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BUTTONS AND BOWS - The Return Of Spring

BUTTONS AND BOWS - The Return Of Spring
Private Label BABMCD2015

Formed in 1983, Buttons And Bows are hardly prolific when it comes to recorded output, this being only their fourth album, but this is no bad thing. There is a tendency to think that it is necessary to have something new every year or so. The Return Of Spring weighs in at only 48 minutes, but I would rather have quality from start to finish, rather than a product of 70 minutes with ups and downs, and quality is what we have here.

What pedigree these musicians have. As well as being part of Boys Of The Lough, guitarist Garry O’Briain is a sought after accompanist, brothers Seamus and Manus McGuire provide excellent fiddle and viola, whilst there is nothing to say about button accordionist Jackie Daly that hasn’t been said before - a true maestro of his instrument.

The Return Of Spring is a blend of the old and the new, of traditional and contemporary, delving into the rich heritage of Irish music, whilst still keeping it sounding fresh and alive. There are recent tunes by each of the members, showing a mixture of styles and influences, alongside traditional sets arranged by the band. But all the way through is quality playing. What there isn’t, is the incessant thump of the bodhrán some feel is needed to drum up the excitement.

Getting their name from the 1947 Oscar winning song, Buttons And Bows, from the film, The Paleface, a reworked and much altered version appears here as a jig. My favourite track is Sweet Aibhilin, a waltz celebrating the birth of Garry’s grand-daughter. Mention must be made of the excellent notes and booklet which provide the packaging for this disc, as well as the recording and production evident in the clarity of all the tracks.

This is real, no nonsense, traditional Irish music played outstandingly by no nonsense, musicians who have nothing to prove, and are completely at home with both the music and their instruments.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 112 of The Living Tradition magazine.