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Paddy's Rambles Through The Park

Mike Harding | 13:35 UK time, Friday, 7 August 2009

We have had ever so many emails from people wanting to know more about the Dezi Donnelly track 'Paddy's Rambles Through The Park' that I played recently.

The story goes that Donegal fiddler Johnny Doherty was coming home from playing at a dance one night. He took a short cut across country and found himself in the middle of a fairy fort.

Fairy forts are the remnants of old stone circles and, as you might imagine, they are plentiful in Ireland.

Fairies in Ireland are not the gossamer winged, scantily clad Tinkerbells of Victorian storybooks but fully fleshed 'Little People' from the underworld with a culture, music and society of their own. A tune called 'Port na Bpucai' from the Blasket Islands is one of the pieces of music said to come from the fairy people.

Well, after finding his way into the fairy fort Johnny couldn't find his way out again and so wandered or rambled about all night, lost and bewitched, until the dawn came. All the time he was wandering he heard music coming from under the ground - that music was 'Paddy's Rambles'. It is a tune quite unlike any other slow air and I for one am prepared to believe that it came into Johnny's head from out there somewhere.

Nobody does it better than Dezi (though the guitarist Jim Murray does a lovely version) and the recording on 'Familiar Footsteps', Dezi's album, was truly inspired. He recorded it late one night at my old studio in Dent (no - I don't get a penny from the record and don't want any) and whatever got into Dezi that night I'll never know but it is, I honestly believe, one of the greatest recordings ever made.

Dezi tells me he's located the masters and is working on re-pressing the record.

I'll let you know.

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