If you happen to go into O'Donoghue's bar in Merrion Row, Dublin , you'll see the Furey Brothers, Finbar and Eddie, almost life-size on the wall. Paddy and Maureen O'Donoghue are much more than the genial hosts of this genial howff. They seem to adopt ballad-singers and instrumentalists — filling up the hungry with bowls of soup and ham sandwiches, comforting the lovelorn, acting as post office, bank, home-from-home, and maybe as confessional, too, for all I know. They also act, discreetly and efficiently, as unpaid agents for many of the singers and songmakers who need a step up. Hence the note I received over In Edinburgh one day which said, simply: "Finbar Furey is all-Ireland champion piper. This is to introduce him and his brother, Eddie. They are very good." The note was signed, "Paddy O'Donoghue". And this LP is the result.
They don't have a photograph of Paddie Bell in O'Donoghue's, but that's by the way. They think very highly of her there, even though she comes from Belfast and has lived in Scotland for many years. She found the Fureys or the Fureys found her. Which came first is beside the point. They decided to share this LP after we all heard Paddle's voice alongside Finbar's pipes. Both are unique. No Irish piper plays with such authority and imagination as Finbar Furey. There is no voice like Paddie Bell's. These are simple statements of fact. Listen to them yourself and add your own grace notes. And listen, too, to brother Eddie singing in his authentic ballad-singer's voice, reminiscent of Luke Kelly, redolent of all that is singing Ireland.
W. GORDON SMITH