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DONAL MAGUIRE 'The Star of Sunday's Well' Rossendale Records muscd001

I missed this album first time around in 1979. It appeared in a Melody Maker reviewer's top ten releases of that year but those days my regular read was Sandy Bells Broadsheet. So having enjoyed the more recent recordings and a handful of live performances from Donald Maguire I grabbed this chance at hearing the artiste as a younger man.

The original tapes have long gone and this album has been reworked from a copy. This doesn't quite do full justice to the fine arrangements on the instrumental tracks, The Gold Ring, Jenny's Welcome To Charlie and The Rose In The Heather, which feature mandolin, guitar, bodhran, epinette des voges and hurdy gurdy, but the voice is sure and steady and Donal Maguire is in his usual commanding form throughout. He has a measured, unhurried way of going about a song. The lyric is allowed to unfold and the tune can fit its tempo in where it can. He doesn't mind drawing out notes and decoration never gets in the way or hinders the flow. A style that easily involves and includes the listener in the chosen programme, which in this case features, The Red-haired Man's Wife, Heenan and Sayers, Meeting is a Pleasure, The Forgers Farewell and the sublime title track The Star of Sunday's Well.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 56 of The Living Tradition magazine.