Album Review - J.P. Downes / Traditional Flute Music From Quilty County Clare

This is an album that should be in everyones collection.  Unknown to a young Jack Talty when he visited the home of J.P. Downes in 2006 for this field recording, he captured a snapshot in time of a great and honest musician.  On this basis, the World Academy of Music in Limerick should issue digital recorders to all their students and make compulsory the submission of two hour recordings of local musicians.  Although a 2006 recording, this one harks back to an earlier time, perhaps 1950's Camden Town in London where J.P. on one track talks about meeting up with Bobby Casey.  He would stay for the weekend because there was no music in Salsbury where he lived.  

 With regard to the music it is naturally traditional, learned by ear from those around him including Paddy Galvin, Michael Falsey and others.  The recorded tunes are familiar but would no doubt have been new in J.P.'s time.  The Sally Gardens, Kilmaley, Rose in the Heather, The Earls Chair, The Skylark, and other well know tunes. J.P.'s rendition of these tunes is refreshing to hear. While the years may have dimmed some of his own energy the music still rings true.   Unaccompanied he plays the tunes the way he knew them.  This is the real McCoy and for that reason it strikes a cord of traditional resonance with anyone who hears it.

It has long been our contention that we should resurrect some of the albums recorded some years ago, such as this one and bring them back to the Facebook generation. Although only six years old, this field recording, created in J.P.'s home, has an unassuming, honest and earthly reality as it mixes tunes, songs and two touching short interviews with J.P. For this reason it is a nugget in a sea of modern albums and shows that sometimes just capturing something in the moment, can be the most rewarding undertaking of all.   It's a great example of all that is real in traditional music. The flawed perfection of J.P. and his generation should be the yard stick by which music is judged.  Finally, all money raised goes to charity.
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