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‘Old Dog Long Road, Volume 1’ – Journal of Music Review [2019-11-28]

Where It All Began

Andy Irvine

Where It All Began

Andy Irvine has recently released ‘Old Dog Long Road, Volume 1’, a two-disc retrospective containing live and private recordings dating from 1961 to 2012. Adrian Scahill reviews.

At this time of resurgence of interest and activity in folk music, with many young singers and bands carving out new identities within the genre, how fitting it is to hear a new collection from one of the true originators and provocateurs of the 1960s folk revival, the evergreen singer Andy Irvine. This double CD set comprises mainly solo live and demo recordings, spanning more than fifty years of music making. Some of the demos are home recordings made in preparation for more complex studio versions with other musicians; these are something akin to the artist’s sketchbook, and in a sense are more unmediated, intimate representations of Irvine’s art. The album and recording still arguably endures as the essential artistic statement of musicians in most genres, and any access to these embryonic stages in the creative process is welcome. The live tracks chart Irvine’s career as a performer, and include songs from the folk clubs of the 1970s, more recent material from the Lobby Bar in Cork, and recordings from his many tours abroad.

There is a certain homage here to one of Irvine’s oft-cited germinal influences, the American folk singer Woody Guthrie, in the imagery of the road; the sense of devotion to music and to the life of the folk singer; a cover photo that foregrounds Irvine as a live performer, and the prominence of the harmonica within that image. And indeed spread across the album are a set of songs that mine this heritage (songs of labour being a core part of this repertoire) and hark back to Irvine’s early experiences as a guitarist in skiffle, blues and American folk. These include the earliest recording here, ‘Truckin’ Little Baby’ (1961), a ragtime blues song learnt from Blind Boy Fuller, and Irvine’s youthful singing and guitar picking works hard at emulating the original. This was around the inception of the blues revival in Britain, but Irvine never swayed from the path broken by Guthrie, as attested to by the cover of Guthrie’s harmonica piece ‘Lost Train Blues’ (1971), and his song ‘Seamen Three’ (1981), with its characteristically political lines: ‘Shipped out to beat the fascists, Across the land and sea.’ Indeed Irvine has long championed the cause of the worker and others involved in struggles against the establishment, as also evidenced in the opening song, Si Kahn’s ‘Goodbye Monday Blues’, which documents the hardships endured by cotton mill workers in North Carolina.

Old-Dog-Long-Road

Close detail
But Irvine’s work has also been more than about just ‘singing the news’, and a second group of songs show off his skill in reinterpreting folksongs. A number of these have been imaginatively recreated from printed sources: the ill-fated ‘Lady Leroy’ comes from a 1910 folk music journal, and the ‘Kilgrain Hare’ and others come from the pages of the Sam Henry Collection. Others were learnt from some of the main sources for the singers of the folk revival period: ‘Sweet Lisbweenmore’ was sung by Cork singer Elizabeth Cronin; ‘Edward Connors’ is an emigration song from the repertoire of Eddie Butcher from Derry; and Leitrim singer Thomas Moran was the source for the unusual ‘Captain Thunderbolt’. Irvine also includes a number of his own compositions here, of which the most intriguing is the early ‘Dublin Lady’, written to a poem by American poet Patrick Carroll.

One of the great benefits of this set is that it mostly focuses on Irvine as a solo performer, allowing us to hear in close detail just how impressive a musician he is, both as an instrumentalist and as an interpreter of traditional songs. Listen to how Irvine’s mandolin weaves magical lines around the melody of ‘Captain Colston’, sometimes echoing the voice, sometimes punctuating the melody with horo-esque cross-rhythms, and always colouring and shaping the harmonies in unexpected ways. On the more sonorous ‘Green Grows the Laurel’, Irvine’s vocals take on a darker patina, allowing the bass bouzouki to enrich and intensify the duskier sound. Those enamoured of Irvine’s work with other musicians, and in particular the interlacing bouzouki and mandolin lines pioneered by him and Dónal Lunny, will revel in his acerbic composition ‘King Bore and the Sandman’.

Given the long period this retrospective covers, the sound quality understandably varies throughout, but this never distracts from the quality of the songs collected here. And while the historian in me was longing for a chronological ordering, the approach of mixing up the tracks does provide more contrast when listening through the two CDs. It’s a worthy document of Irvine’s prowess as a live performer, and invaluable for the light it throws on his less familiar material, and on the development of his sound and music across a long career. Perhaps best of all, it is encouragingly labelled as ‘Volume 1’, whetting the appetite for another journey down the long road.

