Joey Beaton

Track 1 : Joey Beaton (Piano)

Dan R's Favourite, strathspey
Willie Fraser's, reel
Francis Beaton's, reel
Derrick Beaton's, reel
(all tunes composed by Donald Angus Beaton)

Joey Beaton is the son of the fiddler and composer Donald Angus Beaton who played his first dance the year Buddy was born. Many of Donald Angus's compositions are included in Buddy's repertoire.

Joey first accompanied Buddy at the Judique parish hall, Cildonan Hall, during the mid-sixties. This was when the Glencoe Dances began and Joey was Buddy's accompanist there for several years. In 1975, Joey performed at Edinburgh Castle with Buddy and Doug MacPhee and, in the following year, at the Montreal Cultural Olympics along with several fine fiddlers including a young John Morris Rankin. Joey appears in Buddy's video "The Master of The Cape Breton Fiddle", one of Buddy's great performances. He considers Buddy to be a true ambassador of Cape Breton and Canada.

"Buddy is blessed with a talent that continues a tradition close to his heart".

For Joey, Buddy has picked four of his father's compositions, including tunes composed for Dan R. MacDonald and the stepdancer Willie Fraser.

Cape Breton Piano Accompaniment

When Buddy MacMaster played his first dance in Troy he was not accompanied by the piano, but by another fiddler, teaming up with Vincent MacMaster to create enough volume to sustain the dancers through the night. The piano had only recently been introduced to Cape Breton music. The pump organ preceded the piano by more than thirty years and it was on this instrument that many of Cape Breton's players started out.

The pump organ could be used to imitate the sounds of the pipes and the pumping of the pedals would create a gentle syncopation and lift for the music. The droning, sustaining quality of the instrument also allowed the pump organ player to use the right hand for melody playing while keeping the fiddler accompanied with the left. The primitive techniques developed on this parlour instrument are the foundation of today's Cape Breton piano accompaniment style.

By the 1930's, upright pianos began to replace the pump organ and eventually became so popular that they arrived on the east coast by the trainload. The upright piano was perfectly suited to the front parlours of the day. The wooden flooring, lime plaster and wainscoting of Inverness county homes would enhance the already rich tones of these instruments. Pianos could be ordered through the Eaton's catalogue and popular brand names included Mason & Risch, Bell, Nordheimer and Sherlock Manning. The most prized of the uprights was the Heintzman and one is featured on several tracks of this recording.

Although there were a few guitar players, the upright piano was quickly adopted as the main accompaniment instrument for Cape Breton fiddle music. Early recording pioneers include Dan Sullivan, Betty Maillet of The Inverness Serenaders and Bess Siddall MacDonald of Antigonish, who recorded on the first 78 rpms of the Celtic label in 1936. As the tradition evolved, each new player brought something unique and individual to the style. Today there are as many styles as there are players and the piano is also recognized as a melody instrument in its own right.

This recording features players from throughout Buddy MacMaster's career, spanning almost the entire history of Cape Breton piano accompaniment. Although they all have different styles, most of these players have at least one thing in common: they've played at Glencoe with Buddy MacMaster!

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