history of session

history of session

first let me apologize because i am pretty sure this is an old topic (i am new and i need a little time to read the discussion archive).
I am very interested on history of irish music session, not only in Ireland, but basically everywhere. Can anybody help me? i thank you guys very much.
Augusto

Re: history of session

Ciao, Augusto!
Ho letto il tuo profilo, e che stai imparando il bodhran, ma sei già coinvolto in alcune session negli states.
Beato te!

Sergio

Re: history of session

The first ‘session’ I attended, was in the bar of a hotel in 1951. It was a general invite from a founder member of the recently formed ‘Comhaltas Ceoltori Eireann’ to anybody who could play or was interested in Irish Music to turn up and join in. I can’t remember if the word ‘session’ was used for such an occasion, but it was certainly the format for what we now know as a ‘Session’ On reflection, around that time ’40s/50s’ musicians who played Irish music were thin on the ground in in the urban area where I grew up. In the rural areas you would come across the odd fiddler who might visit a neighbouring house to play for a house dance or maybe get together with another local musician to swap a few tunes. All very primitive compared with today.

Re: history of session

As I understand it, and there is much more, and many links, buried in these discussion pages, the session seems to have been a mainly external and emigre-led thing, possibly even pre- WWII, in both the UK and the US, whereas in Eire ( then the Irish Free State ) the dead hand of the church, in collusion with the authorities, did their level best to stamp out anything that might be construed as fun, as well as having no understanding or appreciation of traditional culture, under what I believe are called The Dance Hall Acts, for fear that this might lead to fornication.
All unfortunately true.

Re: history of session

As far as I know sessions developed in London after WWII.

Posted by .

Re: history of session

kuec - Ref sessions in London, I’d say that you are probably right in your assumption. I knew musicians who use to play Trad music in the Mother Redcap in Camden Town back to the early fifties maybe even the forties. Following WW2 the Irish moved to the big cities of the UK in vast numbers. My father moved to London in 1943 and eventually my whole family did the same in the fifties. According to the local Catholic Church records at Finsbury Park (where I lived) The congregation increased by over 2000 Irish in the fifties. No doubt the same increase was happening all over London, and among all those thousands were more than a few trad musicians just dying to play a few tunes. The first ‘organised’ session I came across in London was in a pub called the Greyhound in Fulham around 1958, then The World’s End in the Borough,Southwark around the same time. However you could also join in and play tunes with the ‘paid’ musicians in the Shakespeare, Holloway Road, and many other pubs in North London at that time. Incidentally, the first ‘paid gig’ I played was a Sunday Morning gig in a pub in Hollway Road in 1958. The Holloway Poly tech stands on the site of that pub now.

Re: history of session

This is something I’m trying to figure out too. Helen O’Shea’s new book, "The Making of Irish Traditional Music," appears to give an account of this, but I haven’t gotten that far into it yet.

Re: history of session

Free Reed that’s a great bit of info on the London Irish scene, thanks. I recall playing sessions in and around the Holloway Rd in the mid 90’s having arrived to the Irish session scene in my 30’s O’Caseys was one, the Blackhorse another, good times late nights & great hangovers!

jasonB you’ll not find many answers in O’ Shea’s book I’m afraid, you’re probably as far into it now as to realise that, she doesn’t really hit any particular nail on any particular head!

Re: history of session

Reg Hall’s unpublished doctoral thesis, ‘Irish Music and Dance in London, 1890-1970: A Socio-Cultural History’, provides a wealth of information about the development of the session in the city, but has only been generally available to academics. Fortunately, Reg’s forthcoming book is very likely to contain similar, if much shorter, information. [As an aside, I can recall a feature in ‘The Observer’ some years ago which focused on Reg and included the claim that the first regular session in the UK happened in Luton.]

Though occasionally some London pubs allowed Irish musicians to play, the first recognized regular session is thought to have begun at The Devonshire Arms in Kentish Town, no later than 1948.

Reg provides a list of known pubs which hosted sessions during the years from 1950 to 1970. It’s incomplete because there were probably others which were either not recalled by Reg’s sources or those who played at a particular pub were not available.

