What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

I really like the Northumbrian piper Tom Clough’s 1929 version of "The Keel Row" found on YouTube, and was wondering if there are any other much older recordings that others like.

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

Thank you. Will check these out.

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

Not everything is necessarily from the 20s and 30s, but the Facebook group “Irish Traditional Music at 78rpms” is worth joining. Lots of audio links and archival photos by serious collectors of early Irish recordings.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1876183402670838/

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

The recordings of Patsy Touhey are just astonishing. Definitely recommend a listen.

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Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

None!
The tradition exists in the moment, in the pub, in the presence of musicians.
Waste of time listening to any recordings.

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

*Ignoring YH’s non-useful and uncalled-for criticism, deflection and non-answer to a perfectly valid question that didn’t deserve such an utterly condescending response*

Michael Coleman, Hugh Gillespie, James Morrison, Paddy Killoran, Paddy Sweeney, Packie Dolan, Paddy Cronin, Néillidh O’Boyle (fiddle), Tom Morrison and John McKenna (flute), Peter J. Conlon and John J. Kimmal (accordion), Tom Ennis, Leo Rowsome, Michael Carney (pipes)…

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

Thanks for all the replies. I had a chance to check out some Patsy Touhey and it’s great that recordings of him were preserved. I recognized his version of "Connaughtman’s Rambles" but I have heard modern versions of "Gusty’s Frolics" in the past and wasn’t able to connect his version with that tune… sounds like he played it faster. It sounds as if a lot of his recordings were done live because of the background clapping. I’ll check out the others.

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

I always thought the "background clapping" was just a symptom of the very early recording techniques used to record Touhey’s music.

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

Patsy Touhey was extremely successful performing in the vaudeville circuit. O’Neill reported that before the turn of the century Touhey was offered to record by the Edison co, but thought it wasn’t worth his time. From what I understand he bought or constructed his own recording booth (about the size of a telephone booth) for inside his home and started a mailorder buisness for his recordings (as early as 1901). He offered a list of tunes one could pick from, and would have to personally record each one onto a wax cylinder. $1 each or $10 for a dozen (quite a bit of money then) This is why we have so many samples of his playing compared to others at the time. (His recording of Gusty’s frolics is usually held in high regard btw)

One of my personal piping favorties is Bernard Delaney’s recording of ‘Padraig Taylors Reel’ (‘the Beauty Spot’)

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

Michael Coleman’s recordings with Michael ‘Whitey’ Andrews on guitar, so much better than the hack pianists
he usually got stuck with

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

Thanks for all the interesting info about Touhey. (and also about Gusty’s Frolics haha) That’s really fascinating. I had first heard that name because of the very modern group Realta playing a reel called "Patsy Touhey’s" before two slip jigs.

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

"Michael Coleman’s recordings with Michael ‘Whitey’ Andrews on guitar …"

Ditto. Lord Gordon’s is the one that springs to mind. I don’t think it’s just down to the backing, though; perhaps there was a different producer or just a general shift in production values, as it’s one of the few Coleman recordings where he doesn’t seem to be rushing to cram as many iterations of the tune as possible into 3 minutes.

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

One of my favourite tracks is the 1927 recording of "Within a Mile of Dublin" by George Halpin (fiddle) with M. Stanford (piano), where they have a number of happy ladies lilting the tune. This one makes me smile every time I hear it!

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

Ross Andersons Piping Page
https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/music/index.html

Has a lot of lovely old piping recordings including some that folk have mentioned above like the Bernard Delaney track.

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Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

Patsy Touhy, The Steampacket/The Morning Star/Miss McLeod.

Mike Carney and James Morrison, The Maids of Mont Cisco and The Jolly Tinker

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

CMO, thanks for that interesting link to ‘Whitey’ Andrews - does anyone have access to his recordings with Killoran or Flanagan? I searched Killoran on Youtube and just came up with the usual clueless piano thumping……..

