Monday, June 30, 2008

John Lavelle and Joe Cooley

As mentioned in John's bio, he, Joe Cooley and Joe Leary toured Ireland together in 1963. Ciaran MacMathuna recorded a session at Bridie Lafferty's house in Homefarm Road in Dublin for Radio √Čireann. Charlie Piggott dug a copy of that radio program from the RTE archives and sent it to John. It arrived at John's house in San Jose, California on St. Patrick's Day, 1993, exactly 30 years to the day that Joe Cooley and John landed in Ireland in 1963. Some of this recording session can also be heard on the famous Cooley album.
















John Lavelle, Billy Soden and Joe Cooley in the Blarney Club ballroom.

John remembers meeting Joe Cooley:

"I first met Joe Cooley in the house of Tom Masterson, a very well known and respected leader of Comhaltas Eireann. It so happened that fiddle immortal Sean McGuire was also present. We were all there for the Craic. At first, I mistook Joe for a member of the Aughrim Slopes Ceili Band. That band included the great Kevin Keegan R.I.P. When I started to play, I got tremendous support from Cooley who also felt the affinity in the air. Shortly thereafter, I made a trip to England and met all of Joe's friends from 'the old days'. I have always considered it an honor to have played with Joe. I hope you enjoy listening to him speak and play in the tunes included in this blog post.

More to come in future blog posts.

Papa John"

Now the tunes:

01 - Introduction - Tommy Cohen's Reel
02 - Ciaran MacMathuna Introduction
03 - Tommy Cohen's Reel
04 - Ciaran MacMathuna Interviews John Lavelle
05 - The Trip To Durrow
06 - Ciaran MacMathuna Welcomes Joe Cooley Home
07 - Queen of the Fair - The Carraroe Jig
08 - Dowd's No. 9 Introduction
09 - Dowd's No. 9
10 - The Humours of Tulla - The Skylark - Roaring Mary Introduction
11 - The Humours of Tulla - The Skylark - Roaring Mary
12 - Dick Darby The Cobbler Introduction
13 - Dick Darby The Cobbler
14 - The Bucks of Oranmore Introduction
15 - The Bucks of Oranmore
16 - The New Custom House Introduction
17 - The New Custom House
18 - My Love She's in America Introduction
19 - My Love She's in America

Friday, June 27, 2008

More Recent Tunes

Here's some more recent footage of John playing with his fellow Rogues. The tunes are 'The Trip To Durrow' and 'Merrily Kiss the Quaker / The Gleanntan Slide'.

John Lavelle - Accordion
Gene O'Donnell - Tin Whistle
Scott Lynch - Guitar
Tom Landry - Mandolin




The Trip To Durrow (Reel)



Merrily Kiss the Quaker - The Gleanntan Slide (Slides)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Saddle the Pony - Lark in the Morning

Here's some recent footage of John playing with a couple of his fellow Rogues. The tunes are 'Saddle the Pony / Lark in the Morning'.

John Lavelle - Accordion
Gene O'Donnell - Tin Whistle
Scott Lynch - Guitar


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

About John

Some of the "old timers" remember John from the 50's and 60's when he played in Chicago at every kind of event imaginable.

John picked up the accordion strictly on his own, starting out with a plastic toy that a neighbor had which was essentially a miniature melodeon. John moved on to a more authentic melodeon, and finally to a rather grandiose Italian accordion with his name emblazoned on the front, as was the custom at the time.

John's music is a sum of lots of influences including not only his dearly departed friend Joe Cooley, but also his father and sister, who played fiddle/piano. It's sure he heard lots of traditional music while still in the womb.

John continued to favor learning tunes more from fiddlers rather than from accordion players, and was fortunate enough to play with and learn from the likes of Aggie White, Pat Kenny, Tony Lowe and John McGreevy, to name but a few. (That's Tom Masterson Sr. behind Johnny in the photo.)

All are shown here in some rather dated pictures.

Aggie White Ryan took the time to teach John the "Trip to Durrow", the "Earl's Chair", and the "Chattering Magpie" during John's wonderful visit to Woodford, County Galway, in the summer of 1962. John brought these tunes back to Chicago; Trip to Durrow became a Joe Cooley standard. Cooley influenced John mostly in terms of tempo and life in his music.

