Sean Maguire with the Four Star Quartet, 1962 LP

Sean Maguire with the Four Star Quartet, 1962 LP

Now playing: The Donegal reel ; and other reels / Seán Maguire ; The Four Star Quartet
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  1. The Donegal reel ; and other reels / Seán Maguire ; The Four Star Quartet
  2. The Knights of St Patrick ; and other jigs / Seán Maguire ; The Four Star Quartet
  3. Reidy Johnston, reel ; and other reels / Seán Maguire ; The Four Star Quartet
  4. The Kilkenny races, set dance / Seán Maguire ; The Four Star Quartet
  5. The mason’s apron, reel / Seán Maguire ; The Four Star Quartet
  6. The Mooncoin, reel ; and other reels / Seán Maguire ; The Four Star Quartet
  7. Mist in the glen, jig ; Hinchey’s delight, jig / Seán Maguire ; The Four Star Quartet
  8. The spey in a spate, reel ; and other reels / Seán Maguire ; The Four Star Quartet
  9. The mathematician, hornpipe ; and other hornpipes / Seán Maguire ; The Four Star Quartet
  10. Bonnie Kate, reel ; and other reels / Seán Maguire ; The Four Star Quartet

Sean Maguire with the Four Star Quartet, 1962 LP

In the early 1960s, when long-playing records of Irish traditional dance music were still comparatively rare and each new issue accordingly had an impact on audiences that recordings no longer have, an influential LP was recorded by Stapleton Studios in Merrion Row in Dublin under the direction of its founder-owner Bill Stapleton: Music of Ireland. Sean Maguire with the Four Star Quartet, presented above from the collections of the Irish Traditional Music Archive.

The Quartet was led by the star exhibition fiddle player Sean Maguire (1927–2005) of Belfast, who had been recording on 78s from the 1950s and was well known as a solo player throughout Ireland, and in Irish centres in Britain and the United States. The three other members, all noted radio performers of ceili music on Radio Éireann in the 1950s and 1960s, were his piano accompanist Eileen Lane (daughter of Cavan accordion player Terry Lane, see here) who was married to Bill Stapleton; bass player Sean Cotter; and All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil banjo-mandolin champion William/Bill  Power of Wexford, who also recorded with the Mayglass Ceili Band of Wexford and with the Abbey Tavern musicians of Howth, Co Dublin.

Although recorded in Dublin, the Four Star LP was published in New York by the Irish-American Avoca company of Westbury, New York, in 1962.

With thanks to Helen Ledwidge and the Stapleton family for various help;  to Ciaran Power for information; and to LP donors Michael Ward, John Loesberg, Dermot McLaughlin and Helen Ledwidge.

NC & DD, 1 February 2014