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MARY STAUNTON "Bright Early Mornings" Fuschia Music FM CD 001

Of all the sounds that can catch my attention the ones closest to the top of the list must be those of a button accordion, a guitar played with a slide and a woman's voice raised in song. No wonder this CD from Mary Staunton, which has good measures of all three, has made an impression.

Mary Staunton is a fine player of the two row button accordion. Her precise control and well defined phrasing adds punch to her rhythmic interpretations of some grand tunes. Most of the sets, like "June Apple/ Muddy Road/ Give the Fiddler a Dram", "Cailleach an Airgid/ An Rogaire Dubh" and "Sarah's Delight/House on the Hill", have full accompaniments. Among the guest players "taking a chair" are Matt Crannitch, Martin Gavin, Sharon Shannon, Frankie Lane, Alec Finn and Steve Cooney.

"Bright Early Mornings" is not just an instrumental album, Mary Staunton makes room for some songs as well. The songs are a contrast to Mary's instrumental style and are mostly in a reflective, going on for sombre, mood. The songs are from various corners and sources. "What Would You Do Love", is from Delia Murphy and Richard Hayward recorded in 1938 and "Blue Ball" via the singing of Emmylou Harris. Traditional songs feature too with "The Green Fields of Mayo", learned from her grandmother Nora Staunton and a moving unnaccompanied Gaelic song, "Donncha Ban".

Peter Fairbairn.

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This album was reviewed in Issue 34 of The Living Tradition magazine.