RATTLE THE BOARDS
The Parish Platform
1. POLKA'S: Cuz Teehan's/Gan Ainm/Johnny Leary's
2. SONG: St Patrick Was A Gentleman
3. HORNPIPES: The Galway/ The Peacock's Feather.
4. REELS: McKillop's/ Love At The Endings/ The High Reel.
5. QUICKSTEP: Whistling Rufus.
6. JIGs: Jimmy's Jig/ Jig Gan Ainm.
7. AIR: The Autumn Sky.
8. HORNPIPE: Off To California
9. REEL: The Mason's Apron
10. SONG: The Nightingale
11. JIGs: The Irish Washerwoman/ The Maid in The Meadow/ The Humours of Drinagh
12. REELS: Farrell O'Gara/ Ril Gan Ainm/ The Flying Irishman.
Click on underscored titles to hear MP3 sound samples.
WE ARE DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE OUR RELEASE OF
The Parish Platform
Rattle the Boards
Benny McCarthy: Accordion
Pat Egan: Fiddle & Banjo
John T. Egan: Vocals
John Nugent: Guitar/Vocals
Jon Kenny: vocals track 1
Decky O'Dwyer: Trumpet
Donnchadh Gough: Bodrhan
Des Dillon: Harmonica
Albie Grace: Bass
Paul Ryan: accordion track 6
Bruno Staehelin: Percussion track 8
Danu members Benny McCarthy and Donnchadh Gough return to the recording scene with this brilliant outing. As the musicians behind artist Des Dillon's very popular show, Teac A Bloc, where visual Irish art and trad music music come together, Rattle the Boards, return to shake away the cobwebs.
Rattle the Boards second album 'The Parish Platform is a collection of some great traditional Irish dance tunes and songs. Ireland's patron St Patrick was a gentleman according to Henry Bennett and Mr Toleken in 1815 when they penned this quirky song for a stage show in Cork. Irelands most famous jig "The Irish Washerwoman" is revived here along with 'Off to California', a great hornpipe for stepping it out. The Show band and ceili band join together in a classic quckstep called "Whistling Rufus". There is also a few new compositions such as 'The Autumn Sky ' an air written by Quebac fiddle maestro, Andre Brunet and another tune 'Jimmy's Jig' written by Pat in memory to his brother. There are plenty of reels to enjoy including the great party piece, "The Mason's Apron, the Nightingale Song, High Reel, Cuz'z polka and many others are here also.
This album is
intended for the dancer in us all, so please rattle those boards.
Playing together since 1992,Rattle the Boards have been praised as one of the best traditional acts in Irelands music scene. Pat,John and Benny were all members of the Knocknagow Ceili Band who were based in Clonmel,Co.Tipperary and spend many years playing for dancers throughout Ireland.Benny is also leader of the International supergroup"Danu"and has toured all over the world. In 1999 Rattle the boards released their debut album to much acclaim. With many performances in Ireland and Europe over the past years Rattle the boards have grown into an act very much sought after.In 2002 Rattle the Boards provided the musical inspiration for a major Irish theatre show called Teac A Bloc by famous visual artist Des Dillon.Rattle the boards arranged and performed with Teac A Bloc to sold-out venues throughout Ireland and also performed two sketches from the show on Irelands premier tv show"The Late Late Show"This is only one of many TV appearances by Rattle The Boards todate.In March 2008 Rattle the boards released their long awaited second album "The Parish Platform"nearly a decade after the debut release.Their scense of fun and lift in the music of Rattle the boards makes them unique among their contempories.As their name suggests this is a group that will have its audience on their feet and rattling the floorboards.
Copperplate is very proud to have this title on our roster and to help it achieve its full potential will be supporting this release with a full-scale promotional mail out to media and retail. Contact Copperplate for all your PR needs.
The lads are generally
available for interviews; please contact us to arrange a mutually convenient
time. Please copy us on any reviews/features/airplay. Feedback always welcome.