Here’s the list:

Admiral Duncan 503 New Cross Road, Deptford, SE5
Archway Tavern I Archway Road, N19.
Balloon Tavern 114 Lots Road, Chelsea, SW10
Bedford Arms 80 Arlington Street, Camen Town, NW1
Black Cap 171 Camden High Street, Camden Town, NW1
Black Lion 274 Kilburn High Road, NW6
Black Prince near The Elephant
Brecknock Arms 227 Camden Road, NW1
Brewery Tap 54 Holloway Road, N7
Brighton 111 Camden High Street, Camden Town, NW1
Camden Stores 25 Parkway, Camden Town, NW1
Case is Altered 305 High Road, Willesden Green, NW10
Cock Tavern 596 Holloway Road, N7
Constitution 42 St. Pancras Way, NW1
Crown 335/339 High Street, Willesden Green, NW10
Devonshire Arms 33 Kentish Town Road, NW1
Duke of Edinburgh St. Thomas’s Road, Finsbury Park
Duke of Gloucester 44 Gurney Street, SE17
Duke of Bedford 204 Evershott Street, NW10
Duke of Wellington 119 Ball’s Pond Road, N1
Eagle 102/104 Camden Road, NW1
Edinburgh Castle 297 Caledonian Road, N1
Elephant’s Head 224 Camden High Street, NW1
Enkle Arms 34/36 Seven Sisters Road, N7
Favourite 7/13 Queensland Road, Holloway
Goldhawk Hotel 122/124 Goldhawk Road, W12
Grave Maurice 18, St. Leonard’s Road, E14
Horse & Groom 107 Garrett Lane, SW18
King’s Head 4 Fulham High Street, SW6
Kings Head Arms 263 Kentish Town Road, NW5
King’s Head 115 Upper Street, N1
Laurel Tree 113 Bayham Street, NW1
Lion 1 Junction Road, N19
Lord Nelson 264 Old Street, EC1
Mother Red Cap 665 Holloway Road, N19
Mornington Arms 2 Mornington Street, NW1
Mulberry Tree 536 Holloway Road, N19
Mulberry Tree 161 St. Leonard’s Street, E3
Murphy’s Commercial Road
Nag’s Head 456 Holloway Road, N19
Norfolk Arms 557, Holloway Road, N19
North London Camden Town
Old Horns South London
Old Queen’s Head 44 Essex Road, N1
Old Red Lion 131 Stockwell Road, SW9
Oxford Arms 265 Camden High Street
Shakespeare 579 Holloway Road, N19
Station Hotel 43/45 Camden Road, NW1
Tavistock Hotel 41 Tavistock Crescent, W11
Three Wheatsheafs 56 Upper Street, N1
White Hart 563 Fulham Road, SW11
Willesden Junction Hotel 4 Station Road, NW10
World’s End 45 Newington Causeway, SE1

For an idea as to the musicians involved, here’s another list which may bring back memories for some.

MUSICIAN AND SINGERS ACTIVE IN IRISH MUSIC IN LONDON, 1945-1970.


This is an incomplete listing, documenting only those who are cited in the available evidence. The criterion for inclusion is one known performance in a public entertainment location, such as a pub, dance hall or club. This does not generally include the members of visiting ceili bands from Ireland.


