Category: Archive

Echo’s top trad albums of 1999: Nos. 11-20

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Earle Hitchner

My list of the top 10 Irish traditional recordings for 1999 appeared in last week’s Irish Echo. Here are selections 11 to 20:

11. "FAREWELL TO EVENING DANCES," by Colm O’Donnell (BogFire Records 2002): Sligo singer and flute and tin whistle player delivers a solo album of uncommon grace and beauty.

12. "CELTIC FAIRE," featuring Jerry O’Sullivan, John Whelan, Zan McLeod, Patrick Ourceau, and Tom Wetmore (Hallmark Music EDM 1035): Why this card company didn’t identify the musicians, apart from Whelan as arranger, is puzzling, but there’s nothing puzzling about the viscerally exciting quality of their performances.

13. "KEVIN BURKE IN CONCERT" (Green Linnet Records GL 1196): On the majority of tracks, it’s just Burke on fiddle. Transporting.

14. "BEYOND WORDS," by Niall Vallely (Beyond Music BEY 001): Nomos founding member cuts his first solo album, boosting his status as one of Ireland’s consummate concertinists.

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15. "LIVE IN SEATTLE," by Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill (Green Linnet Records GL 1195): The CD sticker comparing it to Miles Davis’s "Sketches of Spain" is absurd, but that in no way distracts or detracts from the incremental exhilaration of track 2, an 11-tune tour de force by the East Clare fiddler and Chicago guitarist.

16. "THE NATURAL BRIDGE," by Ben Lennon and Friends (MOC Music and Cló Iar-Chonnachta Records CIC 139): Leitrim-born fiddler is joined by brother Charlie, sons Maurice and Brian, and "Dog Big and Dog Little" colleagues Ciarán Curran, Séamus Quinn, and Gabriel McArdle for some joyous music.

17. "SPARKS ON FLAGS," by the Bridge Céilí Band (Cló Iar-Chonnachta Records CIC 138): Gotta dance? Then step out to this terrific album by a céilí band founded in Portarlington, Co. Offaly, 30 years ago.

18. "THE HIDDEN NOTE," by Jacqueline McCarthy (Maree Music MMC 53): Anyone recalling the brilliance of "The Wind Among the Reeds" that McCarthy recorded with her husband, Tommy Keane, in 1995 will revel in this solo debut by the master concertinist.

19. "TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC ON BUTTON ACCORDION," by Patty Furlong (306 Holt Dr., Pearl River, NY 10965; pfurl19459@aol.com; [914] 735-3282): Bronx-born button accordionist self-releases her first solo album. Box playing at its most listenable and enjoyable.

20. "BUZZIN’," by the Bumblebees (Beehave Records BH 001): Delightful second album from Laoise Kelly on harp and fiddle, Colette O’Leary on piano accordion and cello, and Mary Shannon on banjo, mandolin, and fiddle, with new member Liz Doherty on fiddle.

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