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GOITSE - Tall Tales & Misadventures

GOITSE - Tall Tales & Misadventures
Private Label GSECD3

Album number three and this young Irish quintet is going from strength to strength. Áine McGeeney provides vocals - three numbers here - and powerful fiddle on the rest of the CD, not twiddling her thumbs like some singers I could mention. James Harvey's banjo is as impressive as ever, but delicate when required. The box-playing of Tadhg Ó Meachair is more central than previously, although he still doubles on piano backing. With him in the engine room are Colm Phelan on bodhrán and Conal O'Kane on guitars, giving Goitse a lot of flexibility in the shape and colour of their sound. Apart from a touch of string bass by Martin Brunsden and a surprise vocal appearance on Carrick-a-Rede by Kieran Munnelly, everything here is pretty much as it would be delivered live: rich, varied, impressive music that can hold its head high in any company.

Details now: there are quite a lot of the band's own tunes here, ranging from the banjo slow air Changing Lanes (reminiscent of O'Connor's Time To Time and rarer than wide-mouthed frogs in these parts) to the rumbustious Rocky Town Light. Jigs and reels are pretty much the order of the day, but with a huge range of tempos: a relaxed Decent Lunch by Tadhg, a controlled gallop through the traditional Miller Of Drohan, a gentle slip jig and a spirited slide, plus a couple of injections of stateside funk in 619 and Trip To Dixie. Áine's three songs, slow and sensuous, provide a perfect contrast to the energetic instrumentals. All three could be old as the hills, but only Ye Lovers All is traditional. The more upbeat Tá Sé An Lá is credited to the late lamented Eithne Ní Uillacháinn, a beautiful singer from Dundalk who left a great legacy of songs and fiddlers. Carrick-a-Rede is by Cathie Ryan: almost as fresh as Áine herself, whose high sweet voice is consistently captivating. Tall Tales and Misadventures are the names of the opening and closing tracks of the album, brilliant no-holds-barred bouts of Irish music. This mix of gentle grace and gloves-off grit is becoming a hallmark of Goitse's recordings. I haven't caught them live yet, but I'm working on it: if you get the chance yourself, jump at it!

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 103 of The Living Tradition magazine.