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Chris Smith: Words & Music

Reels: The Chicago/The Humours of Ballyconnell/Father Kelly's #2

(Chris Smith (banjo), Randal Bays (fiddle), Roger Landes (bouzouki))
2005-09-08
One of the nicer things about the world of traditional Irish music is the degree to which it’s still locally- and community-based—even now, mostly the music is played by friends in their local pub, and even now, the Famous Guys will turn up in pub sessions after their concert gigs are done. I’ve known the first and third tunes for years, but I think I first learned “Ballyconnell” from a tape I made at the Catskills Irish Festival in East Durham, NY, some time in the 1990s, during a hellacious “good to see you again this year” session with Billy McComiskey, Gearoid O hAllmhurain, Brian Conway, and Mary Burke, among other culprits. The Tulla Band, Paddy Keenan, and Cran all recorded it as well, but the version that really made me want to revive the tune in my own repertoire was that Catskills session. The “Chicago,” fittingly enough, appears in Police Chief Francis O Neill’s 1001 as #797, but I think I got it, equally fittingly, from Chicago fiddler Jessica Ziegler. The Father P.J. Kelly of the title, from Galway, is the source of a bunch of wonderful flute-friendly tunes.