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ANDY MARTYN - Will We Give It A Go? 

ANDY MARTYN - Will We Give It A Go? 
Private Label MARTYN001 

Straight down the line Irish traditional accordion music, Andy Martyn's playing recalls the greats of a generation or two ago: Joe Burke, Paddy O'Brien, Joe Cooley, Martin Mulhaire and others. London Irish all his life, with a background in East Galway, Andy has played with many of the great and good - and even better - of Irish music, several of whom join him here. John Carty on fiddle and banjo, Gino Lupari on percussion, Trevor Hutchinson on bass and Michael McGoldrick on his trusty snare drum are supplemented by London musicians Elaine Conwell, Sinead Egan, Tad Sargent, Gerry Diver, Kevin Boyle, Matt Griffin and Barney Morse-Brown. This makes for a very full sound on most tracks, reminiscent of céilí bands and show bands.

Reels by Redican, Rooney, Dwyer and Liddy. Traditional jigs, hornpipes and barndances. Cregg's Pipes, The Sailor's Bonnet, and a few more familiar names: about half of Will We Give It A Go? is dance music which will be well known to fans of Irish music. The other half is new and unfamiliar, at least to me: airs and other tunes composed by Mr Martyn and friends, plus a couple of slow pieces from the tradition which are rarely heard these days. There's also a pair of hornpipes from Shetland and Northumberland, just for a change. This is measured music, not too fast, never too flamboyant, smooth rather than percussive, easy on the ear, aimed more at the parlour than the dance hall. The rich sound of old button accordions dominates every track, teasing emotion out of the many slower pieces here and stamping the quicker melodies onto a sensitive backing by fine accompanists. Listen to Andy's Ballygawley Barndance with John Carty's deep banjo notes underpinning the tune, or his air Danny's Grove written for Donegal fiddler Danny Meehan with more than a touch of Gaeldom pathos.

Alex Monaghan


This review appeared in Issue 144 of The Living Tradition magazine