To buy one CD?
If you were purchasing one CD to give to a friend to represent traditional Irish music one would hear at a pub session, which CD would it be?
If you were purchasing one CD to give to a friend to represent traditional Irish music one would hear at a pub session, which CD would it be?
Live at Mona’s, or maybe Paddy in The Smoke.
Aye, I’d second the recommendation for both of those CDs. I especially love the Mona’s CD. Such briliant, laid back swing to those tunes.
Brilliant, even. I shouldn’t try to spell things at 4am.
Depends on the friend. "Mona’s" is a modern session, with a group of players; the other is mostly solo and duo peformances in a 1960s pub setting, and has piano accompaniment that is not typical for most sessions today, probably.
Anyone remember Music from Matt Molloy’s? Back in the 1970’s?
And then they revisited Matt’s in the Chieftain’s DVD, "Water from the Well." A huge room full of musicians tapping their feet to the tune and they had to keep the glasses of Guinness from vibrating off of the tables!
The Tony MacMahon and Noel Hill live set is quite nice as well. Assuming your friend wanted a very small session in a loud pub, that might be a good one.
Paddy in the Smoke is fantastic as well, really worth having.
"Maiden Voyage" has a nice mixture of solo, duo and group performances, and some sean nos style singing too. It’s not easy to find a copy of it, though.
I’d second the choice of "Music At Matt Molloy’s" - but 1970s, Michael ? It was recorded in 1993. "Paddy In The Smoke" is a great recording, but I’d say a bit more hard to appreciate if this is being bought for someone not too familiar with Irish music. I agree also with "slainte", about "Maiden Voyage", but very hard to come by.
On more vote for "Music At Matt Molloy’s".
The danger of playing at Matt Molloy’s is that the pints have a tendency to bounce towards the ends of the table. But that wouyld still be my reccomendation.
There’s good music on those CDs mentioned, but though they were recorded in pubs, they are not pub sessions.
But it’s worth noting that Parlor Boyle did not actually request a CD of a pub session (heaven forbid … I can’t imagine a CD of any pub session being any good). They asked for music representative of a pub session. Which could be any one of thousands of diddley records.
But my vote would go for the one CD that captures the essence of a great session. A Tribute To Joe Cooley with
Frankie Gavin on fiddle, Paul Brock on button box and the legendary Charlie Lennon on piano.
There’s no fuss on it, no poncy arrangements, no solos, no intros, no multi tracking, no "effects", no "second time through we’ll play such and such a variation", no songs. Just the three of them, unrehearsed, seat of their pants, sets of tunes start to finish … with a big big set to finish.
I particularly like it that they quite often have slightly different settings of tunes and you can hear them adjusting and improvising on the fly, something you never get from propper bands’ CDs. And they just generally play with delight and gusto. And probably most importantly, every tune is an absolute belter.
It’s a cracker. It makes you cheeks ache from grinning.
Joe Cooley’s album Cooley is excellent, although my vote would be for I gCnoc Na Grai form Tony McMahon and Noel Hill. Best ITM album ever in my opinion.
Agreed, Tribute to Joe Cooley is a cracker—for those who have acquired the taste. But it might be a bit too, well, traditional for someone who is new to the concept. (I know this from personal experience—I once put it on in the car, and my passenger asked for something else after about 90 seconds.)
If your friend needs a more gradual introduction, Mona’s has a variety of instruments, and a few songs.
And if this person is not at all adventurous, listening-wise, you might consider one of the more "commercial" albums, say by Altan or Lunasa (or, if it’s a smooth-jazz fan, maybe Coolfin by Donal Lunny). Those CDs do have tunes on them that are played at sessions, even if they are tarted up a bit.
But if your friend is the open-minded, adventurous type, that’s different—go for it, try something with hair on it. 😉
I second Cooley.
Though Hill and MacMahon are very good;)
At first I was a big fan of Mona’s cd, but my own personal feeling is that it has not weathered well over the last few years [asperhaps as my listening experience has grown in other things].
And when you compare it to Knocknagree or Paddy in Smoke…well, somethng just seems to …hard to put a finger on. It actually doesn’t seem all that spontaneous or unrehearsed…in fact, now I think it sounds quite rehearsed, as if it was a band playing in a pub and not a session per se. But it’s sort of passing itself off as this "slice of iife"…but I don’t think it is.
