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Greenman reviews, "Far exceeds expectations"

To mark the 10th anniversary of Tommy O Sullivan’s debut album - Legacy, it has been digitally re-mastered and released on cd. Originally released in 1993 on cassette only, Legacy was very well received and far exceeded sales expectations.

It also marked the beginning of a number of enduring collaborations with contributions from renowned fiddler - Matt Cranitch with whom Tommy went on to form Sliabh Notes together with Donal Murphy (4 Men and a Dog). Steve Cooney played guitar and fretless bass on Legacy and later appeared on the first three Sliabh Notes albums.

The music as well as the collaborations has also passed the test of time. Three of the original tracks on Legacy later reappeared on other recordings. The Welcome a glorious song written by Tony Small from Galway was re-recorded for Sliabhnotes’ second album Gleanntan. The Maids of Culmore – a haunting traditional song and Jutland – an instrumental slow air written by Tommy were both featured on a duet album – The Long Grazing Acre that Tommy recorded with uileann piper - Paddy Keenan (The Bothy Band). This was released by Compass Records in March 2003. Jutland has also been recorded by Mike McGoldrick and John McSherry on their first album – At First Light (Compass Records).

Recorded in Ireland and Denmark, Legacy’s broad repetoire includes accapella singing on The Factory Girl, unique interpretations of the traditional songs – Maids of Culmore and The Water is Wide,as well as reels, jigs, polkas and the stunning slow air – Jutland, all played on fingerpicking style guitar with guest musicians on fiddle, flute, guitar, fretless bass, bodhran and percussion. Introductory sleeve notes were written by Arty McGlynn.

I first met Tommy O'Sullivan at an Irish festival in Copenhagen in 1986, where we drank a few expensive beers and got to know each other.

Tommy was born in London in 1961 of West Kerry parents. He began playing guitar at the age of ten and shortly aftetwards moved with his family back to Lispole, five miles east of Dingle.

His already keen interest in music was fuelled by the great sessions which he heard locally and in particular in Cahir's Bar, Corofin, where he heard the likes of Mary Bergin, Tony Linnane, Noel Hill and Paddy Keenan.

One early influence on Tommy was Dublin guitarist Eoin Pender who started him on finger-picking techniques. Other major influences at that time were Dick Gaughin, Paul Brady, John Martyn, Nick Jones and Donal Lunny.

A constant influence throughout were the uilleann pipes which is evident in his playing.

Tommy returned to London when he was 2l and there he played with, and absorbed, much from renowned London/Irish musicians such as Raymond Roland, Liam Farrell, Bobby and Sean Casey and the McCarthy family.

His interest in country music and the blues has also helped to shape his individual approach to traditional guitar playing and singing.

Tommy is now based once again in Lispole and tours regularly with Danish band "Ash Plant" which he joined in 1991.

This is Tommy's first solo album. It is a labour of love and should delight followers of traditional music and guitar players alike.

Arty McGlynn, 1993

**mp3 sample files in Red


1.) The Congress Reel/The Star of Munster
Tommy (Guitars); Martin O'Hare (Bodhran)

2.) ** The Blarney Pilgrim/Pay the Reckoning
Tommy (Guitars); Martin O'Hare (Bodhran); Cian O'Sullivan (Flute).

3. The Maids of Culmore
Tommy (Vocals/Guitar)

4.) The Boys from Abbeyfeale (T. O'Sullivan)/The Dingle Races (T. O'Sullivan)
Tommy (Guitars) Martin O'Hare (Bodhran)

5.) ** The Factory Girl
Tommy (Vocals).

6.) Jutland (T. O'Sullivan)
Tommy (Guitars); Cian O'Sullivan (Low Whistle); Stephen Cooney (Fretless Bass); Marco Smith (Bongos/Tambourine).

7.) ** The Welcome*
Tommy (vocals/Guitar), Matt Cranitch (Fiddles).

