28 August 2019

'Katie Daly': the first bluegrass recording of it (update)

After nearly sixty years 'Come down the mountain Katie Daly' continues to be widely known and sung here; and at 'Bluegrass Omagh' this coming weekend, audiences will be able to see a living link with the song's continuing endurance as a bluegrass classic, when Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers (left) come on stage.

The song, with that title, was written and recorded by 'Eamon O'Shea' (real name Herman Weight) on Walton's Dublin-based Glenside label and issued in November 1961; it can be heard on YouTube here, where the original label is shown. It became a hit in its own right.

In 1962 the first American recording of the song was made by the Bluegrass Playboys from Kentucky, with Joe Mullins's father Paul 'Moon' Mullins on fiddle and vocals. Their recording can be heard on YouTube, where the 45-rpm single label is shown, retaining the full title, with composer credit given to 'Eamonn [sic] O'Shea'. It was later released on the Playboys' album The world of bluegrass (Briar M-108). The song was a hit for them, became a bluegrass favourite, and was later recorded on the Rebel label (as 'Katy Daley') by Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, adding the word 'on' ('come on down the mountain').

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers have been nominated for the 2019 IBMA awards in the categories of Album, Gospel Recording, Collaborative Recording, Entertainer, and Song of the Year awards. Their latest album For the record is on the Billy Blue Records label.

Update 29 Aug.: Joe Mullins will be talking about himself and his music and answering questions in the 'McConversations' session in the Centre for Migration Studies Library at 1.00 p.m. on Saturday 31 Aug.

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