My, how times have changed….
Back in 1974, a bunch of Australians from Canberra went to England, Ireland and Scotland in search of musical experiences. I was one of them. Needless to say, when in London, we found ourselves at the Favourite most Sunday "Mornings". (They seemed to run "Irish Time" at the Favourite; "Morning" really meant "After Mass".)
The Favourite of course was the pub in Holloway at which the album "Paddy in the Smoke" was recorded. (I understand the publican and wife had their bedroom above the stage area, and he and Bill Leader drilled a hole in the bedroom floor to drop a mic cable down to record sessions for the album. Bill sat up there monitoring levels and swapping tapes.)
[Nerd mode on] I see in my notes of interview that Bill was running a Revox HS77 at the time - a Revox A77 running at 7.5/15 ips rather than the more usual 3.75/7.5ips. Better high frequency response, but consumed twice the amount of tape. I know this because I had one too!
[Nerd mode off]
Now to get to the point. (I know you were waiting for this!) I just pulled out the album and listened through. Great stuff. But! Every track has fiddle, sometimes one, sometimes up to three. One or two tracks had box (Tony McMahon playing Cooley’s old box in Cooley’s old style, lovely.) There were no flutes, no whistles, no banjos and no pipes. Hmmmm.
Now I remember back then there was a "resident" flute player at the Favourite. Tommy Healy(?) And my diary entry for 9 June 1974 mentions Paul Davis ("good!" Good? I was so cool back then. He was brilliant!). And other flute players dropped in from time to time. And Paddy Malynn playing box most Sundays, but he doesn’t make it to the album. I don’t remember any whistle players, pipers or banjo players, but, hey it was a long time ago! (44 years!)
So I guess (?) my question is - was this typical back then? Was everyone (but me and a few other misguided souls including Mary Bergin and Michael Turbridy) playing fiddle? Or does this suggest a conscious or subconscious bias or selection policy for the album? Anyone shed any light?
(I do wish I’d thought to ask Bill Leader at the time!)