Playlist B- the banjo playlist

20 July 2021

If you don’t wish to read through the notes below, you can go straight to playlist B on YouTube here.

I had intended to create just three “solo” playlists but the ideas just keep coming…

I’ve included some biographical / music-related details about my collaborators – so to begin with here are a few details about me. I was brought up in Derrymacash, County Armagh and moved to London in the mid 1980s. Around the mid 1990s I developed an interest in Irish Traditional Music, first as a listener and then, tentatively, as a player of GDAE-tuned fretted instruments – mandolin, octave mandola, banjo and tenor guitar at various points. I’ve drifted in and out of the music but it’s been my pleasure and privilege to play tunes with some great players and great friends at sessions across London including The Blythe Hill Tavern, the short-lived and manic Saturday night sessions at Shillelaghs in Catford, The White Horse session in Bethnal Green… And occasionally others as and when the time was right for a few tunes.

Although I have drifted away from the tunes from time to time, I have rediscovered my passion in the past few years. One of the reasons I started The Irish Mandolin website was to, hopefully, give something back to the music and to provide resources and inspiration to fellow mandoliers who enjoy playing Irish traditional tunes. These playlists will hopefully appeal not just to players of GDAE-tuned instruments but to a much wider audience who love this music…

B is for BANJO. Aidan says: It’s fitting that this playlist should open with The Dubliners playing Fermoy Lasses/Sporting Paddy. I think this is the first set of reels which embedded themselves in my mind. Dubliners’ albums were pretty much on constant rotation in my home when I grew up. This live version from Montreux is a stark reminder of just how tightly John Sheahan and Barney McKenna played together. Stirring stuff! The Dubliners – Fermoy Lasses/Sporting Paddy

B is for BANJO Aidan says: I have happy memories of listening to Liam Farrell play banjo alongside Joe Whelan on accordion at The Goldsmiths Arms in Penge, South East London on riotous, drunken Saturday nights while they had a short-lived residency there. Liam Farrell and Joe Whelan – The Blooming Meadows/The Lark In The Morning

B is for BANJO. Aidan says: It’s only in the past few weeks that I’ve become aware of Shane Mulchrone, after two recommendations within days of each other. This set of flings has really grown on me. Shane Mulchrone – The Boys Of Knock/Johnny, Will You Marry Me?

B is for BANJO Aidan says: What an impressive set of jigs! I’m pleased to see Stevie Dunne playing with Gerdy Thompson. Gerdy used to play in various outfits around Lurgan with a cousin of mine and I had the pleasure one evening of having a few tunes with Gerdy in my cousin’s kitchen. Magic! Stevie Dunne with Gerdy Thompson – The Crosskeys/Cahir’s Slippery Jig

B is for BANJO. Aidan says: Cathal Hayden. What can I say? On fiddle or banjo, an outstanding, inventive musician.  Cathal Hayden with John Faulkner – Up To Your Knees In Sand/Crowley’s No. 2

B is for BANJO Aidan says: Brian McGrath’s album “Pure Banjo” was pure heaven to any trad aficionado. Here’s a terrific set of jigs. Brian McGrath – The Boys Of Tandragee/The Wandering Minstrel

B is for BANJO. Aidan says: Gerry O’Connor is one of the great banjo stylists and on this track you can hear him incorporate American Old-Time influences into his playing.    Gerry O’Connor – The Bag Of Spuds/The Copperplate

B is for BANJO Aidan says: Brian Kelly. I’ve had the pleasure of Brian’s company on several occasions. An out and out genius player! Here he is with The Long Notes playing a tune written by the late Tommy McManamon of The Popes fame. Brian Kelly with The Long Notes – Dancing In The Sky

Bis for BANJO Aidan says: Jill McAuley’s technique is enviable. You got to love what she does with her right hand! (And the left, of course!) Jill McAuley – The Reconciliation

B is for BANJO. Aidan says: It would be sacrilegious not to include a banjo version of The Mason’s Apron in any banjo playlist. It’s one of those tunes which every aspiring banjo player wants to get under their belt. And yet for that very reason it’s one of those tunes which can spotlight a player’s flaws. No such issue with this final selection. Shane Farrell takes the tune apart and rebuilds it… goosebumps time! Shane Farrell – The Mason’s Apron live in St Louis

Listen to playlist B here.

All playlists on my channel here.

Return to the “A to Z” home page here.

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