Unlike the AMG review I do not consider this to be Patrick Street's best album. I have all of their studio albums and have seen them live. For the uninitiated, the Street has for most of it's recording history been an Irish traditional 4-piece, comprising the instrumental powerhouse duo of Kevin Burke (fiddle) and Jackie Daly (accordion), backed by the singing and string play of Andy Irvine and the guitar work of Arty McGlynn in the early days (now replaced by Ged Foley). By any standard this is a supergroup of players at the tops of their crafts.
This was their 3rd release and saw a more experimental enlarged lineup for some of the tracks, with producer/guitarist Gerry O'Beirne singing 2 songs. This detracts from the unity and sound the band possessed, and were to return to for their later releases. Uileann pipes feature in another track so the overall impression is that of a compilation by different artists rather than of a group making a cohesive statement.
That gripe aside there is some great music on Irish Times." Music for a Found Harmonium" is almost too catchy to be called trad, and will appeal to any music fan. Andy Irvine's 3 songs all display his excellence as an interpreter and songwriter of the highest calibre. "A Forgotten hero" is a history lesson on a subject close to Irvine's heart - the oppression of the poor, while the "King of Ballyhooley" is at the other end of the spectrum, being a light-hearted frolic. Burke and Daly provide their usual magic in the dance tunes, with polkas, a set of reels, and a set of "flings" (which sound like Scottish strathspeys).
I would give this album 4 stars if it was recorded by anyone else, but the "identity crisis", or deliberate experiment, or whatever it was, leaves it trailing in the wake of it's predecessors (Patrick Street 1 and 2) and some of the later releases. This CD had been out of production for some time, and may not be that easy to acquire so a better option is the "Best of" (on the Nectar label) which covers the first 4 albums, and has the strongest tunes from this album, minus "Ballyhooley" !