Buntús Rince review: overlooked gems from Irish music history

Wed, Apr 3, 2019, 06:00


Buntus Rince - Explorations in Irish Jazz, Fusion & Folk 1969-81

Various Artists

All City Records


Disproving the notion that little of musical interest happened in Ireland until the mid-to-late-1970s punk rock pogrom, Buntús Rince (“basic rhythms” as Gaeilge) compiles musicians and acts that only Irish pop culture aficionados would know of.

Some achieved success outside Ireland (Taste would give the world Rory Gallagher; Joe O’Donnell would find a wider audience in the UK as part of East of Eden; Granny’s Intentions, Dr Strangely Strange, and Mellow Candle would stumble amidst London’s better-positioned rock/folk/psych bands; jazz guitarist Louis Stewart would be suitably lauded), but for the most part Ireland had the likes of Supply Demand & Curve, Rosemary Taylor, Apartment, Stacc, The Plattermen and Zebra all to itself.

There are some odd delights here, though, as befitted musicians who had to work together with neither established infrastructures nor advanced studio technologies.

Noel Kelehan, John Wadham, Louis Stewart and Supply Demand & Curve deliver warm jazz-prog fusion; reggae band Zebra remain an anomaly; Jonathan Kelly is still one of the country’s most undervalued (if not completely forgotten) singer-songwriters. A feast of mostly overlooked gems.