“You’d probably have to experience a lifetime of rain and low-hanging greyness to understand what a dream summer can do to the Irish soul.”
Thus begins a 12,000-word essay from Gareth Murphy, about the making of this album and the fortuitous pairing of Andy Irvine and Paul Brady, which gave rise to one of the most beloved Irish duo recordings in contemporary music history.
Irvine and Brady gathered with bouzoukist Donal Lunny and fiddler Kevin Burke in 1976 to record this eponymous album, which has just recently been reissued by Compass Records. The label pressed the first round of vinyl for this recording in almost a half-century, after remastering it from the original recordings.
The result is a truly celebrational romp of Irish folk music, ripe for discovery by new generations of music fans. From the dancing fiddle of “Plains of Kildaire” to the ruminative folksiness of “Arthur McBride and the Sergeant” and “The Streets of Derry,” to the whistle of “Martinmas Time/The Little Stack of Wheat,” this landmark recording retains the spirit of that dream summer.
Folks who are familiar with this album will appreciate the careful attention to detail in both the remastering and in the booklet that accompanies it. Those new to Irvine and Brady can revel in learning more about the sounds and traditional songs that helped to shape the folk impulses of artists as variant as Bob Dylan and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
Indeed, there are few American folksingers who have not been touched by this recording at some point in their formative years. Revisiting the music that influenced the greats can only deepen one’s understanding of the arc of American folk music. And it’s hard to think of what new to say about an album so influential and timeless, aside from this: Welcome back, old friend.
Andy Irvine/Paul Brady is available HERE.
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