Andy Irvine/Paul Brady

As we cast our minds back to musical memories, you can spot music that changed the direction of both the listening audience and fellow musicians. The folk revival in the UK of the late 1960s and early 1970s being supercharged by Fairport Convention's folk rock approach is a good example. Of course, these sea changes in popular culture are captured in seminal recordings of the time which get repackaged in various formats to suit different audience needs.

Originally released in 1976, this self titled album by Andy Irvine and Paul Brady helped to build the fire under the Irish folk music scene on both sides of the Atlantic. Consisting, mainly, of new arrangements to traditional songs and instrumentals, it captures the duo shortly after the first breakup of the legendary Irish band, Planxty, of which they were both members. They were joined in Rockfield Studios by Kevin Burke and Dónal Lunny with the latter acting as producer of the ten tracks found here.

Let’s be clear that this is a special edition available in both CD and LP formats with the music carefully remastered from the original analogue tapes. Whilst there are no bonus tracks added to the original version of the album, great care has been taken with the packaging of the trifold CD and gatefold LP. There is a magnificent 12,000 word essay by Gareth Murphy that puts the recording into context via sections about its making, the tracks, the release and the legacy of this landmark record. The creation of this essay by Murphy, a notable music journalist, was helped by new interviews with the original musicians and fellow admirers of the innovative nature of this recording.

Much has already been written about the quality of this record and, if you missed out, it’s a ‘must have’ record for fans of Irish folk music. Alternatively, you may be in the position of Mary Chapin Carpenter who says of this record, “As a teenager, I played this until I wore it out. Then I bought more copies. And I wore them out too”.

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Album #1

Andy Irvine/Paul Brady

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