|This is Jesse Owens not the one in the middle on the front cover! — That one in the middle is, in fact, even more famous. He is Holmehill Torridan, the most celebrated inmate of Miss Sheelagh Seale's Ballykelly Irish Wolfhound Kennels in the Vale of Avoca, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.|
Although they formally banded themselves together as a group only on the day that this album was recorded, this trio of Irish entertainers had often sung and played together in the past. And, generally speaking, it is as a trio that they will appear in future.
ANNE BYRNE, the bonniest of the three. is 23. She comes, as they say, from a long line of Irish entertainers. Not quite born in the traditional trunk but almost. Anne has been singing since she was three and began to concentrate on the enormous store of Irish ballads five or six years ago. She has a voice of exquisite purity, ideally suited to the clear, limpid melodies of her country's great songs. It is difficult to avoid making a comparison between the voice of Anne Byrne and her dark charm and the same qualities in Joan Baez. But without denigrating that considerable artist on the other side of the Atlantic it must be contended that Anne has personal qualities which entitle her to consideration in her own right.
JESSE OWENS and Anne teamed up as a duet only recently. He is now 29 and started playing the guitar, as a professional, when he was 18. One thing led to another (it usually does with Jesse) and he was soon working with ceilidh bands up and down Ireland. For two years he played with a band in Germany. When Jesse and Anne joined forces, it wasn't simply a matter of Anne gaining a sympathetic accompanist and Jesse adding a bn of glamour to his act. Certainty he is a fine guitarist and knows chords that most folk singers would shrink from, but he has a good lyrical voice and a fierce love of the old songs. They are, in fact, ideally suited to each other as a duet.
SEAMUS GALLAGHER is, as it were, the gift on the gingerbread. Jesse says that Seamus is the best fiddler in Ireland, but even allowing for justifiable exaggeration, even if he were only the tenth or the twentieth best fiddler in Ireland, that would still be more than good enough. He has three superb tracks of his own on this album, but on almost every other track you can hear him adding colour and tone and texture to the accompaniment. And act always on the fiddle. No one, certainty no one in all Ireland, can make a guitar sound so much like a bass fiddle as Seamus Gallagher.
Irish televiewers know the worth of all three very well They have played in Britain, Germany, and the United States. Their first record album comes not a moment too soon. W.G.S.