Tom Aherne Limerick fiddle
Margaret Barry Cork City singer/banjo
Michael Baynes Mayo fiddle
Dominic Behan Dublin singer
Michael Beirnes * tambourine
Jim Bennett Donegal fiddle
Billy Bermingham Offaly fiddle/banjo
Nick Bermingham Offaly drums
John Blout Dublin banjo
Eddie Bolger Wexford accordeon
John Bowe Offaly accordeon
Tommy [?] Boyd * flute
Paddy Breen Clare flute/singer
Sean Brown * accordeon
*** Brown * singer (Galtymore)
Joe Burke Galway accordeon
Kevin Burke London fiddle
Alfie Butler Kilkenny accordeon
Des Byrne * fiddle
Packie Byrne Donegal singer/tin-whistle
John Byrnes * drums
Tommy Byrnes Galway drums
Martin Byrnes Galway fiddle
Joe Cahill Kerry *
Marcus Canavan Galway singer
Paddy Canny * accordeon
John Carty Roscommon flute/banjo
Bobby Casey Clare fiddle
Seamus Casey * uilleann pipes
Pauline Caulfield Galway piano[vamp]
*** Clancy * flute
Gerry Clancy Leitrim accordeon
Paddy Clancy Cavan fiddle
Tom Clancy London-Irish mandolin-banjo/banjo
Willie Clancy Clare uilleann pipes
Jimmy Cleary Cork City banjo
Billy Clifford Kerry flute
John Clifford Kerry piano-accordion
Julia Clifford Kerry fiddle
Ned Coffey/Eddie Cuffey Tipperary fiddle
Jackie Coleman Sligo fiddle/flute
Johnny Coleman Sligo fiddle
Tommy Colley Westmeath uilleann pipes
Jimmy Connolly * concertina
Michael Connolly * banjo
Moira Connolly * fiddle
Kieron Collins Galway accordeon/tin-whistle
Festy Conlon Galway tin-whistle
Joe Cooley Galway accordeon
Seamus Cooley Galway flute
Eddie Corcoran Sligo flute/tin-whistle
Tommy Corcoran Sligo flute
Johnny Costello * accordeon
Martin Courtney * singer
Kevin Coyne * accordeon
Paddy Coyne Galway accordeon
Con Curtin Kerry fiddle
*** Curtin Kerry fiddle
Tom Cussens Limerick banjo
Michael Daly Roscommon flute
Bob Davenport English singer
Bill Davis London-born accordeon
Paul Davis English mouth-organ/concertina/flute
Mick Delaney Tipperary accordeon
Martin Dillon Tipperary singer
Johnny Discin Galway fiddle
John Doherty * accordeon
Brian Dolan Leitrim singer/piano-accordion
Denis Doody Kerry accordeon
John Doonan Newcastle-Irish piccolo
Felix Doran Wicklow uilleann pipes
Jimmy Dorey * fiddle
Con Dorian Donegal fiddle
Johnny Dorian Donegal fiddle
Joe Dowd Sligo fiddle
John Joe Doyle Kerry fiddle/flute
John Drury Roscommon fiddle
Johnny Duffy Sligo fiddle
John Dunn * singer
Jimmy Dunleavy Mayo fiddle
Henry Dwyer Sligo fiddle
Finbarr Dwyer Cork accordeon/fiddle
Michael Dwyer Cork tin-whistle
Richie Dwyer Cork accordeon
Seamus Ennis Co.Dublin uilleann pipes/singer/tin-whistle
Ned Falvey Clare concertina
Frank Fannon Donegal fiddle
Jack Farr * drums
Lucy Farr Galway fiddle/singer
Liam Farrell Tyrone banjo
Sean Farrelly Westmeath accordeon
Paddy Feeney London accordeon
Pat Finn Roscommon flute
Tom Fitzpatrick Tipperary accordeon
Mary Flaherty London-born fiddle/concertina
Bernie Flanagan Mayo fiddle
Ted Franklyn English guitar
Joe Flynn Limerick fiddle
Mick Flynn Sligo flute
Mick Flynn * tambourine
Paddy Flynn Sligo flute
Tim Flynn * *
Billie Freeney * drums
Finbarr Furey * uilleann pipes
Paddy Furey * piano
Clem Furlow Wexford or London-born piano
Bridie Gallagher Donegal singer
Mick Gallagher Mayo accordeon
Sheila Gehir (Mrs. Clancy) London-Irish piano
Bill Glasheen Tipperary fiddle
Lill Glasheen English piano
Eamon Gorman Westmeath fiddle
