Na Fir Bolg

By Jack Talty And Cormac Begley

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Twenty-eight comments

Lovely recording from the two lads, concertina duets throughout, stretching a whole range of keys. Wonderfully lively, no typewriter music here!

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And there’s no need for individual businesses to spam this listing, people who will want to buy this are well able to find out where the CD is available.

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Wow! Simply sublime. Nothing more to add!

How do links work?

It seems as if some of the tune titles on the track listing are linked to thesession entries purely by name, rather than by the tune. Is this the case?


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Does anyone know which tune Cronin’s is - is it posted? Just learned it on the concertina and wondering - it’s in C, is that the normal key it’s played in (for other instruments).

Does anyone know if they’re playing with a standard D/G concertina, and playing often in c for easier fingering or what? Some of the tunes have Bb, which makes me wonder about the tuning.

Which one ?

There are 3 tunes on this recording named "Cronin’s".

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…plus one called "Paddy Cronin’s".

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Haha - must be Cronin influence here!

The one after John Kelly’s Concertina Reel.

Are you sure? This is what I got - it seems pretty different.

X: 1
T: Cronin’s
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Cmaj
|: C3D EG G2 | cded cA A2 |(3 ABc Gc A2Aa | gecd edd2 |
| C3D EG G2 | cded cA A2 |(3 ABc Gc A2Aa | gedf ecc2 :|
|: g3a ge (3 eee | fedf ecc2 |(3 ABc Gc A2Aa | gecd edd2 |
| g3a ge (3 eee | fedf ecc2 | (3 ABc Gc A2Aa | gedf ecc2 :|

" ~ no typewriter music here!"

Absolutely Prof P…

While I will freely admit not being in thegeneral buzz and swing of the modern pop idol crazes, flash playing constipated with ornaments, flat out, flattened out rhythmically, and twiddled to death in the mix by inexperienced studio geeks who ‘just have to do one more thing to it’, maybe like the reverb in their mind sounding like a cathedral while to me it sounds like a ceramic tiled loo (toilet). But, hey, it does seem to attract, like flies to shight, an admiring throng. But, whatever quirkiness is in my nature, that doesn’t include me, at least most of the time.

I have never grown tired of the lovely old tina ways, as so nicely packaged by Free Reed in their "The Clare Set" - 6 CDs to back up my LPs and cassettes of the same. But, while appreciating and initially being impressed by the likes of Mícheál O’ Raghallaigh, by the second or third track I’m bored stiff, and the accompaniment is cack, in my opinion. I can only take a few tracks at a time. In contrast, the lovely squeezing of Bernard O’Sullivan, Tommy McMahon, Kitty Hayes, Elizabeth Crotty, and their like, I never tire of hearing. And there are some modern squeezers I also have a fancy for, if not all, and I gladly add this recording to that select list of joyous listens. This recording, two concertinas, is a pleasure from start to finish…

I need things like this to make up for the tosh that sometimes comes my way, usually as well intentioned gifts, but, also, sometimes my own rash purchases. I have lovely family who don’t really understand me and my preferences, or the stark differences between such things as traditional Irish and things all folked up, including the deluded and addled folks trying it on half-baked with the usual cute studio and arranging tricks, including further lack of understanding put on exhibition as p*ss poor half-breed monstrosities giving a bad name to jazz or pop or country, and giving in to their childish thrills in adding slamming chords throughout, or the din of a synth, percussion, poorly played whistle harmonies, etc., etc., etc…. For those who enjoy such OTT silliness, what can I say, if not already obvious, it ain’t for me. This, however, is, much welcomed. I’d only had a few ear fulls courtesy of a friend and it is now a must purchase, something I’m saving my pennies up for…

Thanks lads, much appreciated ~ ‘c’

"The Clare Set"

I admit I initially didn’t get the CD at the Willie week launch because I was afraid I wouldn’t like it for the reasons you mention. Concertina recordings can walk a thin line and the last few I had bought didn’t get listened to more than twice. I heard the lads play a few days later and that did it for me.

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Superb record, they have brought a new approach with varied keys and the use of other than tenor, treble C/G concertinas. Inspired stuff.

"Jack Talty & Cormac BegleyNa Fir Bolg" ~ sigh! 🙂

No disappointments, and ignoring my dear sweet wife’s plea of "no more!", I ordered this direct, had to, and this week it arrived and it has been travelling with me ever since, and next week I’m going to use it to help warm up the dance floor, while teaching, for dance, to motivate dancers…

This is another ACCOMPANIMENT FREE recording ~ HALLELUJAH!!! There’s no banging, clanging or strumming, just these two lads giving it squeeze. It’s not like I don’t appreciate and welcome good accompaniment, skin or strings, but, as there is much of that contrary to ‘good’, I have a great appreciation for recordings where there’s no risk of such interference. Nicely done, sweet music, and additionally not encumbered by a need to flex the ego, such as by weighing down a third or more of the tracks with the ‘self-composed’. Thanks for that consideration for the music, the tradition, the listener, much appreciated…

However, I do wish that they’d drawn the curtains, to dampen that natural reverb at least a little. Reverb, natural or otherwise, has a tendency to muddy things, to make things less definite, crisp and clear, and, yes, less natural. I do understand the fun and attraction of natural reverb - stairwells, old churches, castles, valleys, caves, ceramic tiled loos/toilets, etc… With friends I’ve had a kick playing in that echo, from light to reverberating echo, all those previously listed venues and then some, including a blimp hangar and an extinct volcano. But, while it’s a lot of fun, I don’t think it works that well in recording, though the old Windham Hill ‘new age’ lot seemed to favour such mood-tracks airiness… It’s one of those things that early music nuts also love to wallow in, thinking that it is ‘natural’ to some fantasy of that past. However, let’s not forget all the drapery and the bodies more than fully clothed in folds and folds of material. All that absorbs that reverb. So the idea of performing in an empty hangar, cathedral, caldera or amphitheater ~ all on ones own ~ that ain’t natural. It also isn’t the natural sound of this music in any setting, session or otherwise. As great as this recording is, one of my favourite recent purchases, the reverb is a bit over blown, in my opinion, distracting. I’d have preferred things a bit more ‘natural’, more defined and crisp. But, my little niggles aside, this is an earful I whole heartedly recommend and a joy I will repeat, and repeat, and repeat…

"Jack Talty & Cormac Begley: Na Fir Bolg"

Nice one!

Oh yes, I wish they’d taken completely to the highland fling in "The Bag of Spuds", track 8, and done that whole track as a highland flings so I could have used that too this next week… Maybe next time… 😀

Re: Na Fir Bolg

On track 6, Finbarr Dwyers links to the wrong tune. It’s not a reel but a polka:
T: Finbarr Dwyers
R: polka
K: Gmaj
|B/A/|:GD B>A|GB d>^c|de dG|BAAB/A/|
|GD B>A|GB d>^c|de dB|AG GB/A/:|
|:Gg gf|ed d>B|de dB|GA B>A|
|Gg gf|ed d>B|de dB|AG GB/A/:|

Re: Na Fir Bolg

The "Paddy Cronin’s" of track 12 is not the right one. I don’t think the tune is in the database yet. Should be a slide—also appears on "Comb Your Hair and Curl It."

Re: Na Fir Bolg

On the last track, there is a silence after they finish playing the third reel. Then slowly, the music fades back in and they’re playing one of the best tunes I’ve ever heard to finish off the album. Does anyone know the name of the tune?

Re: Na Fir Bolg

Just checked - it’s a reprise of the "Cronin’s" reel on track 2 but sounds as if in a different key, possibly played on a different concertina. Have a listen for yourself.

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