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Copperplate COPP026

Sweet and gentle fiddle, accordion and banjo from the fringes of Connemara, with Londoner Tommy returning to his West Clare roots and Galway girl Louise lashing into the button box as well as her old skin skillet. The pair play with a lovely relaxed ease, trotting through the tunes and occasionally getting up to a rollicking pace on some tasty reels. Dermot McLoughlin's is a grand lyrical jig, charming on fiddle and banjo. Smash The Windows, not a jig but a reel by Brendan Mulvihill, is a new one to me and a great companion to The Green Fields Of Rossbeigh. Reels and jigs are interspersed with five slower tracks, set dances, airs and waltzes, many from the pen of Tommy McCarthy. The Drunken Gauger is a traditional set dance, with a cameo appearance by youngster Rose McCarthy on fiddle. Grace Bay is a place in the Caribbean and Tommy wrote this fine air there: it even sounds good on his ukulele! A Stor Mo Chroi is a tremendous fiddle solo, a strong interpretation of this classic song. The Blue Road is one of a pair of waltzes composed by Tommy which are a little thin on their own but might make excellent melodies for songs, in the Irish music hall style maybe. Grand Turk is another Caribbean inspired melody, with a Balkan or Middle Eastern flavour, adding mandolin to Tommy's fiddle for a fuller sound. McCarthy and Costello also produce great renditions of The Boy In The Gap, Strop The Razor and other established favourites. The final pairing of The Blacksmith's Anvil and The Tinkerman's Daughter brings this couple's debut album to an end in fine style. The accompaniment from Noel O'Grady, Martin O'Malley and Ringo McDonagh is first class, as you'd expect, and the CD notes are handy too, making this a very pleasing package for Irish music fans.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 102 of The Living Tradition magazine.