Ennis recording of The Rambling Pitchfork

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truckley_howler
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Ennis recording of The Rambling Pitchfork

Post by truckley_howler »

I recently stumbled across this recording of Ennis playing The Rambling Pitchfork: http://pipers.ie/source/media/?searchTe ... iaId=30529

It's a pretty interesting recording. The first couple times through the tune it almost sounds like he's doing a Willie Clancy impression, with lots of bendy wailing. Then he slips back into his classic style for the rest of the tune. (I think the second half is stronger, but it's really fun to hear him playing differently in the first half.)

I'm assuming this was an informal recording and comes from a private collection. Does anyone know of any other recordings where Ennis branches out like this, playing in a different style?
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NicoMoreno
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Re: Ennis recording of The Rambling Pitchfork

Post by NicoMoreno »

I love that track. I don't think he's impersonating Willie Clancy, but rather playing a version similar to that found in an early collection, which he might have had access to / transcribed in one of his early jobs. I think, from memory, that the first written versions were all in Dm rather than Dmaj. At any rate, here's some info on the tune's history:
https://tunearch.org/wiki/Rambling_Pitchfork_(The)
truckley_howler
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Re: Ennis recording of The Rambling Pitchfork

Post by truckley_howler »

Thanks for the link, NicoMoreno! I didn't know that about the tune's history. (And I'm embarrassed to say I didn't know that website existed.)

I've been playing the tune all week with some of Felix Doran's variations: https://archive.org/details/FelixDoranD ... gPitchfork

Then there's this raucous version, which is a lot of fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1v67STEPLHs.
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Re: Ennis recording of The Rambling Pitchfork

Post by Mr.Gumby »

Ennis, or his father, seems to have lifted a fair few tunes/versions from Leavey's first collection. That's my theory anyway.
Salamanca, Langstern Pony and others. His Rambling pitchfork is one of these. He first plays it as written and then the more common version, perhaps one Padraig O'Keeffe had.

The nifty thing about the Leavey version is that it's actually pretty much the usual version, if you read it with two sharps.


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NicoMoreno
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Re: Ennis recording of The Rambling Pitchfork

Post by NicoMoreno »

Well, he plays it almost like Leavey's version (but with F#s). I wasn't sure if it was Leavey or Roche, or another collection.

I like the Tune Archive - it's the same information that existed as the Fiddler's Companion, but in wiki form, which means there's more contributors and more information now.
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Re: Ennis recording of The Rambling Pitchfork

Post by bensdad »

Had a listen to the Lament for Thomas Ashe. Beautiful. Never heard anyone else play it, how about over there Peter? And anyone know anything more about it? Why does James O’Neill spring to mind? Round about the right time...
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Re: Ennis recording of The Rambling Pitchfork

Post by Mr.Gumby »

I haven't heard anyone play it, Just Ennis on that particular recording.

The tune was written by Paul Brady for a project on Seán O'Casey, to coincide with the centenary of O'Casey's birth. I was holed up in a B&B in Dublin in 1980, I was travelling, trying to get a leaky bag on my first half set fixed. I was stuck in Dublin for a few days while that got sorted. I had one of the Sunday papers to entertain me, somewhat. In the paper was an interview with Paul Brady about a thing on S.O'C. in it he talked about writing and producing the music. He had given Ennis the music for the Thomas Ashe piece. He said on the day Ennis arrived, sat down in the studio and put it down in one go. Brady said it was complete in itself, Ennis had put it on the pipes and there was nothing for Brady to add to it.

That little bit always stayed in the back of my head and it was not until perhaps twelve years ago I came across a mention of the lp 'The Green Crow Caws' that had the music of the particular project and managed to track down a copy of it for myself.

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It is perhaps a lesser known factoid that Seán O'Casey played the pipes, both the uilleann and warpipes. He played the latter as a member of the Laurence O'Toole pipeband (which means he must have been at least half decent on them). Ashe, who was a friend of his, was a member of the Black Raven pipeband in Lusk. O'Casey wrote the 'Lament for Thomas Ashe' as a poem (although the did a prose version as well), I would assume Brady had the tune written to carry the words, much like the other music on the recording carries texts by O'Casey, both sung and as spoken word.

A leaflet, distributed before Ashe's funeral:

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bensdad
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Re: Ennis recording of The Rambling Pitchfork

Post by bensdad »

Someone should write a history of the Black Raven pipe band...Thomas Ashe, Eamonn Ceannt, Chris Langan...
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Re: Ennis recording of The Rambling Pitchfork

Post by Mr.Gumby »

They give an outline, a sketch of it, on their website: here


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bensdad
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Re: Ennis recording of The Rambling Pitchfork

Post by bensdad »

Thanks, as always.
Can’t remember where I read of the Eamonn Ceannt /Black Raven connection. Maybe someone was mixing up Ceannt and Ashe?
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