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GEORGE MURPHY - Still In One Piece

GEORGE MURPHY - Still In One Piece
Back Lane Records BLANECD002

George Murphy from Dungiven, County Derry, has been a singer / songwriter and storyteller for a number of years and it is a wee bit surprising that it’s taken him this long to bring out a collection of his repertoire. An advantage of his procrastination, however, is that he has absorbed, over time, a lot of influences, both from the sean-nostraditions and from the evolving influences all around him.

George has a very relaxed and natural singing style, which makes it all sound a lot easier than it is, but immediately conveys an intrinsic feeling and love for the material, whether older or newer. The overall effect is that of sitting next to him at a session, which, in itself, is probably the finest environment in which to absorb material.

George plays guitar on one track, and is joined by Frank Cassidy, guitar, bouzouki, bodhran; Odhran Mullan, piano, fiddle, cello, bass; Gemma McQuillan, harp; Jimmy O’Hara, harmonica, Seamus O’Kane, bodhran; Gerard McCloskey, flute, Francis Cassidy, low whistle, Jim Murphy, background vocals; and Maranna McCloskey, background vocals, all of which are well-balanced to allow the man to clearly tell the stories of the songs.

There’s a fine range of material, from the vicissitudes of rural life, the human condition, and the problems of working life, well-laced with the humorous side of life, including Crawford Howard’s take on the sectarian divide, Sash Up The Falls, and if any of these tensions can be eased by wry observation, then there is hope for the future. There’s also a recitation about links between Ireland and Scotland for reflection.

A fine example of a craftsman at work.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 89 of The Living Tradition magazine.