THE LIVIES 2009
Newcomers of the Year: Rattle the Boards: Rattle the Boards
Benny McCarthy on accordion, Pat Egan on fiddle and banjo, John T. Egan on vocals, John Nugent on guitar and vocals and Donnchadh Gough on bodrhan have stormed onto the scene this year with one of the biggest selling and most loved debut albums in memory. The key? It is fun. It is a BALL!! Terrific tunes and songs, all imbued with a real sense of the joy that Irish music is. Masons Apron is our favorite tune, and Patrick Was a Gentleman our fav song. These guys get it. No self-involved navel-gazing here about the meaning of the tradition, and all that crap. No pretentious egos. Just a sense of the fun of it all. We love these guys and cannot wait to see them in person! Bill Margeson
Folk World Editors Best Loved Albums of the Year
Irish traditional music at its best lively and real, spontaneous and passionate. Central to the bands sound is the wonderful accordion playing of Danus Benny McCarthy, and he is joined by Pat Ryn (fiddle, guitar, mandolin), John Nugent (guitar) and the singing of John T Egan. A great mix of traditional tunes from jigs and reels via polkas and airs to hornpipes and quicksteps plus a number of trad songs. A few friends have joined the lads for a few numbers and there is a bit of an unusual but very welcome interlude of a trumpet in one of the numbers, giving the number some jazzy flair.
All of this played with so much passion that the listeners feet wont stand still. This lot managed to distil the spirit of traditional music onto a CD, giving the listener the feeling that the foursome would just sit around the corner in his/her kitchen. And dont be surprised that you find yourself rattling the boards of your wooden floor dancing away. An album that lifts your soul and just makes happy. Great stuff! Michael Moll
The brain child of Danu frontman, Benny McCarthy, Rattle the Boards second album continues their intention to revive the joie de vivre inherent in Irish music performed for pleasure and dancing before The Clancy's and the ballad boom exposed the music and song of Ireland to a wider world.
It succeeds in its core ideal, in the verve, authority and drive of the performers attacking of the polkas, jigs and reels with flair and invention.
Of course, time hasn't stood still and along the way, the players, John Nugent, John T Ryan, Pat Ryan, McCarthy and assorted guests contribute something of their own musical personalities. Consequently, there's nothing precious here, with the rugged St Patrick Was A Gentleman making way for the innovative Whistling Rufus quickstep, where Decky O'Dwyer's trumpet adds an air of Mariachi to the performance, and classic reels such as The Mason's Apron are given a new alacrity and tempo courtesy of some dazzling melodeon from McCarthy.
Unpretentious and packing so much into its 12 tracks, Rattle The Boards enable much of the Irish tradition to breath anew. Danny Moore
The Living Tradition Aug/Sept 08
As if playing in Danu isn't enough to fill in his days (and nights!), Benny McCarthy has got together with a bunch of his local musician friends, plus a few other guests, to produce an album of music for a good old hooley. This is not a recording for purists or musicologists to analyse and contemplate; rather it's one for everyone just forgetting about the rest of life's boring stuff, getting carried away with the atmosphere and having a dance, or, if that's too much like hard work, just listen and enjoy, since this is a delight throughout.
The band line-up is Benny McCarthy on button box and melodeon; Pat Ryan, fiddle, mandolin and banjo; John Nugent, guitar; and John T Egan, vocals. Guests are Donnchadh Gough, bodhran; Des Dillon, harmonica; Jon Kenny, vocals; Decky O'Dwyer, trumpet (yes, trumpet!); Albie Grace, bass Paul Ryan, button box; and Bruno Stachelin, percussion. There is a strong Tipperary connection, with many having played in the Knocknagow Ceili Band. This is not a ceili band album, however, ditching the strict-tempo approach in favour of a free-flowing, good-time sound.
The majority of the tunes and songs are very well known and very popular indeed, and it sometimes takes a fresh, lively attack on them like this to help us all realise why they became popular in the first place. From the vocal hilarities of St Patrick was a Gentleman, via the inspired trumpet breaks on Whistling Rufus through to any other track you mention, this CD just oozes with the sounds of talented guys having a good time and infecting everyone who hears them with their sense of enjoyment.
As a nice touch,
the CD is designed to look like an old-fashioned vinyl record (remember them?).
Listen to this, but make sure you've left some space for dancing - that's what
you'll feel like doing! Gordon Potter
TAPLAS, the Welsh folk magazine
The Parish Platform, on the other hand, is about as different as you can get while remaining within the style and repertoire of the traditional Irish genre.
Even- track is completely unlike the last. It is bright, sparkly and energetic. Each musician's individual characteristics shine through.
The band includes Danu's Benny McCarthy on accordion, John Nugent on guitar, John T. Egan on vocals and Pat Ryan on fiddle, mandolin and banjo.
There is also a long list of guest musicians including a cracking bodhran player and even some brass!
