Tradition Club Session: 18th July 1973

Play recording: Tradition Club Session: 18th July 1973

Níor foilsíodh an taifeadadh áirid seo go poiblí roimhe seo. Éacht atá ann do na Cartlanna dá réir sin, is muid an-bhródúil as. Ba thráthúil muid a bheith in ann é a fhoilsiú anseo Dé Céadaoin 18 Mí Iúil 2018 — cothrom an lae, ceathracha is a cúig bliain ó rinneadh é; agus gar go leor go cothrom na huaire. Ach an chomhtharlúint ba mhó b’fhéidir: nach Céadaoin a bhí ann ar an 18 Mí Iúil 1973 freisin?

An seisiún ar fad atá sa taifeadadh seo; timpeall uair ⁊ ceathrú. Tosaíonn amhráin Joe ag: 00:14:11 (One Morning in June), 00:17:45 (An Buinneán Buí), 00:22:22 (Johnny is the Fairest Man), 00:53:22 (Seven Drunken Nights), 00:58:33 (The Seven Irishmen), 01:04:25 (Casadh an tSúgáin), 01:08:28 (Boys From Home) agus 01:12:01 (Cúnnla).

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  • Teideal (Title): Tradition Club Session: 18th July 1973.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): none.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Karl Partridge, County Down, Northern Ireland.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): Irish and English.
  • Catagóir (Category): song, music.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney, Peter Browne, Kevin Conneff, John Kelly, Joe Ryan, Seán Cannon.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Karl Partridge, Frank Jeale.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 18/07/1973.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): Tradition Club, Slattery’s, Capel Street, Dublin 1, Ireland. [Eircode: D01 YN83]
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): traditional music session.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Athchóiriú digiteach (Digital restoration): Míċeál Ó Loċlainn.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): © Karl Partridge. All rights reserved.
  • Stádas chóipcheart ábhair bhreise (Additional material copyright status): Datasheet © Karl Partridge. All rights reserved.

Original metadata recorded by Karl Partridge

Original datasheet


Metadata sheet for the Tradition Club, Slattery’s, Capel Street, Dublin 1, on 18th July 1973.
Karl’s handwritten metadata record.

General technical metadata

Transcribed from Karl’s datasheet.

  • Tape type: BASF C90 cassette tape
  • Length: C90
  • Condition: good
  • Tape no: F20
  • Source: Recorded live by Karl Partridge (N Ireland)
  • Date: 18 July 1973
  • Location: Tradition Club Slattery[’]s of Capel Street, Dublin
  • End side A: 45:27
  • End of recording [End side B]: 31:38

Tracks: tunes and songs

Again, transcribed from the original datasheet. But note that in this transcription, start times are given for both the original tape recording and the digitised version available in the player.

