Allie Bennett - It's about Time

links to secure server / on-line store


Back-up Musicians

Piano - Tracey Dares, Ryan MacNeil, Mac Morin & Brenda Stubbert

Guitars- Gordie Sampson & Allie Bennett

Drums - Brian Talbot.

Over the years Cape Breton musician Allie Bennett has been a back up musician on over 100 albums. It's About Time is his first 'solo' project. Predominantly a fiddle recording, Allie does add guitar and bass on many of the tracks.

Released in fall 2004 this CD is good mix of old and new fiddle tunes, many never before recorded. Ten of the ttracks are fiddle-piano-guitar etc., one is a 'raised bass' fiddle cut (with accompaniment) and on the last, the guitar is Allie's solo instrument.

13 tunes as an abc file

The Flooded Road to Glenties, Dan R. MacDonald, Craigie Hall, The Auld Town of Ayr, Andrew's Jig, The Skylark, The Model T, Lord Drummond ,Lakewind , Laurel's Reel, Yank's Reel, Orkney Wedding , The Dougal Creature

Liner Notes

1. Glenties

  • Gerry Commane's - reel (Traditional)
  • Jes Kroman's - reel (Jerry Holland - Fiddlesticks Music - SOCAN)
  • The Flooded Road To Glenties - reel (Jimmy McHugh)
  • Freddy's - reel (John Morris Rankin -Ole Sound Music Ltd. - SOCAN)

    The first reel was recorded by Cape Breton fiddler/composer Jerry Holland in 1982 on his "Master Cape Breton Fiddler" album, which remains one of the best fiddle records ever made. The second tune is a composition of Jerry's which was made for a well known Danish fiddler. The third tune was written in the late eighties by the late Jimmy McHugh, an Irish fiddler who lived most of his life in Glasgow. His son Brendan told me the story behind the tune. Jimmy, his wife and a friend were traveling from his home town in Co. Tyrone to the Patrick McGill Festival in Glenties, a small market town in Co. Donegal. Apparently some local lads had removed road signs warning of flooding, and without knowing this he drove straight into a flood and his car broke down. After pushing the car out of the flood it took him two hours to get it going again, and in the meantime he composed the tune at the side of the road in the dark about midnight. Freddy's reel was composed by a good friend, the late John Morris Rankin for an uncle of his. I borrowed some of the chord structures for this tune from the playing of Cape Breton Celtic group Beolach. I would like to respectfully dedicate this group of tunes in memory of John Morris.

2. The Champion

  • Munster Lass - jig (Traditional)
  • Light And Airy - jig (Traditional)
  • Miss Gordon Of Park - jig (William Marshall - Public Domain)
  • The Champion - jig (Traditional)

    I learned the first two jigs from the playing of "The Cape Breton Symphony", a group of fiddlers which was assembled as part of John Allan Cameron's CTV television series in the mid-seventies. The last two tunes were recorded by the late, great Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald, who played in the original edition of the above mentioned group and was one of my early musical heroes. They all remain popular tunes in Cape Breton today.

3. High Bass Tunes

  • Craig Coynach - strathspey (Alexander Walker - Public Domain)
  • Castle Newe - strathspey (Alexander Walker - P.D.)
  • Delnadamph Lodge - reel (Alexander Walker - P.D.)
  • Abergeldie Castle - reel (Alexander Walker - P.D.)
  • Bridge Of Bucket - reel (Alexander Walker - P.D.)
  • Thelma MacPherson's - reel (Jerry Holland - Fiddlesticks Music - SOCAN)

    I decided to record these tunes in the traditional "High Bass" (scordatura) tuning, where the D and G strings are tuned up a tone to E and A. Although most of them are not normally played this way, they work well in this tuning. The first five tunes are from The Alexander Walker Collection which is, in my opinion, one of the most under-utilized of the great Scottish collections. The last tune is another superb Jerry Holland composition that works perfectly in this mode. The traditional fiddle and piano configuration seemed enough for this arrangement.

4. Nighen Donn Bhoideach

  • Nighen Donn Bhoideach (Nut Brown Maiden) - slow air (Traditional)
  • Jock O' Hazeldene - slow air (Traditional)

    Back in the early nineties I had the pleasure of playing bass for The Rankin Family. This traditional Gaelic song was part of their repertoire back then, and I decided to base my arrangement on the wonderful vocal harmonies they used. Jock O' Hazeldene is a beautiful old Scottish song that I teach to my violin students. I would like to dedicate these tunes to my music students, both past and present.

5. The Skylark Set

  • Andrew's - jig (Allie Bennett - Albent Music - SOCAN)
  • The Skylark - jig (Allie Bennett - Albent Music - SOCAN)
  • The Model T - jig (Allie Bennett, Ashley MacIsaac - Albent Music - SOCAN)
  • The Grackle - jig (Allie Bennett - Albent Music - SOCAN)

    This is a group of originals. I composed Andrew's Jig in 1977 to commemorate the birth of a nephew. The Skylark was named for a 1992 Buick that served me well for ten years. Ashley MacIsaac and I wrote The Model T Jig for a recording with Gaelic singer Mary Jane Lamond which I produced in 1994. The Grackle was named for a frequent visitor to my backyard bird feeder.

