The Rakish Paddy

By Paddy Cronin

Seven comments

I found this old LP (issued by Fiddler Records of Seattle in 1975) in a stack of good trad vinyl in a local record shop. A quick poke around turns up no trace of a reissue, though perhaps I’ve missed something.
The spellings of the tune titles are as given on the jacket - "Padrigh" O’Keefe is referred to several times in the notes, so the spelling there seems intentional.

Typos ?

Not intentional, Jon - just a consistent mistake, I’d say.
There’s also :

Track 2 - "Ennistymon"
Track 4 - "Jenny’s"
Track 11 - "Killabeg’s"
Track 21 - "Auchentyre"

Probably not Paddy’s fault - and this is a recording I’d love to hear - but the typos stop the link being made to the tunes in the database.
Does he play flute on any of the tracks ?

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possbly "Auchtertyre".

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"Killabeg’s" means Killabeg [sp?] House = Ah! Surely. That’s flute.
I got the dubs of this and Paddy’s other 70’s LP, Kerry’s Own, from a fellow who "isolated" the flute playing, as he didn’t think Paddy up to snuff there…Kerry’s Own has two more tracks of Paddy puffing. I seem to recall reading that Paddy made his own flute, how ‘bout dat. I prefer this record to Kerry’s Own, which has some truly astray strumming and thumping. The liner notes of the R.P. mention that the lady at the piano is one of the only backers Paddy was satisfied with.
Someone should transcribe his Haymaker Reel, which is a great fiddler’s variant of the Green Mountain/Maid Behind the Bar. Perhaps it’s in the Johnny O’Leary book or something like that. Also it was the title James Morrison gave the GM/MBTB on his old 78, that was more the usual setting though.

The Rakish Paddy & Fiddler Records

Stationed in Boston during my stint in the Navy back in the mid-1960’s, I had occasion to frequent some of the music venues, not the least of which was the Greenville Tap in Dudley Square, then on its last legs as the demographics were rapidly changing and the predominantly Irish culture was moving to the suburbs. One of the frequent players there was Paddy Cronin. I watched and listened, and didn’t make his acquaintance until ten years later visiting Boston again with my wife and her family. Having developed a keen interest in the fiddle mix of New England, I got together with Mark Wilson and Bill Nowlan at Rounder Records, then in its infancy, borrowed a Revox reel-to-reel tape recorder from Bill, and Mark and I approached both Paddy and Franco-American fiddler Tommy Doucet about recording them. We set up in Paddy’s living room in West Roxbury, contacted local pianist, Mary Irwin, and set about recording Paddy. This was in 1974, well before internet forums, cell phones, or digital recording. Paddy insisted on including some home recordings of him playing flute. I remember we had a bit of a discussion about that, as I thought the difference in recording quality might detract from the overall sound, but Paddy persisted and we included his flute recordings in the final mix.

Regarding the pianist, Mary Irwin, she was a staple of the Boston Gaelic community, originally from Cape Breton, she was a regular at both Irish and Canadian sessions. Her son, Eddie Irwin, was also a great player and can be heard on a number of recordings by Boston-based Cape Breton fiddler, Joe Cormier. I remember that she wouldn’t so the recording with Paddy unless we had his piano tuned. She was a perfectionist in that regard. A great example of her blending the Cape Breton style of melody doubling can be heard on their version of Tobin’s Jig, which is essentially a fiddle and piano duet.

To take issue with “Kenny’s” previous comment that the typos were probably not intentional, I included the tune titles as provided by Paddy – and once again, not being as fully immersed in the genre as some at the time, I trusted the source for grammar. It is wonderful that we now have the web to provide countless resources and forums for ethnomusicologists, both professional and amateur, who can comment, correct, and speculate as to spelling, sources, and folklore. As for myself, I’m content to simply play the fiddle these days, and leave the recording to others.. Fiddler Records was an ill-fated hope and dream which I realized would take much more time and money than I could invest at the time. Fiddler 001 was Tommy Doucet, “The Down East Star,” and Fiddler 002 was the aforementioned Rakish Paddy. I’ve continued to produce a few recordings over the years, but always on some existing label. Submitted by Frank Ferrel.

Re: The Rakish Paddy

Just downloaded this rare album, and it has 21 entries (not 20 as shown), and while some of the names do not match what is shown here, and neither do some of the tune types (Ballydesmond polka instead of Padraigh O’Keefe’s slide). Here is what my album shows:

01 Lucy Campbell [Reel]
02 The Humours of Ennistymon [Jig]
03 Eleanor Kane’s/The Teetotaller [Reels]
04 Jenny’s Welcome to Charlie [Reel]
05 The Glen Allen [Reel]
06 The Ballydesmond/Denis Murphy’s [Polkas]
07 The Haymaker [Reel]
08 Drops of Brandy [Slip Jig]
09 The Drunken Sailor [Hornpipe]
10 The Green Fields of America (The Maid in the Meadow)/The Short Grass [Jigs]
11 Killaghbeg House [Reel]
12 The Bunch of Keys/The Steampacket [Reels]
13 Scully Casey’s [Jig]
14 The Girls of Farranfore (The Game of Love) [Reel]
15 The Congress [Reel]
16 Reavey’s/The Old Maid at the Spinning Wheel [Jigs]
17 Crabs in the Skillet [Jig]
18 Tobín’s Favourite [Jig]
19 Rakish Paddy [Reel]
20 The Gold Ring [Jig]
21 The Braes of Auchtertyre [Reel]

Not sure how to account for the differences, but the album I am listening to is great!