Way back in the Nineties I wrote this piece:
First up is a CD that you can’t purchase anywhere — yet. Hell, the band doesn’t even have a proper name yet, but they’ve been called both the Old Drones and the Windbags.The Editor got two copies of this EP, so he slipped me one of ‘em. You’ve never heard of The Windbags, but you certainly know who the players are: Jerry O’Sullivan on uilleann pipes, Highland pipes, Scottish smallpipes, low whistle, and tin whistle; John Skelton of House Band fame on flute, bombarde, veuze (Breton pipes), bodhran, and tin whistle; Pat O’Gorman of Na Caberfeidh, Rare Air, and Morgan Le Fey, on Highland pipes, biniou koz (another type of Breton pipes), flute, tin whistle; and Tony Cuffe who played with the seminal Scottish band Ossian on vocals, guitar, Celtic harp, harmonica, and, of course, tin whistle.
The Oregonian noted of The Windbags: “Expect marches and strathspeys played on Highland pipes, jigs and reels on flutes. The Breton pairing of Biniou Koz and Bombarde. A haunting slow air on Uilleann pipes. Songs and mouth music from Scotland. A quartet of Tin Whistles … and more, much more!” I must wholeheartedly agree — this is one of the best EPs I’ve ever heard from a new band, and I’ve heard thousands of first releases over the decades. All five cuts are perfect, but the best are “Tail Toddle” with Tony Cuffe on vocals, and “An Dro/Hanter Dro,” a Breton set that features Pat O’Gorman on biniou koz, and John Skelton on veuze. The soon-to-be released full CD will certainly be on everyone’s “Best of the Year” list after they hear it!
The Breton material was so good that I dug out of the Archives that set of tunes yesterday to share with you. (If there is an owner of this music, do please contact me. My notes say the person who provided said to share these tunes as widely as possible.)
Alas this would be all that this superb bqnd produced as Tony Cuffe was already seriously ill when these tunes were cute and would die in 2001. The band itself broke up shortly after these tunes were recorded and to my knowledge never even played a single concert. It’s really too bad as they would have been an amazing band if they’d actually survived and toured.