Brendan O’Regan’s 1991 release on Mulligan (CLUN 56)featuring a host of co-conspirators.
"Brendan O’Regan & friends: A Wind of Change"
Here’s the usual note of warning - what follows is opinion, mine, and I take full responsibility for it…
Wow! I thought, what a list of talents, and as to proof of ‘skill’ I wasn’t disappointed. BUT - I should stick to my rule that if a recording is redolent with the self-composed, meaning around half the tunes or more, or even a quarter or a third - I usually don’t bother and walk away. Usually, though as with most things there are the odd exceptions. This isn’t one.
This has to be the worst purchase of listens I’ve made all year. At least half of what’s thrown together here are compositions, and they, on the whole, jar when the come along. One of the worst cases of this was a quite nice rendition of "Jimmy Welshe’s" - and then two bad additions of the self-composed following it. I’d guess the composer hasn’t had his shoe leather on a dance floor much, if at all.
Yes, talent, oozing with it, including the main feature, Brendan O’Regan, impressive, and his friends too, the likes of Martin O’Connor, Johnny McDonagh, Brendan Larissey, Alec Finn, Tommy Keane, Tommy Hayes, Peter O’Hanlon, Ciaran Tourish, Máire Breathnach, Arty McGlynn, Bill Whelan, Vinnie Kilduff, Gerard Coffey - - - … Amazing! But it just doesn’t work, not for me, and the harmonica player, Mick Kinsella, what was added in that respect was almost as bad as chalk scraping slate. For me it didn’t work, it took away, but there was a lot taking away from this, distracting me from enjoyment. While on a few things my feet twitched, it eventually spoiled with some mix that grated, like the compositions peppered throughout.
Brilliant playing, but just not in a way I could enjoy. One can be an amazing talent and still produce cack, and for me that is what has happened here. I foolishly ignored my skepticism about recordings weighed down with self compositions because of the talent present. You’d think, after all this much time, I’d have learned by now. It has been interesting, but I won’t be giving this much ear time, and I will likely find someone who likes this kind of thing and will soon be rid of it.
Oh yeah, I forgot to say ~ YUCK! 😛
P.S. - If this is the ‘change’ we’re in for, God help us…
Oops! I missed listing some of the other talents present -
Jimmy Higgins & Seán Smyth…
No, and yes…………
Disagree about the 2 polkas following "Jimmy Welshe’s", "c". I liked them, and thought them good enough to transcribe and post here. The trad tunes are very well played, but I do agree about the other original compositions. Could have been a much better album from a very talented musician.
Yes, the two following poikas, not so clear, it isn’t necessarily the tunes but the combination, even though it comes with the warning "Transworld Polkas".
I’m glad you’ve added a bit more balance to my voiced disappointment. However, I have learned that, in general, when too much of the self-composed shows up on a recording to "Beware the Contents!" - it’s usually so fiddled with that like over worked scone dough it goes flat and pretty much inedible. 😉
I quite enjoyed the start, "Jimmy Welshe’s", bright and toe tapping, and then the second which seems more like a study,"Sparrow", and then a little more grounded with "Continental". That said, I don’t dislike the two following polkas, but they don’t carry through the excitement and fun of the first, at least not for me, but they are fun tunes to play around with, and thanks for the transcriptions too…
I also started out enjoying "Munster Slides" too, but then the overlays took over and things got confused and they beat them to death…
& - looking forward to a plucked take on "Hector the Hero", it was belaboured, and they rumbled it with those incessant low thrums, another major disappointment, and this time with the handling or abuse of a favourite Scott Skinner melody…
But damned they are all a very talented lot, just not making a decent mix of it here, not for me…
"The Sparrow" - linked to a jig here, so here’s Kenny’s trans of the polka
Submitted on March 14th 2011 by Kenny.
PS - the mixing crew, the techies behind the board and burn, also hold some responsibility for the problems here, as I perceive it….
Track 6: Transworld Polkas
Back on the composed polkas again, #2, for me, wanders all over the place, gets a bit lost, no firm phrasing to catch a decent dance to, and that damned harmonica gets in the way of the third, muddies the waters… But these two do have more of a ‘transworld’ feel about them, so the intention, by track title, is realized…
Having read your biased comments here. I find it inexplicable that the well placed harmonic and rhythmic structures on this classic recording by the maestro Brenden O Regan elude you all. It is utterly apparent here that ye are people with nothing better to do. Please post a list of your own recordings_ if you have any.
There are no "biased comments" here, only opinions, which just happen to differ from yours, so learn to live with it. I actually have huge respect and admiration for Brendan Regan as a musician, and said so above, as indeed did "ceolachan". If you are happy with all that’s on this recording, then fine, no-one here can or will prevent you from having that opinion, but by the same token you are required to extend that same courtesy to others.
I’ll post you a list of the recordings I’ve played on 1 hour after you post yours.
Welcome to "thesession".
I have very much enjoyed this album over the years. I also feel ceolachan’s negative comments are unwarranted. But then, that’s his opinion.
Re: Brendan O Regan
This is a very severe critique and reads like a personal attack on Brendan O Regans seminal cd . This is a fantastic recording by a man who , by all accounts , has contributed in a huge way to many classic albums either as producer, arranger, or session musician. I was saddened to hear that he has been ill for a time and had the bad fortune to record for some very dodgy record companies. For what its worth among many of Ireland’s top flight musicians and internationally, there is a huge respect for this mans work output thru the years. The word genius has also been applied to some of his work. Just balancing things out here.
A Wind Of Change
Hey Ceolachan , u sound like a man who talks thru his rear-a lot- or just has no musicality whatsoever, or more likely, has an envious gripe with afore mentioned musician !!!!
Cop on man. This album is regarded now -23 yrs on- as one of the classiest albums in IrishTraditional Music. It along with all the other albums of late 80’s period were . grounbreaking, a lot of them Brendan O Regan was involved in, in no small way. E.G Gerry O Connor’s , two seminal albums, Vinnie Kilduff, Tommy Keane, etc etc. U should have more respect for someones work. keep your gripes to yourself, or at least be civil, when dissing someones work.
Re: A Wind Of Change
Here’s the title track - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHn17va3tzo&list=PLNxfaGkNEsd5hwBM8JYJEFZNZGPAPDzr3
Re: A Wind Of Change
Anyone got around to transcribing Keith’s Jig?