Monday, 29 January 2018

"Finbar and Eddie Furey/Traditional Irish Pipe Music/The Lonesome Boatman/The Dawning Of The Day" by FINBAR and EDDIE FUREY (June 2017 Beat Goes On Reissue - 4LPs onto 2CD - Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry

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"...Good Tidings..."

In the hot and sweaty summer of 1979 – I was a young Dubliner living in the Fair Strumpet City and it was near impossible to escape how huge the traditional air "The Green Fields Of France" was by The Fureys - a Number in Ireland for an astonishing 28 weeks.

Prior to that - the two brothers of four from the dog-rough Ballyfermot area of Dublin couldn't get musically arrested any where else for decades (no pun intended) despite having played their beloved Traditional Irish Music since they were lads of 14 (Finbar had won 23 All-Ireland Pipe Playing championships by 1966). To put this into a real world context - I ran the Rarities Dept. in Reckless Records in Berwick Street for the guts of 20 years (one of the great used record shops in the capitol) and I can count on one finger the number of times I saw actual vinyl copies of 'any' of these four UK-issued LPs. Released between 1968 and 1972 on Transatlantic and Dawn Records - they fell into that nether-world category of being physically rare three/four decades later - but not necessarily valuable. They're forgotten almost completely now of course – seriously receded back into the hairless hairlines of old fogeys like me.

Which brings us hopping gaily and bleary-eyed to this quite brilliantly put together 2CD set from England's 'Beat Goes On'. It finally brings together four of those rarities (three by the Duo and one Solo for Finbar) and all of it in quality presentation and properly gorgeous Audio too. Let's get to the Rakish Paddies and Sally who sits weeping...

UK released Friday, 30 June 2017 - "Finbar and Eddie Furey/Traditional Irish Pipe Music/The Lonesome Boatman/The Dawning of The Day" by FINBAR and EDDIE FUREY on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1299 (Barcode 5017261212993) offers 4LPs Remastered onto 2CDs and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (66:35 minutes)
1. The Spanish Cloak [Side 1]
2. Come By The Hills
3. Sliabh Na Mban (The Mountain Of The Women)
4. Dainty Davy
5. Jig: Tattered Jack Welch
6. The Flowers In The Valley
7. Reel: Pigeon On The Gate
8. Jig: Graham's Flat [Side 2]
9. Leezie Lindsay
10. Set Dance: Piper In The Meadow Straying
11. The Curragh Of Kildare
12. Eamonn An Chnuic (Ned Of The Hills)
13. This Town Is Not Your Own
14. Jig: Rocking The Baby
Tracks 1 to 14 are their debut LP "Finbar and Eddie Furey" - released 1968 in the UK on Transatlantic Records TRA 168. Produced by BILL LEADER - FINBAR FUREY plays the Irish Uilleann Pipes and Penny Whistle - EDDIE FUREY sings Lead Vocals, plays Guitar and Bodhran

15. Rakish Paddy [Side 1]
16. The Hag With The Money
17. Castle Terrace
18. Madam Bonaparte
19. The Young Girl Milking The Cow
20. Fin's Favourite
21. Peter Byrne's Fancy [Side 2]
22. O'Rourke's Reel
23. Roy's Hands
24.  Planxty Davy
25. The Bonny Bunch Of Roses
26. Eddie's Fancy
27. The Silver Spear
Tracks 15 to 27 are Finbar Furey's first solo album "Traditional Irish Pipe Music" - released 1969 in the UK on XTRA Records XTRA 1077. Produced by BILL LEADER - FINBAR FUREY plays the Irish Uilleann Pipes, Acoustic Guitar and a Variety of Whistles

Disc 2 (79:55 minutes):
1. Bill Hart's Favourite [Side 1]
2. Dance Around The Spinning Wheel
3. Let Me Go To The Mountains
4. McShane
5. Colonel Fraser
6. The Lonesome Boatman [Side 2]
7. Carron Lough Bay
8. The Prickly Bush
9. Bogy's Bonny Belle
10. The Fox Chase
Tracks 1 to 10 are their second duo album "The Lonesome Boatman" - released 1969 in the UK on Transatlantic Records TRA 191. Produced by BILL LEADER - FINBAR FUREY plays Irish Uilleann Pipes and Penny/Indian Whistles - EDDIE FUREY sings Lead Vocals, plays Guitar, Mandolin and Bodhran

