Goodbye, Paddy

Sad news yesterday with the death of Paddy Moloney, the founder of The Chieftains. He was 83.

I was woefully ignorant of traditional music until I moved to Winnipeg in 1980 and went to the Winnipeg Folk Festival for the first time. I never saw the Chieftans live, but their influence on folk and traditional music is immense.

One of my favorite Chieftains albums is one they did with Nancy Griffith and Roger Daltrey. The following is a video of the whole live performance at the Belfast Opera House in 1992. Do watch it all. It is magical. My favorite part is at the very end with Nancy singing “Ford Econoline”.

I remember hearing the story about Derrick Bell, the harpist, who was criticized by some classical musician colleagues for going off and joining “some tatty folk group” when he joined the Chieftains. So glad he did! We need more “tatty folk groups” like the Chieftains.

Ok, Baboons, let’s hear some of your favorite traditional music of Ireland and the British Isles. Why is it so appealing? Have you ever played the pipes?

75 thoughts on “Goodbye, Paddy”

  1. The Chieftains had a remarkable ability to work collaboratively with other artists including Mary Black, the Stones, Bonnie Raitt and Sinead O’ Conner. For a decade my favorite musicians were the Irish group from Donegal, Altan.

    My favorite Celtic artist is now Julie Fowlis. This video of ‘A’ phiuthrag ’sa phiuthar’ has been adorned with animation that reminds me of the Japanese movie, Spirited Away. With or without animation, Julie Fowlis is a treasure.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The Chieftains were simply fabulous. It may be easier to name the musicians they haven’t worked with than those that hey have. I have seen them live in concert twice, and was blown away both by their musicianship and their obvious joy of playing. One of my favorite albums is The Chieftains in China. This is one of the tracks from the album:

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Steve and I may disagree on many things, but we share an eclectic and abiding love of music. Glad to see you back on the trail, Steve. You didn’t weigh in on the trail Monday or yesterday, and I was concerned that you had overdone it at Molly’s house on Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Never the pipes but I did play the recorder for a little while while I was in high school. I don’t even remember what happened to my recorder. Probably Nonny packed it up and shipped it off to somewhere. I am feeling a little wistful today. It’s my last four hour day as tomorrow I start back to work full-time. It’s bittersweet because I do like my job and I could use the money right now but I think I am going to miss being able to knock off at noon and get on with real life as I like to think of it.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Funnily enough, I was only agreeing with Sandra about the haunting beauty of a lone piper, half an hour before reading today’s post. Her mother’s coffin was piped in at her funeral, maybe thirty years ago.
      I can’t get the Chieftain’s concert, but listened to part of PJ’s post.
      I believe this is the music that brought you all together, but with exceptions such as Joan Baez singing “Will ye go, Lassie?”, it’s not for me. I’d like to like Joan’s repertoire better, as I would Ray Charles, but I mostly just don’t.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Sherrilee, I don’t care what happened to my recorder. I’d get maybe the first two notes right, then tail off as everyone else played for a few seconds. I was so glad when we got a new teacher, and don’t remember any more about my music classes after that, thank god. Good luck with work. I like work, but not having to be there, and glad it’s over now.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s I was listening to Bert Jansch and John Renbourne individually and together in their work with the group Pentangle, which was performing some celtic folk music in a folk/jazz fusion. I saw Pentangle once at the old Guthrie and Bert and John separately at the Cedar Cultural Center.

    In about 1980, I was introduced to Silly Wizard and saw them perform about then at the Half Time Rec. I collected their albums and subsequently replaced them with CDs, which I still have. Members of Silly Wizard, Phil Cunningham and Andy M. Stewart, performed several times at the Cedar Cultural Center, Andy at least once with Manus Lunny and Phil by himself and once with Aly Bain. Magical evenings.

    Throughout the 80s and ‘90s, celtic music made up a dominant portion of my personal playlist—Silly Wizard, DeDannan, Altan, Tannahill Weavers, Mary Black, Delores Keane, Dougie McLean, Archie Fisher, Maura O’Connell and many others.

