Johnny Faa | Last Night's Fun

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World: Celtic Folk: Celtic Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Last Night's Fun

by Johnny Faa

Songs and instrumental dance tunes in the Irish tradition.
Genre: World: Celtic
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Gan Ainm / Gan Ainm / The Star Above the Garter
Johnny Faa
2:38 $0.99
2. The Fair Maid
Johnny Faa
4:37 $0.99
3. O'farrell's Welcome to Limerick
Johnny Faa
4:44 $0.99
4. Heather On the Moor
Steve Cooper, Angela Mariani, John Perrin, Chris Smith
3:47 $0.99
5. An Suisin Ban / Tommy Coen's / the West Clare
Johnny Faa
4:35 $0.99
6. The Derry Hornpipe / the Staten Island Hornpipe
Johnny Faa
3:31 $0.99
7. The Coolin
Johnny Faa
1:26 $0.99
8. I'll Tell Me Ma / Lisheen Polkas
Johnny Faa
3:39 $0.99
9. The Humours of Ennystimon / the Humours of Ballyloughlin / the D
Steve Cooper, Angela Mariani, John Perrin, Chris Smith
4:44 $0.99
10. Lord Franklin
Johnny Faa
4:18 $0.99
11. Port Na Bpucai / Lord Mayo / the Gypsy Princess
Johnny Faa
8:40 $0.99
12. Here I Am From Donegal
Johnny Faa
2:59 $0.99
13. The Lady On the Island / the Trip to Durrow / the Silver Spire
Johnny Faa
4:02 $0.99
14. Willie Calvin's Surprise
Johnny Faa
3:37 $0.99
15. Mrs. Crowley's / the Continental
Johnny Faa
3:03 $0.99
16. The Humours of Whiskey
Johnny Faa
4:14 $0.99
17. The Rambling and Sporting Pitchforks
Johnny Faa
3:01 $0.99
18. There's the Day
Steve Cooper, Angela Mariani, John Perrin, Chris Smith
3:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
About the music

We play Irish traditional music, a music that thrives as part of communities, of ex-pats and blow-ins, around the globe. We play together a lot, in sessions and concerts and for dancing, both locally and around the world, and have done for years. This record captures how we sound, on a good night at home, when the pub’s quiet, the punters attentive, the pints are flowing, and maybe some old friends have stopped by.

Welcome. We’re glad you’re here.

About the tunes

Gan ainm / gan ainm / The Star Above the Garter (slides)
Two un-named slides from Roger Landes, followed by one of the most loveliest titles in the tradition, allegedly a reference to the physical geometry of the Order of the Garter—though we prefer to think it refers to another sort of splendid physical geometry.

The Fair Maid (song: Angie)
A song of the sort our fans have come to call a “cross-dressing sailor song.” In some versions, the girl dresses in “man’s array” in order to keep tabs on the boy, as he goes away to war. But in this version she’s more self-actualizing than that: she takes herself away to sea, distinguishing herself on board, and causing searching self-examination for her shipmates. The oldest extant version is The Female Drummer, printed as a broadside by G. Jacques of Manchester around 1850.

O Farrell's Welcome to Limerick (slip-jig)
This tune appears first in Mr O’Farrell’s Collection of National Irish Music for the Union Pipes (1804), a manual confirming the popularity of the uilleann bagpipes on the London stage, and may have been either composed by, or simply associated with, him. Seamus Ennis invented a much coarser Gaelic title, which he appears to have conjured purely for the purpose of embarrassing monolingual folklorists!

Heather on the Moor (song: John)
A song which the great Scottish singer Archie Fisher got from Traveler Belle Stewart of Blairgowrie, and which Hamish Henderson in turn linked to Child Ballad #228, Glasgow Peggy.

An Suisin Bán / Tommy Coen's / The West Clare (air & reels)
“The White Blanket” was printed in Dublin as early as 1724; Tommy Coen of East Galway (1910-74) was the composer of the second tune; Paddy O’Brien of Offaly (and the great band Chulrua) attributes the third tune to Clare’s Micho Russell.

The Derry Hornpipe / The Staten Island Hornpipe
The “Derry” is known in many different versions, up to six parts, but this 2-part setting is commonly associated with step-dance. The “Staten Island” is a very widely-distributed tune, whose title is possibly a reference to the quartering of British troops during the American Revolution (though there are many other Staten Islands around the world). This set features the great hard-shoe dancer, and our dear friend, Kathleen Finley.

