At the Crossroads


An Introduction to Western Swing

Ep. 8

It's been a long while but it's good to be back at the microphone! I'm getting straight into the "swing" of things this evening with a show on music native to Texas (some would say Oklahoma....) - Western Swing. As always, I appreciate you spreading the word and any comments or queries, email me at I'd love to hear from you.

More Episodes

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The West Clare Style - An introduction

Ep. 6
Following on from last week's show about East Clare, we're moving westward through the Fergus Valley region, out to the Atlantic coastline by Milltown Malbay and then southwards to the Loophead peninsula. This area covers a wide range of ground and has several, distinct parameters that separate them from each others. From the Kerry/Limerick-influenced repertoire of the South-West peninsula, to the lonesome touch of fiddlers like Junior Crehan from further north in Mullagh, right through to the more eastward territory of the Fergus Valley where we'll find technical virtuoso playing from the likes of Paddy Murphy and, arguably, Bobby Casey (who, was actually from the West coast), there is a lot of talking and listening points.Let's not also forget the magnanimous influence of the piper Willie Clancy and of the two major female influences in Mrs. Galvin and Mrs. Crotty. It's all loaded in today's episode. Join me for a ramble through history (and take in some beautiful countryside along the way).Timestamps:00:00 The Kelly Family ("Humours of Donnybrook", 1977): Ceathrú Rua / The Wild Irishman07:00 Patrick Kelly ("Patrick Kelly from Cree", --rl2004--): Denny Mescall's Slide10:31 Mrs. Galvin (Field Recording): Unknown Slow Air16:14 Mrs. Galvin (Field Recording): Flowing Bowl; Allisdrum's March20:43 Mrs. Crotty ("Concertina Music from West Clare", RTE orc1930s-1950s---c. 2000rl): The Wind That Shakes the Barley / The Reel With the Beryl22:45 Mrs. Crotty ("Concertina Music from West Clare", RTE orc1930s-1950s---c. 2000rl): An Gabharín Buí; The Droighneann Donn27:26 Willie Clancy ("The Gold Ring", RTE --rl2010--): Down the Back Lane / Seargent Early's; Garrett Barry's Mazurka32:35 Willie Clancy & Joe Leary (Live at the Fleadh in Kilrush, RTE rc1963): The Flogging Reel / The Sligo Maid36:02 Junior Crehan (Field Recordings - some from the double CD "The Last House in Ballymakea", rl2006): Introduction and playing of the air "Lament for the Country House Dance"; Farewell to Milltown Malbay / Mother's Delight; Lament for Willie Clancy48:19 Bobby Casey (Taking Flight, rl1979): Poll Ha'penny52:29 Bobby Casey (From Patrick Ourceau): College Groves55:07 Bobby Casey (BBC Archive Recordings, rc1966-1971): Sweet Iniscarra58:39 Joe Ryan ("An Buachaill Dreoite", rc1992 --1995rl--): Auchadon House1:03:33 Paddy Murphy ("In Good Hands" - rc1958-1980s --2007rl--): Sean Sa Cheo; Bunker Hill (duet with Peadar O'Loughlin)1:06:46 John Kelly ("Fiddle and Concertina Player", --orc1974/5--rl1975--): Bunch of Green Rushes (two versions, fiddle and concertina)*rc = recorded*rl = released*rrl = re-released*orl = originally released*orc = originally recorded
Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The East Clare Style - An Introduction

