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PATRICK STREET "Corner Boys" Green Linnet GLCD 1160

This is the same brilliant Patrick Street we know and love, except they're now three Irishmen and ... an Englishman! Houseband stalwart Ged Foley has joined the ranks, but all the vocals are still Irish. Ged adds some nice touches on the Northumbrian pipes, as well as providing a firm guitar backing throughout.

The album starts with a great set of jigs, led by the driving fiddle of Kevin Burke. The fiddle and box work very well on all seven instrumental tracks, and the accompaniment is rock solid. Next comes the ballad "Sweet Lishweemore", a fine song in the flowery Irish style and well sung by Andy Irvine. Two more instrumentals, led in both cases by Jackie Daly's button box: a slightly dull set of slides, and a beautifully paced set of reels, and then we have an over-long version of "The Moorlough Shore", the only real low point on the album.

Some well-known polkas, and some cracking jigs finishing with the great "Munster Buttermilk", precede the showpiece of the album - a ten-minute collage of two songs and two tunes describing the joys and perils of life as a hare. This makes a nice contrast to the usual fox-hunt showpiece.

Two more sets of reels, with an Irvine song in between, and the album is over so you rush to put it on again and realise that an hour has passed. The whole thing is so seamless and laid-back that time seems to stand still: it's like one track start to finish, with the quiet sparkle of Patrick Street extinguished all too soon. Not the most powerful or startling of recordings, but a quiet classic nonetheless.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 15 of The Living Tradition magazine.