    I still have most of those recordings, but the ones by Phil Cunningham, with and without Aly Bain, are the ones I listen to most often.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I was going to mention Silly Wizard – a favorite song of theirs (I will admit because of an association with an ex-boyfriend) is “Queen of Argyll.” I saw Andy Stewart and Manus Lunny at the Cedar – memorable for Andy’s stories, his teasing of the very quiet Manus, and his amusement in knowing that people thought Manus was adorable by trying to convince the audience that Manus Lunny dolls were available at the merch table…

      Liked by 4 people

    1. The Ross Memorial Hospital, dedicated to the hospital staff that patched his hand back together again after an accident, is one such beautiful slow air from that same album:


  4. I am a Macalester alum – the sound of bagpipes are now enmeshed in my DNA (Scottish ancestry or no). I accidentally signed up for bagpipe band my freshman year, not realizing that my “interest” was a registration until midterms…oops. Never went. Clearly a missed opportunity, but at the time other things seemed more important – like getting my Russian homework done.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. …also years of working Renaissance Festival means there are lots of local favorites. I had friends who performed as Gallowglass Irish Trio. Some of what they performed was straight-up traditional, sometimes they would take traditional and turn it on its head (“Step it Out Mary” as reggae), and a handful were original pieces. One of the trio, Michael Matheny, passed away a few years ago – but Lojo and Ken Larson are still performing and continue to be delightful as musicians.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. OT: still busy, and keep falling asleep last thing (to me), while composing fascinating tracts for all y’all’s perusal.
    But you didn’t escape altogether:
    OT(1): Doris Troy, “Misty.”
    OT(2): Hated smells, PJ and Sherrilee, I agree, patchouli. It’s alleged that this is worn to convince us all that the wearer is the world’s number one stoner. I admit to reactionary prejudice here.
    Tim, sorry, I cannot stand the smell of marijuana, tobacco before or during smoking, in fact I cannot stand the smell, sight or thought of anything to do with that ridiculous invention, smoking. Don’t get me wrong, Angus and I are the only ones in my family never to have smoked.
    People start because it looks cool. Or something. Inexplicable. Some people apparently enjoy it. Weird.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have two dear friends who wear patchouli oil, still. I hate to admit it, but I try to avoid giving them hugs as the smell transfers to me. Ick.

      I don’t like the smell of tobacco or marijuana, either. And, after living in a smoke free environment for many years now, I’m terribly sensitive to the slightest whiff of the smoke from either.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We used to listen to a radio show at school, I think it was called “Singing together.” There was a songbook that probably came out every year to go with it, and we’d all sing along. I did like a lot of the songs, and as far as I recall, all of them were folk songs from the British Isles and Ireland, and it must be where I heard these songs for the first time.
    But then Angus became old enough to go by himself to the folk club. Remembering how it happened now. That show I heard in the fifties, up to 1962, was studious people, probably with glasses, earnestly putting together a serious, educational programme. Now, when Angus left school in 1964, and started conveniently buying pop records for the rest of us to treat as our own, he wasn’t far away from discovering his preferred brand of folk music, and within a year or two he dumped pop and joined the bunch of beer swilling idiots(in my exalted view)at the folk club, who were pushing “bawdiness” etc. Inuendo about getting girls down in the clover etc.
    Well it was aggravating to the rest of us. He suddenly had a licence to swear in the house! In the name of artistry! He could say a couple of words, actually a bit inocuous to the rest of us, which we, being younger, weren’t allowed to. And what still infuriates me the most, to this day, is, that Angus had always hated swearing. That is what we’d do to enrage him. Say terrible words, he’d go mad. We did it for years, and we loved it. And we weren’t allowed to do it in front of Mum and Dad. Now, suddenly, Angus had seemingly invented swearing, with his pathetic little words beginning with “b”, which no self respecting folk song could manage without any more, apparently. And he’d regale us with these horrible songs at any moment, with full parental blessing, and I’m going to get him for it yet.
    And, and! He gave me his Roy Orbison LP’s, OK, yes he did. Because he was above all that now. (Not his fault that I lent them to Brian Gregory just before he moved away). But he wouldn’t give me his Sandie Shaw LP’s, and that’s not reasonable. I bet he never played them again, in case somebody from the club was listening. And I’m almost certain he lost or gave them away very soon.
    So that’s folk music for me.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. HI-
    I got nothing for the Chieftains… don’t know their music at all.
    Never played the pipes either.