With all these different instrumentalists chopping and changing, soloing and blending and all playing with exuberance, dexterity and vigour, it doesn't get stale for a second. The couple of songs are extremely engaging and entertaining and you even get to find out what happened to all the snakes in Ireland! This is a great one for the collection! Imogen O'Rourke
The Irish Democrat
EIGHT YEARS on from the release of their self-titled debut album, Rattle The Boards have come up with another toe-tapping collection of traditional Irish dance tunes and songs.
Based around a nucleus of founder members Benny McCarthy (button accordionist), John Nugent (guitar/vocals), Pat Ryan (fiddle/banjo) and former guest singer John T. Egan (vocals), Rattle The Boards have produced an album that is unashamedly nostalgic in feel. This time around featured guests include Jon Kenny (vocals), Decky O'Dwyer (trumpet), Donnchadh Gough (bodhran), Des Dillon (harmonica), Paul Ryan (accordion) and Bruno Staelhelin (percussion).
What could so easily have ended up as mere pastiche is anything but. This is entirely down to the excellent quality and vitality of the playing - though you'd hardly expect anything less from an ensemble that features two members of Irish traditional 'supergroup' Danu (McCarthy and Gough) and a bevy of renowned and respected musicians with more ceilis under their belt than you could shake a stick at.
While their unrepentantly backward-looking tribute pays homage to the musical culture of a bygone era it does so in style. Although their approach won't please everyone, you'll need a narrow mind and a cold heart not to find your spirit lifted and your feet tapping, providing a reminder of a time when virtually the sole purpose of music was to get folk on their feet.
In fact, if these
tunes and songs don't get you in the mood the volume's probably not up loud
enough - either that or you're under the boards rather than in any position
to rattle them. David Granville
"Tunes familiar to every parish but with a bit of fire under them" THE IRISH TIMES
Shake, 'Rattle,' and Roll On Music Meant for the Dancer in You
[Published on June 4, 2008, in the IRISH ECHO newspaper, New York City. Copyright (c) Earle Hitchner. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of author.]
The self-titled debut recording in 1999 by Rattle the Boards raised a smile for me when I read the group's track note for "The Controversial Reel." Listed as "trad.," it was described as "a lovely reel which is around a long time." Thirty-one years ago, the reel appeared on "Kiss Me Kate," an album by fiddler Liz Carroll and button accordionist Tommy Maguire. So the track note is accurate--except for "trad." It isn't. The reel was composed by Brooklyn-born, Baltimore resident button accordionist Billy McComiskey. But the compliment to McComiskey comes from the assumption that a tune that good must be "trad."
"Trad." instrumental music is mainly dance music, and the latter dominates "The Parish Platform," the new recording by Rattle the Boards. My hope is that the group, like "The Controversial Reel," will be around a long time, for their music is an unvarnished joy meant to get your feet moving and, yes, rattling the boards.
The founding members of Rattle the Boards are Danu button accordionist Benny McCarthy from Waterford, banjo, fiddle, and mandolin player Pat Ryan from Tipperary, and guitarist John Nugent, Ryan's brother-in-law, from Tipperary. All three formerly played with the Knocknagow Ceili Band, based in Clonmel, and have gotten together to play music almost weekly since 1992.
The guest singer on the first Rattle the Boards album was Tipperary's Martha Beardmore, and the full-fledged member now singing with the group is Tipperary's John T. Egan. He possesses a gruff voice well suited to the two songs on the new CD, "St. Patrick Was a Gentleman" (Jon Kenny shares lead vocal) and "The Nightingale."
The rest of the dozen tracks on "The Parish Platform" are tunes, and the album's most dazzling performance comes from button accordionist Benny McCarthy on "The Mason's Apron." It's a warhorse traditional reel that was boosted in popularity by fiddler Sean Maguire with the Four Star Quartet and then boosted again through the solo turn by flutist Matt Molloy in the Chieftains' concerts. The embellishments by McCarthy in this reel refreshen it. Accompanied by Nugent on guitar and McCarthy's Danu colleague Donnchadh Gough on bodhran, the button accordionist plays with triplet-flecked swing and inventive panache while never losing his grip on the tune's melodic spine. This tour de force matches McCarthy's best work with Danu.
"McKillop's/Love at the Endings/High Reel" is a medley initially showcasing Pat Ryan's skill on the fiddle. With Nugent and Gough backing him, Ryan plays the first reel with limber energy and pulse, all ratcheted up when McCarthy enters on the second reel and Ryan himself switches to banjo on the third reel. Even nailing your shoes to the floor won't prevent you from tapping them to this percolating beat.
