Paddy Goes to Holyhead

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Supermegaultraliveshow Review

by Dave Sleger

Recorded live for an enthusiastic yet sparse gathering in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1993, this is Paddy Goes to Holyhead's first true Celtic rock recording. Along with the identifying voice of Harald Schmidt, the key ingredients to this band are the driving rhythm section and the fiddle playing of Almut Ritter, who made her Paddy Goes to Holyhead debut on this release. Her impact would be felt to a greater extent on future releases, but she also helped transform this group from a middle-of-the-road contemporary Irish outfit into a legitimate Celtic rock band. Her fiddle injected much needed life into spiritless songs that only one year earlier graced the Here's to the People album. Relying a great deal on traditional Irish songs, several Schmidt originals are also included in this live set. The instrumental arrangements are simple and predictable on Supermegaultraliveshow, but once Ritter settled into this group and the band increased its compositional output, the complexity and variety of PGTH's music increased tenfold. This album showcased the bandmembers' love of Irish music and proved that they could rock, but simultaneously closed that phase of Paddy Goes to Holyhead, as more worldly influences would infiltrate the band's music on Ready for Paddy? and E&OE.

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