The Humours of Lisheen

Julia Clifford (fiddle)

John Clifford (piano accordion)

Reg Hall (piano)

Topic – 12TS311 – 1977

This is the third installment of Topic’s Music from Sliabh Luachra series, and features the playing of husband and wife John and Julia Clifford, accompanied on piano by Reg Hall. It was recorded between 1975 and 1976, and most of the tracks were put down on two separate occasions in London, apart from track 10, which was recorded at Jack Lyons’ Bar, Scartaglin, and track 20, recorded at Dan Connell’s Bar, Knocknagree. The tunes on this album were all familiar to the Cliffords before they left Lisheen, Co. Kerry, with the exception of ‘Tap the Barrel’, a reel they picked up whilst living in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick, between 1953 and 1958. So, unlike The Star of Munster Trio, which consists almost entirely of tunes well-known on the London Irish music scene in the 1970s, this album gives an insight into the repertoire of the Sliabh Luachra region as it was played in the 1930s. As is to be expected, a number of tunes are associated with the Sliabh Luachra fiddle master, Pádraig O’Keeffe, from whom both Julia and her brother, Denis Murphy, learned their music. The production on the album is very basic, and the playing is fresh and unrehearsed, but the casual brilliance of Julia Clifford’s playing is an absolute joy to behold. — Robert Ryan

There’s some pretty in-depth notes by Alan Ward starting on page 28 of his Topic booklet here.

Track listing and more info: https://www.irishtune.info/album/HmrLshn/

Download this out-of-print album:
http://ceolalainn.breqwas.net/download/John%20%26%20Julia%20Clifford.zip

The Rakish Paddy

Paddy Cronin (fiddle, flute)

Mary Irwin (piano)

Fiddler Records – FRLP 002 – 1975

Recorded by Frank H. Ferrel in September 1975, this is an exceptionally rare recording of the famous Sliabh Luachra fiddler and flute player Paddy Cronin. He is joined on the record by Mary Irwin, who provides unexceptional vamped piano accompaniment, in accordance with the standards of the day. Nonetheless, it’s a nice record, with solid fiddling from an exceptional player. The highlight of the album for me is probably Paddy Cronin’s unique rendition of the Maid Behind the Bar, which he calls the Haymaker Reel. It’s closely related to the variant of the Maid commonly played in C major, which is known as Jimmy McBride’s. — Robert Ryan

PC TRP front and back

Download this out-of-print album:
http://ceolalainn.breqwas.net/download/Paddy%20Cronin.zip

The Sliabh Luachra Fiddle Master

Pádraig O’Keeffe (fiddle)

Denis Murphy (fiddle)

RTÉ – CD174 – 1993 Tracks 2, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, and 15 were recorded 12 September 1948, and the remainder on 29 January 1949. Extensive biographical essay and notes by Peter Browne.

A deleted recording of the Sliabh Luachra fiddle player and teacher taken from RTÉ archive recordings made by Séamus Ennis between 1947 and 1949. This is absolutely brilliant Sliabh Luachra music, and the final set of tunes – a duet with Denis Murphy – is a classic. — Robert Ryan

Full track listing and more information here: https://www.irishtune.info/album/POK/

Download this out-of-print album: http://ceolalainn.breqwas.net/download/P%c3%a1draig%20O%27Keeffe.zip

Ceol as Sliabh Luachra

Julia Clifford (fiddle)

Billy Clifford (flute)

Manus Lunny (bouzouki)

Gael Linn – CEF 092 – 1982

An exceptional album, mostly featuring duets played by the Sliabh Luachra fiddle player Julia Clifford, and her son Billy. One of the album’s most remarkable charms is the way in which Billy’s flute matches exactly the rhythm, phrasing, and ornamentation of his mother’s fiddle on the many sets of Sliabh Luachra slides and polkas that they play together. In many respects it is the way in which Billy plays the fiddle on the flute that makes his music here so distinctive and so wonderful to hear, and the closeness of the communication between the two musicians is truly exceptional. Together with The Star Above the Garter, and Denis Doody’s Kerry Music, this is one of my all-time favourite recordings of Sliabh Luachra music. — Robert Ryan

Download this out-of-print album: http://ceolalainn.breqwas.net/download/Julia%20%26%20Billy%20Clifford.zip

The Star Above the Garter

Denis Murphy (fiddle)

Julia Clifford (fiddle)

Claddagh CC5CD, 1969. Recorded in Dublin.

Often ranked the best Irish traditional fiddle duet album OF ALL TIME. Also wackiest cover art OF ALL TIME. Seriously though, it’s good. Lots of the old polkas and slides, but also four count em four slow airs, played within an inch of their lives. Nearly every track on this album has become a classic set. Can’t say enough about it. Get it.

For track listing and more information: https://www.irishtune.info/album/SatG/

Denis Murphy – Music From Sliabh Luachra

Denis Murphy (fiddle)

Julia Clifford (fiddle)

Pádraig O’Keeffe (fiddle)

Andy McGann (fiddle)

Johnny O’Leary (button accordion)

Séamus Ennis (uilleann pipes)

RTÉ 183 CD – 1995

Compiled from recordings made by RTÉ between 1948 and 1969, and unfortunately out of print, it features a number of famous Sliabh Luachra musicians, as well as the Irish-American fiddler Andy McGann, and piper and collector Séamus Ennis. Sound quality is variable, as is to be expected, but the playing is, of course, nothing less than brilliant. Of particular interest is the Sliabh Luachra style rendition of ‘The Turkey in the Straw’, and the fluent sligo style duet between Murphy and McGann, as well as the array of beautifully played slides and polkas. –Robert Ryan

To download this out-of-print album: http://ceolalainn.breqwas.net/download/Denis%20Murphy.zip