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SEAN O'DRISCOLL & LARRY EGAN 'The Kitchen Recordings' Cló Iar-Chonnachta CICD155

Sean O'Driscoll is a well-known banjoman from Cork, and Larry Egan is a champion young box-player from Wicklow. They are both in fine form on this recording, which also features some tasty accompaniment on bouzouki, guitar and percussion from Sean and others. There's lots of excellent music here, some particularly nice tunes and some distinctive takes on old favourites. The bad news is that the duet playing isn't as tight as you might expect, and at times it seems as if Sean and Larry can't hear each other at all. However, most of the time this is not too distracting, just like sitting at one end of a big session. The solo tracks are absolutely brilliant.

Among the little gems here are the hornpipe City of Savannah, a favourite of mine which is rarely recorded by Irish players, and a fling version of The Cuil Aodha Jig which contrasts nicely with the standard version a couple of tracks before. The slow reel John Henry's is another triumph: I've also heard this as a hornpipe. Sean contributes three of his own tunes, among them a lovely slow air called An Gobán Saor. At the faster end of things, there's a break-neck charge through The Ballydesmond Reel and two great sets of familiar reels to finish with.

Sean's solo includes a nifty little jig of his own called The Muskerry Tram, and a gentle stroll through Garret Barry's Jig. Larry chooses reels by Billy McComiskey ad Charlie Lennon for his solo, a racy four minutes of flashing fingers, with his left hand doing the work of the pipe regulators. Several other modern composers feature on this CD: Finbar and Richie Dwyer, Eddie Kelly, Sean Ryan, and Canadian fiddler Bill Maley. It all adds up to a pleasant mix of tunes in a relaxed session style. Definitely worth a listen.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 58 of The Living Tradition magazine.