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WE BANJO 3 - Live In Galway

WE BANJO 3 - Live In Galway
Private Label WB3CD003

It’s the third album from the Irish quartet, and this time it’s a live offering, recorded at the Roisin Dubh in Galway, a great music venue with an electric atmosphere. We Banjo 3 are getting around at the moment – they seem to be playing everywhere - and this CD goes some way to explaining why.

Banjos, guitars, fiddles, mandolins, percussion and some fine vocals rip their way through some mostly Americana/bluegrass tinged songs and cracking tunes (including Liz Carroll’s Air Tune, Brian Finnegan’s The Donegal Lass and what sounds like a Flook inspired version of Gordon Duncan’s Pressed For Time, complete with the obligatory drum solo). There are also some traditional favourites such as Padraig O’Keefe’s and The Foxhunter’s Slip Jig and some oldtime offerings including Shove The Pig’s Foot A Little Further In The Fire. It is mostly high octane stuff, full of energy, yet not lacking that essential swing.

Sail Away Ladies/Because It’s There is a great set, the band being enhanced by the excellent melodeon playing of Damian Mullane. Elsewhere they are joined by a brass section and other guest musicians and singers.

Being recorded live, you get the added atmosphere this brings, and you can feel the fun vibe, for example in Guy Davis’ We All Need More Kindness In This World, featuring the added verse: “We all need more banjos in this world”. (Really?) The live sound is generally top notch, though on a couple of occasions the brass section threatens to overpower the banjos. Otherwise the recording and balance are pretty perfect.

It sounds like a great night was had in Galway – I wish I had been there.

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 109 of The Living Tradition magazine.