Friday, 30 October 2009

Alba (1977)

Alba (Rubber Records RUB 021, 1977)

This excellent but short-lived band was the mid-70s idea of Sean O'Rourke, ex-JSD Band (vocals, bazouki, flute, whistle), who got together with ex-Tannahill Weaver Mike Ward (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, vocals). Mike introduced singer Tony Cuffe (guitar, lyre, whistle, lead vocals), and later they found young piper Alan Macleod playing at a gig. They tried to take direction from some of the big Irish groups of the time, the Bothy Band and Planxty.

They recorded just this album, but they weren't playing full time. Sean O'Rourke had gone back to art school in Glasgow, while Mike Ward planned to qualify in classical guitar. Alan Macleod was still at piping school, and Tony had just finished teacher training. Before long, the band had simply moved on to individual projects. Tony Cuffe joined Jock Tamson's Bairns and then Ossian. He later moved to Boston where he performed solo and with Windbags, and did some teaching as well. Sadly with the turn of the century Tony contracted cancer, dying in December 2001. He is sadly missed and fondly remembered.

01 Glen Rinnes/The Jig of Slurs
02 The Overgate
03 Kings Favourite
04 Van Dieman's Land
05 The Mermaid's Song/John Murray of Lochee/Pipe Major George Allen
06 The Blacksmith's Reel/The Star of Munster
07 Fear Ah Bhata
08 Drummond Castle/Paddy's Leather Breeches
09 Captain Ward
10 The Garten Mother's Lullaby
11 The Geese In the Bog/Dr McInnes' Fancy


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