The Bothy Band, Old Hag You Have Killed Me
(Polydor, 1976, Green Linnet, 1982, and Compass Records, 2008)

The Bothy Band's second release was hailed by many as a ground breaking album. Irish music was to move forward in a different direction. It is hard to believe it was 33 years ago when listening to this album, as it sounds just as crisp as anything that might have been recorded today.

The band at that time were: Matt Molly (flute and whistle), Paddy Keenhan (uilleann pipes, whistle and low whistle), Kevin Burke (fiddle), Triona Ni Dhomhnaill (vocals, clavinet and harmonium), Michael O'Domhnaill (vocals and guitar), and Donall Lunny (vocals, bouzouki, guitar, and bodhran).

I did wonder if the rerelease of this album was in some way a tribute to the late Michael O'Domhnaill, who died suddenly at the age of 54 in 2006 after falling down the stairs in his Dublin home, but it doesn't mention it in the album notes. I think it is Michael who takes the lead vocal on 'Fionnghuala's Bothy' a piece of mouth music from the western isles of Scotland, credited to Calum Johnston of Barra. The performance given to it by the Bothy Band is of course brilliant. This and their version of 'Sixteen Come Next Sunday' have to be my favourite tracks.

The title track 'Old Hag You have Killed Me' is the opening tune for a set of jigs including 'The Hag in the Kiln' (aka Dinny Delaney's) and the double-jig 'Morrisons'.

The play list is well balanced with lively jigs and reels punctuated by sensitive songs such as 'Calum Sgaire,' a beautiful song collected from Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.

I liked this album a lot. I have to admit, I had forgotten how good the Bothy Band really are. I can recommend this album to any of you who are too young to have bought the 1976 LP. File it under good quality Irish / Scottish traditional music and song.

[Peter Massey]