Johnny Gorman Sligo flute
Martin Gorman Sligo singer
Michael Gorman Sligo fiddle
Michael Gorman (II) Sligo flute/fiddle
Nathy Gorman Sligo accordeon
Johnny Goulding Sligo fiddle
Pat Goulding London-Irish uilleann pipes
Patsy Goulding London-Irish piano
Sheila Goulding London-Irish piano
Brian Green * drums
John Grey Wexford tambourine
Charlie Griffin [?] fiddle *
Vincent Griffin Clare fiddle
Paul Gross English fiddle/piano
Tommy Gunn Fermanagh fiddle
Bobby Hall * piano
Reg Hall English melodeon/piano
Paddy Hammel Derry accordeon
Joe Hann Dublin piccolo/flute
Barney Harrington Mayo fiddle
John Harrison English fiddle
Margaret Hayes (nee Kehoe) London-Irish fiddle
Frank Hassie Tipperary flute
Paddy Hayes Wexford accordeon
Tommy Healy Sligo flute
Joe Heaney Galway singer
Jack Heffernan Limerick accordeon/bagpipes/tin-whistle
Mary Heffernan Limerick tambourine
Eddie Hickey Tipperary singer
Kit Hodge Liverpool-Irish fiddle
Brendan Hogan Tipperary singer/accordeon
Jimmy Hogan Tipperary accordeon
John Howley Sligo accordeon
Martin Howley Mayo/Sligo accordeon
Paddy Howley Sligo flute
Tony Howley Sligo flute/saxophone
Paddy Hunt Mayo mouth-organ
Johnny Hynes Offaly flute/tin-whistle/fiddle
P. J. Hynes * piano
Harry Jenkins London-Irish fiddle
Dickin Jennings Mayo flute
Josie Keegan Dundee-Irish piano
Martin Kavanagh Galway accordeon
Tom Kavanagh Galway accordeon
Josephine Keegan Belfast piano
Ciaron Kelly Meath accordeon
Eugene Kelly Leitrin/USA accordeon
Sean Kenny London-Irish piano
Jim Kerins Sligo accordeon
Paddy Killoran Sligo fiddle
Mick Kilroy Sligo flute
P. J. Kilroy Sligo flute
Alan Laughlin * fiddle
Tony Ledwith Westmeath accordeon
Frank Lee London-Irish piano
Charlie Lennon Leitrim fiddle
Jimmy Lynch * fiddle
Tim Lyons Cork singer
Arthur McCafferty * accordeon
Jack McCarty Tipperary accordeon
Johnny McCarthy * drums
Tommy McCarthy Clare uilleann pipes/concertina
Tom McCarthy Kerry fiddle
Tom McCarthy London-Irish drums
Cathal McConnell Fermanagh flute
Rita McCormack Sligo? tambourine
Kevin McDermott * accordeon
Sean McDonagh Galway accordeon
Sean McDonagh Galway flute
Sonny McDonagh Sligo flute
Johnny McEwan Fermanagh drums
Brendan McGlinchey Armagh City fiddle
Jim McGoldrick Sligo singer
Tom McGoldrick Sligo singer
*** McGowan * flute
Johnny McGowan Armagh drums
Mickie McGowan * washboard
Ted McGowan Sligo drums
Tommy McGowan Sligo fiddle
Gus McIlroy * fiddle
Freddie McKay Belfast singer
John McLoughlin Scots-Irish spoons
Denis McMahon Kerry fiddle
Martin McMahon Clare accordeon/fiddle
Teresa McMahon (nee Britton) Tipperary accordeon/keyboard
Michael McMahon Clare fiddle
Seamus McMahon Clare concertina
Tony McMahon Clare accordeon
Seamus McMathuna * flute
Jimmy McNamara Kerry accordeon
Pat McNamee * drums
*** McNicholas * accordeon
Danny McNiff Leitrim flute
Pat McNulty Glasgow-Irish uilleann pipes/piano
Francis McPeake Belfast uilleann pipes
Margaret Maguire London piano
Sean Maguire Belfast fiddle
Tommy Maguire Leitrim accordeon
Frank Mahoney Clare fiddle
Mick Mallory * accordeon
Paddy Malynn Longford accordeon
Danny Martin Donegal drums
Tony Martin Mayo flute/fiddle
Mick Masterson Sligo flute
Danny Meehan Donegal fiddle
Pack Meehan Sligo flute
Paddy Mills Mayo fiddle
Johnny Minogue Tipperary accordeon
Maureen Minogue Galway fiddle