In the "Galway/Peacock's Feather" hornpipes, McCarthy's accordion playing, which sports some well-placed, Derrane-like triplets, and Ryan's banjo playing, which ably complements the box and also allows it to veer off on nimble flights of fancy, form a crisp, cohesive whole, backed unobtrusively by Nugent on guitar.
"The Irish Washerwoman" is a jig still shunned by many Irish traditional musicians, who feel it has been done to death in the past and also conjures up a cultural image of demeaning stereotype. But no matter how long this jig may be mothballed, it is instantly recognizable when dusted off and performed. The reason is its enduring melodic and rhythmic appeal. Both are obvious in the vibrant new airing the jig receives from McCarthy on accordion, Ryan on banjo, Nugent on guitar, and Gough on bodhran in a medley that includes "Maid in the Meadow" and "Humours of Drinagh."
Among the other medleys packing a punch on the new album are "Farrell O'Gara/Gan Ainm/The Flying Irishman" reels, "Cuz Teahan's/Gan Ainm/Johnny O'Leary's" polkas, and "Jimmy's Jig/Gan Ainm."
Where ceili band and showband merge (collide, if you're a purist) is "Whistling Rufus," a hoot of a quickstep tune played a little too loosely. It additionally melds Irish trad with New Orleans jazz strains, especially through guest Decky O'Dwyer's trumpet playing.
A critic in Ireland
wrote that "The Parish Platform" may veer near "caricature."
I suppose the plain woolen caps, work shoes, and other attire worn by the quartet
in sepia-toned album photos--one shows them dancing and playing music on a small
wooden platform laid on a dirt country lane with an old car parked close by--may
give off that impression to some. But it's a mistake to suggest that "The
Parish Platform" inadvertently swerves toward "caricature" or,
worse, constitutes a deliberate goof or spoof smirking at a musical style and
attitude rooted in the rural Ireland of the not-so-distant past. This album
is not a lampoon but a lively, winsome tribute, full of fun and motivated by
respect, recalling a time when spurring people to dance was all that mattered.
What's not to like about that? Earle Hitchner
Next up is a new fav, The Parish Platform by Rattle the Boards. Four musicians, with guest stars. John Nugent, Benny McCarthy, John Egan and Pat Ryan offer an album of great fun and a sense of the real trad. This is not the honed studio perfection of so many albums today. This is a big, blousy thing with a great sense of the music, the rhythms and the meaning. It is the most fun we have had listening to anything in quite a while. We frequently smiled, and even got up to shake a foot occasionally ourselves! The role of ceili and set dancing is well recorded in Irish music, and vastly overrated. And, if this album in description pays a little too much of a tip of the hat to the dancing tradition, it delivers the essential goods---the music itself. You will love this album. It will be a contender for Vocal/Instrumental Album of the Year. It is their second album and is offered through Doon Productions. Go to www.rattletheboards.com. Find this album and buy it. Then turn it up. Smile. Rating: Four Harps. Bill Margeson
Irish Music Magazine
Rattle the Boards tread a fine line between ceoltoir and caricature. I'd say they carry it off, their music is meant to be fun and it is. From the opening notes of 'Cuz Teehan's Polka' we're clearly well down the country, the whole album is a triumph of exuberance.
All the old favourites are trotted out: 'The Mason's Apron, The Irish Washerwoman, The Galway Hornpipe' and The High Reel'. Box and banjo front men, Benny McCarthy and Pat Ryan are well known from Danu and the Knockgow band. They're joined by John Nugent on guitar, and John T Egan for the occasional song, on this follow-up to their 1999 debut CD.
Amidst plenty of good stuff, the majority is pure traditional: 'Johnny Leary's, Off to California, McKillop's Reel, Humours of Drinagh', and a couple of 'Can Ainmneacha'. The showband standard, 'Whistling Rufus' adds a note of jazz and pays homage to Clonmel's other musical heritage (Mick Delahunty's big band). The big band on this track is a one man horn section from Decky O'Dwyer and some deft finger work on the box from McCarthy.
Benny excels on his 'Mason's Apron' solo, with enough variations to please any Dubliners die-hards, while 'Autumn Sky' and The Nightingale' are firmly back in showband territory. There are just two songs on The Parish Platform'; the other is a rough-and-ready romp through the comic ballad 'St Patrick Was a Gentleman', a duet with comedian John Kenny. A set of reels headed up by 'Farrell O'Gara' provides the big finish, played straight and not too fast, a satisfying conclusion to a most entertaining CD. There's an engagingly antiqued website at www.rattletheboards.com. Alex Monaghan