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Thread: What artist/album got you started with Trad

  1. #26
    Registered User zoukboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    I was first exposed to it through The Chieftains 9 Boil the Breakfast Early album in 1980. Then I started listening to a local radio show called "Ballads, Bards & Bagpipes" on KCUR-FM in Kansas City, and so I heard a wide range of music from Ireland and Scotland (but they also played a lot of English music, too - this was before the term "Celtic music" became well established, for which I and others are partially responsible, may goddess forgive us!). BB&B was the first nationally syndicated radio show that played "Celtic music" (and was the inspiration for Fiona Ritchie's "Thistle & Shamrock" that went national a year or two after BB&B lost its national distribution). That show was hosted by Dave Brown and Gerald Trimble, who at that time were playing together in a group named Talisman. I went to see one of their gigs and met them and it's been downhill ever since!

    But to answer the OP's question, it was The Chieftains that turned me on to the music and Planxty to bouzoukis and mandos and what could be done with them and the music. Planxty's After the Break was a revelation.
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  3. #27
    gardener catmandu2's Avatar
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    I still listen to "T & S" - Fiona Ritchie occasionally remarks on how Alan Stivell's first album was her earliest influence. I hadn't heard it myself until after I was already captivated by the instrument.

    *Our local radio streams John Conlan's 'Rocky Road to Dublin' weekly, and I try to catch that too.
    Last edited by catmandu2; May-22-2021 at 12:57pm.

  4. #28
    Registered User Rob Ross's Avatar
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    I took violin lessons in first grade, but we moved every year and that was as far as my lessons and violin abilities went. In eighth grade, my brother played me his Fairport Convention albums. When I heard "Bridge over the River Ash" and "Instrumental Medley" on the LP 'Angel Delight', I distinctly remember thinking, man, I wanna play like that! Then my brother played 'Full House' with "Dirty Linen" and "Flatback Caper", and it was a done deal. I needed to learn how to play like Dave Swarbrick. My Mom bought me a beat-up former rental violin for me to sqawk on and it all started.

    A couple of years later I walked into a pawn shop on Main Street in Daytona Beach and said, what's that on the wall? It was a beat up Suzuki bowl back and I instantly realized my fingers knew where to go. I still have that tater bug; I even deployed with it a couple of times.

    It's been fun bebopping across different types of tunes ever since: fife and drum, Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh (thank you Robin Williamson!), bluegrass (thank you Jack Tottle!), contra, old time, Canadian, and ragtime, along with with ineffectual stabs at cajun, Texas, and western swing fiddling. I still don't sound like Swarb and I can't play anywhere near his speed, but I'm a heckuva lot closer than I was!
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  6. #29
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    I went backwards. I started with Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention, and then explored a lot through a boxed set called The Electric Muse. https://www.discogs.com/Various-Elec...elease/1884922

    The clincher was The Bothy Band's Old Hag You Have Killed Me!
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  7. #30
    working musician Jim Bevan's Avatar
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Ross View Post
    ... Welsh (thank you Robin Williamson!)
    The Welsh Morris Dance? I had that one down.

    That's a funny book, lovely arrangements that, for the most part, are useless in sessions.

  8. #31
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    I had been listening to Irish music all my life it seems. My mother's maiden name was Doyle so we had the Clancy's, the Rovers, the Chieftains, etc. on vinyl and listened to the often. Never really learned them on guitar. In my mid twenties I went full tilt bluegrass and stayed that course for thirty years. I still listened to some Irish (Boys of the Lough, etc) but never thought to play it. At that point I had taken up mandolin but still very much playing only bluegrass.
    The CD that opened up my ears to playing Irish tunes on the mandolin was Butch Baldasarri's Music of O'Carrolan. While the tunes on the CD are not your jigs and reels and hornpipes it opened my ears to playing this music on the mandolin.
    That became a game changer because I've really shifted focus on now play much more traditional Irish (and fiddle) than before
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  9. #32
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    For me the album that pulled me into Irish Trad Music was the Chieftain's Celtic Wedding. Some of those tracks just ripped me open. This is when I was in high school in the early-mid 80s. I grew to love many other of their albums and even got to meet them back stage (my 3 year old daughter ran into Paddy's arms b/c she knew him from the Down The Old Plank Road DVD we watched frequently at the time). I always loved how the Chieftains would bring ITM and something else together like on Santiago or the Down the Old Plank Road records.

    Then there is the Pogues. Like the flip side of the same coin. Their album Rum Sodomy and the Lash is my absolute favorite Pogues record. Fairy Tale of New York is such a great song but RS&L is strong all the way through.

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  10. #33
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger Gordon View Post
    I would have to credit Dave Richardson as being the primary influence in my choice of instruments - Sobell mandolin and octave mandolin plus tenor banjo. When I saw how he was using them, there was no doubt in my mind I should approach Stefan Sobell to get an instrument made.
    I had a similar moment with a dissimilar outcome.

    When I ventured out to sessions in the early 90s , the first person I met was a Shetlander with a Stefan Sobell mandolin that you could actually hear in sessions.
    I called Stefan and asked him what it would cost, he told me, and I went "Oh".
    He said something like "Come back when you feel rich"

    I had a similar moment when I met Steve Gilchrist in Melbourne airport in the late 90s but the price was even higher.

    Eventually I got Marshall Dow to make me one that has served me very well. Having my first decent instrument was a major step up.
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  12. #34
    Registered User Rob Ross's Avatar
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bevan View Post
    The Welsh Morris Dance? I had that one down.

