The Star of Munster Trio

Julia Clifford (fiddle)

John Clifford (piano accordion)

Billy Clifford (flute)

Topic – 12TS310 – 1977

Recorded between 1964 and 1976 this album features fiddler Julia Clifford, sister of Denis Murphy, her husband John on accordion, and their son Billy on flute. Much of it was recorded around a single microphone in Eric and Lucy Farr’s kitchen, so the sound quality isn’t brilliant, but the quality of the music shines through, and Julia Clifford’s playing is, as always, a thing of beauty. — Robert Ryan

There’s some pretty in-depth notes by Alan Ward starting on page 26 of his Topic booklet here.

julia john and billy clifford - star of munster trio front and back

Download this hard-to-find album: http://ceolalainn.breqwas.net/download/Julia%2c%20John%20%26%20Billy%20Clifford.zip

The Rakish Paddy

Paddy Cronin (fiddle, flute)

Mary Irwin (piano)

Fiddler Records – FRLP 002 – 1975

Recorded by Frank H. Ferrel in September 1975, this is an exceptionally rare recording of the famous Sliabh Luachra fiddler and flute player Paddy Cronin. He is joined on the record by Mary Irwin, who provides unexceptional vamped piano accompaniment, in accordance with the standards of the day. Nonetheless, it’s a nice record, with solid fiddling from an exceptional player. The highlight of the album for me is probably Paddy Cronin’s unique rendition of the Maid Behind the Bar, which he calls the Haymaker Reel. It’s closely related to the variant of the Maid commonly played in C major, which is known as Jimmy McBride’s. — Robert Ryan

PC TRP front and back

Download this out-of-print album:
http://ceolalainn.breqwas.net/download/Paddy%20Cronin.zip

Ceol as Sliabh Luachra

Julia Clifford (fiddle)

Billy Clifford (flute)

Manus Lunny (bouzouki)

Gael Linn – CEF 092 – 1982

An exceptional album, mostly featuring duets played by the Sliabh Luachra fiddle player Julia Clifford, and her son Billy. One of the album’s most remarkable charms is the way in which Billy’s flute matches exactly the rhythm, phrasing, and ornamentation of his mother’s fiddle on the many sets of Sliabh Luachra slides and polkas that they play together. In many respects it is the way in which Billy plays the fiddle on the flute that makes his music here so distinctive and so wonderful to hear, and the closeness of the communication between the two musicians is truly exceptional. Together with The Star Above the Garter, and Denis Doody’s Kerry Music, this is one of my all-time favourite recordings of Sliabh Luachra music. — Robert Ryan

Download this out-of-print album: http://ceolalainn.breqwas.net/download/Julia%20%26%20Billy%20Clifford.zip