    Here’s an Irish group:

    And you know I dislike Christmas music so this one appeals to me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It will come as a surprise to no one, I’m sure, that I love Celtic music, though I didn’t exactly grow up with it. The Clancy Brothers and Brendan O’Dowda were pretty much the extent of Irish music I was exposed to as a kid, that and the sentimental Irish songs that mom and her brother. John, would sing to bring us all to tears. Such “classics” as I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen, It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, If you’re Irish Come Into the Parlor, and McNamara’s Band were my mother’s idea of Irish music. It wasn’t until I moved to St. Paul and began exploring the local music scene that I discovered the depth and breath of Celtic music. Unfortunately, husband does not share my enthusiasm, so I never play it when he’s at home. To him it all sounds the same. I have gone to lots of concerts alone or with friends over the years.

    Some of favorite Celtic bands, in addition to those already mentioned are: The Bothy Band, Planxty, The Battlefield Band, Capercaillie, and The Pogues. I love listening to The Thistle and the Shamrock on MPR.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Not all the traditional music of the British Isles is Celtic. John Roberts and Tony Barrand, who were relocated in the US and one or both working at Hampshire College, I think, were great performers of traditional British folk songs. Here’s an example:

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I made the mistake of inviting husband to a concert at the Cedar with Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick. He hated it even more than the Irish music I had exposed him to. What can I say? He’s just not into much of the music I love. There’s some overlap in our musical taste, but he just doesn’t see the charm of this.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I would have enjoyed Martin Carthy but I will confess there have been a couple of concerts I went to for Robin’s sake, about which I was unenthusiastic. I tried not to show it too much…

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Ten days in Ireland in 1984 with poet Robert Bly reading William Butler Yeats poems and storyteller Gioia Timpanelli teeing Dairmud & Grania stories with evenings in bars with locals playing faster and faster…then at home I had surgery and used the Cheiftains for my painkiller…sweet memories.

    Liked by 4 people

        1. I have a recorder, but really can’t play it. I would like to learn one or two very simple melodies. This song seems like it wouldn’t be terribly difficult, but I don’t know how to find the notes.


  12. I just want to give a shout out to the Celtic Junction Arts Center in St. Paul. They host all kinds of activities, including dance and music lessons, plus assorted concerts with visiting and/or local musicians. It’s a great medium sized venue that does a lot to nurture Celtic culture in the Twin Cities.

    I also want to mention that we have some very fine Irish musicians that live here and play in several groups, and are active in all sorts of endeavors. Celtic culture is very much alive here.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I was sorry to miss the discussion and Irish music yesterday busy day I know I’ve told my story about being in New Orleans by myself and going to an Irish bar and being told it was a $20 cover charge and I said who is playing there aren’t many people I’d be a $20 cover charge for they should tell me make them and I should but he’s one of them and I got to sit about 20 feet from Tommy make them and enjoy them for the evening
    The Clancy brothers and Tommy make them are the old hard course that I enjoy

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I got to see the chieftains play I’m thinking it was at the Orpheum of the state downtown Minneapolis and it happened that they were playing on my birthday and I found out that they were coming early enough that I was able to order tickets and get really good seats about 10th row center which is where I like to be the music was glorious and they were in perfect form

    As for the pipes I’m very partial to the helium pipes which are similar to the bagpipes but instead of blowing to fill the bags you have an air bellows under your arm that you pump to play the pipes and when I was in Ireland I wasn’t aware of what I was watching for a while and was surprised that I thought I could hear the pipes playing without the guy blowing into fill the bag and it took me a while and a couple of pints to realize the player was actually playing without blowing into it

    They’re a little bit expensive or I would have a set I hope to have a set to learn on
    it’s an item on my bucket list

    Liked by 2 people

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