The Blue Fiddle

By Seán Smyth

Added by Trinil .

Fourteen comments

The Blue Fiddle

A solo recording from Sean Smyth (currently of Lunasa) dating to 1993, I think. Features an interesting selection of tunes, some unnamed.

This is definitely an album before its time in terms of development of ideas and in particular prouction qualities. Though fiddle albums are, in some senses a dime a dozen, this provides the listener with an earthy yet fluid sound backed by an array of talent that matches intricately the nature of the soloist. Though primarily known as a member of Lunasa, and perhaps more notably the member of an amazingly talented family, this album enhances the already great reputation of a formidable yet always approachable ITM icon.

What are the names of these tunes?

In Sean Smyth’s album, The Blue Fiddle, he has a track entitled, "The Soweto Slides". What tunes are these?

Re: What are the names of these tunes?

I answered me own question!

It’s Biddy From Sligo, Ceol a Mhala, and Oró Buachaillín Seol Do Bhó. Thank you Irish tune finder!

Proper name of track listed as Jerry Holland’s

Track 13, listed as Jerry Holland’s, is actually Malcolm’s New Fiddle, written by the late great Jerry Holland. You can find the ABC here:

"Seán Smyth: The Blue Fiddle"

The musicians are, in order of appearance ~

Seán Smyth - fiddle, whistle, vocals

Steve Cooney - guitars, bass, mandolin, keyboard, percussion, didjeridu

Kevin Hough - guitar

Jim Higgins - drums, bodhran, darabukka, brushes, wood block, piano, African hand drum, pot, chimes

Brendan O’Regan - bouzouki, mandolin

Ciaran Byrne - keyboard

Vinnie Kilduff - war drums, guitar, piano, harmonica

Jimmy Faulkner - guitar, slide guitar

Bill Whelan - bass

Leslie Dowdall - vocals

Charlie Lennon - piano

Cora Smyth - fiddle

Breda Smyth - fiddle

Mairtin O’Connor - accordion

"Seán Smyth: The Blue Fiddle" ~ 🙂

Just a few niggles, really only one bad track, #4 in my mind, skip over that and from beginning to end, jumping over 4, I enjoyed this listen and am glad I moved past me general biases and purchased it… Here follows a little comment on the individual tracks…

1.) The first of three polkas doesn’t fit the second and third, and odd mix

because of that, but enjoyable after the first is out of the way.

2.) Love the swing and raised a smile. But I do love Stephen Grapelli and -

and the Paris Hot Four…

3.) Sweet whistling, a joy.

4.) BLEWCH! ~ This caused a similar wince and mild ingigestion as did that awful film "Titanic", where the only really interesting bits were after it had sunk, the DSVs looking over the remains. A couple of listens to this track was two too much and this is the one track I will skip over from now on, it’s that syrupy and crusty - like a particularly poor B melodrama…

5.) A bit of loping along fun…

6.) A pair of OK reels, though the second seems a bit on the ‘lost’ side of

things, doesn’t hold together that well and feels like another ‘pic-n’-mix’, or

is it clearer if I say ‘pic-‘n-miss’…

7.) Clan March: "Warrior’s Dream" - Steve Cooney - hints of others in the B-

part, but, alright, even with some of the odd audio additions…

8.) 3 reels - very enjoyable…

9.) 3 slides - good kick…

10.) slow reel - interesting…

11.) 2 hornpipes - whistle, very nicely done, and the accompaniment too, fun…

12.) 2 reels - had me steppin’ it out, lovely…

13.) a Jerry Holland jig - one sweet fiddle, lovely tone, and some cheerful and fun percussion, and this had my feet going, though a curious conclusion that begins with a wailing harmonica, and I’m not sure about that bow out 😏 … I wanted more of the lift it started with rather than the stumble to conclude…

14.) 2 easy club reels - great, and I loved the ending…

I can think of at least half a dozen friends I’ve no doubt would appreciate this under their tree this Christmas… Vocal weirdness aside, Seán Smyth has a fine way with both fiddle and whistle…

😏 ~!?

Weird! I hadn’t double spaced the above but it went that way after I clicked on [post]. I’d first typed it up on Notepad and then cut and pasted it, checking it before the click. Ah well… Curiously it only double spaced the track comments - 1, 2, 6 & 7…

4.) ~ "- wince and mild indigestion-"

Track 14

….. is the Easy Club reel, and then Macarthur Road by Boys of the Lough stringsman Dave Richardson

The "Soweto Slides" set is the exact same set as appears on track 13 of the Seamus Begley album Meitheal. Both albums were released in 1993. Hard to say who lifted it from whom…

Ceolachan review

The Blue Fiddle 21 years later is an iconic fiddle recording years before its time.