Track Start [tape] [Start player] Artist County / Town Instrument Tune or song type Title
Track Start [tape] [Start player] Artist County / Town Instrument Tune or song type Title
Side A
1 00:00 [00:00:00] Peter Browne / Kevin Conneff Dublin / Dublin Tin Whistle / Bodhrán Kevin Conneff [sic] Reels Green Groves of Éireann / Clogher Reel
2 01:54 [00:01:51] Peter Browne / Kevin Conneff Dublin / Dublin Tin Whistle / Bodhrán Jig The Pipe on the Hob
3 03:32 [00:03:30] Peter Browne Dublin Uilleann Pipes Jig Gillian[’]s Apples
4 05:44 [00:05:40] Peter Browne Dublin Uilleann Pipes Reels The Old Bush / Hardy’s Reel or Ravelled Hank Yarn
5 08:30 [00:08:22] Peter Browne Dublin Uilleann Pipes Jig Old Hag [Y]ou [H]ave [K]illed [M]e
6 10:36 [00:10:28] Peter Browne Dublin Uilleann Pipes Reel Pinch of Snuff
7 13:12 [00:12:51] Peter Browne Dublin Uilleann Pipes Slip Jig The Dusty Miller
8 19:30 [00:14:11] Seosamh Ó Héanaí [sic] Carna, Gaillimh & SAM Vocals Song (macaronic) One Morning in June
9 18:08 [00:17:45] Seosamh Ó Héanaí [sic] Carna, Galway Vocals Song (Irish) An Buinneán Buí
10 22:44 [00:22:22] Seosamh Ó Héanaí [sic] Carna, Galway Vocals Song (English) Johnny is the Fairest Man
11 27:10 [00:26:50] John Kelly [/] Joe Ryan Clare & Dublin [/] Clare Fiddles Reels Sligo Maid
12 29:29 [00:28:54] John Kelly [/] Joe Ryan Clare & Dublin [/] Clare Fiddles Hornpipe Cronin’s Hornpipe
13 31:45 [00:31:02] John Kelly [/] Joe Ryan Clare & Dublin [/] Clare Fiddles Hornpipe Ace & Deuce of Piping
14 32:35 [00:32:00] John Kelly [/] Joe Ryan Clare & Dublin [/] Clare Fiddles Jig Geese in the Bog
15 33:51 [00:33:08] Seán Cannon (Dubliners) Galway / UK Vocals Song (English) Ned of the Hill (Éamon an [C]hnoic)
16 36:41 [00:36:01] Seán Cannon (Dubliners) Galway / UK Vocals Song (English) South Wind
17 39:47 [00:39:06] Seán Cannon (Dubliners) Galway / UK Vocals Song (English) Waterford Boys
18 42:20 [00:41:38] Peter Browne / Kevin Conneff Dublin / Dublin Uilleann Pipes / Bodhrán Reel Drowsy Maggie
19 43:34 [00:42:55] Peter Browne / Kevin Conneff Dublin / Dublin Tin Whistle / Bodhrán Reel Miss Crawford[’]s Reel
Side B
1 00:00 [00:44:44] Peter Browne Dublin Uilleann Pipes Jig The Gold Ring
2 03:36 [00:48:19] Peter Browne Dublin Uilleann Pipes Reels First House in Connacht / Copperplate
3 05:58 [00:50:40] Peter Browne Dublin Uilleann Pipes Reel Jenny’s Welcome to Charlie
4 08:39 [00:53:22] Seosamh Ó Héanaí [sic] Carna, Galway Vocals Song (English) Seven Drunken Nights
5 13:50 [00:58:33] Seosamh Ó Héanaí [sic] Carna, Galway Vocals Song (English) The Seven Irishmen
6 19:44 [01:04:25] Seosamh Ó Héanaí [sic] Carna, Galway Vocals Song (Irish) Casadh an tSúgáin
7 23:45 [01:08:28] Seosamh Ó Héanaí [sic] Carna, Galway Vocals Song (English) Boys, From Home [sic]
8 27:22 [01:12:01] Seosamh Ó Héanaí [sic] Carna, Galway Vocals Song (macaronic) Cúnnla [sic]
9 30:51 [01:15:45] Ceoltóirí éagsúla [no data recorded] General session Reel Boy in the Gap

Notes

By Míċeál Ó Loċlainn

Background

As indicated in the recording details, this material was kindly made available to Cartlanna Sheosaimh Uí Éanaí by Doctor Karl Partridge of County Down. Karl told us:

I used to be a regular attendee at those Tradition Club sessions while I was at Trinity [College Dublin] and I made a lot of recordings, some of which have been submitted to the ITMA†. I remember recording Seán Ó Conaire‡ on one occasion… this was the only one of Joe.

Karl also mentioned the indirect role played by Doctor Frank Jeal — the man with the green accordion — in the creation of this and other recordings made at The Tradition Club:

It was my former lecturer in Trinity (Dr Frank Jeal) that got me interested in traditional music and I used to go to Slattery’s with him while at college. Sadly he died last year [2017]… his obituary was published in the Irish Times.

†At time of writing, it would appear that it’s not possible to link directly to a listing of these items on the ITMA’s main website. However, a search for “Karl Partridge Collection” (including the double-inverted commas) at itmacatalogues.ie seems to do the trick.

‡This is the Seán Ó Conaire who was nicknamed ‘007’. The Irish surname ‘Ó Conaire’ is frequently anglicised as ‘Conroy’, certainly in Joe Heaney’s native district, but often enough it’s also rendered ‘Connery’. For readers interested in sean-nós singing elsewhere in Ireland, a song about three brothers of that name, Na Conneries features prominently in the tradition of Na Déise (County Waterford). An excellent native rendition by Nioclás Tóibín, taken from the album Amhráin Aneas, can be found on YouTube.

