Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pipes and Woodwinds: Behind Blue Eyes

The Chieftains with Roger Daltrey: Behind Blue Eyes


To finish out my posts for this week’s theme, I wanted a song that had both pipes and woodwinds. For that, I knew I would need The Chieftains. The Chieftains began life as an Irish traditional band, one of the best. But, in 1991, they were looking to make a live album, and leader Paddy Maloney wanted to do something to make it special. So he invited Roger Daltry of The Who and Nanci Griffith to participate. It was a decision that would turn out to be very important to The Chieftains. Since then, most of their albums have included collaborations with artists who wouldn’t normally be thought of as traditional artists of any sort. In the process, The Chieftains have made fascinating connections between their music and those of their guests. It doesn’t always work, but the results are never dull. With Daltrey and Griffith, it did work beautifully.

Behind Blue Eyes, as rendered here, shows that Roger Daltrey could have been an Irish ballad singer in another life. The woodwind here is Matt Molloy’s flute. The pipe is the Irish version of the bagpipe, the uilleann pipes. It is played by Paddy Moloney.

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