I’d vote for The Raineys perhaps. Although, again, it’s maybe not a *session* per se, but the setting is genuine enough as are the performances…and they strike me as performances that are so amazing and wild [and yet some very common tunes!] they don’t seem like performances at all. It’s raw and polished at the same time. Amazing stuff.
Some great suggestions here, but if you’ve set yourself the impossible task of selecting just one single CD for your friend, I might pass on "Paddy in the Smoke" (sublime, but perhaps a bit rough around the edges for an initiate). Likewise The Raineys. Hill & McMahon’s Knocknagree is one of my all-time favorites, but a whole CD featuring just box and concertina may not be what your friend wants at this stage. I would veer toward "Music at Matt Molloy’s" or the Cooley tribute. Another CD in the same vein is "Live at Lena’s" by the Lahawns, a great Clare band led by Andrew MacNamara on box, with a rowdy crowd and dancers in the background plus a good selection of session standards. I believe it’s still available from Custy’s, and possibly elsewhere.
An alternative might be something like The Carberry’s ‘Memories form the Holla’ or Blake, Gillespie and Leahy’s ‘Traditional Irish Music from London’ which are all sessionish in approach and instrumentation as well as set choice, although they are studio recordings, and to my mind not quite the same as some of the others mentioned earlier.
Is "Mona’s" not out of print? I’ve heard of some people trying to buy it recently, and not being able to find it.
likely you could get it from Pat Ourceau himself. No doubt he has some back copies. He’s here in Toronto. Just Google him. he’s got a website.
Get him’ Live at Mat Molloy’s’ —and if he doesn’t like it tell him not to bother and stick with his kind of music!
Thank you for all your recommendations.
I was in Westport a year ago May for a few days. There a champion football match on the TV, so there was no session at Matt Molloy’s that evening.
But I did get a chance to play in a private session at the Market House Pub in Birr the night before I went to Westport and again in Ennis at the Fleadh.
Love the country, the people and the music.
kind of a loaded question. Or maybe 2 questions.
1. What ITM is?
2. What ITM "is"?
To question 1. ‘Setting Sail’. The 2 CD set of Gael-Linn Classics. The Hill/McMahon and Cooley are close seconds-though a bit heavy on the free reeds if one is looking for an iconic example.
To question 2. Answer option A. Matt Molloy’s album is a good start. Early Bothy Band. Early Solas.
To question 2. Answer option B. Any of the Foinn Seisiun sets. Certainly the good, the bad and in a couple of cases where it seems a couple of backers are playing an entirely different tune from the people on mike, the ‘questionable’.
To question 2 Answer option C. Cynical suggestions from the ‘dark side’, any of the Celtic Woman CD’s or Celtic Thunder.
Tell him to go to some sessions. Music at Matt Molloy’s is a right old mixture, a lot of good stuff there all right, but an awful lot of it is performances. I have a lot of superb CDs but none of ‘em fit the requirement stated in the original post. Of course, there are many CDs that will help enthuse anyone with ears not of cloth, anything by Planxty or the Bothies or Altan or Danu for example.
Steve, You really not got that Tribute to Joe Cooley?
Not yet. I’m open to offers.
£11.50 new on Amazon UK - that’s times 2 to me, so it better not suck
airport, I think I got my copy from www.ossianusa.com/
Got Paddy in The Smoke along with it, if memory serves.
Thanks for the tip - I haven’t looked there in awhile (too dangerous)
Dammit, Gill, I’ve just ordered it. No-one’s mentioned Molloy-Brady-Peoples yet. I’m not going to mention it either. It’s brilliant in its way but a listen to it all at once makes you feel you’ve been clubbed over the head.
I’ve ordered it a few hours ago from musicscotland.com. Michael should ask for his share to the publishers.
Good on yous. at the very least, exposure to this record should up the quality of your own sessions.
You’ll know all the tunes already, but it’s not about getting a record to learn more tunes, it’s about seeing how much fun you can have with the standards.
The Molloy-Brady-Peoples one is another desert island classic of course. But it’s not really session music.
Good to hear that you’ve approved of something I’ve done, Michael. It’s worth the twelve pounds-odd I’ve spent to hear ye say it. 😀 What you say about the Molloy-Brady-Peoples is right, but this is the problem with the original post. We can all come up with desert island classics but it’s a damn sight harder to come up with anything that truly reflects pub sessions. Impossible on a CD I should think.
