Paddy O’Brien 1922-1991 – Solo recordings of the legendary Paddy O’Brien




My father Paddy O’Brien, musician, teacher and composer is without doubt one of the most influential figures in Irish traditional music of the 20th century. Born on 10th February 1922 into a musical family, Paddy transformed and popularised B/C accordion playing when his recordings on Columbia records were released in 1954. He developed a new approach to accordion playing whereby ornamentation used on flutes, fiddles and uilleann pipes ie: Rolls and cuts, could be accomplished on the B/C accordion. Through his exploration and experimentation, Paddy also achieved the option of playing the B/C accordion in all keys. His playing style has been copied and adopted by generations since these early recordings.

I have spent the last 31 years since Dad’s untimely passing, promoting the priceless legacy of music that Dad left to the tradition. I have published and recorded his compositions and to my great delight,” Paddy O’Brien tunes” are now embraced and accepted into the traditional repertoire and played all over the world. I felt that a project designed to demonstrate his unbelievable mastery of the B/C accordion was needed. This project bears testament to the accordionist, “The Legendary Paddy O’ Brien” and his role in the development, continuity and promotion of Irish traditional music. He was the man who changed the sound of Irish traditional accordion music. Paddy led the way in the establishment of the B/C accordion playing style. Paddy’s playing style was respected and acted as a template for B/C accordionists who came after him. The most noted of that next generation being Paddy’s great friend Joe Burke R.I.P.

The O’Brien family musical tradition was passed on to Dad by his father Dinny. I have included three tracks of my grandfather Dinny playing fiddle as part of this music collection.

I do hope that these remastered archival recordings will bring pleasure to traditional music followers and also be of benefit to young students and allow them to appreciate the innovative musicianship of my Dad, “The Legendary Paddy O’Brien”.

Dedicated to the memory of
My grandparents Dinny and Ellen O’Brien, Jim and Julia-Anne Seery, my parents,
Paddy and Eileen O’Brien and my son Denis Minogue “Suaimhneas síoraí dá n-anam”

1.Jigs; Dr. O’Neill, The Wandering Minstrel (02:55)
2. Reels; Peter Street, Bonnie Kate (03:02)
3. Hornpipes;  Sault’s Own, Wade Hampton’s (02:57)
4. Reels; The Mason’s Apron, Paddy Murphy’s Wife (03:02)
5. Hornpipes; O’Kelly’s Fancy, The Cuckoo (02:58)
6. Jigs; The Lark on the Strand, The Pipe on the Hob (02:47)
7. Reels; The Spike Island Lassies, Dowd’s Favourite (03:02)
8. Jigs; Trip to Athlone, Garrett Barry’s Favourite (02:47)
9. Reels; The Yellow Tinker, The Sally Gardens (03:02)
10. Reel; Kitty in the Lane (Dinny O’Brien) (01:21)
11. Hornpipe; The Smell of the Bog (Dinny O’Brien) (02:19)
12. Reel; Paddy Kelly’s (Dinny O’Brien) (01:27)
13. Reel; O’Brien’s Dream (02:29)
14. Reel; The King of the Clans (01:17)
15. Jigs; The Humours of Lisheen, Katie’s Fancy (02:46)
16. Reel; The Moving Cloud (01:17)
17. Hornpipes; The Golden Eagle, The Fiddlers’ Contest (03:04)
18. Reel; The Dawn (01:19)
19. Hornpipe; The High Level (02:13)
20. Reel; The Hunter’s House (01:18)
21. Hornpipes; The Swan on the Lake, The Western (03:20)
22. Reel; The Limerick Minstrel (00:58)
23. Hornpipe; Lad O’Beirne’s (01:51)
24. Reels; Fisherman’s Island, The College Groves (02:30)

“The Moving Cloud” composed by Neillidh Boyle
“Paddy Kelly’s” and “O’Brien’s Dream” composed by Paddy Kelly, Aughrim
“The Hunter’s House” and “Fisherman’s Island” composed by Ed Reavy
“The High Level” composed by James Hill
“The Swan on the Lake” composed by Paddy O’Brien

Piano Accompaniment tracks 1,2 & 3 Eileen Lane
Piano Accompaniment track 21 Jodie Larkin
Tracks 1-3 Recorded 1947 by Bill Stapleton, IRC Dublin
Tracks 4-9 Recorded 1954, Newtown, Tipperary
Tracks 10-17 & 20-23 Recorded 1959, Dublin
Tracks 18-19 Recorded 1956, Ennis
Tracks 24-26 Home recordings 1957

Sources of recordings for this project Donnchadh & Eileen O’Brien, Harry Bradshaw, Brendan McHugh, Joe O’Connor, Sean and Michael Moloney (Portroe), Stephen Chambers, Maura and Kit Walsh Lixnaw C.C.E.

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