In January of 1975, partially on a lark and with those involved holding their breaths, crossing their fingers and tapping their toes, Washington, D.C. and "The Dubliner" began to take their places on the map of traditional Irish Music centers.
When THE IRISH TRADITION opened at "The Dubliner", Hugh Kelly, the proprietor, and I sat down, looked at one- another with trepidation; smiled gently; and hoped for success. Traditional Irish music, to be the only item on "The Dubliner" entertainment menu, hadn't met with much success in Washington, and no one knew whether it could replace or even live along side of the ballad groups so popular in the Nation's Capital. It was a long evening, and a long week for us and especially for Bill, Brendan and Andy. Having come all the way from New York and not having played together professionally, some anxiety naturally accompanied them. But, after the first week was o'er and the "Irish Tradition Reel" was solidly a part of the repertoire, we knew success was at hand and Washington, D.C. was a definite home for THE IRISH TRADITION. Within the shadow of the Nation's Capitol and only two steps of the Irish jig from Union Station, the sounds of reels, jigs, Kerry Slides, and traditional Celtic ballads would be heard resounding throughout the halls of the Commodore Hotel and echoing in the ears of the beautiful people of the Washington, D.C. area.
The selections contained on this record are indications of the culture which bred the likes of THE IRISH TRADITION, and the charm and wit of the personnel who indeed are THE IRISH TRADITION.
The creative efforts and the precision of play make this recording of Irish music stand apart from other traditional recordings. One has only to listen to Carolan's "Planxty Johnston" and to the depth of feeling exuded in "Go to Sea Once More", to understand the totality of why this record was made.
It is somewhat ironic that in a period of Irish/English unrest and with America concerned over that unrest, THE IRISH TRADITION represents the nations involved: Andy O'Brien: Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland; Brendan Mulvihill: Northampton, England; and William McComiskey: Brooklyn, New York, America. Indeed they have succeeded where nations have failed! Their ability, talent and, above all, desire, to communicate with each other and with us through the universal language of mankind somehow makes us glad to be a part of the Celtic tradition, and sit back, relax and smile at one another.
Louis J. Thompson