To Hell With The Begrudgers

By Seamus Tansey And Jim McKillop

Search for Seamus Tansey, Jim McKillop.

  1. Master McDermott’s
    The Dairy Maid
  2. Frieze Britches
    Richard Brennan’s
  3. The Fairies Of Tiveragh
  4. Silent O Moyle
  5. The Collier’s
    The Skylark
    Roaring Mary
  6. Blind Mary
  7. O’Carolan’s Concerto
  8. Cronin’s
    Hand Me Down The Tackle
  9. Saddle The Pony
    The Dance Of The Dead
  10. The Golden Eagle
    The Galway
  11. Joe O’Dowd’s
    The Pigeon On The Gate
  12. Boulavogue
  13. The Gold Ring
  14. The Maid Behind The Bar
    Ryan’s
  15. The Flowing Tide
    The Blackbird
  16. Farrell O’Gara
    Lucy Campbell

Six comments

Re: To Hell With The Begrudgers

The lack of a single comment in fifteen years needs to be rectified.

This album by the Sligo fluter and the Antrim fiddler was released by Sound Records of Sligo in 1999. True to that label’s form, the CD’s liner consists of one sheet of folded paper whose notes reveal that Jim played a fiddle which he made himself and Séamus’s flute was ‘a Ruddle [sic] and Rose …. purchased … by his mother for 2 pounds & 10 shillings’. John Coakley of The Boys of the Lough provided keyboards.

Séamus was probably still smarting from the reception he received at the 1996 Crossroads Conference - https://imusic.ie/crossroads-conferences/ -, hence the title.

Track 3 (in the liner notes called ‘Fairy’s of Tiveragh’) is a hornpipe composed by Jim.

‘Silent O Moyle’ is also known as ‘The Children of Lir’ and (I think we know who wrote the liner notes) ‘Séamus’s love for this tune can be heard in his expressive playing and he wishes to dedicate this tune to all the children who are orphaned or come from "broken homes" in the world today’ which is hardly an appropriate dedication considering the fate of Lir’s children.

We’re told that track 9, ‘The Dance of the Dead’ is a jig that was played at wakes ‘when the dead was taken from their bed and danced with.’

Truth be told, I’ve only listened to this album twice in twenty years. The problem is that Jim and Séamus seem to be occupying two different time zones, partly because they appear to have an embarked on an ornamentation competition. Jim’s the more restrained, but the Tansey seems to be so preoccupied by the need to decorate that he’s often behind the beat (which, thanks to John Coakley) is regular, to say the least. Sometimes, as on ‘Frieze Britches’, it’s almost as if they’re playing different tunes and in a different pitch. Séamus also seems to be in full-on descant mode as well.

Anything by ST is worth listening to, but even his greatest admirers would struggle to enjoy this album and might indeed wonder if the two musicians had actually been in the studio at the same time.

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Re: To Hell With The Begrudgers

I had heard that the original title was going to be something more robust ! I also seem to recall that the photo on the front sleeve had been accidentally reversed, so that Tansey appears to play right-handed, and McKillop left-handed.
Have to agree with GWs comments above.

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Re: To Hell With The Begrudgers

Yep, Kenny, the photo is definitely reversed.

I remember one time seeing Séamus play in a pub in Finsbury Park, The Auld Triangle. James Carty was there and he soon pulled out of the proceedings in sheer frustration. Séamus had apparently specifically requested Reg Hall to provide the piano accompaniment, and he’d had driven all the way up from Croydon to do so. However, he found the Tansey in one of his most puckish moods, insisting, as Reg told us at the bar, on switching to obscure key signatures such as B or F sharp minor which are notoriously unfriendly to pianists.

There are other stories I could tell, but I just wish he’d been far more serious about his music. I reckon that, on his day, he was as good as it gets.

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Re: To Hell With The Begrudgers

It came to me this morning that the actual medical name for the Tansey’s condition is ornamentitis.

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Re: To Hell With The Begrudgers

So, what happened to get Seamus all fired up?

Re: To Hell With The Begrudgers

He’s Seamus.
Since you’ve asked, I’ll take the time to quote a paragraph from "The Crossroads Conference 1996", referred to above by GW.
"Now it is quite obvious that there are an awful lot of people in Ireland , especially from the musical academies with classical background, who are academics, not necessarily of Irish traditional music, who are not satisfied with the existing perimeters [ sic - probably meant parameters - K.] of our culture and music. I would ask these people instead of remaining inside the family of Irish traditional musicians, they should leave. There needs to be a split. Go your separate ways. Form your own Celtic twilight sub-culture as an appendage to the Irish traditional music that we know and do what you like as long as you do not associate yourself with the music that we know and love and that has come down to us for generations and from the very environment of this country. I think that is the only solution to it. Tradition versus Change. If that is change i.e. the mongrelisation , the bastardisation, the cross-pollination, the copulation of our ancient traditional music with other cultures, then I say we want none of it and I know I speak for thousands of traditional musicians, followers and music lovers up and down this country today. I wish the Micheal O’Suilleabhains, the radical progressives, the stereotype revivalists, the best of luck in future. Let them get on with it I say and we’ll get on with our programme and in the next century let future generations pass judgement on us today and let future generations at least have a free choice and not be robbed of their heritage and the music handed down to us by our ancient forefathers".
And later : " I would sooner see our music die completely in this generation than see it drip-fed by outside cultures treading the length and breadth of this land in the century to come".
The conference was in 1996. The CD came out in 1999.
That might give you a clue 🙂

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