Link to Living Tradition Homepage





Sleeve not available
MARGARET BENNETT "In the Sunny Long Ago" Foot Stompin' Records CDFSR1708

In the very impressive Ceol Irish Music exhibition in Dublin's Smithfield, there's a Singing Room where visitors find themselves smack in the middle of a traditional singaround using space-age technology. On a smaller scale, this album sets out six chairs - one for the singer, four for the backing musicians and one for the listener.

Margaret Bennett grew up in Skye and Lewis and she was just leaving her teens when she emigrated to Newfoundland, which she describes as paradise to a folk musician. The informality of this recording is intentional, for singer and musicians attempt to recreate the kitchen sessions when old favourite songs were sung and exchanged. The recording venue this time, however, was An Tobar in Mull and the musicians are from the younger generation, comprising Findlay Napier on guitar; Gillian Frame, fiddle; Hamish Napier, accordion and flute; and Margaret's son Martyn Bennett on fiddle, viola, flute and whistle. A bonus, too, is that all the musicians sing and there's a standout vocals-only track "An t-oighre og".

Naturally, there are Scots and Irish-influenced songs but there's a native Newfoundland input, too, in the shape of "Sweet Forget-me-nots", "Sonny's Dream" and "Pat Murphy's Meadow", a line from which provides the album's title. Margaret is in fine voice and you'll find it very difficult not to join in the songs you know, and if you need the words you'll find them on the website.

It's a very pleasant album and the listener can't help but feel that Margaret really enjoyed reminiscing about the Newfoundland sessions - and that perhaps the youngsters wished they'd been there too.

Alan McIntosh Brown

Secure On-line mailorder service Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 43 of The Living Tradition magazine.