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VARIOUS ARTISTS "St. Patrick's Day Celebration" Magnetic Music MMRCD1019

The trouble with most sampler or compilation CDs is that you don't always know just how representative of an artiste's work the chosen track is. This admirable collection gets round this by bringing together six artistes and giving them each three tracks, played consecutively, so this is a mini-festival on one recording, allowing you to make a more reasoned judgement about each. And the quality of artistes is very good indeed.

Rawlins Cross are a Nova Scotian six-piece who play self-penned songs which are accompanied by rippling traditionally-based tunes, driving but not overpowering. Midnight Court are Irish based, with a gentler approach, but with plenty of empathetic feeling for the songs and music. At the Racket I have reviewed before, and am still mightily impressed with their reworking of Irish-American 20s and 30s music. Calando, from Cork, feature the sensitive singing of Deirdre Moynihan and more of the Irish traditional is presented by Mary O'Regan, who used to sing with Draiocht. Finally we have North Cregg, a Sliabh Luachra outfit who wind up the CD with a good-going set of tunes. Put all this together and you have nearly 75 minutes worth of top-notch music, which will certainly have me looking out for the artistes' own albums the next time I'm in the record shop.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 31 of The Living Tradition magazine.