Page 88 - Michael Coleman: A Cape Breton Irish Connection
ISSUE : Issue 57
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/6/1
a 3-minute side--the aesthetic has changed. I think if you'd had a couple of old-style players at a dance in Mabou 50 years ago, they probably played their tunes 3, 4 times. Sometimes people who are improvisers and have that capability, freedom, that way of hearing--you don't necessarily get inspired on your first or second time through the tune. (Which tells us a lot about what 78's--what recordings in general....) Have done to the music... (So, what's being done in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Michael Coleman's birth?) There was a big celebration in the town where he was born, in County Sligo. But more importantly, a lot of his 78's have been re-mastered and are about to be re-issued. A fellow at RTE in Ireland--same equivalent as our CBC Radio--Harry Brad- shaw, a producer there, has re-issued 40 of the sides onto cassettes. And Bradshaw has done just a fabulous job. He's very, very carefully re-mastered them. It's not just taking any old 78 and making a tape of it. I mean, this guy has a dozen different types of needles for 78's to get the right one for the right type of groove. And he's really carefully cleaned everything up. So, we'll never hear fidelity like this on Mi? chael Coleman re-issues again. This will be the best. We'll get as close as what we're able to hear from an old record. Michael Coleman 78's are currently available on: "The Legacy of Michael Coleman" (Shanachie 33002), 'The Classic Recordings of Michael Coleman" (Shanachie 33006), and the soon-to-be- released double cassette offering from producer Harry Brad? shaw. It will be issued as Viva Voice 004, and will include a book about Coleman. Six medleys by Johnny Wilmot are currently available on "Cape Breton Fiddlers on Early LPs." To order, see page 51. Lord Gordon's Paul Cranford: The following tune, "Lord Gordon's," is a variation on a tune first published in 1778 in Scotland as a 4-part strathspey known as "Craig Elachie Rant" (in the Cummings Collection: also in McGlashan's 1780 book as "Duke of Gordon's Rant"). This arrangement of "Lord Gordon's" is based on a performance by Johnny Wilmot which has been re-issued on the cassette "Cape Breton Fiddlers on Early LPs" (available from Cape Breton's Magazine-- see page 51). Johnny learned the tune from the original Michael Coleman 78 (re-issued on Shanachie 33002 and on the coming Harry Bradshaw production). In the first two bars, we see the exten? sive use of the little finger for grace notes--a common technique on the North- side. The little finger is also generally used for rolls. This seems to give more bite to the embellishment. Those listening to the Wilmot tape while looking at the transcription will discover that the melody given here is a bare-bones setting which reflects the first time through each turn. With each repeat, me? lodic and rhythmic variations are added which are not notated here. In order to display as much melodic variation as pos? sible, and yet have a learnable setting, bars 13 to 16 have been arranged differ? ently from Johnny's first time through. Bar 15, as given, is a twist unique to Johnny Wilmot (that is, it is an addition to Coleman) and can be heard on Johnny's second time through the tune. Cape Breton fiddlers Dan J. Campbell and Angus Allan Gillis had a 2-turn setting of "Lord Gordon's" as an untitled reel con? cluding the "Braes of Mar Medley" on a 78 recording in 1935. This tune is also played throughout Cape Breton in yet another 2- part setting which originates from a Wins? ton "Scotty" Fitzgerald recording (CX-34). Reel 3 arr; P.S.C. [[tf [[&! rrtrfflj'i' J} CO J) <=' C' ' OO ' m[jiW'i'' di%i cID'rri fcri "Ir jt. ' 4r ' ' 'p p
Cape Breton's Magazine