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Joyous St. Patrick's Days!

#326 / Flood Time Capsule: 2018

St. Patrick’s Day has always been special to us, so it was particularly sweet six years ago tonight when the opening show for the 2018 season of “Route 60 Saturday Night” — the monthly musical variety bash for which The Flood was the house band — fell on March 17.

To put a Celtic curl on the night, we dusted off some favorite songs from The Old Sod. As you’ll see in the above video, we opened the show at the good ol’ Route 60 Music Co. with one of the greatest sing-along in the Irish catalog — “The Wild Rover” — which we learned years ago from our heroes, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.

Then 90 minutes later, we wrapped up the evening with one of the prettiest Irish tunes of all times.

“Down By the Salley Gardens,” with lyrics by William Butler Yeats, has been in The Flood repertoire for 25 or 30 years; in fact, it was on our first album in 2001. But as you hear in the second half of the video, the tune had a beautiful rebirth with the harmonies that Michelle Hoge brought to it.

The Indefatigable Mr. Dobbs

That fun night brought back memories of another special St. Pat’s. Seven years earlier, The Flood was chosen to launch the city’s first “Party on the Patio” of 2011 at Heritage Station’s gazebo downtown.

In those day, fiddler Joe Dobbs was front and center any time the band was stoking its Irish fires. In the following video from the March 17, 2011, show, Joe tears it up with his "Miss McLeod's Reel" for the dancers on the patio below the bandstand:

Ah, those McLeods and their reel! That tune also was a Flood favorite any time the extraordinary flutist Wendell Dobbs dropped in to jam with us.

Here, from a winter 2009 session, Wendell and Joe made the then-new weekly Flood podcast with their duet:

"McLeod's Reel"


Anyway, the gazebo event went well. The city invited the band back the next year for a St. Pat encore, kicking off the 2012 "Party on the Patio” (or “Paddy on the Partio,” as Charlie dubbed it in a later email to his cousin Kathy).

“The gig was super!” he wrote. “We had a good gathering, the weather cooperated, the band sounded great and everyone seemed to have fun.”

The Mike Smith Connection

Meanwhile, at the Flood jam sessions in those days, Joe also often shared Irish tunes with Flood buddy Mike Smith, a regular at those weekly parties. In this moment from a summer evening in 2011, Pamela Bowen’s video captures Joe and Mike’s lovely twin fiddling:

About that tune, poet Patrick Kavanagh wrote the "On Raglan Road" in 1946 and it quickly became a beloved verse in his native Ireland. It didn't become internationally known, though, until years later when Kavanagh met The Dubliners’ Luke Kelly, who set the poem to a traditional melody, "The Dawning of the Day."

Joe’s Favorite Irish Fiddle Tune

Hands down, Joe Dobbs’ favorite Irish fiddle tune was one he often played with Mike, as we reported in this June 2009 podcast:

"Whiskey Before Breakfast"

“Whiskey Before Breakfast” already had been with us a long time. It was a half century ago, in fact, that Joe taught that tune to his Flood family. And we actually have the tape!

Picture it. It was near St. Patrick’s Day 1977, and Joe and Flood co-founder Roger Samples had been wood-shedding together throughout the long, cold winter of 1976-77.

In spring, the two emerged from those winter nights with a whole slew of new duets; at the March 1977 Bowen Bash, they put them on display for us. Take a listen:

"Whiskey Before Breakfast"

In the decades to come, Joe would always have that happy tune ready whenever someone wanted to dance with us, as you can see here:

“Star of the County Down”

Oh, and at a different Bowen Bash, Joe taught us another Celtic classic. This time it was his unique rendering of a beautiful Irish aire. Here’s that moment from an Autumn 1981 gathering:

"Star of the County Down"

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

So, enjoy St. Patrick’s Day 2024. Erin Go Bragh, y’all!

And, hey, if your ears are still hungry for more Irish tunes, check out the virtual St. Patrick’s Day show on the band’s Radio Floodango free music streaming feature.

Click here for a free playlist of tunes that The Flood has recorded over the past dozen years at live shows, jam sessions, rehearsals and parties.

The 1937 Flood Watch
The 1937 Flood Watch Podcast
Each week The 1937 Flood, West Virginia's most eclectic string band, offers a free tune from a recent rehearsal, show or jam session. Music styles range from blues and jazz to folk, hokum, ballad and old-time. All the podcasts, dating back to 2008, are archived on our website; you and use the archive for free at: