Dave Swarbrick re-visited

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Dave Swarbrick re-visited

Postby Dave Hanson » Sat Jan 13, 2007 8:29 am

Whilst going through some old audio cassettes to record on to CDs I found Dave Swarbricks first [ I think ] solo outing, ' Rags, Reels And Airs ' on which Dave plays a variety of instruments, mainly fiddle and mandolin but including 8 string fiddle and viola, ably accompanied by Martin Carthy and Diz Disley both on guitars.

As the title says Dave plays traditional and more modern tunes, ragtime etc. totally brilliantly.

Dave was one of the pioneers of mandolin in British folk music, and if you've only heard him play fiddle, his mandolin playing is dazzling, ' Dill Pickle Rag ' is
a wonderful example.

It's quite an old recording now, at least 35 years, but if you can find it, it's well worth it.

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Dave Swarbrick

Postby nigelgatherer » Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:40 am

I still have the vinyl issue of this album, but I believe it's available on CD. One of my favourites, this is a superb example of Swarb revelling in his sheer joy of playing music. It's also one of his most mandocentric outngs, with virtually every second track being a mandolin number. I thoroughly recommend it.
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Postby PseudoCelt » Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:09 pm

I listen to this album a lot. I think the "clean" sound of a mandolin/fiddle paired with a guitar works really well, especially with Martin Carthy's somewhat unique accompaniment.

Because I'm too young to understand how real records work, I bought the CD. My dad's got it on vinyl.

Are there any earlier British recordings that feature the mandolin so prominently?

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Postby Dave Hanson » Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:40 pm

I've just bought it on CD from Amazon, my taped copy is worn out.

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Postby bluemando » Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:15 pm

Fairport's "Babbacoombe Lee" album also features some excellent mando playing by El Swarbo.
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Postby 2CameBy » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:33 pm

Fairport's "Full House" has some gr8 mandolin, but if you want something more challenging try the "Thrill is Gone" album by David Grisman & Gerry Garcia... it changed the way I play!!
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Postby Richard » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:52 pm

Am I allowed to say that I've never been a fan? His violin sound is usually sloppy and out of tune and his mandolin playing pretty simple if OK sounding. His legend and personality make people credit him with more talent than he has.
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Postby Dave Hanson » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:44 pm

Well that may be your opinion and you are entitled to it, are you a better player ? because a lot of very very good musicians rate Dave Swarbrick very highly, including one who posted earlier, highly respected musician and teacher Nigel Gatherer, as I said in an earlier post, listen to Swarb play ' Dill Pickle Rag ' on mandolin and tell us again he's not very good.

Why is it the knockers always come out when someone gets a bit of well earned praise ?

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Postby Richard » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:37 pm

A I said,"Am I allowed?". Obviously not. However in a forum, my opinion is as valid as anyone's.
Am I as good? In the context of the bands I play with, maybe. But is that a relevant question? I suggest not. Can theatre critics act?
I'd also suggest that whilst Swarbrick was revolutionary in performance in his heyday, the game has moved on especially on violin.
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Opinions

Postby Tosh Marshall » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:02 pm

I guess you are entitled to an opinion Richard but I would tend to be a bit more open minded. I'd be a bit more constructive with any criticism, and I would have to be able to play it first before I could critisize it. It depends on the context you are trying to compare Swarbrick with i.e. Jean Luc Ponty (Jazz) or Viktoria Mullova (Classical) or someone like Eddie Jobson (Rock). To me all these players are great and as Dave suggested Swarbrick appeals to many here, although he is not everyones taste. I have a large, eclectic collection of music, a lot of which you may find 'simple and not very technical' but it's not all about playing runs at 100mph, the tunes are very important. I am as at home with Freddie & the Dreamers as I am with Miles Davis, Weather Report, Mahavishnu et all. Sometimes I think people are 'blinded' by technique rather than having a feel for the music. But then again, that is just my opinion.......
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Postby 2CameBy » Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:15 pm

Just to clarify.. my post was the one praising Full House! not criticising Swarb!! IMO Swarb is one of the best ever - maybe not everyone's style but as soon as I heard him play (Ian Campbell Folk Group) it made me want to play myself, which I still do today as part of "2CameBy" - www.myspace.com/2camebyfriends if you fancy a listen!

Personally I don't have a problem if someone doesn't share my views, but I have friends who aren't into folk but still appreciate Swarbs playong - Medley (Lark In the Morning etc) is still far & away the best fiddle recording ever!!!!

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Postby 2CameBy » Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:59 pm

oops - it was a different Richard!
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Postby DaveL35 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:00 pm

Medley (Lark In the Morning etc) is still far & away the best fiddle recording ever


I agree with most of your points, but such a patently absurd statement cannot go unchallenged.
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Postby 2CameBy » Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:57 pm

Well Radio 2's Folk on Friday agree (based on them using the track for years as their signature tune!). I'd be interested to hear your suggestions for a better fiddle track (Not Jig a Jig please!)

Boys of the Lough did some pretty good stuff, and Peter Knight played some great stuff with Steeleye, but for its time you have to admit that Medley was groundbreaking!

What tracks would you suggest Dave?
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Postby DaveL35 » Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:29 pm

I agree that is was groundbreaking in 1969, but examples of better fiddle music are too numerous to mention.

Almost anything by Tommy Peoples, Andy McGann, Stephane Grapelli, Brian Rooney, John Carty, Pete Clark, Martin Hayes, Kevin Burke, Frankie Gavin's early stuff... (just some of the better-known examples).

If you have to have something in a band format, The Bothy Band, Altan, Danu (especially since they got the new guy from Donegal whose name escapes me at the moment), even Dervish.

If you really have to have electric instruments and drums, I think Swarb's own Smiddyburn album has fiddle music that is far more imaginative and tasteful than the LITM medley.

(edit to add - actually Carty and Clark are not that well-known, but I'll leave them in.)
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