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THE HOUSE DEVILS - Irish Folk – Adieu To Old Ireland

THE HOUSE DEVILS - Irish Folk – Adieu To Old Ireland
ARC Music EUCD2232

This is a well-rounded selection of Irish songs and tunes, part of a series of similarly packaged CDs from around the world, this one featuring Manchester-based band The House Devils. As you might have gleaned from the title, there is a particular emphasis on songs of ex-patriot Irish, including The Mickey Dam and By The Hush, both of which have returned to Ireland and become standard fare at sessions, and the wonderful song The State Of Arkansas, given a particularly delicate delivery here. The sets of tunes all trolley along nicely and overall this is a competent introduction to Irish Folk – and it might be your best introduction to the band, as they only seem to play in mainland Europe or in the Manchester area (and they all seem to belong to other bands also, so they’re maybe too busy with other projects to appear together in this guise, methinks).

The four members who seem to be the nucleus of the band each get a paragraph of introduction on the liner notes. Sadly, Seamus Den O’Kane only warrants one word – ‘Bodhran’. Either he’s not a band member but a vital session player, or he’s been treated as ‘just the drummer’ by the other band members. (There is also the possibility that he’s shy [or a tax exile – but apart from Charlie Watts I can’t think of another drummer that can claim that].) He’s also so low in the mix that he’s barely discernable anyway (but he seems to be a fair player [mind you he could be ginger haired for all I know – he’s the only band member not pictured]).

It’s worth a punt for the music alone, and the target audience will probably accept the liner notes/pictures on face value (unlike myself, who is so sad that I proof read everything, including boil-in-the-bag instructions).

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 86 of The Living Tradition magazine.