The idea behind this recording went back to 2002, after a gig with the lads near Rotterdam, and a handwritten note from Frankie suggesting I should do a CD with his help; and call it Coffey Anyone? Years later, Easter Monday 2015, during a session with Frankie, Geraldine O’Callaghan and Mick Daly in the Corner House pub in Cork City, the note was still in the accordion case. So we went ahead and put tunes together over a few pints of stout, and later planned the recording endeavour under the caring guidance of Colm Murphy. Onward, to the studio at Lough Guitane, Co. Kerry, to make the album with an understanding that any royalties would go to charity. It took two attempts to record. The first started by laying down fiddle with accordion: but the music somehow ended up ‘a bit on the fast side’. Adrenaline maybe! The brakes were applied for the second attempt, usually getting Alec’s steady bouzouki down with accordion, and adding the other instruments later. The final result musically reunites a famous bouzouki-fiddle combination, and also delivers a variety of tempos and tunes, many associated with the Kerry-Cork Sliabh Luachra tradition, with several pieces from other musical counties in Ireland. 

Aidan Coffey

01       Polkas: The Corner House Set (Mick Culloty’s/The Knocknagoshel/The New Roundabout)
These three polkas are played a great deal in the Corner House pub, Coburg Street, Cork, where many ideas for the tune selections on this CD evolved. 

02       Reels: The West Wind/The Donegal Traveler
‘The West Wind’ is a piping tune, a version of which was recorded by Willie Clancy. It’s thought to be an older version of ‘Colonel Fraser’. The second reel comes from a 1920s recording of melodeon player Peter Conlon, and has also been recorded by Finbarr Dwyer, Bobby Gardiner and Joe Burke.

03       Jigs: The Old Walls Of Liscarroll/The Streams Of Killinaspick
The first jig has strong Sliabh Luachra connections with the version played here, which was notated in the 1890s by Patrick Reidy. The second tune, named after a village outside Waterford, came from the playing of Paddy Cronin. 

04       Air: An Páistín Fionn (The Fair-Haired Child)
This was learned from the singing of Anne Mulqueen in Ring, Co. Waterford. The tune was documented in Cooke’s Selection of Twenty-One Favourite Original Irish Airs (Dublin, 1793). 

05       Slides: Paddy Cronin’s/The Clog
The first tune has a few versions played around Cork and Kerry with the version here close to that of fiddler Paddy Cronin (1925-2014) of Co. Kerry. The second tune comes from Jackie Daly of Kanturk, whose grandmother had words to go with it. 

06       Jigs: The Gold Ring/The Tongs By The Fire    
The first tune is Seamus Ennis’s version of ‘The Gold Ring’. The second jig comes from O’Neill’s Music Of Ireland (1903). 

07       Polkas: O'Sullivan's/O'Callaghan's
These came from the playing of Julia Clifford, although she also used Padraig O’Keeffe’s title ‘The Moving Bog’ for the first tune (referring to the moving bog disaster at Gneeveguilla in 1896).

08       Reels: Brother Gildas/Green Garters
The first reel is named after De La Salle Brother Gildas O’Shea (lay-name: Patrick O’Shea (1882-1960)), a piper from Co. Kerry, and friend of the Rowsomes. The second tune is a version of ‘Green Garters’, a tune documented in O’Neill’s The Dance Music Of Ireland (1907). 

09       Hornpipes: Cornphíopa Loch Garman/An Trí Is A Rian
The first tune is included in O’Neill’s Music Of Ireland (1903) and was one of many sourced from fiddler John McFadden in Chicago. It was first recorded by piper Leo Rowsome in 1926. The second was documented by Brendan Breathnach. The title refers to a winning hand in the card-game ‘Twenty-Five’, popular in rural Ireland 

10       Hop Jigs: Another Jig Will Do/Top It Off
Hop jigs are 9/8 tunes, similar to slip jigs, but have a prevalence of long-short rhythmic figures, and are played faster. ‘Another Jig Will Do’ (also called ‘A Fig For A Kiss’) was recorded by Seamus Ennis. The version of the second tune here comes from piper Denis Brooks, Newmarket, Co. Cork.

11       Jigs: The Miller Of Glanmire/The Cliffs Of Moher
The first is an E-minor setting of a well-known jig usually played in the key of A-minor. The second tune is a transposition to D-major of another well-known jig, also normally played in A-minor. 

12       Marches: March Of The King Of Laois/Macallistrom’s March
The first of these is an old Irish war-piping march called after Ruairi Ó Mórdha, the king of Laois who was involved in the Irish rebellion of 1641. The second is titled after Scotsman Alasdair MacAllistrom, who fought at the battle of Knocknanauss, Co. Cork in 1647.

13       Polkas: Maurice O’Keeffe’s/The Road To Ballydesmond
The first is called after fiddle player Maurice O’Keeffe from Kiskeam, Co. Cork. The second tune is possibly a hybrid of two other polkas, the B-part more frequently belonging to Lena’s Polka as recorded by Cork trio Any Old Time in 1988.

14       Reels: John Kelly’s/Little Thatched Cabin
The first tune comes from the fiddle playing of John Kelly (from Co. Clare), a renowned figure in Irish music in Dublin in the mid-twentieth century. The second tune was probably derived from a song by the same name, sung by Galway accordion player Kevin Keegan, a friend of Joe Cooley’s.