View Full Version : Wolfe Tones/Clancy Brothers

Dec-08-2005, 9:54pm
I love this website. I have been playing for about a month...just getting familiar with picking...you guys all know the routine...anyway, IM in a band(the singer,actually), and we play trad Irish tunes, not reels and jigs, but rebel/drinking songs. How do you guys recommend accompanying my band? Picking notes, strummingchords? Im just looking for direction I suppose. I listen to the Wolfe Tones Cds regularly and to me it does not sound like chords...I hope you guys can understand what IM getting at!

Dec-09-2005, 5:54am
I'm really looking forward to see what people will reply. The last time I asked about this most people said that the mandolin is not much used to accompany Irish music but if you're in a band, you decide, it's different than when you're in a session.

Dec-09-2005, 6:36am
Sorry to hijack the thread, but do you play the Wolfe Tones song 'Twice Daily' by any chance?

Dec-09-2005, 9:55am
What are the other instruments in your band?

Dec-09-2005, 10:13am
Your band plays what I call Irish Folk (pub songs), not Irish Traditional (jigs, reels). I like to hear a mandolin play a counter melody part in a lot of this music. You probably already have plenty of rhythm going on with a guitar, etc.

Since you are the lead singer, it will be hard to sing and play this style, so you may want to play some open chord rhythm.

Old Red
Dec-09-2005, 10:42am
Every March, I take off my blue grass hat and team up with some Irish musicians for the St. Patrick's season to play a few gigs in upstate NY. #I add the instrumental color (mandolin, 5-string banjo and [believe it or not] dobro) but don't sing much, so I'm free to concentrate on playing. #We do a lot of Wolfe Tones/Clancy Bros. material along with some dance music. On mandolin, I tend to do follow the melody pretty closely for intros, breaks and outros, and even backup, which is what I remember the mandolin player doing on a lot of the Wolfe Tones recordings, though I vary the backup with tremelo double stops and blue grass style chopping on uptempo numbers. #Unless you're Tim O'Brien, it's hard to do much more than chords while singing, and, as pointed out above, the open string chords ring nicely in this style of music. #By the way, I love the mandolin on the Wolfe Tones' recording of "Skibereen"--it sounds like the soundtrack to a spaghetti western (that's a good thing!). #Enjoy your mandolin.


Dec-09-2005, 11:27am
First off, Old Red and Adgefan you guys mentioned to awesome tunes! Although we dont play Twice Daily, I have an awesome version of it live, that i have been listening to lately, and Skibereen is just plain sinister! Anyway, it seems like you guys are saying just strum the chords for the most part and maybe get fancy during instrumental only parts. There are tunes that I don't sing, the other guys do, so I could maybe work on those. We have guitar, bass, banjo and drums, and me. It is almost the the trad pub band but the drums add a lil rock flavor to it I suppose. Anyway, Im just getting on my feet, picking scales for the most part. ALthough I did strum chords to A pAir of Brown Eyes by the Pogues yesterday. Who knows where this mandolin road will take me! I truly appreciate any and all help!

www.myspace.com/thefeniansons sign up!

Dec-09-2005, 11:29am
And Old Red, when you say you follow the melody pretty closely, does that mean you just play the chords that the rest of the fellas are playing... sorry but Im an ignoramous when it come to any music lingo!

Dec-09-2005, 11:40am
That's great that you love Twice Daily! The reason I asked was because the song was written and originally performed by Adge Cutler (the man who inspired my username). He hailed from the same city as me and is a bit of a local music legend despite having passed away 30 years ago. We've even bluegrassed up a few of his songs for our jam sessions.

When I first heard the Wolfe Tones version of the song I was quite shocked (in a good way!) because it sounded so different from the original. I'm glad to hear the song is being appreciated all over the world.

Apologies again for being so off-topic!

Old Red
Dec-09-2005, 1:08pm
I meant that I sometimes play the actual notes of the tune, or a stripped down version, on mandolin along with whoever is singing, but more quietly so as not to take over. #I also play fills, or short passages of notes, on occasion between verses or when the singer pauses at the end of a line. #I don't do these things all the time, but, based on my (very limited) knowledge of Irish music, they seem to fit in and be appropriate. #I have found that it is much harder for me to play melody and sing at the same time, so when I sing I tend to chord along with everyone else.


Dec-09-2005, 3:33pm
That sounds about right from what Ive heard on the cd's, but I'' take anybody else's input too. #And playing by ear seems to be the best way to figure out this problem I'd say.
Thanks again Red. #If anyone has any specific tunes to give me an example of that would be great too.

Dec-09-2005, 4:53pm
..A pair of Brown Eyes....arhhh man, didn´t good old Shane just sing it like...wow!

What a great band, the Pogues.