Medley of Musicians and Singers, 1950s

Medley of Musicians and Singers, 1950s

Now playing: O’Kelly’s Fancy, hornpipe; The Cuckoo, hornpipe / Paddy O’Brien, accordion
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  1. O’Kelly’s Fancy, hornpipe; The Cuckoo, hornpipe / Paddy O’Brien, accordion
  2. Goodbye, I’m on my way to dear old Dublin Bay, song / The McNulty Family, singing in English
  3. Aililiú na gamhna, song / Mary O’Hara, singing in Irish
  4. The primrose lass, highland ; The devil in the kitchen, highland / Joe Derrane, accordion, & others
  5. Home to Mayo, song / Ruthie Morrissey, singing in English
  6. Bag of potatoes, reel ; & other reels / The Ballinakill Ceili Band, instrumental group
  7. Martha, the flower of sweet Strabane, song / Connie Foley, singing in English
  8. Roddy McCauley, march, & other marches / Jack Wade’s Céilí Band, instrumental group
  9. Cuaichín Gleann Neifín, song / An Claisceadal, singing in Irish
  10. The pride of Rockchapel, jig ; Sarsfield’s, jig / Paddy Killoran, fiddle, & Paul Ryan, fiddle
  11. Master McGrath, song / Richard Hayward, singing in English
  12. The yellow tinker, reel ; The sally gardens, reel / Paddy O’Brien, accordion

Medley of Musicians and Singers, 1950s

The period 1948 to 1960 was a transitional period for the recording and publishing of all kinds of music, including Irish traditional music. In 1948 the introduction of commercial tape recording opened up new possibilities for the recording of performers on location as well as in studio. In the same year the introduction of commercial LPs – long-playing microgroove discs – allowed the publication of extended pieces of music and themed collections of music. Both innovations enabled new small companies to enter the record market. By 1960 coarse-groove 78rpm discs had practically become things of the past after being standard sound carriers for more than half a century.

The medley of 1950s recordings presented here reflects the transition in Irish music. It includes productions of Irish-American companies like the Copley company of Boston, which began the period as a 78 publisher and ended it with singles, EPs and LPs, and the similar Dublin company of New York. In Britain and Ireland long-established companies like HMV and Beltona also moved from obsolete technologies to new ones, and new niche companies like Comhlucht Ceirníní Éireann of Dublin were able to publish material like Irish-language choral singing that had not hitherto been represented on record.

Active performers of the period, American- and Irish-based, ranged from earlier 78 stars like the Sligo fiddle player Paddy Killoran, the Belfast singer Richard Hayward and the McNulty Family group from Roscommon, to emerging singers and musicians like accordion players Joe Derrane from Boston and Jerry O’Brien from Cork, singers Connie Foley from Kerry and Ruthie Morrisey from New York, Seán Maguire from Belfast (here heard as a guitarist and singer) and the innovative Tipperary accordion player Paddy O’Brien. New ceili bands like that of Co Dublin uilleann piper and fiddle player Jack Wade were heard on record for the first time with new line-ups of old ceili bands like the Ballinakill of Galway. Also new were Irish-language singers like the Dublin Claisceadal group and harper Mary O’Hara of Sligo, who was at the beginning of a decades-long career.

With thanks to Aodán Ó Dubhghaill, Dublin, and Eileen O’Brien, Tipperary, for permissions; to Brendan Dolan, Archives of Irish America, NYU, New York, for information; and to record donors Jim Brophy, Éamon de Buitléar, Bernard Croke, Vincent Duffe, Reg Hall, Dan Maher, Eddie Mongey, Jimmy O’Brien Moran, Matt Murtagh, Philip Ó Fathaigh, Caoimhín Ó Marcaigh, & Tony Regan

NC & DD, 1 June 2011