Best reel set never recorded
In 1975, before they released their first LP, the "Bothy Band" played their first gig outside of
the island of Ireland in Aberdeen, and I’ve never heard a better concert.
They played one amazing set of reels starting with "The Curragh Races", followed by
"Humours Of Loughrea", ending up with "Farewell To Ireland" (4 parts).
The arrangement was like this - the first tune, the 3 lead instruments played 2 bars solo each,
then all 3 played the 7th & 8th bars. This pattern was repeated throughout both parts of the
tune, but with the instruments swopping over which 2 bars they played. By the time they came
to play the tune the third time round everyone was playing together. The only accompaniment
was bodhran. Paddy Keenan took off solo on the 2nd tune, accompanied by guitar. Peoples and
Molloy joined in the third time round,and played it once more. All dropped out except Peoples
who plays "Farewell To Ireland" completely on his own, once through, and is then joined by bouzouki
for 2 parts - everyone in on the third part, and there’s no stopping them !
They recorded both "Loughrea" and "Farewell To Ireland" (although for some reason, calling it "Farewell
To Erin") on the" Old Hag.. etc" album, but I think it a great shame they never recorded this set.
Work this set into your local session and they’ll be swinging from the rafters, (light-fittings….whatever ! )
Bothy band songs
I should also have added for Michael Gill’s benefit that the songs sung at that concert were sung
with excellent arrangements, by two of Ireland’s finest traditional singers, and were not, as he
recently opined in a discussion - "sh*te".
“I don´t know any tune names….”
I could use the "another name" function and type in "The Shores of Loch Gowna". But I´m not that sure this name is proved. So I tell the story: In 2002 I had a workshop with members of band Midnight Court. During fiddle class Bernd Luedtke worked with me on bowings for that tune, but he couldn´t remeber the name of the tune. So at the end of the day, when we all gathered around for the "gemuetliche teil", Bernd asked his band mates. After some scratching of foreheads, rejected suggestions and sips on the n+xth pint Noel Minogue said "shores of loch gowna" … never found the tune under this name or under any other until Jeremy gave me the link to humours of loughrea. anyone knows this tune as "shores of loch gowna", too???
Humours of Loughrea
Here’s my transcription off the now infamous 1991 Gort session recording.
T: Humours Of Loughrea, The
T: Tommy Whelan’s
D: 1991 Gort Session recording
G3A BAA2|bgag edBA|G2 GA BAGB|ABAG EGDE|
~G3A BAA2|bgag egdB|[G3G,3]A BAGB|ABAG EGD2||
geeg fd B/c/d|geef gaba|geeg fd B/c/d|egfd e2 ef|
geeg fd B/c/d|geef gaba|~g3e a2 ge|dgbg edBA||
The Ballinakill Reel
This tune was played by Joey Doyle on "The Bloom of Youth" series in 2005 for rte radio. The show can be downloaded from www.rte.ie in the "radio" section. Kieran Hanrahan announced it as "The Ballinakill Reel". I’d say that this tune was quite popular in Galway. It is, after all, associated with Loughrea and has been recorded by Galway musicians, Paddy Carty and Sean Keane (on a Shaskeen album, he played this tune solo after Mama’s Pet). Maybe the Ballinakill Ceili Band recorded it, I’m not sure though. Still, it seems a feasible alternative title.
Also on Jack and Charlie Coen’s "The Branch Line" CD as Whelan’s. I believe the title refers to Tommy Whelan, who was the member of the Old Ballinakill Ceili Band. Loughrea is obviously in the parish of Ballinakill. Joe Burke, Vincent Broderick, and Patsy Tuohey are/were all from around the lovely town, which I’ve passed through on the way to Turoe Stone.
Listen to June McCormack’s beautiful flute playing of this tune: http://www.rte.ie/radio1/thebloomofyouth/rams/2006/24june.smil (starting around 55:20)
From The Bloom of Youth 2006: http://www.rte.ie/radio1/thebloomofyouth/1093333.html
Of course, this is the second tune of the set.
Cormac Breatnach & Martin Dunlea
Third tune @3:30, and one hell of a version at that.
Cormac and Martin…
Great add STW. Tasty playing as always from Cormac (and Martin). Love that he’s playing this on a B whistle (just picked one up)….
Once again Josephine Keegan has her own title for a tune; she calls this one Burke’s Choice (reel #45 in her 2004 tune collection A Drop in the Ocean).
Cormac Breatnach [again] & Nollaig ni Chathasaigh……
2nd reel, following on from "The Connaught Heifers".