Album Review - Paul McGlinchey / The Boys of the Town

There is no doubt that when talking about  Paul McGlinchey you are dealing with a musician to the very core. He speaks  from the heart about his music and says that it has "defined" who he is and it has provided the social interaction that is at the heart of the music.

All-Ireland senior flute champion for three consecutive years in 1993, 1994 and 1995 and prior to that runner-up in 1990 and 1992. Born and bred in Omagh Co. Tyrone, both his parents had a deep interest in Irish music. This defined the man and provided the bedrock on which his love for the music flourished.

On The Boys of the Town we are treated to a crystal clear master class in fluting that shows just how all those All Ireland's were won. Within the recording he leaves that oh so important quality, space. Space to savor just what he is doing with his music. How the ornamentation flows with effortless ease without overburdening the tune, which can so often be the case. Maybe it's just the way that I like to hear it.  It's important that the music doesn't wash over you and leave you indifferent to what you have just heard. It should draw you in and keep you there to the point that you stop, listen and enjoy it. Paul McGlinchey can draw you in and keep you enraptured with a traditional style that leaves you wanting more. That doesn't mean that he can't ratchet up the pace when required and still keep a solid structure, which he does on a couple of the closing sets, The Second Victory/Only For Barney/The Cock and the Hen. Fantastic music.

Throughout he plays some well know sets including The Pigeon on the Gate/The Green Mountain/The Galway Rambler as well as some lesser known tunes such as Oot Be Est Da Vong, made popular by Solas some years ago.

His album structure is just right as well. I like my albums traditional with a few airs thrown in for good measure. Some of his tunes I am familiar with and others are fresh and new to me. Nearly every one of these sets is a delight in one way or another. The Milky Way/Larry's Favourite/The Caucus set of reels is just plain old good music. Music of this quality is difficult to fault and in many ways is difficult to review. What can you say? It would be naive to compare Paul's playing to others, to earlier albums or artists. This album stands as a testament to a life's work, captured and distilled into a 45 minute digital recording that sits in a little grey box designed by the man from Apple. Listening and looking out of the window on the Cork to Dublin train at the flatland's of mid Ireland, the music is haunting. It takes me back to earlier days in London in the late '80's and stirs up old memories. Music needs to be listened to in context and that context gives it new meaning and feeling. Maybe an open fire, a country pub or in this instance a countryside flashing before me. If it fails to do this then you do not engage with it. Paul's music captures and stirs emotions and gives context to its rhythm.

The Barnacle/The New Found Out is another perfect set, a redowa followed by a reel. It's also nice to see an old set being given a run out, in this instance The Liverpool Hornpipe and McMahon's. The sleeve notes detail the makes of flutes used, and on the The Leprechaun he uses the Michael Grinter B Flat flute to great effect for a stark and beautiful solo recording.

This is music with real feeling, at times haunting and at times uplifting, but always satisfying. Supporting it all we must not forget the accompaniment of the great Arty McGlynn playing once again in his own fantastic style with Seamus O' Kane on Bodhran and Ryan O'Donnell on bouzouki.

Listen & Buy

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Comment by Murrough O'Kane on January 28, 2012 at 14:12

This is a great album! Can't recommend it enough! Have a listen to the audio samples on: http://www.flutemcglinchey.com/newalbum.html and if you like what you hear, buy it.

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