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GERRY O'CONNOR - Last Night's Joy  

GERRY O'CONNOR - Last Night's Joy  
Lughnasa Music LUGCD966  

This Dundalk fiddler - not to be confused with the Dublin-based banjoman of the same name - has established a phenomenal reputation over 40 years of excellent recordings, from his early albums with Lá Lugh to more recent collaborations with Gilles Le Bigot and the band Oirialla. Here he is in solo mode - accompanied by some great musicians including his son Dónal on piano - and to my ears Gerry's playing is as fine as ever. Light, flowing or rhythmic as required, and sweet as a nut, Last Night's Joy is old-school fiddle music, starting with a couple of reels trawled from the depths of Cathal McConnell's memory, and following those with some rare double jigs from County Louth: The Old Dash Churn, How She Gets Up In The Morning and The Torn Bag Apron. A couple of more well known reels lead into the moving air, Bádaí Na Scadain.

An unusual middle section includes a Swedish polska, a bouncy set of Ulster single jigs, and a cracking duet with that man Gerry O'Connor on banjo for The American Polka. A Scottish-tinged set of reels and a terrific trio of slip jigs precede another delightful slow air, The Corratistune Rose, lovely deep fiddle resonances and a cello bass line from Neil Martin together with some delicate guitar by Seán Óg Graham. There are touches of guitar and bodhrán from Niall Hanna, Séamie O'Dowd and Dermot Moynagh in a few places too. Gerry adds Mairtín on button box, that other Gerry on banjo and Dónal on fiddle for a feast of O'Connors on the final track, a rake of reels strangely reminiscent of De Danann. Altogether wonderful stuff, this album is full of great music lovingly played - a joy indeed. 

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.