Jig Away The Donkey - Gerry O'Connor, Gabriel McArdle, Martin Quinn
Jig Away The Donkey, Music And Song Of South Ulster
"This is a darling of an album, a real pet. Three fine musicians playing tunes they like, and nobody throwing shapes at all: not a dodecahedron in sight. Indeed, it seems strange that anyone attempted to put a border through a region so culturally united, though it was good for smuggling and similar field sports.
The album is crystal clear with the notes of accordion and fiddle tripping out bold and true, it has a live presence rarely found in studio recordings. For an example, the interplay between box and fiddle on the Cottage reel is a a case of less is more, a longish note held on the on the box where other players might add a muffling chord. The same texture is present on the song selections too, with Gabriel McArdle having an easy way with words, his songs are full of resonance but taken at a pace where the words are allowed to linger and make an impression.
Best track for me from Gerry is the Mohill set, with the Johnny Doherty tune The Maids of Mullagh. The songs are very good also:
I also especially like the one about the Holland handkerchief. Holland, as a type of cloth, dates back to the 1720’s.
It’s a model of quiet rhythmic playing, and blending accordion and concertina works well if they’re in tune and all players on one wavelength. For sheer naturalness and happy playing it’s as delightful as a cat well fed on cream."
Irish Music Magazine 2011