Ep. 5
Although not intended to be a comprehensive study, in this episode I will touch on some basics regarding the East Clare style. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find material of everyone I wished to include, particularly John Naughton. No doubt, I'll make a return to this subject, even if only indirectly, in a future episode.Apologies also if the sound causes any issue at some points. My interface is currently being replaced due to malfunctioning and I should have it rectified from the next episode onwards.Timestamps:00:00 Mary MacNamara & Martin Hayes (TV appearance, 1981): John Naughton's / The Cottage in the Grove09:32 Joe Bane (selection of private recordings, 1983): I Have a Bonnet Trimmed WIth Blue; The New Mown Meadows; The Morning Dew / Cooley's Reel; Bonaparte Crossing the Alps18:15 Paddy Canny, P.J. Hayes, Peadar O'Loughlin & Bridie Lafferty (All-Ireland Champions Violin, 1959): Rolling in the Barrell / The Tap Room / The Earl's Chair21:47 Paddy Canny (Private Recording): Coppers & Brass; Two Un-named Mazurkas29:51 P.J Hayes, Francie Donnellan & Sean Donnelly (Geantraí, 1998): The Four Courts / Rip the Calico34:25 Martin Rochford on pipes (Selection of Private Recordings): Blackberry Blossom; Knotted Chord; Otter's Holt41:07 Martin Rochford on fiddle (Selection of Private Recordings): Caisleáin an Óir; Mist Covered Mountain; Paddy Fahy's Reel / Humours of Scariff47:52 Paddy O'Donoghue (Private recording, 2005): Aine's Invitation / The Trip to Peterswell51:30 Andrew MacNamara & Brendan Hearty (TV appearance): Otter's Holt / Concert Reel54:48 Andrew & Mary MacNamara (Open Hearth, 2004): John Naughton's Jig57:20 Kieran Hanrahan (Plays the Tenor Banjo, 1998): The Girl that Broke my Heart1:00:57 Joan Hanrahan, Dympna O'Sullivan & Tola Custy (Geantraí, 2005): The Banks of Lough Gowna / Tommy Mulhaire's / An Lurgadán1:06:02 Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin & Patrick Ourceau (Tracin', 1999): Jack Coughlan’s / Lady Gordon ; The Jig of Port Fleadh / Whelan’s Old Sow
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Early Céilí Bands

Ep. 4
In today's episode, I'm taking a brief look at early recordings of céilí bands and groups of musicians who led to the formation of (or played in a comparable style to) early céilí bands. All of these are taken from 78rpm discs from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. As such, the quality is varied depending on how well they had been preserved and/or restored. I begin with a relatively comprehensive introduction to the socio-political influence of The Gaelic League and the state of dancing within Irish society around the turn of the 20th century. Although a larger story onto itself, I find it an important context to at least partly understand, especially for those who are not familiar with the history of Irish social dancing. There is years upon years of reading on this subject alone but, in order to keep the focus on the music, I've reigned in the speech thereafter. Recordings of many influential céilí bands such as The Tulla and Kilfenora will not feature on today's episode because, while radio recordings existed from this period, I don't have access to them currently. Most recorded output from these bands was from the 1950s onwards. By this point, the initial, developmental stages of the céilí band had well and truly passed as céilí music embarked upon its heyday and, more or less, solidified it's style. Of course, there was styles in varying degrees here too but, in my efforts to avoid overloading you with too much already (and for the sake of my own sanity), I had to call it quits somewhere - even if just for this show!Timestamps for the music and discussion are below:00.00 Ballinakill Traditional Players (1931) - Reels: Knocknagow & Fowling Piece03:04 Brief history of Irish social dancing in the 19th century10:45 Briefing on the music appearing in this program12:30 History of the Ballinakill Traditional Players16:25 Ballinakill Traditional Players (1930) - Jigs: The Carraroe & Lambert's19:50 Ballinakill Traditional Players (1931) - Reels: The Mills are Grinding & The Milliner's Daughter24:05 Ballinakill Traditional Players (1930) - Reel: The Old Bush27:20 Siamsa Gaedheal Céilí Band (1931) - Reels: High Road to Galway, The Groves & The Salamanca Reel31:30 Siamsa Gaedheal Céilí Band (1931) - Jigs: The King of Jigs, An tAthair Jack Walsh & McDonagh's35:34 Aughrim Slopes Céilí Band (1930s) - Reels: Killaghbeg House & The First House in Connaught38:55 Aughrim Slopes Céilí Band (1930s) - Jigs: The Monaghan Jig & Henchey's Delight43:31 The Belhavel Trio (1930s) - Set Dance: The Job of Journeywork46:34 The Belhavel Trio (1930s) - Reels: The Ashplant, The Merry Harriers & The Hunter's Purse49:46 The Belhavel Trio (1930s) - Jigs: Brian O'Lynn & The Rakes of Kildare55:00 Dublin Metropolitan Garda Céilí Band (1937) - Hornpipes: Last of the Twins, The Harvest Home & The Poppy Leaf58:07 Dublin Metropolitan Garda Céilí Band (1937) - Jigs: The Irish Washerwoman & The Trip to the Cottage1:01:38 The Kincora Céilí Band - Reels: The Dublin Reel, Colonel McBain & The Hunter's Purse1:05:15 The Moate Céilí Band (1940s) - Jigs: Kinnegad Slashers & Lark in the Morning1:11.27 Frank Lee's Tara Ceilidhe Band (1930s) - Jig: The Bridge of Athlone1:14.38 Frank Lee's Tara Ceilidhe Band (1930s) - Reels: Drowsy Maggie, The Bush in Bloom & Bonnie Kate1:19.53 Dan Sullivan's Shamrock Band (1920s?) - Fling: Green Grow the Rushes O!1:24:07 The Four Provinces Orchestra (1920s?) - Polkas: Leather Away the Wattle O!1:29.25 The Four Provinces Orchestra (1920s?) - Flings: Untitled / Limerick Fling (For the Highland Fling)
Tuesday, June 9, 2020