Andy Irvine: Old Dog Long Road, Volume 1: 1961-2012 is available from www.andyirvine.com. Irvine will play the Purty Kitchen in Dún Laoghaire on 6 December and the Flowerfield Arts Centre in Portstewart on 7 Dec. In January and February he tours New Zealand, and next March he will perform a number of dates with Paul Brady in Ireland. For full details, visit www.andyirvine.com/gigs.

Published on 28 November 2019

Adrian Scahill is a lecturer in traditional music at Maynooth University.

 

source: journalofmusic.com

40 Years Ago Today

A note from Universal Music Ireland

Picture

Order Now: Between The Jigs And The Reels: A Retrospective CD+DVD or Download

For the first time ever…A complete retrospective of PLANXTY as chosen by the band, complete with a bonus DVD featuring over 2 hours of previously unreleased performances from the RTÉ Archives. The download features the Audio for the DVD tracks!

CD/DVD

Claddagh Records

Tower Records

Amazon.co.uk

Download (Includes Audio tracks from DVD)

Google Play Store

7digital Ireland

iTunes

Planxty compile new retrospective

Planxty compile new retrospective

Music/News: 05 Oct 2016, 10:25
Stuart Clark
Between The Jigs And Reels includes a treasure trove of rarities.

Christy Moore, Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny have personally assembled Planxty: Between The Jigs And Reels, A Retrospective.
Due on October 28, the CD/DVD package combines rare TV appearances and live sets with the pick of their studio recordings.
Arguably the most pioneering of all Irish trad outfits, their fan club includes Johnny Marr, Ed Sheeran and Doves’ Jim Goodwin.

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The full track-listing is:

1. True Love Knows No Season (Billy Gray)
2. Pat Reilly
3. Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór
4. Follow Me Up To Carlow
5. Băneasă’s Green Glade / Mominsko Horo
6. The Aconry Lasses / The Old Wheels Of The World / The Spike Island Lasses
7. The Pursuit Of Farmer Michael Hayes
8. Accidentals / Aragon Mill
9. The Irish Marche
10. The Rambling Siúler
11. The Well Below The Valley
12. Junior Crehan’s Favourite / Corney Is Coming (Reels)
13. Roger O’Hehir
14. Smeceno Horo
15. The West Coast Of Clare
16. Nancy Spain
17. Timedance

DVD:

1. The Blacksmith / Blacksmithereens
2. Three Drunken Maidens / The Foxhunter’s Reel
3. When First Unto This Country
4. Sweet Thames Flow Softly
5. The Gold Ring (Jig)
6. Hey! Sandy
7. Kitty Gone A Milking / Music Of The Forge (Reels)
8. Only Our Rivers Run Free
9. Raggle Taggle Gypsy / Tabhair Dom Do Lámh
10. Three Drunken Maidens / The Foxhunter’s Reel (Reprise)
11. The Good Ship Kangaroo
12. Ride A Mile / Hardiman The Fiddler / The Yellow Wattle (Jigs)
13. The Hackler From Grouse Hall
14. An Bonnán Buí / The West Wind (Reel)
15. The Jolly Beggar
16. Sally Brown
17. Bean Pháidín / Rakish Paddy
18. Little Musgrave
19. East At Glendart / Brian O’Lynn / Pay The Reckoning (Double Jigs)
20. The Lady On The Island / The Gatehouse Maid / The Virginia / Callaghan’s (Reels)
21. As I Roved Out
22. Smeceno Horo
23. Johnny Of Brady’s Lea
24. The Pullet / The Ladies’ Pantalettes (Reels)
25. I Pity The Poor Immigrant
26. Arthur McBride
27. True Love Knows No Season (Billy Gray)
28. Timedance
29. You Rambling Boys Of Pleasure
30. The Good Ship Kangaroo
31. Táimse Im’ Chodladh
32. Thousands Are Sailing
33. The Queen Of The Rushes / Paddy Fahy’s (Jigs)
34. Little Musgrave
35. The Scholar / The Chattering Magpie / Lord McDonald’s / The Virginia / Callaghan’s (Reels)
36. The Cliffs Of Dooneen

via hotpress.ie