Morphing reels to jigs, and vice-versa, is a fun game that we sometimes play on Tuesday evenings at John Stone’s. Here is how it works. We take a tune, any tune, and begin playing it in a different time signature. If it is a reel (2/4), we might play it as a jig (6/8) or as a slip jig (9/8). My buddy Brian Hebert is sort of the king of the morphs. In fact, he has just released a whole CD of Beatles morphs. On his new album, Any Time At All, he took classics like She Loves You and turned it into a slip jig, Penny Lane is now a hornpipe, and Strawberry Fields has been rendered as a waltz.
Here is what the Liverpool Echo – yes the very same Liverpool that gave us the Beatles – had to say about Brian’s new album:
A SURPRISINGLY gutsy album of instrumental Beatles songs done in a raw and edgy Celtic folk style. Crammed full of wild bodrans, duelling mandolins, and skirling Irish pipes, reminding of Planxty, de Danaan and The Chieftains, with a taste of Bert Jansche’s Pentangle, it’s a radical reinvention of the great Lennon and McCartney songs that brings a whole new dimension to something we thought we already knew everything there was to know about.
Tonight I, along with Unstachio and our friend Joey Sullivan, backed Brian and a couple of his Beatles morphs for a local Television station. It was a good bit of fun and was a great opportunity to see how a TV show is produced first hand. It was also the first time I have ever performed for a TV show. Not quite Ed Sullivan, but cool nonetheless.
You can find out more about Brian and his CD on his website. Also, you can order a copy of his CD from cdbaby.
To whet your appetite I’ve included a track from his CD, which you may recognized as Please Please Me as a Jig.
During the Irish Rebellion of 1798 the rebels were often known to carry barley oats in their pockets as provisions while on march. Unfortunately, thousands of the dead rebels found their final resting place in mass unmarked graves, which were referred to as croppy holes.
As the seasons passed barley would be found growing above the croppy holes and came to symbolize the regenerative nature of Irish resistance to British rule.
In the nineteenth century the Irish poet, Robert Dwyer Joyce wrote a ballad entitled Wind that Shakes the Barley, which repeatedly references the barley as a young lad has to decide between the love of his lady or the love of his country.
As our last track on the 1999 Amadán album, Sarah Kennedy sang a A cappella version of this haunting song.
I heard The Blacksmith on the Celtic Sojourn the other morning. Man, what a cool song. It is an old classic by a band called Planxty. After hearing it on the radio I realized I did not own the Planxty album this was first heard on. Had to fix that problem right away.
Here is a great video, probably from ’72 or ’73 of Planxty playing The Blacksmith. Though our modern ears have grown accustomed to the sounds that Planxty created, it is worth noting that nobody had really heard bouzouki in Celtic music until Andy and Donal came along. And those strange Eastern European melodies…forget about it.
I am supper happy to announce that my buddy Josh Dukes just released his first album. No, I’m not going to do a track by track album review, I think you should listen for yourself. But I will tell you this, the first time I listened I thought, ‘hmmm, this makes me want to get better at playing the flute…damn him.’ The second time I listened I thought, ‘well now, listen to that sweet guitar playing, why didn’t I think of that slick chord progression…ggrrrrr’. Needless to say, I was afraid to listen to it a third time…but I couldn’t resist. And I’m happy to say that Josh is the man. He, along with a host of other very talented musicians have put together an album of really tasty traditional tunes. Plus he’s got all the instruments I like on this album; his Olwell, guitar, the bunka-bunka (that’s the tenor banjo for those not in-the-know), ye ole goat skins and a variety of other cool instruments.
But, I’m sure that you don’t need to hear me ramble on about what a great recording this is and why you should get your own copy. So, instead, take a listen for yourself. Josh was kind enough to let me post one of his tracks here. Then, immediately following, I want you to head over to CD Baby and make one yours so that you can hear the remaining fourteen tracks. Also, if you are local or plan to be mustering in the rain at Sudbury this weekend, I have a dozen or so copies on hand for the reasonable price of $15.