Seoda Ceoil 1&2
Gael Linn CEFCD 203
CD One: 1. Willie Clancy (Uilleann Pipes): Old Hag, you have Killed me/Old Tipperary (Jigs); 2. Willie Clancy (Uilleann Pipes): The Boy in the Gap/ Scan Reid's Fancy (Reels); 3. Willie Clancy (Uilleann Pipes): The Bold Trainer O (Slow Air); 4. Willie Clancy (Uilleann Pipes): Garrai na Saileog (/Jig); 5. Sean 6 Conaire (Song): An Cumann Gearr; 6. John Kelly (Concertina): The Old Concertina Reel/Tom Keane's Reel; 7. John Kelly (Concertina): John Kelly's Jig; 8. John Kelly (Concertina): The Tinker's Wife/The Flogging Reel (Reels); 9. John Kelly (Fiddle): Bímis ag Ól / Patsy Geary's Jig (Jigs); 10. John Kelly (Fiddle): The Moveen Reel/Mary Delany's (Reels); 11. John Kelly (Fiddle): The Humours of Carrigaholt (Reel); 12. John Kelly (Fiddle): Mikey Callaghan's Jig; 13. John Kelly (Fiddle): Caher Rua (Reel); 14. John Kelly (Fiddle): The Cabin Hunter/Delia Crowley's Reel (Reels); 15. Sean Ó Conaire (Song): Ceann gan Árann; 16. Willie Clancy (Tin Whistle): Jim Ward's/Strop the Razor (Jigs); 17. Willie Clancy (Tin Whistle): The Jolly Banger/The Ravelled Hank of Yarn (Reels); 18. Willie Clancy (Uilleann Pipes): The Humours of Derrykrosane/Hardiman the Fiddler (Slip Jigs); 19. Willie Clancy (Uilleann Pipes): Fraher's Jig.The blurb says:
CD Two: 1. Séamus Ennis (Uilleann Pipes): O'Callaghan's Hornpipe; 2. Seán Keane (Fiddle): The Oak Tree (Reel); 3. Seosamh Ó hÉanai: Amhrán na Páise (Song) ; 4. Séamus Ennis (Uilleann Pipes): Miss Monaghan/The Flags of Dublin/Hand Me Down the Tackle (Reels); 5. J J Gannon (Accordion): James Gannon's Jig/The Castlebar Races (Double Jigs); 6. Seosamh Ó hÉanai (Song): D'éirigh mé ar Maidin (Siobhán Ní Dhuibhir); 7. Seán Keane (Fiddle): Jennie's Welcome to Charlie/The Connaught Heifer (Reels); 8. Seán Keane (Fiddle): The Wind that Shakes the Barley/Drowsy Maggie (Reels); 9. Séamus Ennis (/Uilleann Pipes): Cronan na Malhar (Air)/Fr. Jack Walshe (Double Jig); 10. Seosamh Ó hÉanai (Song): A Chailin Bhig na Luachra; 11. J J Cannon (Accordion): The Green Gates/ Miss Thornton (Reels); 12. Seán Keane (Fiddle): Willie Clancy's Fancy/Garrett Barrett's Fancy (Double Jigs); 13. Séamus Ennis (Uilleann Pipes): Colonel Fraser/The Braes of Busby (Reels); 14. J J Cannon (Accordion): Tom Moran's Fancy/The Streamstown Jig (Single Jigs); 15. Séamus Ennis (Uilleann Pipes): O'Keeffe's Plough/The Merry Blacksmith/The Music of the Forge (Reels).
The two CDs give us a glimpse of the pure style of traditional music as played by the masters in 1968-9. County, local, and individual styles and tunes are given pride of place. Unavailable for many years, the recordings have been digitally remastered and are now presented in CD format for the first time. The two volumes were part of a larger project which envisaged a total of eight volumes but only these two were ever produced.
My first thought was that something had gone seriously wrong with my new speakers, my expensive CD player, or my poor old ears! Honestly, I had to listen to a different sound source, and play another CD, before I could truly believe that these 21st century CDs had been released in this state. The sound throughout is truly appalling! And I'm sorry to say that quite a lot of the music is not that much better.
CD no.1 starts with four tracks from Willie Clancy, and ends with another, and I have to say that I've heard him in much better form elsewhere. His Bold Trainer O and Garraí na Saíleog are pretty good, but the other tracks don't really pass muster. And Seán Ó Conaire isn't a fabulous singer. John Kelly is far more to my liking, both on concertina and fiddle.
CD no.2 is mastered at a much higher level than the first one, so the sound is even worse! This is a shame, as this is where many of the better performances are to be found. Seosamh Ó hÉanai (AKA Joe Heaney) is superb, and because his voice doesn't contain too many high frequencies, sounds fairly good here. John Joe Gannon's accordion has that ultra-musette voicing that I suppose people thought was really neat back in the '60s ... but tastes have changed. The instrument sounds dreadful with this horrible sound, although his playing is fine. Séamus Ennis plays in his usual brilliantly quirky way, but the beautiful sound of his flat set is all but inaudible. Seán Keane seems to be on fine form - such a shame it's so unpleasant to listen to.
And to put the final nail in the coffin, we get 83 minutes of music on a pair of CDs ... that means that 77 potential minutes are blank. Any other publisher would have left out the weakest track and released the rest on a single disc. Once again, Gael Linn, this really isn't good enough!
Rod Stradling - 24.6.13
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