Paddy Molloy * flute
*** Moran Leitrim *
Paddy Moran Roscommon flute
*** Moran Roscommon flute
Ben Mostyn Sligo fiddle
Brendan Mulkere Clare fiddle
Martin Mullen Galway accordeon
Oliver Mulligan Monaghan singer
Ann Mulqueen * singer
Selena Munnerley Mayo accordeon
Denis Murphy Kerry fiddle
Edmund Murphy Sligo fiddle
John Murphy * fiddle
Gerry Murphy London-Irish piano
Sonny Murray Clare concertina
*** Neary Sligo flute
Ted Neary Mayo fiddle
Pat Needham * accordeon
David Nuttall English banjo [vamp]
Andy O’Boyle Mayo fiddle
Marcus O Ceannabhan Galway singer/sticks
Maurice O’Connell drums Cork
Tom O’Connell Limerick accordeon
Ann O’Connor * piano/piano-accordion
Bennie O’Connor Galway drums
Kit O’Connor Galway/Meath accordeon
Larry O’Dowd Sligo accordeon/bagpipes/flute
Martin O’Grady Sligo flute
Des O’Halloran Galway singer/fiddle
Vince O’Halloran Galway accordeon
Liam O’Hara Sligo flute/singer
Father O’Keeffe * mandolin
Steve O’Loughlain Clare flute
Austin O’Malley Mayo fiddle/saxophone
*** O’Mara * flute
John Joe O’Neill Clare fiddle
Sean O’Shea London-born fiddle
Bob Parker Kerry accordeon
Arthur Pascoe English piccolo
Noel Pepper * mouth-organ
Eddie Pierce Co. Dublin accordeon
Mick Plunkett Dublin piano-accordion
Michael Plunkett English recorder/flute
Jimmy Power Waterford fiddle
Tom Power London guitar
David Preston Sligo fiddle
Eugene Preston Sligo flute
Jim Quinn * uilleann pipes/singer
Matt Riordan Tipperary accordeon
Jack Regan * accordeon
Ned Regan London-Irish fiddle
Saddler Regan * accordeon
Tommy Riley Sligo piccolo
Mickie Rockett Tipperary accordeon
Raymond Roland Clare accordeon
Bill Rollison English piano
Leo Rowsome Dublin uilleann pipes
Tom Ryall Kerry fiddle
Kevin Ryall London-born accordeon
Celia Ryan * piano[vamp]
Christie Ryan Limerick accordeon
Conor Ryan 2nd generation tin-whistle/accordeon
Denis Ryan * fiddle
Joe Ryan Clare fiddle
*** Saddler Meath or Westmeath accordeon
Mick Sheridan * guitar/singer
Tom Sheridan Westmeath uilleann pipes
Dick Sherlock Sligo accordeon
Roger Sherlock Sligo flute
Johnny Shields * singer
Tom Shields * singer
Ben Shine * fiddle
Jimmy Shine * accordeon
Frank Skeffington * *
Frank Slocket * tin-whistle
Mike Smythe * singer
Ron Somers English drums
*** Stinson Sligo/Mayo fiddle/flute
Curley Sullivan Cork singer
Gabe Sullivan Galway flute
Jimmy Sullivan * accordeon
Tom Sullivan * fiddle
Mick talty Clare mouth-organ
Seamus Tansey Sligo flute/tin-whistle/tambourine
Jimmy Taylor Scottish piano
Kevin Taylor London-born piano/piano-accordion
Paddy Taylor Limerick flute
Mike Thomas London- Irish *
Johnny Thompson * singer
Martin Treacy * flute
Michael Tunney * singer
Paddy Tunney Fermanagh singer
Brendan Tyrell Leitrim accordeon
John Frank Vesey Sligo fiddle
Mary Walker Donegal melodeon
George Walsh Limerick singer
Sean Ward Leitrim fiddle
Paraig Walsh Sligo fiddle
Peter Walsh Sligo flute
Martin Walsh Sligo accordeon
Jimmy Walters Wexford fiddle or accordeon
Amby Weems Galway fiddle
Joe Whelan Offaly accordeon
Marie Whelan Offaly spoons
Michael Whelan Offaly accordeon/drums
Tommy Whelan Galway flute
Marie Whelan Offaly spoons
Gerry Wimsey Sligo flute
Michael Woods Leitrim tin-whistle/saxophone
Gerry Wright Limerick tambourine
John Wright English Jew’s harp
Martin Wynne Sligo fiddle

