Foltrax 074 Johnny Doherty - The Pedlar’s Pack
(Non-commercial) field recordings available to traditional musicians from folktrax.org [Folktrax & Soundpost Publ., 16 Brunswick Square, Gloucester, GL1 1UG Tel: +44 - (0) 1452-415110 - email@example.com - www.folktrax.org]. Recorded by Peter Kenndy in Co. Donegal in 1953. Edited by Peter Kennedy and first published on Folktrax Cassettes in 1975.
Tracks 1-3, 5-18, 20 John Doherty solo fiddle. Tracks 4, 12, 19 John Doherty unaccompanied singing.
From the liner notes: “Located by Sean O Boyle and Peter Kennedy in 1952, JOHNNY DOHERTY was still living the life of a peddler, 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, very often found hanging on the walls, of the houses he visited with his 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 soon get round, and all the neighbors would gather at the house for a night of ceilidh-ing, and the fiddler 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), he played Kennedy’s fiddle, to which he took a particular liking. When once located by the collectors, he recorded almost continually, 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 two collectors at any one time, he reassured them, saying that he was anxious to record his complete collection of Irish, Scots and English tunes for the understanding and enjoyment of future generations.”
The Blackbird is played by John both in the air and set dance versions. He plays his family’s version of the Irish Washerwoman, which, as often is the case with the Dohertys’ interpretations of very common tunes, is refreshingly different from the standard version.
Track 13 is a rare instance of John playing a polka.