Time blurrs my memory of place and time when I think of Peoples and Molloy, when I remember their presence in small places of nights gone quickly by. It seemed to me as if they stood up out of the very ground, inserting their warm presence and their violent music into our space and hour. Peoples' dark eyes and darker face seemed at those times to me to penetrate the brown wood of the fiddle as his thick and stained fingers tore tender notes with the bow. Molloy, profile to him and to my silent eye, blew into the black timber flute, eyes unfocussed on the ground, gaunt and bent fingers rising and falling in muscular waves over the flute's small black holes. All else was in shadow to me — stools, faces, bottles, smoke.
They come back to me on soft evenings with their music, and their charm has stayed with me under all the years I've known them.
I hear them now on this faithful record, wondering how to praise music that has moved me so often in dark times. So I will not praise; I tell you of their faces and hands instead …
Many have sat in accompaniment with them, and perhaps none better than Paul Brady, whose guitar is here heard well.
I wrote this note for their record, which will accompany my solitary thoughts in times distant: Peoples, Molloy, Brady; Tommy, Matt and Paul.
I learned the song Shamrock Shore from Dublin singer Frank Harte. It most probably dates from around 1850 and is unusual in that it isn't a 'party song' (to use the Northern euphemism) but an objective, hard and astute commentary on the state of the nation during the first 50 years of the last century. It ends with a plea to Irishmen to settle their differences for the common good, a plea that falls on deaf ears 100 years later.