8.) The Plains of Boyle' Off to California

Tommy (Guitar).

9.) Saddle the Pony' The Monk's Jig

Tommy (Guitars); Martin O'Hare (Bodhran).

10. The Little Beggerman , The Wise Maid

Tommy (Guitar); Martin O'Hare (Bodhran).

11.) The Water is Wide

Tommy (Vocals/Guitar) .

12.) ** The Lispole Polka
(T. O'Sullivan)' Jessica's Polka (M. Hanly)

Tommy (Guitar); Stephen Cooney (Guitar); Matt Cranitch (Fiddles).

All titles arranged by Tommy O'Sullivan.
All titles traditional except where otherwise stated.
'Words & Music: Tony Small. Additional verse Martin Egan @ 1988 Tony Small

Recorded at: The Reel Fac reviews.htm about.htm ility, Tralee.
Engineered & Mixed by: discography.htm J contact.htm ohn Brown.
Also recorded at: Henrik Bjorslev Studios, Copenhagen.
Produced by: Tommy O'Sullivan.
Assisted by: Cian O'Sullivan.
Neumann and AKG microphones: Courtesy of John Willford.
Photogrpahy and artwork: James Patterson.
Sleeve design: Declan Malone.

Special thanks to: John Brown, Henrik Bjorslev, Artie McGlynn, Tony Small, Mick Hanly, Neil Stanford, Drry Reen, Peter Sorenson, John Willford, Jame Patterson, Robet McNeill, Philip King, Declan Malone and all the musicians.

Tommy O'Sullivan
Co. Kerry
Email: tommy@tommyosullivan.net
Web: http://www.tommyosullivan.net


The Maids of Culmore

From sweet lovely Derry o the fair London town
Thre is no finer harbour anywhere to be found
Where the children each evening go down to the shore
And they join in the dance with the maids of Culmore

The first time I saw her she passed me by
And the next time I saw her she bade me goodbye
And the last time I saw her she grieved my heart sore
For she sailed down Lough Foyle away from Culmore

If I had the power the air for to fly
I would blow the storms higher above in the sky
I would blow the storms higher the seas for to roar
On the boats that are sailing away from Culmore

I will go to America mylove for to see
Where I do know no one and no one knows me
And should I not find her I'll return here no more
For like the pilgrim I'll wander away from Culmore

Repeat Verse 1

The Welcome

On each and every single day
I promise I will kneel and pray
And listen to what you have to say

And then when my day I done
And I want to be alone
These tokens will help me on my way

A key to the door oh a ship to the shore
A place on that last bus going home
A key to the door oh a ship to the shore
The candle in the window and the welcome

As I walk these empty streets alone
I feel your hand upon my own
There's comfort in your company today

And I can smile at days gone by
Before there was a you and I
Those crazy days when I strayed away


I walk these streets all wet with rain
Through rocky mountains to the plain
Where linking loves rove the ghostly towns
To here beside this quiet bay
Where first I saw the light of day
And loving friends all me welcome home


The Water is Wide

The water is wide I can't swim o'er
And neither do I have the wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row my love and I

A ship there is and she sails the sea
She's loaded deep as deep can be
But not so deep as the love I'm in
I know not how I sink or swim

I put my hand in some soft bush
Thinking the sweetest flower to find
I pricked my finger to the bone
And left the sweetest flower alone

I leaned my back against some young oak
Thinking that she was a trusty tree
But first she bended and then she broke
And so did my false love love to me

O love is handsome and love is fine
Gay as a jewel when first it's new
But love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like morning dew

Repeat verse 1

The Factory Girl

Well I ain’t gonna work in the factory
And greasy up my clothes
Well I ain’t gonna work in the factory
With splinters in my toes

Pity me my darling
Pity me I say
Pity me my darling
And carry my blues away

Well I ain’t gonna hear that old spinning wheel
Rolling around in my head
While other girls is hard working
I’ll be home in bed


Repeat verse 1