In the first rushing, I
thought it was Doran who was playing! The style and 'dialect' are very
close to him and this was a reel greatly favoured by Johnny himself.
The version and harmony accompaniment are practically identical with
what he used to have, but Keenan's personal style is noticeable
throughout, especially in the tight fingering. As with Johnny, he is
gentle and skilled in his harmony accompaniment. I am familiar with
this reel as 'The Mountain Lark' (O'Neill No. 1244). "McLeod's Reel" is
well known, but here Paddy's piping is worth hearing and having to hand.
Drops of Brandy
Solo piping opens this one, in
the key of D. It rises a fourth later to G and banjo together with
whistle join in from there on. This is a lively, spirited track, a
perquisite of the 9/8 measure.
The Lark in the Strand
This is not a
commonlyheard jig and is played at his ease by Thomas on the
whistle; the warbling of the lark is heard-above the strand, presumably!
The Humours of Ballyconnell/Toss the Feathers
The fiddle blends beautifully
with the uileann pipes, but more perfectly so in the hand of two who
are skilled in harmonics, as can be heard from the two Paddys in this
track. The throb of the reel runs tidily and spiritedly with both. As a
reference to the second reel, it is not thus it is usually known,
though I would immediately recognize the high (or 2nd) part of it
despite its being played a full tone higher than customarily. In my
opinion two reels are confused here, but who knows? (-e.g., "The Green
Mountain" and "The inlaid Behind the Bar," "The Geese in the Bog" and
"The Lark's March," etc.). There is dialectical meaning in music as in
speech terminology and one man will play in agreement with his
companion in a duet. The first part here is a reel now named "Joe
Cooley's" but which I heard identified as "The Burra Reel."
Dunphy's Hornpipe/The High Level
This is a pleasant track of
piping at ease, showing ability and producing sweetness coupled with
skill. The third part in the "High Level" is as Doran had it, purposely
to show that as a tune it is not suited only to the buttonbox
originally, ff true!
Tarbolton/The Longford Collector
plentiful, but mastering in 'picking' is not very general. It is rare
here and also in America, what I heard of it. It would be a challenge
to any to 'pick' two reels with the effortless ability John has in this
track - a pair recorded by the Sligo super-fiddler Michael Coleman on a
'78 long ago.
Yet another version of the
tune of this compassioninspiring epic song. As with most versions,
it adheres to the Greek Hyperphyrgian mode: a mark of great antiquity,
undoubtedly. Whistle opens, the flute joins company and as a tasty
sequel Paddy takes it on the pipes, solo and tonefully rich.
Two Double Jigs:
Coppers and Brass /The Rambling Pitchfork
Paddy gives us here an insight
into Doran's way of playing double jigs, with the syncopation in his
harmony accompaniment but that it is Keenan himself with his own
musical taste and polish. The first tune is widely known as "The
Humours of Ennistymon" and this version of the "Pitchfork" is
alternating between the Dorian and Hyperdorian modes so much that one
cannot relegate it, though there are two versions extant, one in each
Long Dance or Set Dance:
The Ace and Deuce of Piping
As though they had decided
that nothing wonderful had been played or heard as yet, side two
commences with this 'stalwart' of music played by Paddy and John on
banjo in unison with him. Divers styles occur in the piping between .
legato and staccato with sweetness and rhythm accompaniment
outdoing each other while John is doing some mean picking with
accuracy and taste. A feature pleases me-this is the correct tempo of
the long dance as is that of the two tracks which follow, instead of
conforming with the slow turgidity desired by some of the dancing
schools of today.
Slow Air and Long Dance:
As was the custom of the old
pipers' Paddy plays the slow air from which the long dance was evolved
and continues from it into the long dance, itself, skillfully. He has a
nice pipingversion if it.
The Job of Journeywork
John carries cleverly on banjo
a pleasant version of this tune which is in great favour generally.
Farewell to Erin/The Youngest Daughter
This is a lighthearted
lively track in which piper Paddy is heard on the whistle. I take
notice of the long breath in imitation of the bag and piping on the
whistle where possible. I was not given a name for the second reel, but
it is a version of "The Youngest Daughter" (O'Neill 1217, where it is
noted a fourth lower).
Paddy Keenan's Jig
The piper gives us here a
melody he himself composed and plays ably. Far be it from me to praise
or criticize it as a piece but that I like it very much.
The Swallow's Tail
Thomas has this track, on the
whistle. It is a very unusual version of a well known reel and Thomas
is at his ease, playing it skillfully.
The Wild Irishman/The Sailor's Bonnet
As a novel enhancement, Paddy
starts this track on chanter only. He establishes the drones at the
start of Paddy Glackin's fiddling and full sail is up until John gives
the throb with banjo announcing the "Sailor." This is a very polished
track, it must be said.
Colonel Fraizer/My Love is in Amerikay
Here is a great track from the
piper alone. There are plenty off intricate legato runs, there is
rolling of sustained notes, varying of harmony accompaniment style,
apart from staccato piping or the "nipping out" of notes here and there
- as Johnny Doran used to have long ago, "showing off! This is
powerful, as a parting shot!