The Coolin (air, adapted)
Originally a slow tune, which Francis O Neill called “The Queen of Irish airs.” The great Comber flute-player, Tara Diamond (nee Bingham) is the source for this “crooked march” version.

I'll Tell Me Ma / Lisheen Polkas (song: Steve & polkas)
Also known as My Aunt Jane, after a very popular children’s skipping song whose tune originated with the German Krakovienne (1840s) printed in Boehme but eventually distributed across Ireland, Britain, and the Southern US. The “Lisheens” with which we follow the song come from the playing of Jackie Daly and Maire O Keefe

The Humours of Ennystimon / The Humours of Ballyloughlin / The Diplodocus (jigs)
Two “big” tunes associated with the piping tradition, and a third by Chicago’s MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Liz Carroll. We’ve come to call this the “Neo-Platonic set”, for the way the tunes modulate higher and higher. However, it could equally be understood as a reference to Hippocrates’ “Four Humours” (Choleric, Melancholic, Sanguine, Phlegmatic): we leave you to determine which “Humour” applies to which of we four! The Diplodocus is copyright © 1992 Liz Carroll and used by her kind permission.

Lord Franklin (song: Angie)
Originally a broadside ballad referencing the doomed Northwest Passage voyage of Sir James Franklin (1845-48). Bob Dylan borrowed it from Martin Carthy; we got it, all those years ago in the 1970s, from Pentangle. The tune is also related to that commonly employed for the rebel song The Croppy Boy.

Port na Bpucai (slow air) / Lord Mayo (march) / The Gypsy Princess (barn-dance) / Maggie McGee’s (schottische) / Dinky Dorrian’s (reel)
We’ve come to call this the “Crooked Set,” for the way that the various tunes take away a beat here and add it there. Evolved over time in our home pub sessions. Special thanks to our Texas session-mates, and to Grey Larsen, source of Michael Kennedy’s Maggie McGee’s.

Here I Am from Donegal (song: Chris)
A bitter song decrying details of the racist caricature of the Irish popular on the vaudeville stages and in the illustrated papers of Victorian England. Originally collected by Len Graham from Eddie Butcher of Derry; this version is a compendium of those by Frank Harte (Dublin) and Mick Moloney (Limerick).

The Lady on the Island / The Trip to Durrow / The Silver Spire (reels)
The first, a very common tune, is associated (though probably apocryphally) with the Statue of Liberty; the second comes from Breathnach’s Ceol Rince na Eireann; the third was recorded in New York around 1930 by the great Sligo expatriate fiddler Paddy Killoran.

Willie Calvin's Surprise (song: Steve)
I wrote this song in 1990 as a tribute to Willie after making an unannounced visit to where he worked on the Bushmills Road. The song is the story of that emotional return. Rest in peace good man. (Steve)

Mrs Crowley’s / The Continental (polkas)
The first is named after Mrs. Crowley of Kenmare in East Kerry; the second Brendan Larrissey calls The Continental, but it’s certainly associated with London Bridge, and an old tune, referring to a certain solitary pastime, called Leather Away the Wattle-O.

The Humours of Whiskey (song: John)
Also known as Stick to the Craythur; collected in Clare by Tom Munnelly from source singer Tom Lenihan and published in Munnelly’s A Mount Callan Garland.

The Rambling and Sporting Pitchforks (jigs)
In 19th-century Ireland, a “pitchfork” was a wandering farm laborer: to signal you were looking for work, you’d arrive at the market with your tools over your shoulder. “Rambling” was wandering for work; “Sporting” was what ensued on quarter-day (payday).

There's the Day (song: Chris-live)
From the singing of Fermanagh’s Cathal McConnell. Recorded by Alan Crossland as “good night,” or perhaps more accurately, “good morning,” at the end of an epic pub session. Thanks to the “Usual Suspects” chorus!

About the band

Steve Cooper was born in Belfast, immigrated to the US as a child, and inherits traditional music (particularly Northern song) through his father, a noted singer. Angela Mariani is a vocalist and instrumentalist trained in rock, folk, and early musics and teaches in Texas Tech University’s Musicology Department. John Perrin is trained in rock, classical, and folk styles, with experience at a wide range of traditional musics, and works as a band director in the Austin area. Chris is a multi-instrumentalist and musicologist, the author of Celtic Backup for All Instrumentalists, and directs the TTU Vernacular Music Center.