When Joe Cooley, Joe Leary and John toured Ireland together in 1963, Ciaran MacMathuna recorded a session at Bridie Lafferty's house in Homefarm Road in Dublin. John played the Trip to Durrow on that program; Joe Cooley didn't know it yet. What fun was had that year!

Thanks have already gone out to Charlie Piggott who dug a copy of that radio program from the RTE archives and sent it to John. It arrived at John's house in San Jose, California on St. Patrick's Day, 1993, exactly 30 years to the day that Joe Cooley and John landed in Ireland in 1963. Some of this recording session can also be heard on the famous Cooley album.

One of Joe and John's favorite tunes is given the name "Peter's Well" because Joe didn't know the name of it and nobody else seemed to either. Peterswell, of course was Joe's hometown where Joe and John had many a tune in Sherry's, day and night. You'll find this tune on the CD coupled with "Summer in Ireland", which, of course, was Joe's name for Dowd's no. 9.

As is evident in the tunes selected for the CD, many of which are also played on the Patrick Street series of CD's, John's current favorite accordionist is Jackie Daly.


John dedicates the CD to the memory of Frank Thornton Sr., from County Kerry, Ireland, great Chicago musician and organizer who did so much for John and other Irish-American "starters" throughout his lifetime in Chicago.

Frank is shown far right in this photograph with the performers of the famous 1959 "Irish
American" Irish music, dance and song concert tour. Frank, then a leader in the Irish Musician's Association of America, worked tirelessly with members of the growing Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (CCE) movement all over Ireland to make this tour a success. It is well known that this tour was contributory to the continued successfulness and fast growth of the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (CCE) movement. Also, many thanks to Jim Thornton, Frank's son, another great musician with heart to match his music.

Thanks also to Bill Black for researching the names of tunes on the CD.

We also would like to fondly remember the others mentioned here that are no longer with us.

To list all the Irish musicians worldwide that John has played with and learned from over the years would take a book. Most are well known in their own right.

As depicted on the cover of the CD, John spent many years playing for the entertainment of his family and neighbors quite outside of the Irish music scene. Now that the children are raised, he is once again concentrating on his music and hopes to share it with others, in particular the young folks, who might be interested in learning.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sample Tunes From John's CD - @Home Alone

John's latest CD is appropriately titled "@Home Alone". All of the tunes were performed and recorded in John's home in San Jose, CA. Below, you'll find a copy of the tracklisting of the CD.

  1. Bucks of Oranmore {Reel: 2:05} - Sample
  2. Up to Your Knees in Sand, Maurice Casey's Fancy, John Brennan From Sligo {Reels: 4:37}
  3. Connie the Soldier, McKenna's, Clancy's {Jigs: 3:38}
  4. Concertina, Earl's Chair {Reels: 3:14}
  5. The Last Chance, Johnny O'Leary's, The Glen Cottage, Weaver's Delight, Pat Enright's {Polkas: 4:30} - Sample
  6. Garret Barry's, Paiden O'Rafferty's {Jigs: 3:59} - Sample
  7. Summer in Ireland, Peter's Well {Reels: 2:20}
  8. The Coalminer, Heather Breeze, Turf House {Reels: 2:49}
  9. Maurice O'Keefe's No. 1, Maurice O'Keefe's No. 2, Jim Reardon's {Polkas: 3:39}
  10. Mouth of Tobique, Bill Wilson's {Reels: 2:46}
  11. The Golden Eagle, Sault's Own {Hornpipes: 3:24}
  12. Trip to Durrow, John Dwyer's, George White's Favorite {Reels: 4:16}
  13. Joy of my Life, Kennedy's, The Bloody Hollow {Haymaker's Jig Medley: 5:34}
  14. Jackie Tarr, the Flowing Tide {Hornpipes: 2:40}
  15. Walsh's Medley {Polkas: 3:21} - Sample

Monday, June 16, 2008

Buy John's CD - @Home Alone

John's latest CD, "@Home Alone" is now available for purchase. You can order a copy through the Ossian USA Music Store.

Code: 01042-CD
Price: $15.00

Ossian USA
118 Beck Road
Loudon, NH. 03307
www.ossianusa.com

Tracklisting information and sample tunes are also
available for your convenience.

If you have any further questions about the CD, you can email John directly at
papa_lavelle@yahoo.com.