This recording was the creative breakthrough for Paddy Goes to Holyhead. Their first three albums revolve around their fascination with Irish music, which evolved from traditional playing to all-out Celtic-rock. Unlike those records, Ready for Paddy? is comprised entirely of original material and explores several different styles of world music ranging from the gypsy-flavored "Johnny Went to the War" to the Russian-tinged "Shirinovski" and the reggae-influenced "Red Rasta." The songwriting is superb, including social and political commentary intermingled with the mundane components of growing, roving, and dying. Instrumentally, Paddy Goes to Holyhead has never sounded better; Harald Schmidt's baritone voice is more expressive and clear than ever before or since; The rhythm section of Andi Kopp and Kalle Spriesterbach skillfully directs the band through a host of complex beats and unusual rhythms, while keyboardist Jo Naumann textures the tracks in a reserved but complementary fashion. Perhaps most worthy of notice is fiddler Almut Ritter whose exuberant playing either accents each song with the appropriate hue and shading, or defines the song entirely due to her innate control and flawless execution of her instrument.
AllMusic Review by Dave Sleger