My, how times have changed….

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!)

Re: My, how times have changed….

Heh heh, just remembering: Diary entry: Sunday 20 October, 1974:

Met Mick and Jane at the Favourite.

Made up list of Aussies on Kangaroo Badge (one of those plasticised paper stickers we used to put on our vans and backpacks) under heading of "Bruce in the Smoke" (a reference to the Monty Python’s skit on the University of Wooloomooloo Philosophy Department, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPFClJGqjBQ ). Stuck same on notice board (with publican’s agreement).

Re: My, how times have changed….

Hi Terry - there have been previous discussions about "Paddy In The Smoke" - some interesting material through links here :

https://thesession.org/discussions/24913

It would seem that 1 or 2 contributers here remember those days - may be worth your while contacting them.
It’s still a recording I listen to on occasion, and enjoy more than a lot of the "sanitised" over-produced recordings being sold today, - with special mention to the music of Martin Byrnes.

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Re: My, how times have changed….

I can’t answer your question, Terry, but I was in a pub on the Kilburn High Road (Biddy Mulligan’s?) in the late 1970s for one of those after-mass sessions and my recollection of the scene is a London fog of tobacco smoke, all the musicians wearing dark blue Sunday suits, all with 3 or 4 full pints of Guinness on the table in front of them (to be consumed before 2pm closing time), and all playing flute. At other sessions that I frequented around 1980 the Hynes brothers (and the father-in-law of one of them, also a flute player) were regular fixtures.

Re: My, how times have changed….

Thank you for kicking off a thread containing two of my favorite things: the glorious Paddy in the Smoke AND Monty Python.

And yes, I wondered why the absence of flutes. Had to get the rest of the Reg Hall cds to find them. Darn. 🙂

Re: My, how times have changed….

Roger Sherlock, Mick Masterson, P.J. Crotty - flute,
Raymond Roland, John Bowe - box,
Kevin Taylor - piano accordion/piano,
Liam farrell, Mick O’Connor - banjo,
Tommy McCarthy - pipes/concertina.
Some of the non fiddlers around London at that time

Re: My, how times have changed….

Wasn’t Vincent Broderick around then?

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Re: My, how times have changed….

Also The Elgin, off Ladbroke Grove, mid 70s, Wednesday nights.

Re: My, how times have changed….

We do indeed live in a different age. The uilleann pipe was almost extinct in the early 70’s. There were few makers to speak of, a very small community of players and no / only fledgling societies to promote a conservation strategy. In a world where you can but a set of pipes without ever leaving your armchair and waffle in forums about makers, set ups , flat chanters and reeds without ever meeting another soul it is easy to forget how far we have traveled ( or not ) in the lifetime of a chain smoking publican.

My, my, my…

Time is change. The past is a memory. It is healthy to live in the present. I appreciate paying homage to the giants whose shoulders support us as we *live* in the present; in our present lives. It’s to those of us living to keep the flame alive.
….
"My, how time changes…" Of course it does.

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Re: My, how times have changed….

I don’t know where you live ab but there have been no reportings of giants on this side of the pond since the vikings got the boot.

Re: My, how times have changed….

Cheers. It’s a metaphor.

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Re: My, how times have changed….

Probably more of a cliche

Re: My, how times have changed….

I just thought to check Reg Hall’s History of Irish Music in London - "A Few Good Tunes" - which confirms that there were certainly plenty of players of other instruments in London at the time. So it seems the issue wasn’t a shortage of players of other instruments, but either a conscious or subconscious bias in deciding what went on the album. It would be interesting to ask Reg…