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MICK MULCAHY - Agus Cairde

MICK MULCAHY - Agus Cairde
Gael Linn CEFCD143

Accordionist Mick Mulcahy, from Brosna in County Limerick, has become a familiar figure since this album was released in 1990. In particular, he has two fine recordings with his daughters Michelle and Louise, both excellent players in their own right. Here Mick plays a large selection of old favourites, and is joined by some powerful friends: Mick O'Connor the well-known London banjo legend, Joe Rynne from Ennistymon on fiddle, and Mel Mercier on percussion. The mood is warm and relaxed, nothing too hectic, as Mick leads us through reels, jigs, hornpipes, polkas and slides. Bean a' Tigh, The Boys Of Tandragee, The Cameron Highlanders, Cronin's, Julia Clifford's and many more are squeezed effortlessly from the old pearloid playstation. Box and fiddle work well together, but the banjo adds that essential lift and shift to get the toes tapping. Mick also plays some tracks solo or with minimal accompaniment from Mick O'Connor on guitar.

Castlekelly and Whelan's show a driving rhythmic side of Mick's music, perfect for dancing. The pair of slides, ending with a tune I know as Wha'll Be King But Charlie, is just slightly too slow for a Sliabh Luachra hop, but the polkas which come after them are nicely on the money. The two Micks begin to wrap things up with a spirited canter through The Virginia Reel displaying all the panache of the Planxty version. Box and banjo top off a fine recording with a pair of jigs, Hughie Travers and the lovely Trip To Clarina, a tune which I don't remember hearing except on this CD. Typically for releases around 1990, there are very few notes with this album: all the tunes are named, all bar one are traditional, and that's as much as you need to know. Get the music out there: that was the important thing, and with local musicians like Mick Mulcahy it's probably a good approach. Few people will worry about where Mick picked up Willie Clancy's or Charlie Mulvihill's - this is music for casual listening, and maybe dancing. If you want something to analyse, try Ó Riada.

Alex Monaghan


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This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.