Reels: Paddy Fahy's/Paddy O'Brien's —
Paddy Fahy originally composed this reel in the key of C. Joe Burke transposed it to A major, the key in which most musicians play it. Mary McDonagh, a New York box player, learned the 2nd tune from Paddy O'Brien of Tipperary and introduced it to the musicians here in the United States.
Song: The Shipyard Apprentice —
As a former apprentice, I was naturally attracted to this song about the tradition of shipbuilding on Clydeside. It was originally written by Archie Fisher, Norman Buchan, M.P., and Bobby Campbell for a B.B.C. radio series called "Landmarks". I learned it from the singing of Ray Fisher.
Hornpipes: The Quilty/Sault's —
Charlie Mulvihill and Paddy Reynolds recorded this first tune under the same title. It can be found in O'Neill's entitled The Mountain Top. The second tune is in O'Neill's as well, but the setting is Brendan Mulvihill's. Both pieces are quite difficult because of the key signatures (Bb and F major), which may explain their rarity.
Michael O'Connor —
This beautiful composition of O'Carolan's is found in Donal O'Sullivan's book THE LIFE AND TIMES OF AN IRISH HARPER. This piece, written in the Italian style, is remarkably similar to a sonata in Geminiani's Opus 5 for cello.
Song: Paddy's Lamentation —
Due to the failure of the potato crop and subsequent famine in the 1840s, many thousands were forced to emigrate to America in search of a better life. Many of these ended up as conscripts in a civil war that they didn't understand. I learned this from the singing of Paul Brady and from the PENGUIN BOOK OF CANADIAN FOLK SONGS.
Festus Burke —
This O'Carolan piece comes directly from O'Neill's. We like it very much.
Reels: The Yellow Tinker/The Sally Gardens —
This classic pairing was first recorded in 1953 by Paddy O'Brien, who went on to inspire a whole generation of B-C box players. Billy learned this setting from his friend and teacher Seán McGlynn, and wishes to dedicate this track to Seán's memory.
Song: A Lady Fair —
I first heard this song sung by a friend of mine, Dan Milner, of New York. Some years later I heard it sung to a different melody by Donal Maguire of Drogheda, County Louth, now living in Haslingden, Lancashire, England. It is his melody that I use here.
Jigs: Happy Days/Flight of Wild Geese —
We're delighted to present this first tune to followers and collectors of Irish music, and we're grateful to Billy Greenall, who gave us the only surviving manuscript of it. Larry Redi-can, a great player and composer who emigrated here from Dublin in the '20s wrote Happy Days. He remained a leading figure in traditional music until his death here in 1974. Flight of Wild Geese, one of the many beautiful tunes written by Ed Reavy, can be found in WHERE THE SHANNON RISES. Ed Reavy's massive contribution to Irish music will be pondered, studied and appreciated for many generations to come.
Song: The Wild Rover —
This a lesser-known version of the old favorite sing-along. I learned it from the singing of Seán Corcoran from Drogheda, County Louth.
Reels: Lad O'Beirne's/The Small Hills of Offaly —
Lad O'Beirne lived in New York and had tremendous influence on the music and musicians that flourished there from the '20s through the '70s. This first tune has recently enjoyed a rebirth, especially among New York musicians. Paddy O'Brien, currently living in St. Paul, Minnesota, composed the second tune in honor of his native county. Up Offaly!
A note of deep and loving gratitude to The Irish Tradition. You have taught me how to listen, how to feel how to love and now to serve the music we share. You have helped me keep it in perspective, As friends, your support has kept me going at times when I wondered if I could. As players you have given me a musical standard, and as friends a personal inspiration. As much as any of us who work here, you have helped Green Linnet to continue to nourish. Brendan, Billy, Andy — thank you for being who and what you are.