Lost in the Loop

Recorded by Liz Carroll, 2000, Green Linnet
Review by Tim

Last summer, while driving down to Albuquerque to visit some friends, I tuned into the middle of a Celtic music program regularly aired by NPR, called The Thistle and Shamrock. The show's host, Fiona Ritchie, was interviewing Liz Carroll, a fiddler from Chicago who had just released her first recording in ten years. I'd never heard of Liz Carroll before that interview, but she's been around for a while. She won the All-Ireland Fiddle Championship in the junior division in 1974, and the senior division in 1975. She's recorded as part of a group called Trian, and has done some other collaborative and solo recordings.

At the time, however, her music was completely new to me, and I was immediately taken with it. I resolved to get a copy of Lost in the Loop at the first opportunity. That, however, was easier said than done. Now, I have more than a few crotchets, and one of them is a strong distaste for ordering books or music from a store. I figure, if they want to sell me something, then they damn well better have it in stock - if not, I'll buy it from someone who does have it in stock! Only problem was, having visited all of the music stores in Santa Fe, I still couldn't find it. It wasn't until several months later that I found it in a store in Albuquerque. I listened to it in my truck on the way home, and was gratified to find that the music was even better than I had remembered it being from the radio show.

Most of the tunes on the recording are original compositions by Liz Carroll; the rest are traditional tunes, except for one that was written by one of Carroll's former Trian partners, Dáithí Sproule. Many of the tracks are arranged in what I'll call "session-style"; that is, two or three tunes are played in succession, one flowing into the next without a pause. The selections range from fast moving reels and jigs to airs, and one lament. The guitar and bass accompaniment lend the arrangements (all done by Carroll) a very warm quality, while the percussion lends the fast pieces an irresistibly driving rhythm. My favorite tracks are the reels that open and close the recording: "Sevens" and "Lost in the Loop", respectively. The latter, so Carroll avers, "speaks of my amazing prowess driving on the streets of Chicago." I will also note that the set of reels in track 12 really rock!

I highly recommend this recording and, if you are more flexible about ordering music than I am, you won't have to wait as long to hear it!

April, 2001

Liz Carroll fiddle
John Doyle guitar
Chico Huff bass
Zan McLeod bouzouki, guitar
Seamus Egan percussion, whistle, guitar
John Anthony percussion
Michael Aharon keyboards, percussion, electric guitar, cello
Winifred Horan fiddle
Dáithí Sproule guitar
Jackie Moran percussion

1. Sevens, Michael Kennedy's, The Cup of Tea (reels)
2. The Champaign Jig Goes to Colombia, Pat & Al's (jigs)
3. See it There, Con Cassidy's (slow reels)
4. The Golden Legs, The Flogging Reel (reels)
5. Lament of the First Generation (air)
6. The Drunken Sailor, The Bag of Spuds (hornpipe & reel)
7. The Old Maid of Galway, Lizzy in the Lowground (reels)
8. The Crow in the Sun (air)
9. The Ugly Duckling (tune)
10. On the Boulevard, Crabs in the Skillet (jigs)
11. Letter to Peter Pan (tune)
12. The Silver Spear, The Earl's Chair, The Musical Priest (reels)
13. The Didda, Fly and Dodger (tunes)
14. Lost in the Loop (reel)
Selections in italics composed by Liz Carroll. "The Crow in the Sun" composed by Dáithí Sproule. All other selections are traditional tunes.

An Interview with Liz Carroll on The Thistle & Shamrock

Liz Carroll's Official Website