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GM0214D: In The Shadow Of Stromboli
The Long Notes - 'Inspired Londoners work up a lava' Irish Music Magazine. Made in United Kingdom
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Irish Music Magazine
THE LONG NOTES - In the Shadow of Stromboli
Hobgoblin Records HOBCD1014
10 tracks, 40 minutes
Three stars of the London music scene playing mainly Irish style but with a broad range of material from Canadian to continental European: this is the second album from The Long Notes, following on from their excellent eponymous debut. Since poor Paddy Gallagher was struck down, the trio have recruited singer/guitarist Alex Percy who contributes two songs and accompanies the eight instrumental tracks here. Colette O'Leary's piano box launches into Beoga on Ice, a modern accordion jig, followed by the Mairtin O'Connor favourite Rocking the Boat and the traditional Quebec Reel, giving plenty of scope for Jamie Smith's driving fiddle and Brian Kelly's laid-back banjo. Next up is a pair of classic Scottish reels, JB's and The Little Cascade: blistering triplets from all three front-liners, leading into another accordion jig with a real swing to it. Then comes the first, and best, of Alex Percy's vocals, a nineteenth-century love song paired with Tommy Peoples' composition Beautiful Gortree. Alex has a gentle clear voice, and his fingerwork is very tasty here. The fine picking continues into Bogbeat, a pair of Smith compositions with a hypnotic groove which Colette settles into comfortably. Plain of Jars is a brusque awakening, one of Brian's own tunes and the title of his fine solo CD, as the banjo fires its thrusters and goes into a low orbit, leaving heads spinning until the inimitable Mr Kelly spashes down on the familiar Old French Reel. From the ridiculous to the sublime: Reflections is a chance for Colette to muse on the beauties of Lochcarron, near Torridon. The title track features two more O'Leary originals, a dark swirling Balkan number and a punchy little reel commemorating The Trip to Trecastle. The second song, Come By the Hills, is an anthem from one or other of the folk revivals of the sixties and seventies, and shows what a hard song it is to sing well: this version doesn't improve on The Corries' 1977 recording. The last two tracks, however, are both exceptionally good: The Salt Reel deserves to be adopted by session musicians everywhere, and Viva Galicia combines three great tunes into a magnificent final medley. There's poignancy here, but there's also plenty of playfulness and sheer musical power. With a few carefully chosen guests, The Long Notes make a wonderfully full sound: on their own they are a compact class act, live or recorded. Get a taste at www.thelongnotes.com, but beware - you could soon be hooked.
Inspired Londoners work up a lava
Reel magic in the form of 'Rockin the boat', a rollicking instrumental set of three tunes from Galway and Quebec sets off this fine album from the London-based quartet. Scottish fiddler Jamie Smith, Irish accordionist Colette O'Leary, London Irish banjo player Brian Kelly and Dorset guitarist and singer Alex Percy have performed together for almost five years. Their second album, recorded with guests including Martin O'Neill on bodhran and electric uitarist Barry Reid, features tunes of Irish, Scottish, French-Canadian, Galician and Quebecois descent. The result is a powerful Celtic synergy of reels, airs, old-time tunes and that fast silvery group play that makes their music such an intoxicating experience. 'Solace and Joy' has a plumb-line of a bass part hitting the deeper emotional centres and comes from a book of 19th century lyrics found in an antiquarian bookshop in Brighton. It's paired with a fiddler's reel, 'Beautiful Gortree' and a similarly emotive bass line features on 'Come By The Hills', a 1960's lyric attached to a much older melody. Such fruitful pairings are scattered throughout this fine set, mixed with the likes of Colette O'Leary's'Reflections', a slow, lovely paean for the piano and accordion, drawn from the landscape around Lochcarron on the Highlands. The title song, 'Stromboli' is also drawn from the band's experiences - the band played a festival in Calabria and took a boat across the Tyrrhenian Sea to view the volcanic spume of airs from Stromboli - and is paired to a tune inspired by the Brecon Beacons. This refashioning of the Celtic world map in sound is as beautifully ornamented as a fine piece of jewellery.
Almost five years together, The Long Notes uniquely represent Ireland, England and Scotland - not only in their music, but also in their heritage. The line-up includes Scottish fiddler Jamie Smith (Beneche, SBO Band), Irish-born accordionist Colette O'Leary (Bumblebees), London-Irish banjo/mandolin virtuoso Brian Kelly (Shane McGowan and The Popes) and Dorset-based guitarist and singer Alex Percy (Beltaine, Blackthorn Band). They all met through the session scene in Camden Town, one of the great epicentres of live music in London.
“Truly something else” ***** – Sue Wilson, The Scotsman
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Hobgoblin Records was set up in 2005 with the aim of releasing albums from British based artists of all cultures playing all types of folk and traditional music. We've released 15 albums so far with several more in the pipeline. Shipping is free for the CDs on this page!