An Introduction to Bluegrass: Part 1

Ep. 3
Although Bluegrass music is rooted in the ancient traditions of Appalachian Old-Time Music and the African-Amerian blues, it is generally accepted that the birth of this specific flavour of American culture happened in December 1945 when Bill Monroe hired Earl Scruggs (banjo) and Lester Flatt (guitar) to play in his band The Bluegrass Boys. The rest is history.In this episode, I look the route Monroe took before eventually ending up with the quintessential bluegrass sound. Then, I'll take a snippet at what other musicians were doing in the immediate aftermath of Monroe's "opening of the floodgates".Timestamps:00:00 Snuffy Jenkins - "Cumberland Gap"01:30 Snuffy Jenkins - "Careless Love"05:59 Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers - "Dixie"10:13 Bill & Charlie Monroe (78rpm, 1936) - "Foggy Mountain Top"13:23 Charlie Monroe & The Kentucky Pardners (Radio, 1944) - "Under the Old Hickory Tree"17:49 Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys (Grand Ole Opry Appearance c. 1940) - "Muleskinner Blues"21:52 Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys feat. Clyde Moody - "Six White Horses"25:30 Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys (1945) - "Rocky Road Blues" 28:04 Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys (1945) - "True Life Blues"33:22 Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys (Grand Ole Opry Appearance, 1946) - "Little Maggie"37:00 Flatt & Scruggs and The Foggy Mountain Boys (1949) - "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"42:15 The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys (1947) - "Mother No Longer Awaits Me Home"44:54 The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys (1948) - "Little Maggie"48:44 Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys feat. Mac Wiseman (1949) - "Can't You Hear Me Calling"53:29 Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys feat. Jimmy Martin (c. 1950) - "Poison Love"1:00:00 Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys feat. Del McCoury, Bill Keith & Kenny Baker (Live, 1963) - "I Wonder Where You Are Tonight" & "Devil's Dream"
Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Episode 2: Irish Traditional Music

Ep. 2
In episode 2, the focus is again on Irish traditional music and song. Timestamps below:00:00 John Carty & Paddy Folan (Unfinished Album, c. 1982): Last Night's Fun / Maid Behind the Bar [reels]03:58 John Carty & Paddy Folan (Unfinished Album c. 1982): McGivney's Fancy [hornpipe]06:06 John Carty & Paddy Folan (Unfinished Album c. 1982): Sailor on the Rock / The Old Blackthorn [reels]10:13 Bobby Casey (Private Recordings from Patrick Ourceau): Hurry the Jug [set-dance]12:58 Bobby Casey (Private Recordings from Patrick Ourceau): Tuttle's / Sean Frank's [reels]16:41 Breda Keville ("The Hop Down", 2006): The Cuckoo [song]19:56 Paul O'Shaughnessy & Gay McKeon (From RTÉ's 'The Long Note'): The Job of Journeywork [set-dance]23.46 Patsy Hanley (Private Recording from "The Flute Geezer Tape"): Major Moran's / Drogheda Bay [reels]26.45 Bríd O'Donoghue ("Tobar an Dúchais", 2005): The Castlebar Races / Paddy Clancy's / Tony Molloy's [jigs]30.41 Brendan McGlinchy ("Music of a Champion", 1974): Across the Fence / The Gate to the West [hornpipes]35.01 Sarah Keane ("Once I Loved", 1968): Moll Dubh an Ghleanna [song]40.05 Caoimhín Ó Fearghail & Paddy Tutty (Flute & Fiddle, 2018): Tommy Bhetty's Waltz [waltz]42.46 Caoimhín Ó Fearghail & Paddy Tutty (Flute & Fiddle, 2018): Gerdie Commane's / Paddy Sean Nancy's / Miss Lyon's [reels]48.14 Finbarr Dwyer ("The Best of Finbarr Dwyer", 1971): Kitty in the Lane / Paddy Murphy's Wife [reels]51:58 Finbarr Dwyer ("Irish & Continental Accordion", 1971): Whistling Rufus / Marching Through Georgia