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MICHO RUSSELL - "The Pennywhistler's Press"
The Pennywhistler's Press PWCD80001

Micho Russell was born in Doolin, County Clare in 1915. He lived there all his life, but the sound of the music played by Micho and his brothers spread far and wide. Micho died in 1994, but in 1990, 1992 and 1993 he had made three trips to America. This CD is drawn from recordings made during those trips, in concert, in the studio and in the home of Dennis Winter.

Micho learnt to play tin whistle by ear, adopting a remarkably simple and direct style. He favoured stops as much as ornamentation and the tapping of his feet kept time. He played at his own pace and was happy to play tunes either singly or in a set. The effect is quite captivating - a well-known tune like Boys of Bluehill sounds so fresh it might have been composed that day. In the concert recordings his introductions give the sources of his tunes, and also reveal the curious origin of the title, Boil the Breakfast Early. The recordings include Micho singing four or five songs, again performing with warmth and much good humour.

A 28 page booklet is enclosed, written by Bill Ochs who was responsible for the 1993 recordings. There is a substantial biography of Micho Russell, together with notes on his playing and his music. This may appear familiar to readers of The Living Tradition - it formed the basis of a tribute to Micho already published in the magazine.

The recordings paint a vivid picture of Micho, full of vitality although well into his seventies, and show why he won friends wherever his music was heard. Old acquaintances will value these memories, and newcomers will be welcomed into the circle of friendship of Micho Russell.

Henry Peacock

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This album was reviewed in Issue 19 of The Living Tradition magazine.