'Guaranteed Irish' have been performing Irish ballads and dance music for over 20 years. Their name refers to an Irish marketing effort similar to 'Made in America' and reflects their respect and passion for the music. Paddy Folan, Bruce Foley and Jimmy Lamb combine button accordion, guitars, uilleann pipes, whistles and voices in their own distinctive and energetic way to make a sound that is true to the traditions of Irish music. Whether singing traditional ballads or interpreting modern folk/rock/pop songs, their vocal harmonies are tight and spirited. With an easy, collaborative charm the lads are equally at home in a small session or on stage in a pub, concert hall or festival.
This is their first album, recorded at Audiomation Studios in Pittsburgh. It is a very professional studio effort with very clean engineering and mixing. There is an excellent cross section of Celtic songs with some of their favorite jigs, reels and polkas.
The three band members are pictured on the cover rowing a traditional canvas currach. The album title comes from a bit of strategic advice they received from a Connemaraman on how to win a race: "I'll tell you what to do... get OUT IN FRONT and stay in front".
Bruce Foley: vocals, guitar, whistles and uilleann pipes
Paddy Folan: vocals, button accordion
Jimmy Lamb: vocals, bass guitar
Special guests: Oliver Browne, fiddle; Richard Withers, banjo
1. FAREWELL TO NOVA SCOTIA (Traditional) - Bruce learned this up-tempo Canadian fishing ballad from Brian Coughlan when he was part of the group, Carolan's Kind. [Bruce]
2. NANCY SPAIN (Barney Rush) - This could be the best of ballads about unrequited love. Written in the 1950's, it has a Spanish feel and expresses the frustration of being left behind with no explanation. [Bruce]
3. PADDY'S GREEN SHAMROCK SHORE (Traditional) - A classic emigration ballad that talks about the journey with it's hardships and loneliness. This songs dates back to the days of the tall ships where the journey was quite often a one-way trip. [Bruce]
4. TÁ MO CHLEAMHNAS DÉANTA (Traditional) - The song title translates to "My match was made". Paddy sings the verses in Irish and Jimmy provides the English translations. [Paddy & Jimmy]
5. BACK HOME IN DERRY (Bobby Sands) - composed during the hunger strikes in Maze prison. Bobby would sing this at night to his fellow prisoners to boost morale. It tells the story of convicts transported to Van Dieman's Land. [Bruce]
6. POLKAS: OUT IN FRONT, BRITCHES FULL OF STITCHES AND SEAN RYAN'S (Traditional) - These tunes feature button accordion, whistle and uilleann pipes along with help from Oliver Browne on the fiddle.
7. ROCKS OF BAWN (Traditional) - An historic song from Connemara. It tells of the difficult times and prospects for anyone trying to eke out a living between the rocks. [Bruce]
8. RAMBLING ROVER (Andy M. Stewart) - a lively ballad about a fellow who had a fun life and a tough finish. [Jimmy]
9. THE FERRYMAN (Pete St. John) - this song focuses on one man and his inability to keep up with change. [Bruce]
10. AIR: ACROSS THE WATER, REELS: CONCERT REEL / SILVER SPEAR (Foley, Traditional) - The slow air was composed and played by Bruce on a traditional Clarke whistle. The reels are favorites when they play for dancers at festivals.
11. MY OWN DEAR GALWAY BAY (Francis Fahy) - One man's love song for the place of his birth. Like many Irish emigration ballads, it appears to be written in the USA. [Bruce]
12. FIELDS OF ATHENRY (Pete St. John) - a poignant ballad about the famine and a man's deportation to Australia because he stole grain to feed his family. Oddly, this sad song has become a rousing cheer for soccer teams in Scotland and Ireland. [Bruce]
13. ST. BRENDAN'S VOYAGE (Christy Moore) - a tongue-in-cheek composition about the first European to visit America around 550 AD. Everyone knows the first words Columbus heard after he landed were "Cead Mile Failte". [Jimmy]
14. JIGS: FATHER O'FLYNN / FROST IS ALL OVER / HASTE TO THE WEDDING (Traditional) - A lively set of tunes to get your toe tapping.
15. VALLEY OF STRATHMORE (Andy M. Stewart) - An emigration ballad that questions the decision of leaving one's home and friends. This was Andy's first composition and foretold a great career and legacy of songwriting. [Bruce]