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PATRICK STREET - All In Good Time SPCD1049

Patrick Street are without doubt one of the finest Irish - or any other nationality you care to mention - groups to have graced us with their presence. As anyone has heard their earlier records knows, they have set themselves exceptionally high standards to follow. So, has their talent gone to their heads like some others that could - but won't - be mentioned here? Don't you believe it!

This is a production that just oozes class. From the first notes of "Walsh's Polkas" to the final strains of "Lynch's Barn Dances" this is a recording which holds the attention with its combination of musicianship and singing.

What would you expect, however from a line-up comprising Kevin Burke on fiddle, Jackie Daly on accordion, Arty McGlynn on guitar, Bill Whelan on keyboards and the peerless Andy Irvine on everything else, including vocals?

This is a group which could play everything at 100 miles per hour, but they respect their music and their listeners - too much for that. Every number is tight yet relaxed, balanced and subtle and some of the tunes, for example "Billy Wilson", learned from The Red Clay Ramblers just knock you out with their sheer artistry. The sense of enjoyment that these guys get from their playing is illustrated in the lead-in to "Dennis Murphy's Reel" where they even leave in a false start - relaxed or what?

We shouldn't forget the songs, either. Here we have a range of material reaching from Maurice Leyden's "The Girls Along The Road", which has more words per line than is good for anyone trying to sing it, to a superb trilogy of songs commenting in very different ways on the cotton workers' plight. Andy Irvine's own song "A Prince Among Men (Only A Miner)" is one which I suspect we will hear being sung around the circuit before too long, with its gentle rhythm and magnificent sentiments.

All in all, this is a recording of outstanding quality which should be in the collection of everybody who appreciates groups who allow the music to speak for itself. Buy it!

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 1 of The Living Tradition magazine.