The Wexford Boys,
Seems Like Only Yesterday
(self-produced, 2003)

Being a Wexford man, I was enticed into this album by the title but stayed for the music. Robert Flaherty and Jason Pfeiffer -- one sounds Irish Wexford, the other not -- give us a fantastic opening track with "The Rakes of Mallow" combining a story-song of words with some lovely familiar traditional tunes snatches.

"Donegal Jigs" reminds me of the old days when we had Irish dancing on the radio. The minimal instrumentation gives familiar tunes a freshness that you can almost taste.

O'Neill marches twice on the CD. On track 5 it is "The Sitar Mix," and later we get the "Old Time Mix." It's hard to pick one above the other. I feel that they are two distinct tunes so giving extra value and a certain mystique to an old air on the sitar mix.

"Cruiscin Lan" is a familiar song also given a 21st-century interpretation here that works very well.

If you had your education with Christian Brothers in Ireland a half century ago, you learned the song "Star of the County Down." Later Van the Man (Morrison) made it his own. I am glad to report that the Wexford Boys have accomplished a similar feat with the vocals, but ever more with the backing.

The use of guitar and whistle on some over-familiar tunes makes this album a revelation and makes the listener look forward to future experimentation with the tradition by this talented duo.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 18 December 2004

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