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DAVE O'FLAHERTY "The Sea Around Us" MUDACD 4549-001

This CD is an obvious labour of love from a Bradford based Yorkshire-Irishman, who has spent many years around the clubs and sessions collecting tunes and songs, and culminating in this album of twenty-one tracks. Dave plays harmonica, whistles, and Appalachian dulcimer, and he plays them well as he ranges through what is a mostly traditional selection of slow airs, waltzes, jigs, and polkas, although there are a few songs. "The hardest part was not what to put in, but what to leave off". It isn't startling or flashy stuff, there is a high comfort level with much familiarity, and a simple and affectionate presentation, but it is put together thoughtfully with due consideration being given to the flow of the album. Two O'Carolan compositions sandwich three Kerry polkas, and 'Cronin's Hornpipe' sits between 'A Pub With No Beer' and 'Ned Of The Hill', but the format works and is very listenable.

The album was produced by Alistair Russell, who also contributed guitar and harmonium, with other guest musicians being Rosie Clegg on vocals, Chris Coe with hammer dulcimer, Tom McConville on fiddle, and bodhran and bones from John Jenkinson.

'The Sea Around Us' isn't going to set the folk world on fire, Dave isn't a young Turk out to make his mark, he's simply a man with a sincere love of the music who has made the effort to put down his own take on it, and created what is an admirable album.

Mel Howley.

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