Traditional Music Of Ireland & Shetland

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Traditional Music Of Ireland & Shetland (1978, Front Hall Records)

Maggie Holtzberg – fiddle
Dean Kuth – concertina, bodhran, spoons, bones
Jim Martin – mandolin, guitar, tenor banjo, bouzouki
Jim Cowdery – recorder, bouzouki, mandolin, tin whistle

This long out-of-print album was one of a number to come out in the 1970’s and ‘80’s made by Americans who did not grow up in the tradition. As anyone who has heard any of these will know, they are a real mixed bag in terms of how “trad” they sound now. HTCAFT was a NY-based group with a sound that should at least still impress fans of the mandolin/bouzouki combinations present in the early Planxty albums. The melody playing of the other instruments frankly doesn’t quite get there, though the fiddler probably comes closest with the Shetland tunes since she had studied with Tom Anderson. That aside, the contrapuntal interplay and melody playing of the two Jims (featuring various combinations of mandolins, bouzoukis and guitar) is wonderful, and at times rival what Planxty and De Dannan were doing – no small feat there.

As for the tunes, there are a few really old ones on here that appear to not have been recorded elsewhere (The Gammaho is a nice jig that deserves to be heard more). All of the tunes on track 3 - as well as the first one on track 5 - were band originals. The last set on the album is a medley of four slides listed on the LP back as three (Terry Teahan’s No. 2 not being listed).

Finally, as is the norm here, some of the tunes don’t link up properly. The Yorkshire Lasses links to a jig but is actually a reel not yet in the database. As for the rest, here are the correct links:
Paddy Fahy’s: https://thesession.org/tunes/463
Green Grow The Rushes: https://thesession.org/tunes/1335
Art O’Keefe’s: https://thesession.org/tunes/12234
The Scartaglen: https://thesession.org/tunes/4805
Behind The Bush In Parkhanna: https://thesession.org/tunes/4176