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Robin & Steve

 

CELTIC GUITAR SUMMIT

Irish Music Magazine, May 2003   

Art Edelstein, himself no mere slouch on the guitar and a well-known champion of the O'Carolan cause in the US, poses a question in the liner notes of this exemplary album: Why he asks aren't there more Celtic guitar duos? After all the music is great, the guitar is the folk instrument of modern times and when you hear what can be done by two masters, you really do suspect that there's an almost new branch of traditional music here.      

A duo works best when there's empathy as dense as Bovril, and Baughman and Bullock have a deft touch of technique beneath their fingers, empathy, yes, they have it good and thick. Being a Celtic album, there's a hearty feed of Carolan on this platter, he's the one composer that so easily translates to the six-string, no surprises therefore to find Fanny Power, Lord Inchiquin, Hewlett or Captain Sutley here. The good news is that these two guitarists understand the essential musical quality of the work and unlike some are not simply content to do a guitar version of a Derek Bell setting. Indeed the opening track, Lady Blayney, is one of the least-known of Carolan's pieces (number 5 in the O'Sullivan collection) and they give it a truly crystal clear workover with Bullock leading the piece and Baughman providing the harmonic counterbalance.      

There's more to Celtic music than Carolan and this duo are well aware of the fact with offerings of Welsh and Breton tunes (Kas Ha Baarh is particularly haunting) to give the mix an exotic flavour. Call me an anorak, but I really enjoyed jamming along with this album, and these two lads not only tell us how they tune each guitar (or cittern or bouzouki) on each track, they even let us into the secret of capo placing.  Well done the brothers B! Fine recording quality, fine choice of tunes. Planxty to ye boys, Planxty to ye.      

Sean Laffey  

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