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Sleeve not available
PATRICIA FLYNN "Stray Leaves" Spring Records SCD 1031

This is music to sooth the savage breast. It certainly did wonders for me on the car stereo in the 48 hours after a local salesman crashed into my car; Patricia Flynn's is a voice to calm the most shaken of nerves.

This CD is a long overdue reissue of the cassette produced ten years ago; as such, it is perhaps a bit short - 12 tracks; more would always be welcome. But every one of those tracks is pure class. Patricia Flynn's voice is clear, pure and direct. Every song becomes personal, sung with a quality of sincerity that marks a real dedication to the songs as stories; each one is lived through and brought to life. Many of the favourites from her live performances are here - Donal Og, which opens the album; the fine elaborate love songs, Ballyronian Maid and Bonny Blue Eyed Lassie; the cheerful Wee Lass on the Brae; The Forger, one of my personal favourites, described in Franke Harte's detailed sleeve-notes as an "exciting and plaintive song" - I can't better that.

There are also songs here that, as far as I can remember, I've never heard Patricia sing live; notably 'Leaboy's Lassie', a very full version of a song that must have come over to Ireland from Scotland, like many another. This is possibly my favourite track of the whole CD (a hard choice) - "Oh, my back it is sore / From shearing Craigie's corn; I won't see him tonight / But I'll see him in the morn" - this is love in the everyday world, yet with a lyricism to bring out the romantic in the hardest soul; and so beautifully sung, with a simple guitar line from Martin McAllister (other tracks have Brendan Monaghan on whistle and concertina from Colm Sands).

Fans of Patricia's singing will probably need no urging to get hold of this CD; if you haven't yet heard her, and you want to hear Irish traditional songs at their purest, then seek this out.

Corinne Male

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