|Danny Doyle||Paddy Reilly||Maeve Mulvany||Al O'Donnell|
|Noel Ginnity||Sean McCarthy||Mick Crotty, Anne Byrne, Paddy Roche|
|We 4||Shay Healy||Olive Bayle|
With the limited amount of space at my disposal, I can't say all the things I'd like to say about this album, which was recorded at one of the landmarks of the Irish folk world, Tallaght's Embankment. Instead, I'll confine myself to a few brief observations.
Firstly, words of praise for compere Noel Ginnity, who, from the time he introduces the first item by instrumentalists James Keane, Joey Walsh and Dónal Lunny, to his last remarks, manages to convey the session's atmosphere with good humour and economy of words. What more can one ask of a compere?
I suppose my favourite track must be the delightful Sean McCarthy opus, "In Shame Love in Shame," sung softly by Olive Bayle against a mellow, nicely subdued background. Then there's Al O'Donnell's "One Morning in May," in which the traditional singer whose acceptance in Scottish folk clubs is a direct reflection of his stature, tells a story with an ancient theme.
To ensure that things don't get too melancholy, however, there's Sean McCarthy's amusing contribution, a sprinkling of humour to rival that of Shay Healy's masterpiece, during which the sharp-witted Dubliner puts into words what many of us have often felt following an over-abundance of songs about silver daggers, turtle doves, predictable notes…and, of course, the inevitable intertwining plants.
Accompanied, as usual, by Paddy Roche and Mike Crotty, Anne Byrne sings in such an uncomplicated way that it actually seems easy…which only goes to underline the extent of her talent. We 4 are as distinctive as ever—a group I enormous potential both in and out of Ireland. As for Mulvany, "The Irish Rebel" stresses the fact that nobody sings rebel songs quite so expressively as she does. Paddy Reilly's contribution is that plaintive tale of a highwayman in love, "The Curragh of Kildare."
Which only leaves Danny Doyle to mention. Danny, whose rare intensity and obvious dedication has rightly Drought him the fame these qualities deserve, sings "Mary from Dunloe" and, in sharp contrast, the title with which the LP. ends, "The Old Dun Cow," which has as its rather unlikely subject the saga of a pub fire with happy
Whether you're a tourist, an Embankment regular, or just someone interested in music generally, if you like folk even a little, there's much to appreciate in this collection.
|Danny Doyle||Shay Healy||Paddy Reilly||Pecker Dunne|
About "The Gatecrashers"
"The Gatecrashers" was presented for a week at the Gate Theatre last June.
Says Tribune Records' Noel Pearson: "It was basically a folk music entertainment mounted by a subsidiary of Tribune. The artists concerned had previously sung and played largely in ballrooms and pubs, and we felt it was time to broaden their experience via an authentic theatrical atmosphere."
"We chose a time when the tourist season was in full swing. Happily, the response was gratifying. At the time, the idea of doing an LP of extracts was only a hazy notion One night, the show was taped and the result was so much better than we had anticipated that it was decided to go ahead with the album".
When I attended "The Gatecrashers" I was struck by the informality of the proceedings. There was absolutely nothing contrived about it…which, it seemed to me, served to accentuate the audience's appreciation.
The Pecker Dunne, whose face has illuminated many a newspaper and magazine in the past few months (and whose screen debut in John Huston's "Sinful Davy" is eagerly awaited) contributes two of his own compositions-although when one has seen and heard him even briefly, the word sounds somewhat pretentious-and "Seven Drunken Nights". Danny Doyle, who has had all the usual adjectives applied to his work, is also forcefully represented. Since recording this album (Summer '67) Danny Doyle has emerged as practically a national hero. He was voted 1967 show biz personality of the year and his single "Whiskey on a Sunday" was acclaimed the best record of '67. Danny's interpretation of Cluain Meala (Clonmel) must certainly be considered as some of the best folk singing of any Irish artiste. Unlike Danny, Paddy Reilly has yet to have a disc in the top ten, but that small detail doesn't deter people from flocking to see him whenever he appears…and cheering their heads off at the least excuse.
Finally, there's Shay Healy, upon whose shoulders fell the considerable burden of supervising "The Gatecrashers". Between engagements, Shay writes words and music with equal facility
Ken Stewart Winter 1967