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VARIOUS ARTISTS. "Irish Songs From Old New England" Folk Legacy CD132

Dan Milner of New York' via an Irish family and a sojourn in Birmingham, England, is one of the most productive folk music people on either side of the Atlantic. His work as promoter and organiser has given rise to some memorable song sessions, notably at New York's Eagle Tavern, famously remembered by those who had the good luck to sing there. He also compiled a great songbook, 'The Bonnie Bunch of Roses', and has two highly rated CDs of Irish songs to his credit on Folk Legacy Records.

As a singer Dan has toured extensively in concert, and is a stalwart of the maritime music scene. An indefatigable researcher he has blown the dust off many an obscure song, giving it a new life wherever singers gather. Not least of his qualities is the encouragement he gives to singers and seekers after songs. No one goes away from a meeting with Dan Milner without being fired up by his enthusiasm for the music and the zest with which he expresses it.

All the material on this CD comes from the collection of Helen Hartness Flanders who, along with her collaborators, gathered some 4500 items of song and music much of which had Irish or Irish-American provenance. Admirably, she wanted to get the material sung once again, to which end she gave lectures and set up performances by her informants. Today's folk song lovers owe her gratitude and respect.

We should be grateful to Dan Milner too and hold him in respect for the amount of work he put into producing this splendid album with its sixteen terrific songs. There is not a dull track from start to finish, nor a sub-standard performance. The 'Various Artists', namely Gordon Bok, Martin Carthy, Bob Conroy, Len Graham, Frank Harte, Louis Killen, Jim McFarland, Bonnie Milner, Dan Milner, Diedre Murtha, Robbie O'Connell, Caroline Paton, Sandy Paton, and Ian Robb, can all be proud of their performances. There is no need for me to pick out specific individuals or songs - everything on here is worth hearing. The Dan Milner/Folk Legacy partnership has come up trumps once again.

Roy Harris

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This album was reviewed in Issue 54 of The Living Tradition magazine.