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JOE DERRANE & JERRY O'BRIEN "Irish Accordion Masters"
Copley Irish Records COP - 5009
BOBBY GARDINER "Memories of Clare" Copley Irish Records COP - 5010

Joe Derrane has recently returned to the recording studio and in the company of Felix Dolan on piano, has set about reaffirming his status as, "a legend in his own lifetime". His new recording can be heard on "Give Us an Other", Green Linnet GLCD 1149. "Irish Accordian Masters" is a collection of material recorded by Joe Derrane and his former accordion tutor, Jerry O'Brien, a legendary box player himself. Included are the Derrane & O'Brien duets, often alluded to in accordion records' sleeve notes, with the likes of, "The Primrose Lass/ The Devil in the Kitchen" and "Louden's Braes/ So Bonnie/ Stirling Castle". There are also some solo pieces from Joe Derrane and Jerry O'Brien as well as tracks with The Irish All Stars. Taken from recordings made in the late 1940's, the sound quality is, understandably, not directly comparable with more modern recordings but the playing can tingle the nerves and set the heart racing.

In 1962, a dozen or so years after the Joe Derrane and Jerry O'Brien recordings, Bobby Gardiner from Aughdara, County Clare was recording in America for the Gael label. Reissued now on Copley Irish Records, "Memories of Clare", is virtualy a tour de force on the B/C button accordion. The shortness of the tracks is the only clue toward the age of the recording. Often as things are bowling along nicely, and you are ready to follow it through a change into the next tune, the set comes to an end. The sound quality is first class as is the piano accoumpniment provided by an unamed player or players. Piano and accordion joust and breenge their way through some great sets and tunes including, "Mountain Road", "Maid on the Spinning Wheel", "Mullinalee Lee/ Star of Munster" and "Bird in the Tree/ Rakish Paddy", in a competitive, good natured manner. As with "Irish Accordion Masters", Bobby Gardiner's, "Memories of Clare", comes with copious, detailed sleeve notes.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 16 of The Living Tradition magazine.