The Trip To Cullenstown

By Phil, John And Pip Murphy

Three comments

The Trip To Cullenstown

Phil, John and Pip Murphy

Phil Murphy of south County Wexford invented a unique style of playing traditional dance music on the harmonica.

He passed it on to his sons and on this recording, made just three weeks before Phil’s death, we can hear just how skilful and how beautiful this style is.

There is no other record like this one.

The Trip to Cullenstown

This is a very interesting album. At Ptarmigan said, there is no other record like this one. I have read twice (on this album’s sleeve and on one by Eddie Clarke and Joe Ryan) that Irish dance tunes are difficult to adapt onto the harmonica. The Murphys play as if this was an instrument long rooted in the tradition. Their is style is very laid back and comfortable. There is a lovely selection of tunes too. Aside from the usual array of reels and jigs (some of which Phil composed), there are 3 hornpipe selections, 3 sets of polkas, a waltz and an air thrown in. It is an album that one must hear at some point. The harmonic works extremely well with dance tunes, despite its difficulty in initially adapting.

Track titles

There are more tunes on each track that Ptarmigan submitted originally. Some titles are wrong so here is my own list on the titles for those interested:

1.The Flogging Reel / Kathy Jones’ Reel / The Honeymoon
2. Banks of Lough Gowna / Humours of Kesh
3. The Wexford Hornpipe / Bannow Bay (comp. Phil Murphy)
4. Church Street / Happy Polka
5. Connaughtman’s Rambles / Father Jack Walsh
6. Sheperd’s Love Dream
7. Kitty Come Over / Old Man Dillon
8. Ballygow Reel / Trip to Cullenstown (Both comp. Phil Murphy)
9. Congress / Heathery Breeze / Earl’s Chair
10. Lakes of Kincora / Cronin’s
11. My Darling Asleep / Priest in his boots
12. Lad O’Beirne’s / McMahon’s (hornpipes: 1st recorded by Paddy Reynols, second is a Sean Ryan (fiddle) composition)
13. Ballygow Polka / Wistful Lover
14. King of the Clans / Castle Kelly
15. Listowel Polkas