Celebrating 60 years of The Chieftains, the Owsley Stanley Foundation presents Bear's Sonic Journals: The Foxhunt, The Chieftains Live in San Francisco 1973 & 1976.
The 1973 recording finds The Chieftains on their first tour in the U.S., playing an unscheduled gig at Jerry Garcia's invitation to open for his bluegrass band, Old & In The Way. The evening presented the perfect pairing of Irish traditional music, and its cousin, American bluegrass. Bear's recordings of Old & In The Way cemented his reputation as a master of live concert recordings. This is the missing half of that story -- both sonically and musically -- and one of the gems of Bear's Sonic Journal archive.
The 1976 recording (CD only) includes a second complete concert recorded by Bear, this time at the Great American Music Hall. If The Chieftains arrived in San Francisco as relative unknowns in '73, they returned in '76 as a global sensation, headlining before a sold-out crowd at a larger venue. As usual, Bear's recording captures exactly what it was like to be in the room that night! The Bay Area audience clearly adored The Chieftains (as did Bear), and The Chieftains loved them right back. It was a performance that Paddy remembered more than 45 years later and was thrilled to rediscover.
Paddy Maloney, the founder of the Chieftains, sat for two full days of interviews with OSF for this release while listening to the entirety of Bear's recordingsof The Chieftains. In keeping with his outsized, charming personality, he warmly reminisced about these shows, his early days with The Chieftains, and his relationship to Jerry Garcia, who helped introduce the band to America. Sadly, Paddy passed away at age 83 shortly after these sessions, which turned out to be his final in-depth interviews. The extensive liner notes pay loving tribute to Paddy, while bonus tracks on the CD edition include moving audio excerpts from those last days.
Sonically, the Oct 1, 1973 Boarding House show is cut from the same cloth as Bear's 1973 master recording of Old & In The Way at the same venue from the following week, long revered for its startlingly life-like recreation of the stage and its acoustic detail. The Owsley Stanley Foundation's first release was a series of performances by Doc & Merle Watson, recorded by Bear at the same venue in May 1974.Stereophile magazine described that release as "the most extraordinary Doc Watson ever captured on tape. Ever." Taken together, this recording of The Chieftains from that same time and place completes a Boarding House trilogy which showcases Bear's mastery of recording bluegrass and its Irish progenitor.
The 2-CD set appears in a 36-page mediabook format and contains two complete concerts -- nearly 2.5 hours of music -- from the Boarding House on October 1, 1973 and the Great American Music Hall on May 5, 1976.
CD Bonus tracks include Jerry Garcia discussing the Irish roots of American bluegrass music during a radio show he did with The Chieftains in 1973, and excerpts from OSF's extensive, in-person interview with Paddy Moloney from August 2021, sadly, his last major interview.
The set includes a lavish booklet with original cover art by Dublin native, Conor Campbell, calligraphy by Alembic's Mica Wickersham, previously unpublished photographs, liner notes featuring new interviews with Paddy Moloney, Ricky Skaggs, and legendary soundman, Brian Masterson (of Windmill Lane studios fame), Bay Area soundman, Lee Brenkman, and others.
These tapes were transferred and mastered by Jeffrey Norman (Mockingbird Mastering).
· Paddy Moloney – uilleann pipes, tin whistle
· Derek Bell – Irish harp, dulcimer, timpán, oboe
· Seán Keane – fiddle, tin whistle
· Michael Tubridy – flute, concertina, tin whistle
· Seán Potts – tin whistle, bones, bodhrán
· Martin Fay – fiddle
· Peadar Mercier – bodhrán, bones
Disk 1: The Boarding House, October 1, 1973
1. Drowsy Maggie
2. Band Introductions
3. Morgan Magan
4. Carrickfergus (Do Bhí Bean Uasal)
5. The Morning Dew
6. Lord Inchiquin
7. An Fhallaingín Mhuimhneach (The Munster Cloak)
8. The Foxhunt
9. Mná na hÉireann (The Women of Ireland)
10. Carolan's Concerto
11. Kerry Slides
Great American Music Hall, May 5, 1976
12. Medley: Strike the Gay Harp/The March of the King of Laois/The Lady on the Island/The Sailor on the Rock
13. Lord Inchiquin
14. An Fhallaingín Mhuimhneach (The Munster Cloak)