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Reviews of VT163CD  'My true love he dwells on the mountain'


One of those ‘just what it says on the tin’ discs! Noting the careful omission of the words “and song” from the sub-title will betoken that this fine collection of previously unreleased field recordings can be regarded as an instrumental counterpart to Veteran’s previous release, the excellent Bring My Love To Connemara (2019) which presented a goodly selection of sean-nós singers recorded by Critics Group and London Singers’ Club member Terry Yarnell on his first field trip to Galway in the early 1970s, at the instigation of Ewan MacColl.

The 20 tracks here are of comparable vintage, made either in the musicians’ homes or at local bars; several were made in Counties Sligo and Clare when Terry spread his net beyond Galway on occasion. Together these recordings form a glorious kaleidoscope of all available instrumental colours, with predominantly solo performances of reels, jigs, hornpipes etc (and the occasional air) on uilleann pipes, fiddle, concertina, tin whistle, accordion and “tambourine” (aka bodhrán).


The list of musicians recorded makes for a mouth-watering roll-call, containing celebrated Co. Clare musicians Willie Clancy and Chris Droney and Co. Galway teenager Frankie Gavin (pre De Danann) as well as (to me) lesser-known names such as Gabe O’Sullivan and Jim & Seamus Donoghue. I particularly enjoyed Spiddal tin whistle player Festy Conlon’s rendition of Dónal Óg, Clare fiddler Vincent Griffin’s feisty take on Paddy Fahey’s 1 & 2, piper Dan O’Dowd’s assured account of the air Táimse im’Chodladh, and the spirited pair of reels played by Rita & Sarah Keane with members of their family Céilidhe Band.


But this well-sequenced disc contains not a single performance you’d want to miss (just like stumbling on a great pub session!), and it represents something of an evocative time-capsule, captured in remarkably good sound given the circumstances.

The Living Tradition


Veteran continues to produce consistently high-quality products and this CD is no exception. Twenty (yes, you read that right) tracks of traditional music, recorded in the west of Ireland by Terry Yarnell in the 1970s. Uilleann pipes, fiddle, concertina, accordion, tin whistle and tambourine are all featured.

As we have come to expect from Veteran, the programme notes are exemplary, informative and insightful and the overall sound quality, given that these recordings were taped almost 50 years ago, is excellent. Fantastic, evocative music with the occasional pub background noise to provide context and, of course, the obligatory step dancing on some tracks. That is, after all, what this music is all about.

It’s invidious to pick out a track from this first-class collection, but the jigs Garrett Barry’s and Old Tipperary, played by the immortal Willy Clancy on the uilleann pipes, had me reaching for the replay button.

                                                                                                                                                                                        English, Dance & Song

It was thanks to Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger’s Critics Group that east Londoner Terry Yarnell’s Irish field recordings were launched, with the suggestion that he visit Connemara with Gabe O’Sullivan with a view to recording material for an album.

This was the first of many trips to the west of Ireland with a tape recorder, seeking out local musicians and recording them at home or in pub sessions. The result were informal and intimate recordings of some quite excellent musicians in their prime.

 Veteran follow up an earlier CD of Yarnell’s sean nós recordings with this excellent set of instrumental recordings made from 1970 to 1974 in Sligo, Galway and Clare. Record labels can sometimes be unnecessarily defensive about field recordings. They lack the pristine finish of studio recordings (which Yarnell never particularly liked) but are all the better for it.


Here are relaxed and delightful performances by some really fine players, many of them well known from their own albums. This CD is rich with top-notch players, such as the All-Ireland champion fiddler Vincent Griffin, with three sets of reels, and concertina player Chris Droney.


We hear Paddy Bán Ó Broin stepdancing to the whistle playing of a 17-year-old Frankie Gavin, one year away from launching De Danann, and there are some fine pipe performances from Willie Clancy (playing the title air and a smart pair of jigs) and Dan O’Dowd, with the lovely slow air Táimse Im’ Chodladh. Yarnell’s sometime travelling companion (and Clancy’s flatmate in London) O’Sullivan demonstrates his qualities on flute and fiddle. This is a super and representative set of recordings, nicely rounded off with a bracing Maid Of Mount Cisco/Bag Of Potatoes from Rita and Sarah Keane and family.


The CD is presented as neatly and informatively as we have come to expect from the redoubtable Veteran. This super snapshot of a vibrant musical scene is highly recommended.

Folk London


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