A Production of The Folk Life ( Inc. 1976)
John McLaughlin and Jamie Downs, Editors
CD Reviews: Roots & Wings, (dba The Digital Folk Life. Org)
The Kitchen Recordings Sean ODriscoll & Larry Egan. (Clo Iar-Chonnachta www.cic.ie)
Heres a set of (mostly) dance tunes reels, hornpipes, jigs and flings, with a single slow air (introducing a pair of jigs), all recorded in Sean ODriscoll's kitchen in Cork City, Co. Cork, where Sean, a well-established banjo player who has toured America with Paddy OBrien and performed with Daithi Sproule, Liz Carroll and one of the two James Keanes maybe both met up with young Larry (who hails from Co. Wicklow and first began playing accordion at age 10 and has 4 All-Ireland solo titles to his name), who came to Cork City to attend university and met up with Sean, who was playing in sessions at the Corner House Pub with Mick Daly and friends. The rest is the history of a musical friendship which has evolved into this fine recording of traditional Irish dance music, on machine-gun-style banjo and bouzouki (Sean) and twinkling accordion (Larry).
Theres a bakers dozen of tune medleys on the recording, ranging from the opening reels (The Trip to Birmingham/Down the Broom/The Ivy Leaf), t o a pair of hornpipes that follows (Sliabh na mBan/The City of Savannah), and back to reels (Eddie Kellys/The Culfadda/Eddie Kellys), to slow reels (John Henrys/The Lilies in the Field), to a jig/double jig/jig medley (Tom Billy Murphys/The Cooraclara/The Cuil Adha), and back to reels (The Palm Tree/Kilty Town) again and away ye go in other words, as fine a set of sesuin tunes as youd be liable to meet in a pub or Irish kitchen, any time you sat down a couple of top-class Irish dance musicians and told them to have a go at it.
The sole exception to the rule is Seans own composition, the slow air, An Goban Saor, used to introduce the jigs, The Muskery Tram/Garret Barrys, giving Sean a chance to show off his fine, melodic control on the banjo, with Larry sitting back for this particular set of tunes; overall, however, youre listening to Irish dance music, primarily duets, no fuss, no gimmicks, as they say. They feature compositions by Charlie Lennon and Finbar Dwyer, with old friend Mick Daly, of Four Men And a Dog, sitting in on guitar, on three tracks, according to the notes besides what sounds like a tasteful bodhran if thats a possible phrase - elsewhere; but this is primarily a brisk collaboration between two close musical friends, and it makes a fine recording for an evening of dancing, to prime the pump, maybe, before your friends break out their instruments too or get up and join in the dance with a Hooch-aye! First-class entertainment, well worth adding to your collection of Irish dance music.
(Copyright John McLaughlin 2/3/2004)