It’s probably not impossible on a CD. But it would be a s h i t CD
I’ve found this little cd useful:
Traditional Irish Sessions by Blackwater
— it’s a cd from a small label - not sure if they are still around - the cd is just a collection of sets from what sounds like a live session —
here’s another good one: Brathar Na NOl by Monks of the Screw https://thesession.org/recordings/1001
Since I’m going to buy this CD too from musciscotland, I want to add at least one cd more……..could you (please) suggest me any flute titles? (yes, flute… 😉)
Thanks, in any case…Sergio
Matt Molloy with Donal Lunny (the black one)
I know it can be a bit controversial, but I think that Damp in the Attic album is pretty good. To my ears it sounds pretty spontaneous - others I am sure will disagree
a fw too many pretties there, oops
Do you mean the one with Matt’s portrait, called Matt Molloy, llig?
I got it!, together with another one - Sean Keane, Matt Molloy and Liam O’Flynn - The Fire Aflame (CD).
Another one I’d recommend, for a "spontaneous" feel, is Matt Molloy, John Carty, and Arty McGlynn, "Pathway to the Well." So good!
Both those last two a little spoiled in my opinion by the guitar
So you don’t like Arty McGlynn? If I have to hear a guitar in traditional music it would have to be him. Or Tony McManus. Fire Aflame is brilliant except for that weird poem. One of my favourite CDs with guitar is Return to Kintail with Alastair Fraser and McManus. I’ve got right off the point now.
Crikey, I forgot about that poem. Flipin heck.
I like Return to Kintail too. Tony plays the guitar "with" Alisdair (spell it right), not behind him,
He spells it "Alasdair" on his own website, old chap. I checked it before I typed it. Return to Kintail is one of my desert island traditional music albums. The standard of playing is breathtaking at times, most of the time in fact. All of the time.
I didn’t check it very well, though, did I? 😀 Jeez, I have a mate called Alastair who is so fed up with variant spellings of it that he now refuses to say how it should be.
Well feckin blow me down with a feather … I’m feckin fallable. You learn something new every day.
Just to understand, leahcim (‘cause anyone’s opinion is right, IMO…): do you refer to the music in those particular CDs being a little spoiled by guitar, or to the fact that guitar, being not a traditional irish instrument, generally changes the "original taste" of ITM?
I’m not against the guitar per say, quite the contrary. I think John Doyle is terrific. And Tony McManus of course. But even the best strummers do change the music.
I can understand. Probably sometimes less is better.
The Drunken Sailor on the Fire Aflame is so good it hurts to listen to it.
There has been debate from time to time as to how useful a ‘resource’ theSession.org is. One aspect of it I personally have found a great resource is when CDs are recommended by members whose opinions (on this music) I greatly respect.
That’s how I first came across (a while ago now) such gems as
- Tribute to Joe Cooley (Gavin/Brock/Lennon)
- Lost in the Loop (Carroll/Doyle)
- Under the moon (Hayes)
- Matt Molloy (MM)
No members’ names mentioned of course 😉
llig - fallible? I don’t believe it!
more like !
(sings) "Unforgettable… that’s what you are…." 😉
A lot of great suggestions here - it would be very hard to narrow it down to one.
If it was for someone not very familar with the music and you want something to really catch their ear I’d have to suggest Mick O’Brien and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh - Kitty Lie Over - brilliant stuff!
However, if I wanted to give someone an education, something with substance that you could really get down to the nitty gtritty of the music I’d probably go with Willie Clancy’s - The Pipering of Willie Clancy vols I & II.
Very hard to call, this one…without been biased towards any partticular instrument that I like listening to, I’d probably pick a CD of two LPs in my collection, if I could get rid of the scratches of course. First would be ‘Saturday night at the Ceili’ with The Raymond Rowland Quartet, from 1965, and second would be ‘Lord Mayo’ with Le Cheile from 1975. Probably a nostalgic thing that I would like other people to share.
Why is that if you want to buy three cds, one of them is always in amazon, the second one is in musicscotland and the third one is in custy’s?
I’ve probably spent the same (at least) amount in shipping charges than in the recordings themselves.
Rogue - yep, I’d go along with "Kitty Lie Over" - brilliant stuff!
Llig a écrit: "Steve, You really not got that Tribute to Joe Cooley?"
I have now. You didn’t tell me it was semitone-up stuff, yer bugger! Just off to dig out an E flat and an A flat harp…
Brilliant stuff though. It will cheer me up during my long drives up the M5/M6.
I deliberately didn’t mention the semitone up, lest it might put an idiot off it.
It is great driving music isn’t it. I hardly ever drive anywhere, but on the odd occasion I do, that CD is an imperative.