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World Music CD Reviews Celtic & Irish


By Allison M. Brock
Published February 17, 2006

The Liberty Tapes
Compass Records

On July 21, 1978, Paul Brady gathered some friends for a night of music in Liberty Hall, as part of the Dublin Folk Festival and the launch of his CD Welcome Here Kind Stranger. On a whim, Brady recorded the show using his reel-to-reel tape machine and domestic-quality tapes. More than 20 years later, and after many moves, Brady discovered the missing tapes under a box of old vinyl albums. The live gig, without any remixing or overdubbing, was surprisingly good. Lucky for fans of Irish music, these tapes have made their way from Brady’s attic to record stores. One of the great things about live music, as on this recording, is the time in between sets, when musicians give anecdotal stories behind songs and tunes. These moments will transport the listener back to Liberty Hall in 1978. Brady’s well-known and loved voice is backed by a list of impressive musicians, including some former and current Bothy Band members and Chieftains: Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, Liam O’Flynn, Matt Molloy, Paddy Glackin and Noel Hill. Songs that have become signature Brady, “Mary And The Soldier,” “The Lakes Of Pontchartrain” and, his encore here, “Arthur McBride,” are done beautifully.