Re: history of session

Floss the Tethers -Thanks for ‘taking the time’ to type out that list of music venues and musicians from the London scene. Over the years I drank in many of those pubs, and played in about 26 of them. I even met my wife of forty years in one of them. As for the list of musicians…a blast from the past. I was amazed at the number that I knew by name, or saw playing at one time or another…I can only think of three that are not on it (unless I missed the name) Johnny Maguire -Fermanagh Box, Johnny Gibney - Cavan - Box(He use to play with Tony Howley, but moved to Manchester) and Tom Lucy - Kerry - Drums…and ‘Yes’ I am on there.

Re: history of session

Thanks, both of you guys. Does anyone here have recollections of Paddy Taylor? Would you share them?

Re: history of session

Thanks for that interesting list, Floss.
I know it says the list is incomplete, but I was rather surprised not to see banjo Mick O´Connor´s name there. He and Reg know each other well, and Mick began playing well before 1970 which seems to be the cut off date..
Also missing is Leitrim flute player, Jack Dolan, who was knocked down and seriously injured by a car in Camden Town. Jack shared rooms in Camden Town with Andy O´Boyle at one time. Poor Jack was never the same after the accident. He was a fine exponent of the "breathless" Leitrim style of flute playing.
The list of pubs is impressive, as well. I would add the Boston Arms in Tufnell Park, a real "rough" pub which was host to sessions for a while in the late sixties.
I was surprised, though, by the absence of The Greyhound pub in Fulham Palace Road, also mentioned by Free Reed in another post.
West London branch of Comhaltas held their sessions at the Greyhound, at least from ´66 which was when I became a member. They later moved to the King´s Head, Fulham, and then to the bar of the Hibernian Dance Club..
Following the split in West London Comhaltas, the "official" branch moved to St Augustine´s church hall, Hammersmith, and then to Hammersmith Irish Centre where it still is.
The Spread Eagle pub in Wandsworth, right next to Youngs brewery, (which is also not mentioned) hosted the sessions of the South London branch of Comhaltas.

Atahualpa: Paddy Taylor was from Foynes, Co. Limerick and he and his family lived in Chiswick, west london.. They were all members of W. London Comhaltas. My father, Liam Murphy, was branch secretary 1970-71 and Paddy was on the committee. I remember him as very smart, always wearing a suit and tie. He tended to speak very fast and gave the impression of being rather nervous but in fact he had all the patience in the world if you asked him how a tune went. He was of course one of the leading flute players of his time and also composed tunes..
His son, Kevin, a fine musician in his own right, played piano and piano accordeon and is on several recordings. He outlived his father but died tragically young from cancer.
Paddy´s daughter, Katy, had a tune named after her and is, in fact a member of thesession.org. She hasn´t posted for some years and I don´t know what name she uses but if you type Katy Taylor into the search engine of Discussions, you´ll eventually find her one and only posting.

Excuse the length, folks. When the old memory juices start flowing it´s hard to stop them !

Re: history of session

Thanks for that, murfbox.

