FTX-176 - THE RIGHTS OF MAN
Francis McPeake - The Singing Piper
Recorded by Peter Kennedy in 1952, the Singing Pipers of Belfast, Francis the
First was the senior member of a remarkable Belfast family. He talks about his
life and music, singing unaccompanied and with the Irish bagpipes, known as
Uillean (or elbow) pipes. On some of the tracks he is joined by his son, Francis
the 2nd, who also plays some solo instrumentals on pipes, and, for one of the
tracks, father and son play a duet on two chanters.
1. THE RIGHTS OF MAN - Francis #1 solo (talk bef & aft) - 4'30"
2. THE DAWNING OF THE DAY - Francis #1 & #2 with pipes - 2'39"
3. THE GRAVE OF WOLFE TONE - Francis #1 with pipes (talk bef & aft) - 4'03"
4. MONAGHAN FAIR (or THE BEGGARS) - Francis #1 solo (tune played on pipes bef)
5. ANNIE LAURIE - Francis #1 & #2: instrumental duet on 2 chanters - 3'15"
6. THE CONSTITUTIONAL MOVEMENT - Francis #1 solo (talk bef) - 3'19"
7. MY LAGAN LOVE - Francis #1 & #2 with pipes - 3'18"
8. SLIEVE GALLON BRAES - Francis #1 & #2 with pipes - 2'33"
9. THE JUG OF PUNCH - Francis #1 with pipes & ch (talk bef) - 2'52"
10. THE NEXT MARKET DAY - Francis #1 with pipes - 2'09"
11. THE WILD MOUNTAIN THYME - as previous (talk bef & aft) - 3'56"
12. OUR WEDDING DAY (She moved through the Fair) - Francis #2 with pipes -
13. THE OLD PIPER - Francis #1 with pipes - 2'57"
14. THE VERDANT BRAES OF SKREEN - Francis #1 & #2 with pipes (talk aft)
15. THE COOLIN - Francis #1: Slow Air pipe instrumental - 2'16"
16. GENERAL MUNRO - Francis #1 solo (talk bef) - 2'47"
17. MY SINGING BIRD - Francis #2 with pipes - 2'57"
18. SEOTHIN SEO (Lullaby) - Francis #1 with pipes - 3'37"
Recorded by Peter Kennedy 7th July 1952. Edited by Peter Kennedy and first
published on Folktrax Cassettes 1975.
FRANCIS McPEAKE #1, aged 67 when this recording was made at the O Boyle family
home in Belfast, was one of a number of performers that Charles O Boyle had
invited to meet Peter for his first evening of music collecting in Belfast.
For the next two years Peter and Charles's son, Sean, were to work together
recording local traditions, travelling all over the North of Ireland. Peter
had just returned from Yugoslavia where he had recorded Serbian bards singing
to their own accompaniment on bagpipes, so to encounter a similar tradition
in Belfast was a a remarkable co-incidence and a memorable occasion.
In particular Peter was struck by the song, WILL YOU GO, LASSIE GO?, the tune
of which was composed by Francie #1, recorded it in a cupboard under the stairs,
and, when he returned to London, persuaded George Martin and the Educational
Dept. of The Gramophone Company to issue this track on a 10" LP called FOLKSONG
TODAY. It was subsequently copyrighted and published by Chappell's. The following
year he invited the family to perform at the Royal Albert Hall, and they were
soon winning prizes for Group Folksong at the International Eisteddfod at Llangollen
Francis #1 was born in Belfast in 1885, but his father was born at Curran,
Co. Derry and worked on a farm at Ballymacpeake. His mother too was a McPeake
before and after her marriage. Francis left school at 13 and worked as a weaver
in a linen mills at the top of their street. In 1915 he worked as a tram-conductor
and after that as a photographer until his retirement in 1948. His piping he
learned from John O Reilly, a blind piper from Galway who came to Belfast in
1907 for 6 weeks to teach him. 2 years later Francis won a pipe contest in Belfast
and later represented Ireland at a Pan-Celtic Congress in Belgium. His photograph
and that of John O Reilly both appeared in O'Neill's IRISH MINSTRELS AND MUSICIANS
FOLKTRAX 071: A studio recording of "The McPeake Trio", with Francis's
two sons, Francis #2 (pipes) and James (harp), was made by Peter in London in
1961. It includes 11 songs and 8 instrumentals. We are most happy to relate
that the tradition is still being carried on in the family. Francis McPeake's
#3 & #4 are currently touring Britain, Ireland and the USA as "The McPeake