11. Drops Of Brandy [Side 1]
12. My Lagan Love
13. Farewell To Tarwathy
14. Locks And Bolts
15. William Hollander
16. Crowley's reel
17. Jennifer Gentle
18. Barney Hare
19. Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway [Side 2]
20. Reynardine
21. The French Drink Wine
22. Blackbird
23. The Dawning Of The Day
24. Coppers And Brass
25. Tie The Bonnet
26. Sally Sits Weeping
Tracks 11 to 26 are their third duo album "The Dawning Of The Day" - released May 1972 in the UK on Dawn Records DNLS 3037. Produced by BARRY MURRAY - FINBAR FUREY plays the Irish Uilleann Pipes and Whistles - BRIAN BROCKLEHURST plays Bass and EDDIE FUREY sings Lead Vocals, plays Guitar and Bodhran. All songs are Traditionals except "Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway" by Gerry Rafferty and "The French Drink Wine" by Seamus McGrath.

The substantial 28-page booklet reproduces the original album liner notes, musician credits and other production details (lyrics that came with the Dawn Records LP "The Dawning Of The Day" in 1972) and features superlative new liner notes from JOHN O’REGAN – a long-time associate with BGO and a good egg at this CD reissue malarkey (his notes cover their entire career and not just the four albums involved – internet references and sources name). Good as they are (and the card slipcase makes all these BGO reissues look classy too) – ultimately it’s the new ANDREW THOMPSON Remasters from original tapes that makes this 2-Disc sucker sing. The sound on all four records is superb – even the bare bones of "Traditional Irish Pipe Music" where a lot of the time its simply Finbar on the Uilleann Pipes – is lovely and warm. Tracks like "Roy’s Hands" which combines Acoustic Guitar with the wailing elbow-pipes or the truly lovely "My Lagan Love" have a sweetness that is enhanced by the glorious Audio. To the material...

The Fureys Folk is thankfully free of political posturing and full of genuine tunes, slow airs, jigs and reels. In fact when you hear Contemporary Folk singers like Judy Collins, Eddi Reader and Sinead O’Connor – you can so hear why they would be drawn emotionally and spiritually to melodies like "Farewell To Tarwathy", "Lezzie Lindsay" and "My Lagan Love" (in that order) – while master Irish piper Liam O ’Flynn from Planxty and The Chieftains did the gorgeous air of "Sliabh na mBan (The Mountain Of The Women)" on his 1998 CD album "The Piper’s Call".

The lone solo outing here by piper Finbar "Traditional Irish Pipe Music" not surprisingly has some of the most haunting and authentic-sounding melodies.  Eddie (God Bless Him) hasn’t got the greatest nor most expressive voice in the known Universe but he still gets to shine on "The Lonesome Boatman" and a rare moment of immigrant bitterness - "This Town Is Not Your Own". And by the time they’re contract was up with Transatlantic Records in the early Seventies – signing to Dawn Records was a smart move. Although Dawn had Prog Rock/Hard Rock leanings with the likes of Comus, Atomic Rooster and Fruupp – they’d also debuted Folk and Folk-Rock acts like Trader Horne, Prelude, Donovan and Heron (Mike Heron of The Incredible String Band) not to mention the Jug Band swing of Mungo Jerry. By the time we reach 1972 and "The Dawning Of The Day" LP with its elaborate gatefold sleeve and lyric insert (a luxury release in those days) – they were even getting songs gifted to them by future songwriter luminaries. The Fureys were pals with Folk/Comedy duo The Humblebums (Gerry Rafferty and Billy Connolly) and before Rafferty debuted his own version of the witty and Folky "Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway" – Gerry gave the boys the tune. Dawn clearly thought it was goer and issued the song as the album's lone 45 in the UK on Dawn DNS 1025 (May 1972) with the Traditional "Reynardine" on the B-side (another album cut). But despite John Peel declaring "Her Father..." as his 7" single of 1972 – the public ignored it - the LP too.

Perhaps they’ll give it another go round on this timely and sweetly flowing 2CD reminder. Recommended...

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