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Dirty Linen #82, June/July 1999
By Steve Winick

    For example, let me mention Patrick O'Flaherty, who's been part of the "ballad group" scene with the Poor Clares, and a big part of the Irish bar music scene in his adopted hometown of New Orleans. His latest album, Andrea's Brown Eyes, combines everything he's known for onto one disc; singing in English and Gaelic, and playing on a wide range of instruments. There are rousing interpretations of songs in his native Connemara Gaelic, like the opening track, which is called "Oin Oin," and is O'Flaherty's own expansion of a children's rhyme current in his youth. There are songs known mainly among the Ballad Groups, like Brendan Behan's "The Ould Triangle." There's the sea shanty "Congo River," "The Rocks of Bawn" from Joe Heaney's repertoire, and Jimmy Crowley's contemporary song, "My Love is a Tall Ship." O'Flaherty sings them all in a pleasant, homey voice backed by Justin Murphy, Beth Patterson and Betsy McGovern of the Poor Clares, among others. In addition to the songs, O'Flaherty also offers several sets of tunes, ranging from an unconventional setting of O'Carolan melodies for harmonica and mandolin, to a more standard setting of waltzes for his button accordion, with backing on piano and drums. The standout tune is a set made up of "Le Basque" and "The Halting March," two quick and lively pieces perfect for O'Flaherty's mandolin. This is an all-around fine job from O'Flaherty and friends!


The Irish American Post, June/July 1999
By Fergal Gallagher

    Patrick O'Flaherty, a native of the Connemara Gaeltecht region in the west of Ireland is a member of the New Orleans-based The Poor Clares, who have toured successfully throughout the United States, including the Midwest. Patrick has more than 20 albums to his credit, performing with the Celtic Folk and the Poor Clares. Andrea's Brown Eyes is his first independent, nationally-distributed solo release. The title song is a lively hornpipe homage to his wife played expertly on the accordion by Patrick. The opening song in Irish, "Oin Oin," is one Patrick learned in school about a cow searching for her calf. On this new release, he also sings Brendan Behan's "The Ould Triangle" and Jimmy Crowley's "My Love is a Tall Ship." In addition to possessing a fine voice, the multi-talented O'Flaherty plays the button accordion, mandolin, and harmonica.


Offbeat Magazine, July 1999
By Dan Willging

    As Irish music becomes more and more border-less these days, it should come as no surprise that New Orleans possesses an emerald league of its own.  for some time, now, Irish emigrant/musician Patrick O'Flaherty has been championing the causes of Celtic music through his groups, The Celtic Folk and The Poor Clares, as well as providing a venue with O'Flaherty's Irish Pub.  His sophomore disc is likely to extend the Crescent City's reputation as a Celtic crossroads with this bevy of carefully-selected tunes, competent playing and pleasantly rich singing.
    In doing so, O'Flaherty's instrumental side balances well with his vocals.  Several tunes ("Oin Oin," "Le Basque," "The Scottish Wedding March") feature O'Flaherty's drivingly insane mandolin picking while the Poor Clares' Beth Patterson adds an Eastern dimension with her arsenal of world instruments.  "Ar Eirinn Ni'Neosfainn Ce Hi" and O'Carolan's "Blind Mary" cast a feeling of homesickness with O'Flaherty's stirring harmonica weeping; "Margaret's Waltz" showcases his gliding accordion technique.  In between, there's plenty of spirited flute-penny whistle romps and even a highland bagpipes march, "Erin's Scottish Bagpipes."
    Singing-wise, O'Flaherty can croon with the best of 'em, a tender tenor in the Sean Nos style of Irish singing.  Some tunes like "Anach Cuain" are sung in Gaelic.  Others are English-sung ballads like "The Ould Triangle" that sports gorgeous harmonizing from Patterson and Poor Clares' Betsy McGovern as well as Jimmy Crowley's' "My Love is a Tall Ship" where Denise Marie's guitar solo breathes a life of its own.  With O'Flaherty and friends holding court at the crossroads, Celtic music continues to flourish in the bayous.


 

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