6. Orkney Wedding

  • Orkney Wedding - march (Arthur Scott Robertson)
  • Trip To Dublin - strathspey (Jerry Holland - Fiddlesticks Music - SOCAN)
  • Anna Mae Grant's - strathspey (Elmer Briand)
  • Laurel's - reel (Allie Bennett - Albent Music - SOCAN)
  • Carter MacKenzie - reel (Kevin Chaisson)
  • Yank's - reel (David Papazian)

    A rather long group in the march, strathspey, reel tradition. The first tune was written by Shetland fiddler Arthur Scott Robertson. I heard the late Joe MacLean play it at a house party in 1981. His setting is slightly different from the original. The strathspeys are two of my favorites. Laurel's Reel was written for my daughter. Carter MacKenzie was composed by Prince Edward Island fiddler Kevin Chaisson, and Yank's Reel was written by Cape Breton fiddle maker David Papazian and affectionately named for a friend. This cut is dedicated to all the folks who regularly attend the Thursday night fiddle sessions at Rollie's Wharf in North Sydney, Cape Breton.

7. Brenda's Jigs

  • Rita's Tearoom - jig (Brenda Stubbert - SOCAN)
  • Lauchie Stubbert's - jig (Brenda Stubbert - SOCAN)
  • Wilbert Stubbert's - jig (Brenda Stubbert - SOCAN)
  • Regina Stubbert's - jig (Brenda Stubbert - SOCAN)

    Four wonderful jigs written by Cape Breton fiddler/composer Brenda Stubbert. Rita's Tearoom was composed for singer/songwriter Rita MacNeil, whom I toured with as her bass player for most of the eighties. Lauchie Stubbert was an uncle of Brenda's and a fine fiddler in his own right. Wilbert Stubbert is a brother of Brenda's and a pretty good hockey player in his day. She wrote Regina Stubbert's in memory of her mother. Brenda has been a good friend for many years and I thought it appropriate she play piano on this cut.

8. O'Neill's Statement

  • O'Neill's Statement - march (Eoghan O'Neill - Mild Music)
  • Scartaglen - polka (Traditional)
  • Heather Hill - reel (Dan R. MacDonald - Cameron Music Sales - SOCAN)
  • Break Yer Bass Drone - reel (Gordon Duncan - Grian Music - MCPS)

    O'Neill's Statement is a lovely, dreamy tune written by Irish instrumentalist Eoghan (pronounced "Owen") O'Neill, who is the original bass player for the Riverdance production. I got this tune, as well as Scartaglen Polka from an album he recorded with Irish piper Davy Spillane. Eoghan graciously allowed me to use the original arrangements for both tunes. Heather Hill is a well known reel by the great Cape Breton composer Dan R. MacDonald. I learned the last reel from Natalie MacMaster when I played bass in her band between 1994 and 1995.

9. Great Names

  • The Muckin' O' Geordie's Byre - jig (Traditional)
  • Go To The Devil And Shake Yourself - jig (Traditional)
  • Jerry's Beaver Hat - jig (Traditional)
  • So I'm Off With The Good St. Nicholas Boat - jig (James Scott Skinner - Public Domain)

    I have always been intrigued by the names of fiddle tunes. These are jigs that have been played in Cape Breton for many years and can be heard frequently at square dances.

10. The Lakewind Set

  • Dan R. MacDonald - march (Wilfred Gillis - SOCAN)
  • Craigie Hall - strathspey (Traditional)
  • The Auld Town Of Ayre - strathspey (Traditional)
  • Jessie Smith - strathspey (Traditional)
  • Lord Drummond - reel (Traditional)
  • Lakewind - reel (Allie Bennett - Albent Music - SOCAN)
  • Chums - reel (Jerry Holland and Dougie MacDonald - Fiddlesticks Music - SOCAN)

    This beautiful march was composed in 1977 by the late Wilfred Gillis from Arisaig, Nova Scotia. He wrote it in memory of Dan R. who passed away the previous year. The first two strathspeys are great old tunes I found in the Athole Collection. Jessie Smith has always been one of my favorite strathspeys. Lord Drummond can be found in Kerr's Third Collection. I learned it from Dave MacIsaac. His setting is slightly different from the one in Kerr's. I named Lakewind Reel for Lakewind Sound Studios, the wonderful facility where this recording was done. Chums is a dandy reel by Jerry Holland and another great Cape Breton composer, Dougie MacDonald.

11. Guitar Jigs

  • The Dougal Creature - jig (James Fraser - Public Domain)
  • Humours Of Glendart - jig (Traditional)
  • Miss Catherine Ann Lamey's - jig (Dan R. MacDonald - Cameron Music Sales - SOCAN)
  • James Kelly - jig (Jerry Holland - Fiddlesticks Music - SOCAN)

    Since I played guitar before learning the fiddle, I figured I'd better include at least one guitar selection. These tunes were recorded using my trusted old faithful - a 1966 Guild D-50. The first jig comes from Book 4 of Lowe's Collection. The second tune was recorded by the great Irish band Planxty in 1979. Their version was called East Of Glendart. I found the third tune in Dan R.'s Heather Hill Collection. James Kelly was composed by Jerry Holland for a musician he knew while growing up in the Boston area. This cut is dedicated to my good friend John Allan Cameron, who introduced me to the Music Business and has always been very supportive of my career. John Allan pioneered this style of guitar playing on 12-string guitar and laid the stakes for other trail blazers of Celtic Music who followed in his footsteps.

12. Pipe Reels

  • Alastair's Mischief - reel (Dougie MacDonald)
  • The Burning House - reel (Brenda Stubbert - SOCAN)
  • The Green Fields Of White Point - reel (Winston Fitzgerald)

    This group has two fairly new tunes combined with a Winston Fitzgerald classic. These reels are in the range and style of the traditional highland bagpipes. Cape Breton fiddler Dougie MacDonald wrote the first reel and named it after reading author Alastair MacLeod's book "No Great Mischief". The Burning House is a recent Brenda Stubbert composition and is rapidly becoming part of the repertoires of many Cape Breton fiddlers. The late Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald didn't make a lot of tunes, but the ones in circulation are all considered classic.

Other Recordings | Music Notation and abc samples

Cranford Pub Search Engine