Who played it best: May morning Dew

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Who played it best: May Morning Dew

Davy Spillane
John McSherry
Chris McMullan
Phil Hardy
Total votes: 5

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Re: Who played it best: May morning Dew

Post by Mr.Gumby »

kenny wrote: Fri Oct 08, 2021 3:33 pm I've never heard of Sean Keane being a member of "Reel Union". Sister Dolores was, of course, but I suppose it is possible he toured with them at some point. I do remember
I have a reasonably clear memory of at least one Reel union gig with Dolores, Faulkner, Kieran Crehan and Ciaran Curran. Was there anyone else? I don't remember. Memories of other occasions are less clear.

I mentioned it because Keane talked about being in the band during the interview. It was new to me too. . He did say they were in the US for long spells. So perhaps he wasn't with them when they played in Europe? That would explain why I have no memory of seeing him at all during those years.
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Re: Who played it best: May morning Dew

Post by Nanohedron »

Mr.Gumby wrote: Wed Oct 06, 2021 3:11 am Here's a novelty thought: why not go back to the song itself (you know, sung, by a good singer*) and take it from there?

*Sean Keane will do, for starters
Seconded. I'm of the dour old school of thought that, ideally, a song air's phrasing should recall the scansion of actually singing the song. It's why I have trouble choosing among Messrs. Spillane et al. They're perfectly entitled to do what they want because their Trad cred is unassailable, but the style's not for me.
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Re: Who played it best: May morning Dew

Post by Naturalist »

I'm still not sure I can say who played it best but after watching them all a couple times more, I have some thoughts.

Davy Spillane is perhaps the most expressive. He has some really long notes he plays. He either has incredible lung capacity or he is employing circular breathing or both. For that matter, his breathing is barely noticeable which I ascribe to just carefully placing the breath he takes. As others have mentioned, he hits the note and then adds the vibrato after the note has has developed, more like a singer does. His notes also bend more as he rises to the notes. He has extraordinary breath control as he does that. I think this is the most ornamented version and the most expressive. Do I detect a little reverb in there? Not sure but I like it. Clearly masterful in my opinion.

John McSherry, I mean what can I say. I think he is the best at making the jump from that lower note up to the higher notes, its just scintillating how he does that. Spillane makes the transition a little more relaxed or slower. John's playing seems more, well, technical if you catch my drift. His timing is just so precise. His finger vibrato are just spot on with each note. There is something to be said about that technical precision, and I like it about the same as I like Davy's expressive version. I like the way his whistle sounds the best. It has that classic low whistle sound to it. Overton?

Chris McMullan, I like how he slides off or fades some off some of the notes at the end of some phrases. As others have mentioned the recording quality is the best on this version. I think he also has the best background music. He has an interesting virbrato technique where he uses his bottom hand to do the virbrato on what would normally be done with his top hand. It is no less effective on this song. I think he is a very good whistler, just excellent. He kind of has it all, the technical precision and the emotive expression. I like the chiffiness of his whistle and it's brightness. Comments say its a Goldie F. Just love how it sounds.

Phil Hardy, I like how he elaborates and improvises a little more on the phrases as he gets towards the end of the song. That's my favorite part of his version. He, like Davy, lets the notes develop more at times before he introduces the virbrato. At other times he introduces the vibrato right away. So sort of playing it both ways at times. He also uses breath vibrato more than the others. Not even sure if the others do this at all. Its pretty expressive. It looks to me like he is working harder than the other guys to play this song. That's not a knock because he is very good, its just if we are discriminating between the others, we have to have something to base it on.
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