About the recording

Personnel: Steve Cooper (flute, tin whistle, guitar, song); Angela Mariani (guitar, mandola, song); John Perrin (bodhrán, song); Chris Smith (bouzouki, tenor banjo, button accordion, guitar, song); Kathleen Finley (step-dance, tr. 6)

Recorded & mixed Summer/Fall 2006 at Route 1 Acuff Studios, Texas

Engineered & mastered by Alan Crossland

Produced by Alan Crossland & the band

Cover design by Shelly Teague at Word Publications, Lubbock, Texas

Cover: Dusk, Kilronan, Inis Mór (Michelle Lessing)
Back cover: Dun Eochla, Inis Mór (Corey Green)
Traycard: Drumcliff Churchyard, Sligo (Michelle Lessing)
Booklet insert: Ballaghaderreen, Roscommon (Michelle Lessing)
Band: Klusoz, Lubbock TX (Cate Logan)

Thanks to: Liz Carroll for her generosity and great tune The Diplodocus; to Andrew Kuntz (Fiddler’s Companion) and Alan Ng ( for their indispensable database sources; to Alan Crossland for his fantastic chops, room, ears, and attitude; to our friend Kathleen Finley for the feet; to O’Reilly’s Irish Pub in Lubbock TX for long-term hospitality; to Steven Owsley Smith, Casey Burns, Albert Alfonso, and Guild Guitars for incomparable instruments; to Michelle Lessing, Corey Green, and Cate Logan for their artistry; to the traditional Irish musicians of Lubbock TX, Taos NM, and our brothers and sisters in the worldwide community; and to all the un-named geniuses who played, sang, composed, told stories, and kept the tradition alive.

Steve: Thanks to my mother and father for always making music part of our home, and to dear friends for constant encouragement: Chris, Angie, and John, Rex Paine, Joe Juraszek, Cary Swinney, Doug Smith, Richard Bowden, Susan Gibson and The Groobees, Wade Parks, my brothers Mark and Patrick, Patricia Coakley, and Sandra Reynolds (ach yer alright!).

Angie: Deepest thanks to my family, to my teachers (musical and otherwise), to all my companions in music, and especially to Chris, who probably had no idea what kind of hell can break loose when you loan your mandolin to a girl.

John: Thanks to family and friends who come out and support the music.

Chris: Thanks to our Family, and to all beings in the Ten Directions.

Go raibh maith agat.



to write a review

Joe Ross

Strong musicianship, eclectic repertoire, lively personality
Johnny Faa is a Texas-based quartet that presents the songs, tunes and airs that comprise traditional Irish music. With 18 tracks running over 70 minutes, “Last Night’s Fun” is a comprehensive set of the band’s musical expressions. Prior to the album’s production, the band originally known as Last Night’s Fun decided to change its name so as to not be confused with others of the same moniker. Personnel include Steve Cooper (flute, tin whistle, guitar), Angela Mariani (guitar, mandola), John Perrin (bodhran), and Chris Smith (bouzouki, tenor banjo, button accordion, guitar). All the musicians also sing, and songs feature each as lead singers. Steve Cooper’s songwriting skill is showcased with “Willie Calvin’s Surprise,” a tale of an emotional reunion with an old friend after thirty years. They are joined by Kathleen Finley’s lively step dance on a medley of Derry Hornpipe and Staten Island Hornpipe at track six. This presumably emphasizes their respect for the danceability and deep tradition of the music they play. Another set perfect for any ceili would be the “big tunes” (Humours of Ennystimon, Humours of Ballyloughlin) that segue into Liz Carroll’s jig entitled “The Diplodocus.”

The band’s musical journey weaves its way along the narrow roads of Ireland, past beautiful coastline to small, quaint pubs that serve as community gathering (and watering) holes. Just like the varied scenery of the Emerald Isle, Johnny Faa’s music incorporates the considerable diversity provided by jigs, slides, reels, hornpipes, polkas, airs, and songs. At track eleven, the band also wisely includes what they call their “crooked set,“ a 9-minute 5-tune medley that begins meditative, builds dynamically, and ends frenetically -- slow air, march, barn dance, schottische to reel. The CD jacket includes a few lines about each of the tracks and their sources. Johnny Faa’s will no doubt win them a legion of fans wherever they play. A live recording of their closing number, “There’s The Day,” indicates that Johnny Faa already has plenty of fans in their “Usual Suspects” chorus supporting them. (Joe Ross, 29 Palms, CA)