Mike Rafferty: flute
Willie Kelly: fiddle
Donal Clancy: guitar, bouzouki

An iconic figure of the Irish-American music scene, flute player Mike Rafferty, a native of East Co. Galway residing in New Jersey, is now in his 80s, but doesn't seem to be slowing down, and in fact still sounds like a flute player at the height of his power. After having released the lovely solo album "Speed 78" in 2004, Rafferty now pairs up with another New Jersey resident and one of Irish-American music's best kept secrets, the gifted fiddle player Willie Kelly, who made guest appearances on "Road from Ballinakill" and "Speed 78," and whose playing could be as perfect a match for Rafferty's as one might imagine. The result is an outstanding collection of seventeen gently paced tracks, the sound of which is somewhat reminiscent at times of another lovely fiddle-and-flute duet album, by West Clare musicians P.J. Crotty and James Cullinan. While the majority of the tracks are duets, the solos by each of the lead players are no less impressive. One cannot but admire the quality of Rafferty's playing listening to a solo track like "The White Leaf" medley for instance. Kelly's gorgeous fiddle playing shines on its own as well, on the lovely air "An Casaideach Ban" for example. The choice of material, which includes a significant number of relatively recent compositions (by Sean Ryan, Paddy O'Brien, John Brady, and Martin Wynne), may also be seen as an indication of how fully involved in the living tradition Rafferty has remained. Throughout, Donal Clancy's understated guitar and bouzouki accompaniments complement the feel of the music beautifully. This may be Mike Rafferty's best recording yet.

Rating: **** 1/2

Price: $16.99
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See also:
   Mike & Mary Rafferty: The Dangerous Reel
   Mike & Mary Rafferty: The Old Fireside Music
    Mike & Mary Rafferty: The Road from Ballinakill
    Mary Rafferty: Hand-Me-Downs
   Mike Rafferty: Speed 78
1. Jigs: The Maid on the Green / Anthony Frawley's
2. Reels: The View Across the Valley / Speed the Plough
3. Hornpipe & Reel: The New Broom / Mr. McLeod's
4. Reels: Lilies in the Fields / The Floating Crowbar
5. Jigs: Tony Molloy's / The Tullamore Harbour
6. Reels: The White Leaf / Larkin's Beehive
7. Air & Jig: An Caisideach Ban / The Cook in the Kitchen
8. Hornpipes: Kilcooley Wood / An Buchall Droite
9. Reels; Riley of the White Hill / Martin Wynne's
10. Jigs: The Green Hills of Woodford / The Fly in the Porter
11. Reels: My Maryann / Jimmy McBride's
12. Jigs: Darby the Driver / The Humours of Ballingarry
13. Hornpipes: The Honeysuckle / Pound Hill
14. Reels: The Peeler's Jacket / Jenny's Picking Cockles
15. Jigs: Barrel Rafferty's / Cregg
16. Reels: Bonnie Anne / The Weeshie Bag of Potatoes
17. Reels: Dash to Portobello / The Ladies' Pantalettes