    That's a funny book, lovely arrangements that, for the most part, are useless in sessions.
    Jim, I read that there is a session in Australia where the Robin Williamson's version of Rights of Man is the version that session plays--I want to play at that session; it takes everything in me to NOT play that version at a session. And, yup, I still play the Welsh Morris Dance. Also, just last week I found both the little black plastic records that came in the Robin Williamson book and the Jack Tottle Bluegrass Mandolin book. The universe must have rotated through some little patch of harmony for them both to turn up.
    Rob Ross
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    and of course,
    the 1970 Suzuki-Violin-Sha Bowl Back Taterbug

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  14. #35
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    Dave Swarbrick, fiddler. In 60's and early 70s Glasgow (Scotland), the best known fiddlers overall (not just among musicians) were probably Aly Bain (Boys of the Lough), a Shetlander who played in a mixed Scottish/Irish/Northumbrian band, and Swarbrick, an English folk player (Fairport Convention) who put his personal stamp on whatever ethnicity tune he was playing. Maybe as a result, I play any kind of fiddle music I find, in whatever style it comes out.

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  16. #36
    Registered User Ben Vierra's Avatar
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    2002-2003, listening to the session at Snow City Cafe in Anchorage Alaska was a reliable, inexpensive date for me and my (now) wife. There was a consistent and strong guitarist in the core group. I remember he was named Kenny. His energetic and fluid playing was a revelation to me as I was learning to play guitar. Kenny's playing was the entry point, but over time I came to love the tunes themselves.

    [Before I moved from Anchorage, I set a goal of being able to play in that session. With the moving date approaching, I was nowhere near where I needed to be with guitar for session accompaniment, but was pretty confident with a washtub bass I had cobbled together. Washtub basses, after all, are the kazoos of the bass register. I knew it would raise eyebrows to show up with such a monstrosity but I figured, what have I got to lose? I'm moving out of state next week! Long story short, in the event I set up on the perimeter of the session and tried to lock into what Kenny was doing, just support his rhythmic support of the melody players. I got about as strong of a compliment as I could have expected when one of the session-regular fiddle players turned around and said "Your playing is . . . tasteful."]

  17. #37
    Registered User Paul Cowham's Avatar
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    I started learning guitar back in 1990 when I was 16, with a view to being an electric blues player. I quickly developed a fascination with acoustic "folk" music in its broadest sense, and used to get cd's out of the library when I was a student in the early 90's and tape them. These included some by Planxty and the Bothy Band which got me interested in Irish music.

    Slightly later, I discovered sessions, which is what really turned me onto this music as much as any recording. When I say "this music", I probably mean celtic music more broadly, particularly Scottish music too, but also later on, klezmer music and bluegrass/Old Time. When I was in Edinburgh for Hogmanay in the mid 90's, I had the pleasure of seeing (and meeting) Iain Macleod in a small pub session, his mandolin playing really impressed/inspired me. Roll forward a couple of years and I was back in Manchester and discovered the great Irish scene there.

    I started playing mando in 95, but the guitar is the main thing that I play in Irish music. There is a generation of really good Irish tune players in Manchester, who are mostly second generation, and roughly my age. There is also a shortage of "backers" in this group which is something that I've picked up, so that is my niche. I do love the mando though, but they play so fast that I find it difficult to play the tunes in that type of situation! I actually am more of an Americana player on the mandolin, but am trying to work up the Irish tunes up to speed on the mandolin.
    Last edited by Paul Cowham; May-31-2021 at 7:20pm.

  18. #38
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    These 'threads' are a great source of material to learn new, or revisit old recordings. I find a name and go directly to youtube or my fairly large collection of recordings and often learn something new from an 'old' resource.

    A big factor in learning Irish music was from a collection of cassette tapes called "120 Favorite Irish Session Tunes" by L. E. McCullough. Now the little book that came with the tapes is 'dog eared' and falling apart, but it brings back many fond memories and moreover, there are some wonderful tunes there that I did not learn earlier. Also the addition to the title makes me smile. It adds, "Holding your own with other players".
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  19. #39
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    Like coming to mandolin, I began backward. I listened to Steeleye Span, Pentangle, the Corries and suchlike but had no idea they were Irish trad. To me, they were just great songs to learn with some interludes of instrumentals that I either liked or ignored. When my-husband-the-guitar-player and I were dating, one of the things we did was play duets (he on guitar and me on my bowlback) and to give us something to play, he picked up the Williamson book with English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish tunes. That was my first introduction to folk music that wasn't what I'd learned in grade school. And I didn't realize it was all connected until I was 49 and joined the community ITM band I still belong to. Until then, the tunes were just cool tunes, like the Scarlatti I played on flute. Of course, once I actually began to know the old standards, and had some workshops under my belt, I realized that Steeleye Span -- and the Chieftains album I had -- and whatnot were a separate idiom. Since then, of course, I've listened (in person) to many of the best there are these days and learned enough tunes to be able to sit in on a session and not feel a complete idiot.
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  20. #40
    gardener catmandu2's Avatar
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    Fiona Ritchie is talking again about Alan Stivell - said he learned brian boru from chieftains. Their early stuff I remember turned me on - all new to me. I rather like a strong rhythm!

  21. #41
    aka aldimandola Michael Wolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    For me it was the fact that I shared a flat with a accordion player many years ago. I than began to back him up on guitar, before that I played only electric guitar. Then I discovered that tune-playing works great on the mandolin and went more and more for the mandolin family. I think the most important records/artists for me were: The Tannahill Weavers, Begley & Cooney, Silly Wizard, Ian Carr & Karen Tweed, Clannad, Andy Irvine.
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  23. #42
    Registered User Paul Cowham's Avatar
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    Default Re: What artist/album got you started with Trad

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Wolf View Post
    For me it was the fact that I shared a flat with a accordion player many years ago.
    Fair play to you Michael, for some that could have been quite a traumatic experience.

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