Quality release from London musician Brendan McAuley

This is quite an exceptional album from London based musician Brendan McAuley. Brendan, one of seven children was born in west Belfast, in 1953. His mother Margaret and father John travelled around Ireland in the 40s and 50s, performing in variety shows and in the 50's they settled in Belfast.

His Mum, a singer and pianist, added classical music to the mix of influences that were part of his youth, while Blues and R&B came from his two older brothers, Patsy and Jackie, who, with Van Morrison, Billy Harrison and Alan Henderson, became the successful band, THEM, who reached their peak in 1965.

Brendan's interest in lrish traditional music developed during his time in London which he moved to in 1969. What is remarkable about this album is the breadth of musicianship that Brendan displays.  He plays all the instrument on the recording including pipes, flutes, concertina, banjo, guitar and keyboards and all the compositions are his own, with the exception of two traditional tracks.  It really is one of those albums that could quietly slip under the radar.  It deserves a little more  exposure such is the quality and creativity displayed.

Brendan provides his own background notes to the album.  “Patrick McCartney (1804 to 1874) was my great, great grandfather.” he says.  “ This year will mark 150 years ago since he bought the lease for the 66 acre Pennyburn estate in Derry at an auction for £1505 in 1865 just after the ruins of the windmill were demolished. The old Pennyburn windmill dated back to the middle of the 17th century and was a strategic stronghold for the Jacobite troops and can be seen on 'The Neville Map' of 1689.

Patrick restored the remaining flour mills (water mills) to their former glory and Pennyburn again became a thriving business. The music on this album is inspired by events mainly from the period 1865 until 1912 when John McCartney JP died and my grandmother Catherine McCartney left for England.”

We will hopefully get to a review.  In the meantime here is Track 2 from the album called The Phaeton Carriage (to Church and Back).  About the track Brendan says “My grandmother, Kathleen McCartney used to tell us that as a child, Sunday was the highlight of her week, when the family travelled to Church and back in a Phaeton carriage.  This track has a strong rhythm of the carriage, with a short solemn part halfway through to represent the Mass, before returning to the carriage for the journey home.”

Visit www.brendanmcauleymusic.com 

Album available from : www.copperplatemailorder.com

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