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IRTRAD-L  June 2009

IRTRAD-L June 2009

Subject:

Re: The Bellharbour Reel ?(was New Town Bridge (reel) ABC)

From:

Blarney Star <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Irish Traditional Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 24 Jun 2009 06:12:53 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (93 lines)

Philippe's nickel's worth sounds very reasonable to me.  As we've spent so much time on this topic, I will definitely have to ask Martin Mulhaire for his story next time I see him (and Chris Droney if he comes back for another visit).  I've only seen a copy of his 78 of "O'Brien's Reel," and have never heard it. And my only copy of The Flowing Tide LP is a cassette I bootlegged thirty years ago, so I couldn't see what was in the sleeve notes. If those notes didn't credit Droney as the composer, but Jardine did, I would suspect that Jardine did so because he spoke to Droney directly, as he did to many of the composers he wrote about.
I didn't realize there were six bonus Droney tracks on The Clare Set, but as I have all the original recordings (or tapes of same), I'll have to weigh how much I want to spend on six CD's to get six new tracks!

> Date: Wed, 24 Jun 2009 00:37:56 -0400
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: The Bellharbour Reel ?(was New Town Bridge (reel) ABC)
> To: [log in to unmask]
> 
> At 08:02 AM 6/23/2009 -0400, Don Meade wrote:
>>Thanks Alan, but  a 1949 recording date does not make it impossible for 
>>Chris Droney, who would have been 23 or 24 at the time, to have composed 
>>the "Bellharbour Reel" that is on The Flowing Tide (i.e., your no. 635). 
>>Many composers are at their most prolific at that age (Martin Mulhaire 
>>would be a good example).
> 
> 
> As some of you may know, Chris Droney's 1975 Topic album "The Flowing Tide" 
> was recently re-released on CD, with six additional tracks, and the 
> original sleeve notes, as part of the "Clare Set" 6-CD box set.
> 
> "The Bellharbour Reel" (# 635 in Alan Ng's index, and the one I have known 
> under that title for as long as I have been playing this music) is the very 
> first tune on the album. Interestingly enough, the tune is mentioned in 
> Neil Wayne's original notes, but not to acknowledge Droney's authorship. 
> Rather, it says: [Droney's style] can be an intense, driving style--notably 
> on reels like "The Bellharbour" (his father's favourite) [...]"
> 
> Also of interest is the fact that Alan's other tune, # 3018, is also on 
> that album (track 4, # 2) as "Chris Droney's Favourite," and played in A 
> Dorian, therefore in the *same tonality* and under the *same title* as the 
> printed versions in Martin Mulvihill's book and in Bulmer-Sharpley Vol. 4. 
> Alan, I submit that this should be the title used for the tune in your 
> index. By the way, this particular tune is not included in Stephen 
> Jardine's thesis, "The Bellharbour Reel" is the only tune credited to Chris 
> Droney there.
> 
> Coming back to the "Bellharbour Reel" (# 635), Stephen Jardine writes that 
> Chris Droney (born 1925) started composing at about 30 years of age (ca 
> 1955). According to my index, the first recordings of the tune are:
> - Martin Mulhaire, on a Dublin 78 (late 1950s?), as "O'Brien's Reel"
> - the Leitrim Ceili Band, Dublin LP ca 1960, as "The Rough Road"
> - the Assaroe Ceili Band, on Avoca LP (ca 1965?), as "O'Brien's"
> - Tom Cawley, private recording reproduced on "The Coleman Archive Vol. 1," 
> date in question, as "Doocastle"
> 
> Martin Mulhaire came to the US with the Tulla Ceili Band in 1958. The 
> famous LPs released on the Dublin label (Canny-Hayes, Kilfenora, Tulla) 
> were made around that time, and I am pretty certain that, although the 
> medium was on its last leg in the US, the 78s were made then too.
> 
> Stephen Jardine mentions that Chris Droney was playing with the Bellharbour 
> Ceili Band in the 1950s and 1960s and that "The Bellharbour Reel" was 
> played by the band. So the presence of the tune on other ceili band 
> recordings from that period may be significant--the assumption being that 
> someone from another band would have heard the tune from Chris and his 
> band, possibly at a competition.
> 
> Now, Alan Ng dates the Tom Cawley recording from 1949, but that date 
> doesn't appear anywhere on "The Coleman Archives Vol. 1." The notes only 
> say the recording was made privately in the US in the 1940s, a very 
> suspicious wording which makes me think that most likely there was no 
> precise record of when the recording was made, and the source could have as 
> well said the 1950s... Considering the history and availability of the 
> technology to make such recordings, the later date is in fact more 
> probable. Curiously, though, my information is that Tom Cawley, who 
> recorded some 78s in the 1920s, passed away in 1945, but I'm not certain 
> that the date is correct.
> 
> In my mind, the most likely scenario is that Droney did compose the tune in 
> the mid 1950s, the tune started circulating in Co. Clare thanks to the 
> ceili band, and was picked up by Martin Mulhaire who thought it might be a 
> Paddy O'Brien tune. Incidentally, Paddy O'Brien played with several ceili 
> bands, including the Tulla (1949-1952) and the New York (1954-1962), during 
> that same period, and may have been the one who picked it up and whom 
> Mulhaire heard play the tune. But the Tom Cawley recording remains a bit of 
> a mystery.
> 
> So here's my two... well, more like five cents, to add to the general 
> confusion. I'll be curious to see if more solid, actual facts come to light.
> 
> P.S.: I think it has been mentioned before that there is a Paddy O'Brien 
> composition called "Newtown Bridge," but it's a double jig (see the CD by 
> that title recorded by Paddy's daughter, fiddle player Eileen O'Brien).
> 
> 
> Philippe Varlet
> Hard-to-find imported Irish CDs
> [log in to unmask]
> http://www.celticgrooves.com

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