Caroline Keane


Own label, no number

1. Charming Lovely Nancy / Sleamhnán Lios Póil / Jazzin' with Mag Leary;  2. Paddy From Portlaw / The Old Flail / When the Cat's Away;  3. The Roscommon Reel / The Ballymahon Reel / Father Newman's;  4. Carlisle Bay Waltz / The Waltz of Happiness;  5. The Apple Blossom Reel / The Flood on the Holm;  6. Gráinne's Jig / Don't Touch That Green Linnet;  7. The Murroe Polka / The Taur Polka / Mick Duggan's Polka;  8. The Gatehouse Maid / Arkle Mountain / The Strawberry Blossom;  9. The Wine Strand Hornpipe / The Mountain Top;  10. The Leading Role / Matt Peoples / The Curlew;  11. When You're Gone I Say Your Name;  12. Denis Murphy's Slide / Nelly Mahony's/ Thadelo's Slide;  13. The Nightingale / The Rock on the Clyde / The Jig of Port Fleadh;  14. Batt Henry's / The Shaskeen
I'm slightly surprised to find how much I like this record, since it's Irish traditioal music performed in a very modern style - but played so well that I still love it!  In the Press Release, Caroline says "I really wanted new and old compositions to sit comfortably alongside each other on this record ..." and they really do.  Of course, in Ireland today, it's impossible to define what's 'traditional' and what isn't, since (luckily for the Irish) the old tradition didn't quite die out, and so it's recent 'revival' isn't anything like the one we've had in England.

This is hardly going to be a real review, as I'm going to pass the CD on to someone who can do a proper job on it, but I couldn't resist just a few words of praise before I let it go.  Simply to say that there are lots wonderful tunes here, played extraordinarily well and - more importantly - by someone who really sounds as if she's enjoying herself.  She really does Shine!

She's backed up by three other musicians, playing a multitude of instruments, who manage not to get in the way - although, for me, they (and particularly the piano) could have been a little further back in the mix.  The final track I was really looking forward to - Batt Henry's / The Shaskeen - as I have loved, and played Batt Henry's Barndance since first encountering it on Ben Lennon's The Natural Bridge CD back in 1999.  And 1999 must have been a very good year for Leitrim bcause The Shaskeen came to me, that same year, on the wonderful McNamara Family's Leitrim's Hidden Treasure CD.  I never managed to play it, but it's retained a place in my heart.  In their tune notes, they said that it's more or less the same tune as the well-known reel - indeed, that it appears as a reel in the Grier MS - "but it plays better as a hornpipe!"  Sorry, Caroline, but they were right.

Rod Stradling - 27.5.20

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