Re: history of session

Great thread,

thanks to murfbox, floss and freereed for sharing all of this history. I was only on the London session scene for a few years but played in a few of those pubs the Brewery Tap & The Boston Arms (not as rough as it once was I’m sure) great to hear all about these session haunts the and the musicians who played in them. Thanks

Re: history of session

Murfbox - Thanks for filling in a few gaps. Great info’
Another few musicians from that era that come to mind and are missing from the London list are:- Richie Ahern, Cork, Accordion - Joe McMahon, Monaghan, Banjo (actually the first banjo player I ever played a tune with) circa 1960 - Jimmy Joe Dolan,Leitrim, Sax/Whistle. As for the list of musicians shown, I wonder just how many of them are still alive. These are some that I know have passed on, no doubt other posters can add to the this list.-
Maggie Barry
Dominic Behan
Billy Birmingham
Bobby Casey
John Carty
Wille Clancy
John Clifford
Joe Cooley
Con Curtain
Mick Delaney
Seamus Ennis
Frank Fannon
Lucy Farr
Michael Gorman
Tommy McCarthy
Tommy Maguire
Paddy Mylnn
Mick Masterson
Eddie Pierce
Jimmy Power
Raymond Roland
Leo Rowsome
Kevin Taylor
Paddy Taylor

Re: history of session

Adding to the list of those no longer with us:
Paddy Breen
Martin Byrnes
Paul Davis
Dennis Doody
Michael Dwyer
Frank Lee
Edmond Murphy
Ron Somers

On the original list, Marcus Canavan the sean-nós singer from Carna, appears twice: once under the English spelling of his name and again under the Irish spelling.
Raymond Roland was from Galway, not Clare.
But this is not intended as criticism. Reg Hall has done a magnificent job and filled a gap that needed filling, and here on our mustard board, Floss with his journalistic and musical knowledge and contacts has helped to bring this information to a public that would otherwise be unaware of it.
Well done to all concerned !

Re: history of session

The lists I provided came from the Appendix to Reg’s thesis which provides a wealth of information, so much so that there are bound to be omissions and the occasional duplication or error.

It’s not surprising that Mick O’Connor wasn’t included since he was born in 1954 and wouldn’t have been legally able to play in pubs until 1972 (and he was so fresh-faced that he’d have been unlikely to have got away with playing underage very often.

As for pubs, I’m surprised too that The Greyhound wasn’t included, though I do remember that it became a rock pub during the 1970s. Reg recorded an album with Jimmy Power there, ‘Irish Dancing’ in 1966.

Several of the others have changed their names (including The Lion to The Boston Arms) and others have long since vanished, including The Favourite, The Nag’s Head, The Shakespeare and The Mulberry Tree. I’m surprised nowhere’s listed in either Hackney, Hornsey or Tottenham since there were plenty of Irish pubs with music in those areas when I arrived in London in the mid-1970s.

Thanks for all the kind comments. I spent almost thirty years in London, predominantly in N19 and N8 and recall at one time that virtually every pub on the Holloway Road had a different county affiliation (and there was even an Offaly pub in Covent Garden). The Forum ballroom (now a Sainsbury’s store) was also near the top of the Holloway Road and I well recall Sunday nights there, but my most abiding memories are of Sunday lunchtimes at The Favourite and subsequently The Victoria, so here’s a final list from Reg.

APPENDIX 25

THE COMPOSITION OF A REGULAR PUB SESSION: THE FAVOURITE, 1967.

In 1967, there were 52, out of a possible 53, Sunday lunch-time music-making sessions in the Favourite in Queensland Road, Holloway. A personal-diary record exists of the musicians, singers and stepdancers who performed at 48 of the sessions, and this information is tabulated below, giving:

name; estimated age [e/early, m/mid and l/late]; performance medium; place of origin or ethnicity; domicile status [PR/permanent resident in London, STR/short-term resident in London and V/visitor]; number of appearances.

* indicates appearance on Paddy in the Smoke (Topic 12T176)
# indicates appearance on a commercial recording.

