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Friday, 14 March 2014

Musical Friday: Toss The Feathers

Dear friends,

In case you did not know St. Patrick's Day is coming!!! And the Irish lover in me can't handle to pass this celebration without having a bit or the green lads and lasses glory. Hence I shall present you today the band I had a crush on when I was a wee lass: The Corrs! They are the most talented and gifted family of singers I have ever layed by ears and eyes upon. The group consists or 3 sisters and their brother, all talented and all special in their own way. They have their own personal typical Irish instruments and they are the ones who made me fall in love with the tin whistle!
The tin whistle, also called the penny whistle, English flageolet, Scottish penny whistle, tin flageolet, Irish whistle, feadóg stáin (or simply feadóg) and Clarke London Flageolet is a simple, six-holed woodwind instrument. It is a fipple flute, putting it in the same category as the recorder, Native American flute, and other woodwind instruments that meet such criteria. A tin whistle player is called a tin whistler or simply a whistler. The tin whistle is closely associated with Celtic music. (via Wikipedia)
The Corrs are an Irish band that combines pop rock with traditional Celtic folk music. The group consists of the Corr siblings, Andrea (lead vocals, tin whistle); Sharon (violin, vocals); Caroline (drums, percussion, piano, bodhrán, vocals); and Jim (guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals). They are from Dundalk, Co. Louth, in Ireland.
 The Corrs have released five studio albums and numerous singles, which have reached platinum in many countries. Talk on Corners, their most successful album to date, reached multi-platinum status in Australia, and in the UK it was the highest selling album of 1998. The band is only the second act in history to hold the top two positions simultaneously in the UK album charts, with Talk on Corners at number one and Forgiven, Not Forgotten at number two. The first group to achieve this was The Beatles. Forgiven, Not Forgotten was the second highest selling album in Australia in 1996, behind Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill. The Corrs' third studio album, In Blue, went to number one in seventeen countries. (via Wikipedia)
The Corrs - Toss The Feathers
"Toss the Feathers" is a traditional Irish folk tune, typically played with a tin whistle and fiddle. It has existed in several variations, each in a different key, the two more common being D and E minor. More recently the music has been adapted in over 200 modern compilations, including both traditional versions by groups such as The Chieftains, and rock renditions such as that by The Corrs on their album Forgiven, Not Forgotten.
Also known as: The Creaking Headboard
Toss The Feathers has traditionally been the very last song the Corrs play in the encore at their gigs.
Toss The Feathers is a traditional instrumental.

In an interview for Music Maker Magazine, Caroline explains the decision to hire Simon Phillips to play drums on Toss the Feathers:
Question: "On one song, "Toss the Feathers", Simon Phillips plays drums. Why is that?"
Caroline: "That song needed a special rhythm section, that's why we invited Neil Stubenhaus on bass and Simon Phillips on drums. He brought in this gigantic drum-kit and I thought 'Wow! What in Gods-name are all those drums for?' It takes enormous discipline. He's brilliant. But I had one problem. I had to learn that part for the live-shows. That took quite some effort, but I can manage now. Yes, I also play that complicated break, although I do it my way."

On his website, Simon Phillips has a quote recalling the recording session for Toss the Feathers:
Question: "I was curious how you go about preparing a drum track for a session with an artist ("Toss the Feathers" by the Corrs springs to mind). Is it a case of receiving a "rough demo" to familiarise yourself with the track first, and is your first meeting with the band / artist in the studio? Would you jam a couple of takes first?"
Simon Phillips: "The session with The Corrs went like this: I was called by the session co-ordinator to see if I was available. David Foster had asked specifically for me. I was available so I was booked and turned up to the Record Plant. I met the band - Bob Clearmountain was engineering so I knew him. We discussed microphones and then I went out to get a drum sound. I took a listen to the track - maybe I made a chart, can't remember, and then played it down a couple of times. I really don't remember how many takes it took or whether I did a couple of drops but I actually played 2 tracks that day. It was a really fun track to play and totally up my street."
It is possible that the Corrs version of Toss the Feathers is based on the version of the song recorded on the Liege and Lief album by Fairport Convention. It's an old album from the 60's released on the U.K. Island Records label. It's part of a 4-track medley. The track is heavily propelled by the violin because the groups violinst, Dave Swarbrick was a top violin player. It's a fairly early British recording of folk rock. The tracks audio is avialable on YouTube - Toss the Feathers kicks in around 3:19:
Hope you enjoyed today's song, and if you did, I recommend you to listen to their unplugged album ;) 
Yours truly,
A LadyBug Who Loves The Corrs :)

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