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

This is older than you want and Scottish - but I defy you to listen to it without jigging up and down. It’s the measured pace, the control and the danceability which is the message from these old recordings - and I do agree with whoever said that the music is in the sessions now - but who do you hear with this kind of unselfconcious mastery? I always imagine the long-dead player laughing and giving us a one-finger salute because we think we know it all. https://youtu.be/Eb4k7gJTRbw

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

Does anyone have any thoughts about playback speed for older recordings. We are used to precise playback speeds with our modern apps and equipment but for 78 rpm records I wonder how accurately the recording speed was controlled especially with early recordings were mastered… especially when they are playing in overdrive. Thanks for sharing these old recordings; all are very interesting.

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

jksiazek, thanks for the Killoran/Andrews recording, lovely playing - i hadnt come across the Ward Irish Music Archive before, looks like a very interesting website , I shall be checking it out.

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

For me, coming from flute, it’s got to be this one

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-blZR7M-DI


I’ve never heard anybody else play like that.

Probably most of you will disagree with this, but it seemed to me that when I started out in the 1970s the fluteplayers I heard were mosty in two camps

1) fluters who were trying to make the flute sound like the uilleann pipes, or
2) fluters who were tyring to make the flute sound like the fiddle (or at least blend with the fiddle)

so when I heard Tom Morrison it struck me so powerfully that here was a fluteplayer reveling in making a flute sound like a flute! Not caring what pipes sounded like or fiddles sounded like.

I love the flute-specific form of variation where he puffs out individual notes for a bar or so. Does anybody do that nowadays?

The other recordings are some of the Flanagan Brothers tunes. That box is amazing! Are there any boxes around nowadays like that?

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

There’s another thing I’ve not heard anyone nowadays do, trouble is I can’t remember the piper.

There are pipers who hardly touch the regs, pipers who bring in the regs at seemingly random times (like for one bar in the second playing of the tune, never before or after) and pipers who have the regs as an ever-present vamping in all their tunes (Finbar Furey).

But there’s a recording from back in the 20s or 30s of a piper who uses the regs, in one recording I heard, as a systematic component of his arrangement of the tune. As I recall he doesn’t use the regs in the first part, but in the second part he has the regs come in to thicken the voicing, to bring the conclusion of the second part home.

Each repetition of the tune has the same reg accompaniment, as I recall, as if the reg arrangement was part-and-parcel to the tune itself.

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

> Does anyone have any thoughts about playback speed for older recordings.

In short: anything recorded mechanically could be out either way. Anything recorded with a motor powered by mains AC is unlikely to be more than 1-2% adrift.

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Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

DenisMartin — Alan Morrisroe in Dublin has been doing a lot of work studying playback speeds of 78rpm discs in the Irish discography, which weren’t standardized to 78.26 until the late 1920s. One of Alan’s discoveries is that the Decca recordings of Irish music from the 1930s all seem to play back best at 80rpm (they’re flat at 78.26). You could attribute that to an out of tune piano here and there, but consider that all the accordions recorded on Decca in that time period would have to be tuned flat by the exact same amount.

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

Just to add that when looking at historical recordings, remember that the modern idea that A=440 was not common until the 1950s or later. Quite a few recordings have been re-issued too slowly because of this mistake (a common standard was A=452).

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Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

Thanks for sharing that track, Richard! I had never heard Tom Morrison’s playing (although I knew his name). Somehow it reminded me of Harry Bradley (whose recordings I love).

Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

"But there’s a recording from back in the 20s or 30s of a piper who uses the regs, in one recording I heard, as a systematic component of his arrangement of the tune. As I recall he doesn’t use the regs in the first part, but in the second part he has the regs come in to thicken the voicing, to bring the conclusion of the second part home.

Each repetition of the tune has the same reg accompaniment, as I recall, as if the reg arrangement was part-and-parcel to the tune itself."

Maybe Patrick Fitzpatrick? https://archive.org/details/PatrickFitzpatrickDonnybrookFairJig

There seem to be examples of any of these artists on YT now - the other day I noticed that the big 2CD Michael Coleman reissue is on there in its entirety.

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Re: What are your favorite traditional recordings from the 1920s and 1930s?

Hi. Have a listen to Martin Beirne & His Irish Blackbird orchestra playing trade tunes, recorded in USA in the 1930’s. Happy listening. Pat