Memories of Leitrim – Tony O’Rourke

CD cover, showing a river flowing through a rural settingRecorded in Melbourne, Australia. Released July 2011.

You can buy the album, or individual tracks, at cdbaby, and soon on itunes, Amazon, Rhapsody and other online music outlets.

Track listing

  1. Road To Ballymac / Sunny Banks
  2. An Fáinne Óir
  3. Uncle Herman’s Hornpipe
  4. Paddy Taylor’s / Port Na Cordal
  5. Pat Organ’s / Nell Fee’s
  6. Ormond Sound / Coalminer’s
  7. Eddie Kelly’s / Courtown Harbour
  8. The Town Of Uranquinty
  9. Drunken Gauger
  10. O’Rourke’s / Mullingar Races
  11. Máire Rua / Na Ceannabháin Bhána
  12. Buttermilk Mary / Andy McGann’s Jig
  13. Chicken Reel
  14. Scatter The Mud / Saddle The Pony
  15. Crossing The Shannon
  16. A Thousand Farewells / Hardiman’s Fancy

Sleeve notes

This recording contains my versions of mostly Traditional Irish Music tunes played on guitar. Two of the tunes,“Uncle Herman’s Hornpipe” and “Chicken Reel” are American, and one is my own composition, “ The Town Of Uranquinty ”. But all the rest of the selections are of Irish origins. My visits to Ireland always include a trip to Leitrim, my ancestral homeland but also the dwellings of some friends, not to mention a place for great music.

As a rule I use standard tuning (EADGBE) for guitar but on this recording there are two tracks where I use Open A (EAC#EAE). Open A tuning is obviously conducive to playing in A Major, but perhaps surprisingly, is also amenable to playing in A Minor.

“Road to Ballymac” was learnt from a recording of Con Herbert, whilst “Sunny Banks” was from Johnny O’Halloran. I first heard “An Fáinne Óir” played at a session in Melbourne one night by a young Pa Foley.

“Uncle Herman’s Hornpipe” is a tune I learnt from Paul Wookey, one of Australia’s finest guitarists. His way of playing the tune was inspirational and I hope I’ve captured some of his magic in my own version.

“Paddy Taylor’s” seemed to have just turned up on my musical doorstep some years ago, whilst “Port Na Cordal” is one of the many tunes I’ve picked up from the wonderful Mulcahy family from West Limerick.

“Pat Organ’s” is the name given to this polka in Australia, in honour of the much loved Pat Organ (accordeon), and “Nell Fee’s” was learnt from another accordeonist, Patty Furlong.

Paddy O’Brien composed “Ormond Sound”, and I originally learnt “Coalminer’s” from one of my Melbourne musical friends Geoff Le Blanc, yet another player of the accordeon!

Both “Eddie Kelly’s” and “Courtown Harbour” come from the playing of Dympna O’Sullivan.

“Town of Uranquinty” is a tune I wrote in 1986 and I was honored with the Tim Whelan Tune Writing Award. “The Drunken Gauger” is a Set Dance thus the slow tempo. I have often heard Set Dances played too fast. As much as I’d like to, I can take no credit for “O’Rourke’s”, or for that matter “Mullingar Races”. Both tunes were part of the “scene” a long, long time before I was! “Máire Rua” and “Ceannabháin Bhána” are slip jigs and coincidentally both songs. “Buttermilk Mary” was a tune learnt from that great Canadian fiddler Graham Townsend and “Andy McGann’s” from “Rí Ceol Sráide” Antóin MacGabhann.

I’ve always loved bluegrass and old timey music, so “Chicken Reel” is to be found here as well . “Scatter The Mud” and “Saddle The Pony” are played in Open A tuning, the latter normally played in G, but my version is in A. I play “Crossing The Shannon” in C, but capo up to the third fret for a bit of brightness . “A Thousand Farewells” was a tune I just started playing one day, and “Hardiman’s Fancy” I learnt from a Brendan Mulvihill recording.


Tony O’Rourke

Gerry GaffneyMemories of Leitrim – Tony O’Rourke