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PATRICK STREET - "Made in Cork" RATING:  ***
Green Linnet 2000 GLCD 1184    (1997) Reviewer: Ian Clarke

In the "Made in Cork" recording the three Street stalwarts Andy Irvine (bouzouki & vocals), Kevin Burke (fiddle) and Jackie Daly (accordion) are joined by Yorkshireman Ged Foley on guitar and backing vocals.

And a tight quartet they make with Burke’s light touch shining through on the first few tracks, "Bring Back the Child" a lovely set of double jigs and "Coalminer" reels.

Irvine then steps in with a sensitive rendering of "Her Mantle So Green" which recounts the sad fate of Willie O’Reilly during the Battle of Waterloo. Irvine’s vocals with their natural tremolo suit the poignant sentiments of the song and the accompaniment is suitably restrained. Lovely stuff.

Jackie Daly then gets a chance to strut his stuff with some Slides (Midnight Ramble) and two Polka sets, "O’Keefe’s" and "Where Lilies Bloom" featuring a nice duet between box and Irvine’s harmonica.

The polkas sandwich another ballad called "The Rainbow Mid the Willows" adopted by Andy Irvine from an Ozark Mountain song collected by Alan Lomax. The song suffers a bit from over elaborate melody and Irvine’s voice sounds a little less confident on some of the twists although the overall affect is pleasant. They redeem themselves with a more direct up tempo song "Spanking Maggie from the Ross". Don’t get too excited, Maggie is a grey mare and there’s not much spanking done in the song about horse racing rivalry between the folks of Antrim and Tyrone. There’s some nice vocal harmony supplied by Ged Foley.

This is followed by a serviceable version of two slip jigs "Winding Stairs" and "Ride a Mile" that are driven along by a strong guitar and bouzouki rhythm contrasting with the ever fluid fiddle of Burke and nimble playing of Daly.

The last song on the record was given to Irvine by Len Graham who learned it from Eddie Butcher and once again features Foley’s harmony vocals. His deeper bass voice complements Irvine's lighter, higher tones well. The song is a light hearted version of the first love story, between Adam and Eve. The chorus is catchy and the arrangement again is impeccable.

Two sets of tunes close the CD, hornpipes "Raven Through the Bog" and "The Forester" pleasantly performed followed by Sligo style reels "Up to Your Neck in the Sand", "Coffey’s" and "John Brennan from Sligo" and these swing along with a bit more urgency. Mandolin and box blend well at the start and then Burke has a blow on fiddle before the band come together for a tight climax.

It is hard to find fault with the CD; the playing is immaculate but overall it lacks some spark of life or imagination. Perhaps this comes after so many years on the road or is simple a product of the recording process. Patrick Street may be elder statesmen of Irish Trad but while they are a great live band and are each passionate about their music, I wish it had been more evident in this CD. That said it is an enjoyable and rewarding listen.