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Nice Irish Trad Cd With Fiddle And Concertina


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While the debate rages on about how well concertina fits with different kinds of music some people are out there playing it and playing it well indeed! I want to share a very nice recording that I found on Cd Baby.

 

Sarah Blair has put out a very nice Cd with primarilly Irish Traditional Music. Sarah can be very proud of her efforts. Not only is her fiddle playing a joy to listen to but I was struck by how well the other contributing musicians played to her lead. Whether on concertina, harp, flute or pipes these folks know how to play together and show the music off to its best advantage. Those who are tired of high speed session playing will find these renderings of Irish jigs, reels and airs refreshing in taste and tempo.

 

Of particular interest to concertina.net members is that it includes the playing of Paul Groff. Paul Groff's reputation as a dealer in fine anglo concertinas sometimes has us forgetting what a fine player he is. He demonstrates his skill with the concertina on a number of cuts. His playing reinforces the melody line and is always in tastfull support of the fiddle. I find his playing reminding me of a combination of Mary MacNamara's directness and John Kelly's drive.

 

I highly recommend this one! Follow this link for samples and ordering info: http://cdbaby.com/cd/sarahblair

 

Greg

Edited by Greg Jowaisas
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i have now attempted to listen to a slew of tunes from this link, at great bother and annoyance since the cdbaby link would not play the tunes unless i separately and individually downloaded them. i quit after nine tracks, without hearing one note of concertina music, and have now had the bother and annoyance of having to separately delete those tracks from the system. if this is a come-on to get people to buy a fiddle cd, it did not work.

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i have now attempted to listen to a slew of tunes from this link, at great bother and annoyance since the cdbaby link would not play the tunes unless i separately and individually downloaded them.

I don't know why you had difficulty. For me, each one takes 1-2 clicks and a press on ENTER (the ENTER button and maybe a click the first time are in a popup box that lets me choose whether to download or play direct).

 

i quit after nine tracks, without hearing one note of concertina music,

So far I've listened to half a dozen randomly-selected excerpts and hear concertina on two of them, Tracks 5 and 14. The concertina is subtle, not solo, but playing along with the fiddle. Then again, I wouldn't really expect concertina solos on a fiddler's CD.

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i have now attempted to listen to a slew of tunes from this link, at great bother and annoyance since the cdbaby link would not play the tunes unless i separately and individually downloaded them. i quit after nine tracks, without hearing one note of concertina music, and have now had the bother and annoyance of having to separately delete those tracks from the system. if this is a come-on to get people to buy a fiddle cd, it did not work.

 

ceemonster,

I'm sorry you had trouble with the samples at the Cd Baby site. Worked for me without any trouble.

 

Regarding the # of tracks that have concertina. Paul plays concertina on tracks 2, 4, 5, 8,14 and halfway through 16.

 

It is 4am and on the way back from the necessary room I glanced at the computer and saw your post of disappointment. So I went down to the workshop where I've been listening to this Cd, retrieved it and found a marginal set of headphones to listen to it while the rest of the family is sleeping. Much of the concertina playing is in very close to unison playing with the fiddle. As far as I can tell it is on a separate channel from the fiddle. The bad connection in these poor headphones would cause one channel to drop out if I moved my head and I would lose the concertina. I had no trouble hearing the concertina part of the mix on the Cd player in the workshop. On the headphones (perhaps on small computer speakers?) I had to really pay attention to separate the concerttina from the fiddle. (Which, in a sense, could be a testimony to how well they play together.)

 

The "come-on to get people to buy a fiddle cd" is nothing of the sort. I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Groff 4 some years ago. As a beginner I did a concertina lesson with him and was struck by his thorough and meticulous approach to the instrument and Irish traditional music. I was pleased to learn he had recorded with Sarah Blair this past year. As far as I know this is the only easily accessible examples of Paul's playing. I like it. It is crisp, in rhythm and conveys the spirit of the instrument and music.

 

Of course that is my opinion. You are certainly entitled to disagree. My intention was to alert aficionados to this opportunity to hear Paul's playing and enjoy Sarah's fiddling (I have never met her). I am not schilling; I was sharing.

 

I do hope you will have an opportunity to give the recording another listen in a format that lets you hear Paul's concertina playing.

 

I'm going back to bed now shaking my head and thinking that "No good deed goes unpunished".

 

Greg

Edited by Greg Jowaisas
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Firstly let me say that none of the tracks opened for me either and the only way I could hear them was to download them, to my desktop as it happens. Ah yeah, a bit of delay but hardly in the "great bother and annoyance" category- for me anyway. Done in a few mins. I am listening to them and deleting them as I go. Again, hardly "bother and annoyance". To be honest, I think it's great that with modern appliances I can actually get to hear stuff for free, buy it if I so choose or indeed if I had a mind to, learn the tunes straight from the sample tracks. So for the sake of a few mins clicking with a computer mouse, I am only too delighted and thankful. As it happens, whilst it is nice playing, it wouldn't persuade me to buy the CD- another bonus. Do you remember the days( in Ireland anyway) where you buy the LP, bring it home. discover it's shoite. and then be trying to persuade the shop to change it !! Of course they would always look at the label to see if they could see the mark left when you tried to put it down on the spindle, so the trick was to get it on cleanly !!

