Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Battering Ram (jig): Brendan (eile)

Battering Ram (jig)

Between 1968 and 1978, my grandparents - Martin & Ellen Ferguson from Attymass, Co. Mayo - ran a pub called the Regent Hotel on Regent Street in the heart of Leeds. Within a short space of time, the pub became a sort of mecca for Irish musicians living in the city (and for local students interested in folk music). Over the years many noted musicians played there; Kevin Burke (fiddle), Martin Byrnes (fiddle), P. J. Hernon (button accordion), Paddy Ryan (fiddle), and Sean McGuire (fiddle) to name but a few. Indeed, the Music from Ireland tune-books, compiled by Dave Bulmer and Neil Sharpley, published in four volumes in the 1970s contains many tunes transcribed from musicians playing at the Regent Hotel.

Anyway, I recently came across some amateur recordings done in the pub in the early 1970s. They are beautifully atmospheric, featuring the sound of the crowd and even the ringing till! And if you listen carefully you can hear a great mix of West of Ireland and West Yorkshire 'brogues'. Here is the Battering Ram, live from the Regent Hotel, with a selection of contemporary photographs:

I had a fair idea how to play a simple version of this three-part jig but Brian McGrath recently shared some ideas on ornamenting the tune with stops, chords, and cuts so here it is ...

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