Connie & Paul,
My Father's Songs
(Miramichi River Productions, 1996)

My Father's Songs is a lovely mixture of traditional and new folk songs.

The small group of musicians that play on the CD do a great job. There is Connie Doucet (vocals, pennywhistle and bodhran), Paul McGraw (vocals, guitar and bodhran), Brian Doherty (bass), Keven Evans (guitar, mandolin, banjo, background vocals and everything else imaginable), Dave MacIsaac (fiddle) and "Bart the Leprechaun" (special background vocals). The singing tends to have a rich broad sound that I don't hear that often. It is more the style of singing that I tend to expect from soloists in a choral setting than from folk singers. And while it is more noticeable in the slower songs, you can still hear traces of it in the faster songs, too.

They have included a nice range of traditional folk songs. Beginning with "Shores of Americay," it starts off without warning and pulls you in five seconds later. The other traditional songs are "Peter Emberley," the story of a young man's tragic death, plus "Mountain Dew/I'll Tell Me Ma," "The Water is Wide," "Moonshiner," "Danny Boy" and "Leave Her Johnny, Leave Her." The only one that I could do without is "Will Ye No Come Back Again," and that is only because the lyrics and music don't quite blend in together. On the other hand that is the only song on this album which does not quite work.

Then there are the newer folk songs, which for the most part pull on the full strength of the richness in the singing. One is by Pete St. John, "The Fields of Athenry," which is a beautiful song, even if the story told in it is not so happy. The rest are by Connie & Paul.

There are two songs of the sea -- "Sail to the Sea" focuses on the love of the sea, while "Heave Ho! The Wind" tells of the dangers of sailing.

"My Father's Songs" honours the roots and the songs of the Miramichi. I would love the lyrics so I can find out what Connie sings in the descant during the chorus. "Highland Hills of Home" speaks lovingly of the land. And "Home Once Again" tells the story of a young couple, a simple story of ordinary people and how they live.

And lastly, there is "The Leprechaun Song," a delightfully fun song, with "Bart the Leprechaun" helping out on the chorus. He also manages to get the last word in at the end of the song.

Take the time to find this CD and pick it up. It is well worth the listen.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]