Compare and contrast: other recordings of Joe’s songs

Most of the songs sung by Joe at this Tradition Club session were part of his main repertoire and at least one recording of each is already present elswhere in the Cartlanna. However, it’s worth noting that this one pre-dates most of the other recordings we have here by at least five years — with the notable exception of one which it post-dates by well over a quarter of a century! This is important, as it showcases a singing voice that’s five to ten years younger than the one that predominates in these archives.

Perhaps more importantly though, this recording is one of the few we have in the Cartlanna of a performance given by Joe in Ireland. Not to find fault with the others of course — far from it — but most of them were given abroad, in teaching environments, to students who weren’t Irish and who had no native understandings of the material or the cultural continua from which it emerged. Like many a good performer — and teacher — Joe would, to some degree or other, have pitched his presentation according to the audience in front of him. At the Tradition Club, he would have been conscious of the fact that there were culturally-aware, critically-attentive listeners in the audience, and singers and musicians of comparable stature beside him ‘on stage’. The imperative wasn’t to explain and interperate the material but to perform it to the expected standard, which in his case was very high indeed. He’s not quite on home turf in this recording, being in Dublin rather than Iorras Aithneach. He’s not even in the Gaeltacht. So he’s not among his immediate cultural, musical and linguistic peers. But he’s near enough — and he wasn’t going to let himself or his tradition down.

For these reasons, this Tradition Club recording is a unique and especially significant addition to the Cartlanna. The following may be of help to readers wishing to explore similarities and differences for themselves.

One Morning in June
Cynthia Thiessen recorded a performance of this song by Joe during a day class at University of Washington, United States of America, on 6th March 1978.
An Buinneán Buí
There are no less than three other recordings in the Cartlanna of Joe singing this song.
The first of these, in Irish, was recorded by Joan Rabinowitz in Seattle, Washington, United States of America, for a radio programme which is believed to have been broadcast on 10th October 1984; some five months after Joe’s death.
The second, in English, was also recorded by Rabinowitz on 10th June the previous year, at the Seabold Community Center, Bainbridge Island, Washington, United States of America.
And the third, again in English, was recorded by Jill Linzee at University of Washington, United States of America, at some point between 1982 and 1984.
Also, see further discussion, below.
Johnny is the Fairest Man
Sonia Tamar Seeman recorded Joe singing this at some point during 1983. This is significant in that Joe died on May Day 1984, meaning that the recording was made toward the end of his life.
On this evening at the Tradition Club, Joe introduced the song as The Verdant Braes of Skreen. As Karl Partridge points out, [it] was collected by Cecil Sharp in the 1800s and goes by various names. As is to be expected with a song of this antiquity, considerable lyrical variety has also evolved: see discussion at Mudcat and Mainly Norfolk.
Seven Drunken Nights
Joe sang this at a workshop in University of Washington on 1st March 1978. It was collected by Esther Warkov.
The Cartlanna also include a recording of Joe singing Peigín is Peadar, which has textual similarities to Seven Drunken Nights.
The Seven Irishmen
Séamas Ennis recorded Joe singing this in 1942.
So as to Joe’s claim at The Tradition Club that he’d never sung it before, it may be that in the thirty-one year interim he really hadn’t and that he’d genuinely forgotten that there was a time when he had. (After all, how many wide-repertoire singers in 2018 are likely to still remember exactly what songs they did and didn’t sing in 1987?) Or it might an example of stagecraft; of his occasional tendency to ‘embellish’ the truth if he thinks it’ll add to the audience’s enjoyment.
Casadh an tSúgáin
Discussed and sung for an unknown collector in November 1983.
Sung at a concert and recorded by Gerald Shannon. Location and date unknown.
Boys From Home
Joe sang this for Lucy Simpson, and discussed its place in the repertoire of Carna, his native area, in June 1980.
Cúnnla
(Also spelt Connla, Cónnla, ⁊ɼl…)
This version was recorded at the Sydney Opera House by Warren Fahy in 1981.
And this one, part of the Máire Mhic Fhinn Collection, was recorded by Liam Clancy. Recording location and date unknown.

One Morning in June, Casadh an tSúgáin, Cúnnla and Peigín is Peadar can be found on the album Traditional Irish Songs in Gaelic and English (Topic Records Ltd., 1963; 12T91). The album is available in iTunes.

