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VARIOUS ARTISTS 'The Hardy Sons Of Dan'
Traditional Songs From Around Lough Erne Shore Musical Traditions MTCD 329-0

This double album consists of 37 tracks and occupies 2 hrs 15 mins. of play time. These are field recordings made by Keith Summers in the late seventies and this authentic collection of unaccompanied song is comprehensive in theme and varied in character presenting superb versions of the familiar and much out of the way i.e. more localized material. The singers - all 14 of them - do full justice to their songs and deliver them with dignity, passion and high expertise.

Given the quality and quantity, after three listenings, I can only select some of the many highlights such as Maggie Murphy's fine Molly Bawn, her spirited Kellyburn Braes and - wait for it - totally convincing Wild Side of Life. then an exquisite Lisburn Lass from Mary Anne Connelly; a suitably robust Bad Luck Attend The Old Farmer from James Halpin and an equally impressive Barbara Allen from Patsy Flynn. To round off this wee sample, a memorable Adieu to Lovely Garrison from Packie McKeaney, father of the noted Fermanagh singer Rosie Stewart.

Detailed erudite notes and full texts support these inspiring and atmospheric recordings, which is consistent with the high production and aesthetic standards of the M.T. label. It is a great piece of work: a tribute to the songs, the singers and, of course, to Keith Summers and his enthusiasm for and `obsession` with the genuine article.

Geordie McIntyre

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This album was reviewed in Issue 56 of The Living Tradition magazine.