomas Ryan and three Kerry musicians Michael Hanafin (fiddle)(qv), Dan Murphy (pipes) and Daniel Moroney (pipes and flute). A resourceful character, he managed to have the band recorded within months of its formation. The line-up changed quite a lot during their recording years 1926 - 34 with only Sullivan and Hanafin present on all records - it is a credit to their strong musicianship that the sound of the band remained constant regardless of personnel changes. Other featured musicians during this period were Murty Rabbett, Neil Nolan, Larry Griffin (Tr.4, CD2) and accordion player Thomas Senior (Tr.18, CD1). Sullivan's band recorded over a hundred sides of mostly superb music particularly distinguished by Sullivan's driving and inventive piano which was a breath of fresh air in a genre often marred by inept and/or indifferent, and frequently inappropriate accompaniment.
CD1 track 18 - Johnny Will You Marry Me? (song)
CD1 track 19 - Rickett's Hornpipe/ The Stack Of Barley (hornpipes)
CD4 track 1 - From Galway To Dublin (song)
Paddy Sweeney - (1894 - c 1974). Born in 1894 in Moylough, Co Sligo, he emigrated to New York as a young man and settled in Queens. He befriended and played a great deal with Phillip O'Beirne (father of Lad O'Beirne) who had a great influence on both Sweeney's style and that of his duet partner Paddy Killoran. The common influence could go some way to explaining the super-tight note-for-note duets which they recorded. He also played with Killoran in the Pride of Erin Orchestra. Paddy Sweeney died aged eighty and is buried in Queens.
CD1 track 8 - George White's Favourite/ The Lass Of Carracastle (reels)
(With Paddy Killoran) CD4 track 3 - Farrell Gara/ The Silver Spear (reels)
Patrick J. "Patsy" Touhey - (1865 - 1923). Born in 1865 at Loughrea, Co. Galway. When he was three years of age his family emigrated to Boston. From a long line of pipers, Patsy's father died before he could pass on his expert knowledge to his son. Although a former pupil of his father's did give young Patsy some lessons, he lost interest in the pipes in his teens. The as an eighteen year old working in Brooklyn he happened on a piper named John Egan in New York's Bowery. Fascinated by Egan's piping he took up the instrument again and under Egan's guidance began to build his phenomenal technique and exquisite mastery of the pipes. Many of Touhey's recordings were privately made and of poor sound quality, but the selections included in this collection (Tr.10, CD1 & Tr.15, CD3) were recorded for Victor in 1918 and clearly demonstrate Touhey's genius. Fans of the late Johnny Doran, his brother Felix, early Finbar Furey and the great Paddy Keenan will hear their common source of inspiration and influence on these tracks. Patsy Touhey, "King of the Pipers", died at his home at 1175 Grand Concourse, New York on January 10th, 1923 and is buried in St. Raymond's Cemetery.
CD1 track 10 - The Steampacket/ Morning Star/ Miss McLead's (reels)
CD3 track 15 - The Maid On The Green/ Jackson's/ A Drink Of Water (jigs)
CD1 track 1 - I'm Leaving Tipperary (song)
CD3 track 14 - Its The Same Old Shillelagh (song)
The body of music recorded by Irish emigrants during the 1920s and 30s is regarded by many as the lost treasure of the golden age of traditional Irish music... By the 1920s in cities such New York, huge dancehalls including The Inisfail Ballroom (56th St & 3rd Avenue), The Donovan Ballroom (59th St & Columbus Avenue - nicknamed "The Tub of Blood") and the Galway Hall (125th St on the West Side) were commonplace, catering for as many as four thousand dancers at a time! ... By the beginning of the 20th century ... the machinery of the Democratic Party was predominantly Irish run.... The earliest known authentic recording of Irish music in America was a wax cylinder made by the uilleann piper James McAuliffe in New York in 1899. However, most of the recordings of Irish music made in the early years of the 20th century were by non-Irish professional musicians such as the German-born John Kimmel and the Scots Peter and Dan Wyper. This situation suddenly changed in 1916 when a Cork-born music seller and travel agent Ellen O'Byrne, who managed the O'Byrne De Witt Grafonola And Victor shop (also known as "The Sinn Fein Music House") in New York, convinced the Columbia recording company to make a recording of authentic traditional Irish music by guaranteeing to sell the first five hundred copies from her 3rd Avenue store.... a selection of jigs titled Black Rogue and Saddle The Pony recorded for the Shannon label in 1924 was to end this lack of detail forever more. Originally released with the typically anonymous credit of "Trio: Bagpipes, Violin and Piano", on being released in Ireland and Britain it proved so popular that the public demanded to know the identity of the musicians. So for the first time it was decided to reverse normal policy and reissue the record giving the titles of the jigs and crediting the musicians - Tom Ennis (Uilleann Pipes) and James Morrison (fiddle) with piano accompaniment by John Muller (Tr. 13, CD3).
Last updated on 04/12/2008