Edited by Larryo
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Click "music" on the headings of the cnet homepage and scroll down to hear a festival field recording of Paul Groff and Sarah Blair playing "Sligo Maid", The Flogging Reel" and "The Bucks of Oranmore".

 

More of this kind of stuff on their Cd (try track 14: "Ebb Tide"/Ace and Duece of Pipering"

 

Greg

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Click "music" on the headings of the cnet homepage and scroll down to hear a festival field recording of Paul Groff and Sarah Blair playing "Sligo Maid", The Flogging Reel" and "The Bucks of Oranmore".

 

More of this kind of stuff on their Cd (try track 14: "Ebb Tide"/Ace and Deuce of Pipering"

 

Greg

 

I like the way they played the first tune - The Ebb Tide -- but I thought Ace & Deuce was somewhat choppy and forced, as if they were reading the tune. I didn't feel any sense of lift. I hear it as being a more graceful, legato tune. I miss hearing a dotted rhythm to the tune. I don't hear it as a slow reel, which is how they played it, but rather as a slow set dance, which it is. Sarah is a lovely fiddler who is capable of much more sensitive playing than this CD shows us. I did love track 4, though, which I thought was purely lovely duet playing: The Copperplate, The Old Bush, The Spike Island Lasses. The two instruments, without backing, create a gorgeous texture. I wish there was more of the same.

Frank Higgins' version of The Ace and Deuce, on Milestone at the Garden, is lovely and I'd recommend it. Teada also has a lovely tongue in cheek version (at least at the beginning) of the tune. Almost like an out-take, which it might be.

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[Click "music" on the headings of the cnet homepage and scroll down to hear a festival field recording of Paul Groff and Sarah Blair playing "Sligo Maid", The Flogging Reel" and "The Bucks of Oranmore".]

 

yes, that is what i have heard on this site, and i like it a lot. don't know, of course, but it sounds as if he is using the modern "across the rows" fingering to play his melody, along with a very traditional, clean ornamental aesthetic much like that of mary macnamara, claire keville or dympna o'sullivan, a combination that is my favorite for irish concertina...

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I like the way they played the first tune - The Ebb Tide -- but I thought Ace & Deuce was somewhat choppy and forced, as if they were reading the tune. I didn't feel any sense of lift. I hear it as being a more graceful, legato tune. I miss hearing a dotted rhythm to the tune. I don't hear it as a slow reel, which is how they played it, but rather as a slow set dance, which it is.
Hey David

How about posting a snippet of Ace & Deuce here as played by you on your flute or concertina to demonstrate your point?

 

I did love track 4, though, which I thought was purely lovely duet playing: The Copperplate, The Old Bush, The Spike Island Lasses. The two instruments, without backing, create a gorgeous texture. I wish there was more of the same.
You got your wish, David! :lol: There is more on that CD!


  1. Track 4--Hurray For The Gallant Tipperary Boys/The Cumainn Na mBan Is Dead And Gone/Jim Droney's/The Three Little Drummers
    Track 8--The Kilcloon/Jimmy On The Liner/The Flower Of The Red Mill
    Track 16---The Stone In The Field/Thaddy Casey's

Edited by Laitch
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  • 2 weeks later...

Laitch,

 

I will post a clip. In the meantime, these are two lovely versions of The Ace and Deuce, which I referred to above:

 

Frank Higgins' version of The Ace and Deuce, on Milestone at the Garden, is lovely and I'd recommend it.

Teada also has a lovely tongue in cheek version (at least at the beginning) of the tune. Almost like an out-take, which it might be.

 

Do you have the CDs?

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Firstly let me say that none of the tracks opened for me either and the only way I could hear them was to download them, to my desktop as it happens. Ah yeah, a bit of delay but hardly in the "great bother and annoyance" category- for me anyway. Done in a few mins. I am listening to them and deleting them as I go. Again, hardly "bother and annoyance". To be honest, I think it's great that with modern appliances I can actually get to hear stuff for free, buy it if I so choose or indeed if I had a mind to, learn the tunes straight from the sample tracks. So for the sake of a few mins clicking with a computer mouse, I am only too delighted and thankful. ...

Maybe I can offer a little enlightment on the matter...

 

If you watch the status field (provided it is ON) on your browser (at the very bottom), you will see this (track 1):

 

http://cdbaby.com/mp3lofi/sarahblair-01.m3u

 

Extension ".m3u" means that it's a MP3 play list file, i.e. it isn't the audio file itself, but a pointer to it.

If you download the .m3u file and switch on your curiosity by opening it with a text editor (TextEdit/Mac, WordPad/Win)),

you will see it contains only the line (for track no.1):

 

http://audio.cdbaby.com/99022ab1/mp3lofi/s/a/sarahblair-01.mp3

 

If you copy that line and paste it into your browser's address field and hit return, you should get a browser

window where the file is playing. From that you should be able to download the .mp3 itself.

 

If you have iTunes installed (which a couple of folks have), a click on the track name will make it play in iTunes - as a stream, meaning it is depends on you being connected to the internet.

 

Hope it helped :)-

 

/Henrik

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