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January 18, 2010


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Thanks, Terence. I had no idea of this aspect of historical musical collaboration and am eager to learn more.

sorry, what's "npi"?

I completely agree with you that Lehman's sense of "personal passion pervades the book." A lot of people love these songs, but he seems to personalize them in very poetic prose! Music is mysterious and he makes you feel like an insider in an exploration of that era's explosion of great songwriters and composers...

The CD sounds very interesting! Great post...

Great post!

The Clancy Brothers recorded a song about the relationship between the Irish and the Jews. Here it is:

(Note: Robert Briscoe was the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin.)

Dear L:
I remember Briscoe, and the Clancy Brothers' song, very well.  The idea of an Irish Jew was a difficult concept for a lot of Irish-Americans to wrap their heads around back then, Leopold Bloom notwithstanding.  But, what with all the Jews and Irish in NYC in the '50s, Briscoe and Bob Wagner were practically co-mayors.

Thanks, Lew.  (NPI=no pun intended.)

Unsurprisingly, I love this post -- which came as a total surprise. Thanks, T.

Terence Winch's own clear voice has brought to life (for those of you who may not already be familiar with) Moloney's recent work, that splendid evocation of him recently and repeatedly identified as "the preeminent curator of a nearly lost world of Irish-American music." Sure if he's not!

So now I'll have to read Lehman's book, which I knew nothing about until a few minutes ago. Thank you, Terence Winch.

How about George M. Cohan?

Casey: Cohan was Irish-American, from Providence, and the dominant performer of his time.  I included his photo above, but didn't want to get into too much detail in a short post. One of his best-known compositions was "Harrigan" (H-A-Double-R-I), a tribute to his great precursor Ned Harrigan. (There are Jews named Cohen, Irish-Jews named Cohen, and Irish Catholics named Cohan and Coen, etc.)

I love the bio-pick of George M. Cohen Yankee Doodle Dandy and I cry whenever James Cagney(as Cohan) sings the title song (plus "Over There" another great one). And Cagney's dancing is amazing. He was a great hoofer and I love the way he bounces on his toes as he struts across the stage. "My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you . . ."
Thanks for this great post T.

Thanks, Stacey. I love the movie, too (though Moloney writes that the real Cohan's "swaggering self-assurance...made him detested by many of his peers").  Someone turned me on to great clip recently of Cagney & Bob Hope (not my favorite person, but a surprisingly good dancer) in a dance duet--  T

Thanks, Terry, for the reference to my book, "'Twas Only an Irishman's Dream." Thanks also for calling Leherman's book to our attention. I will have to get a copy. Mick's CD is great. I hope that it, and his previous recordings, especially the Harrigan one, will help put this old music back on the cultural map.

GLORIOUS AND MORE....Only if-The Jewish Irish & ITALIANS!! would of course make it better -- But this is quite wonderful

"Hello Mr. Cohen/How's it goin?"
immediatly brings to mind Mick's recording of "Muldoon, The Solid Man/Grandfather's Tune" - certainly the Jews and Irish did bring and share their culture with generations to come. I also recall an old PBS documentary on Irish immigrants and African Americans building railroads and how the Irish Step dancing was the precursor to tap dancing. This is a great post!

Thanks once again, Terry. Your own poems and stories about the music are as basic and deep a resource as there is. And kudos again to Mick, a national treasure in his own right. I'm currently writing a piece comparing two great Irish-American musicians who came from the same background---classical piano training in Chicago Catholic schools in the 1910s and 1920s, and who went on to do stellar, pioneering piano work: Joe Sullivan in jazz and Eleanor Kane Neary in traditional Irish music. In both genres, of course, improvisation is the heart of the matter.

Thanks, Charlie. I look forward to reading the Sullivan/Neary piece.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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This Way Out

by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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