Folktrax-075: Johnny Doherty, The Star Of Donegal

By Johnny Doherty

  1. The Star
    The Japanese
    The Low Level
    The Stepping Stones
  2. New Lough Isle Castle
    Marry When You’re Young
    Lord Gordon’s
  3. Talk
    The Yellow Heifer
    Miss Cunningham’s
  4. The Heart Of My Kitty
    The King Of The Pipers
  5. Talk
    The Woods Of Fanad
    The Knackers Of Navan
  6. The Dear Irish Boy
    The Harvest Morning
  7. Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grand
    Napoleon Crossing The Alps
  8. Talk
    Haste To The Wedding
    The Bargain Is Made
    Welcome Home, Graniu
  9. Bonnie Kate
  10. Talk About His Father, First Tune & Family
    The Salamanca
  11. Further Talk About His Family And Their Music
  12. Talk About Meeting With John McGinley
    The First Of May
  13. Talk About Being A Pedlar
  14. The Boys Of The Lough
    The Cat That Kittled On Jamie’s Wig
    Talk About & Demo Of The Bagpipe Technique On The Bow
  15. Whistle O’er The Lave O’t
    Dulaman Ne Beinne Buidhe
    An Tseanbhean Bhocht
    The Shan Van Vocht
    The Braes Of Maas
    Kitty’s Fancy
  16. Talk
    McSweeney’s Lament

Three comments

Folktrax-075: The Star of Donegal

[Non-commercial field recordings from Peter Kennedy’s archive available at Folktrax & Soundpost Publ. 16 Brunswick Square, Gloucester GL1 1UG Tel +44 - (0)1452-415110 -]

Recorded by Peter Kennedy in Donegal in 1953. Edited by Peter Kennedy and first published on Folktrax Cassettes 1975.

From the Liner Notes:

"Located by Sean O Boyle and Peter Kennedy in Donegal in 1952, JOHHNY DOHERTY was still leading the life of a pedlar, travelling a triangular route, from house to house, in the Blue Stack Mountains between Gweedore, Carrick, and Glen Finn. He had no fiddle of his own, but played upon those he found hanging uon the walls, of the houses he visited with his pedlar wares. His pack, wrapped in black oilskin sheeting, consisted of buttons, combs, pins, cotton thread and needles, as well as various small articles of ladies’ clothing. When he started playing, word would get around, and all the neighbors would gather at the house for a night of celidh-ing, and Johnny would be accomodated there for the night.

“For this recording, and when he was filmed by Peter Kennedy and Pete Seeger (THE IRISH FIDDLER, available on DVD from Folktrax), he played on Kennedy’s fiddle, to which he took a particular liking. When once located by the collectors, he recorded almost continuously, day and night, for a period of a whole week. When it was suggested to him that he should not record so much of his music for the two collectors at any one time, he reassured them, saying that he was anxious to record his complete reperatoire of Irish, Scots and English tunes for the understanding and enjoyment of future generations.”

Other Folktrax Recordings of John Doherty

These early recordings of John Doherty have excellent sound quality and compare very favorably to later commerically-released recordings.

Also available from Folktrax treasure-trove are FTX-073, The Flowers of Edinburgh (the earliest recordings of both John (1953, by Peter Kennedy) and Mickey Doherty (1951, by Alan Lomax); FTX-074, The Pedlar’s Pack, recordings of John Doherty from 1953; FTX 273 The Sailor’s Trip, John & Simie Doherty 1952-3; plus a film of John (THE IRISH FIDDLER), recordings of Mickey and Simie Doherty, recordings of John Doherty and Frank Cassidy, etc.


On the (digital) version of the album that I was given it suggests that “O’Halloran’s” equates to the reel “The Bank of Ireland”. It sounds more to me like a version of “Rakish Paddy”.