Tommy [?] Boyd - flute Ireland - 1
Michael Beirnes - tambourine/stepdancer Ireland - 1
Kevin Burke # l10s fiddle London PR 1
Martin Byrnes *# l40s fiddle Galway PR 15
John Carty # m30s flute Roscommon PR 4
Bobby Casey *# l40s fiddle Clare PR 6
Pauline Caulfield e30s piano [vamp] Galway V 1
Moira Connolly l10s fiddle Ireland STR 2
Moira Connolly’s father - tambourine Ireland V 1
Billy Clifford # e20s flute Kerry PR 9
John Clifford # e50s piano-accordion Kerry PR 4
Julia Clifford *# e50s fiddle Kerry PR 4
Eddie Corcoran # e20s tin-whistle Sligo PR 2
Con Curtin *# l40s fiddle Kerry PR 3
John Doherty l40s accordeon Ireland PR 1
Johnny Duffy # e30s fiddle Sligo PR 1
Jimmy Dunleavy l50s fiddle Mayo PR 6
Lucy Farr *# m50s fiddle Galway PR 15
Liam Farrell # e30s banjo Tyrone PR 1
Sean Farrelly e30s accordeon Westmeath PR 3
Paul Gross # e30s fiddle/piano [vamp] English PR 6
Johnny Gorman # l40s flute Sligo PR 5
Martin Gorman m70s stepdance Sligo PR 3
Tommy Gunn # l50s fiddle Fermanagh V 1
Reg Hall *# m30s piano [vamp]/melodeon English PR 48
Paddy Hayes # l30s accordeon Wexford PR 1
Tim Lyons # e30s singer/accordeon Cork PR 2
Tommy McCarthy # e40s uilleann pipes/concertina Clare PR 9
Cathal McConnell # e20s flute Fermanagh V 1
Kevin McDermot l30s accordeon Irieland PR 1
Tommy McGowan # e40s fiddle Sligo PR 1
John McLaughlin *# e30s spoons Scots-Irish PR 4
Denis McMahon *# m20s fiddle Kerry PR 2
Tony McMahon *# m20s accordeon Clare V 1
Danny Meehan *# e30s fiddle Donegal PR 3
Johnny Minogue m30s accordeon Tipperary PR 2
Robin Morton # l20s tambourine Northern IrelandV 1
Edmund Murphy e50s fiddle Sligo PR 1
James Murphy e10s stepdance London PR 1
David Nuttall e20s banjo [vamp] English PR 5
Andy O’Boyle *# e50s fiddle Mayo PR 7
Martin O’Grady e50s tin-whistle Sligo PR 1
Des O’Halloran # e30s singer/fiddle Galway PR 7
Vince O’Halloran # e30s accordeon Galway PR 10
John Joe O’Neill l40s fiddle Clare PR 1
Sean O’Shea *# e30s fiddle London PR 1
Eddie Pierce l40s fiddle Co. Dublin PR 1
Michael Plunkett # e30s fiddle English PR 1
Jimmy Power *# l40s fiddle Waterford PR 45
+ 4 undocumented
Tom Power # e20s guitar/banjo [vamp] London PR 2
Celia Ryan e20s piano [vamp] Ireland STR 8
Denis Ryan # e20s fiddle Irreland STR 2
Dick Sherlock m20s accordeon Sligo V 3
Seamus Tansey # m20 flute Sligo V 2
Noreen *** - fiddle - V 1
Unidentified l10s fiddle - V 1
Unidentified l10s fiddle - V 1
Unidentified l10s tin-whistle - V 1
Unidentified l10s tin-whistle - V 1

Re: history of session

The 2007 programme for the Return to Camden festival mentioned it would feature the launch of Reg Hall’s book. Any idea of the new date? Sounds as if it will be worth waiting for.

Re: history of session

Sorry, P-K,

I’ve no idea and, considering the collapse in publishing in the UK, I’m concerned that it might have bitten the dust. I’ll try to find out more.

Re: history of session

Thanks, Floss. It would be a major loss if it didn’t come out. Might it be worth him self-publishing?

Re: history of session

this is the best thread i’ve found on this yellow-board to date (only 5-odd years)

i started a bit late on the acoustic scene being active around London from the late-1970’s with Brian Young (whistle / piano), but i’ll try and recall / record my limited experiance which was with mainly 2nd generation players like myself

and what a great benchmark of information above _ thanks lads for sharing it with us

Re: history of session

the halfway house in southall was a great place for irish music with finbarr dwyer joe burke martin and theresa mc mahon

Re: history of session

and paddy coyne