An Buinneán Buí

For readers not familiar with the song, the buinneán buí (also bonnán buí) is a species of bird. However, there’s scope for confusion as to what that species actually is. The name ‘yellow bittern’ derives from the translation into English of buinneán buí. It was used by Joe himself when he was speaking English and continues to have currency in general usage within Ireland. However, the correct formal English name for this bird is ‘Bittern’ or (in the recently revised world list of bird names) ‘Eurasian Bittern’. Since there are Joe Heaney and sean-nós fans elsewhere in the world, it may do no harm to give a brief clarification.

Gordon d’Arcy’s book, Ireland’s Lost Birds (Four Courts Press, 2000), tells us that the buinneán buí was once common in Ireland — certainly during the time of Cathal Buí Mac Ghiolla Ghunna, the author of the poem which lends the song its lyrics — but had almost entirely disappeared from there by the start of the twentieth century. (D’Arcy also points out that the bird is very susceptible to cold winters and actually references the poem in this regard.)

The confusion arises from sources that state that the ‘yellow bittern’ is only found in the far-east. Fortunately, ornithology is one of Karl Partridge’s professional specialities, so we asked him to explain the apparent contradiction:

The Bittern or Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris is a member of the Heron, Stork and Ibis group of birds (Order: Ciconiiformes). These are large or medium sized wading birds with long legs, neck and bill. The Bittern breeds only in extensive Phragmites reedbeds. It is buff-brown — or ginger-brown from a distance — which is probably why in Irish it was called the ‘Yellow Bittern’… (The Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis is, in fact, a different species found in Asia and the Indian sub-continent.)

David Cabot (1999). Ireland, a Natural History. New Naturalist Series. HarperCollins. States that …the great fen reed beds in the Central Plain and elsewhere in Ireland once echoed the booming bittern, extinct as a breeding species since the 1840s. Drainage and shooting were the main reasons for its extinction. Today it occurs only as a scarce vagrant, mostly in winter months, but there is hope that with the current expansion of the British population it will someday recolonise Ireland.

The bittern is included in a List of Irish Names of Birds prepared by Seán Mac Giollarnáth, M.R.I.A included in Kennedy, P.G., Ruttledge R.F. and Scroope C.F. 1954. The Birds of Ireland. Oliver and Boyd.

The entry reads: Bittern, Common: Bunnán buidhe, bunnán léana. [These spellings pre-date the standardisation of the late 1940s].

Digital restoration

The recording, as presented here in the Cartlanna, has undergone a moderate digital restoration in which each track was separated-out and cleaned-up individually; just enough to improve listenability but without removing the ‘recorded live’ atmosphere and feel.

  • Analogue tape hiss was attenuated.
  • The volume was raised.
  • Minor adjustments were made to the base and treble.
  • Sections of ambient sound between the actual songs and tunes were removed.
  • As were some of the more obtrusive clicks and rumbles of the kind that are usually found in these sorts of recordings.
    • (The removal of these sections is the reason Karl’s original time codes don’t apply to the digitised version.)
  • A gap in one of the stereo channels on Side B of the tape was filled.

To preserve authenticity, sundry shushes have been left exactly where they were!

The Tradition Club

Interested readers can find further information on The Tradition Club on the Web. The Tradition Club of Dublin website and Facebook page, and this article at An Góilín may be good starting points.

Meanwhile in 1973

Other events on, near or around the Irish traditional music scene:

  • Willie Clancy died on 24th January.
  • Dónal Joseph O’Sullivan died on 15th April.
  • The Dubliners released Plain and Simple. (Side 2, track 4: Skibbereen.)
  • Horslips released The Táin.
  • Planxty released Planxty.
  • Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann took place in Listowel.
  • The Sydney Opera House was opened. (Joe performed there three years later)
  • Thin Lizzy got to number one with Whiskey in the Jar.
  • And Little Jimmy Ozmond followed them with Long Haired Lover from Liverpool

Elsewhere:

  • Éamon de Valera left the office of President of Ireland.
  • Erskine Childers was elected to succeed him.
  • Liam Cosgrave became Taoiseach.
  • 27,000 Irish households had a colour TV.
  • Cork brought home Sam.
  • Limerick brought home Liam.
    • Which, by another 45 year co-incidence, they didn’t do again until 2018!
  • Ireland joined the Common Market.
  • And so did the United Kingdom