The Boston Globe describes Robbie O’Connell as “a writer of timeless-sounding, emotionally powerful and often hilarious songs” and places him “among the most respected guitarists, singer and songwriters in Celtic music.”
The Post Star says that “while alternating songs of heart breaking tragedy, with those of sidesplitting hilarity, he defined the Irish condition, both for natives and American-born, in intriguing and enthralling ways.”
The Springfield Union-News declares “…he made it quite clear…that there is more to being Irish than filing stereotypes. And through his music, he’s bringing an inspired vision and a new voice of Ireland to American audiences.”
“O’Connell is a songwriter of vision, awareness and maturity. He has the ability to take an everyday experience or thought and turn it into an effective structured song. All his material is melodic and accessible and his keen sense of humour is never far from the surface… ‘Never Learned To Dance’ is a terrific album…” – Paul Dromey, The Evening Echo, April 26, 1993
“O’Connell is… a songwriter of increasing international stature. On his delightful new Green Linnet album ‘Never Learned To Dance,’ he displays an uncanny gift for telling the clearest anecdotes in song…” – Scott Alarik, New England Folk Almanac, March 15, 1993
“Robbie O’Connell is rather special, a man blessed with an enviable turn of phrase and a gift for melody bestowed only on the few. Let’s hope that unlike the recently discovered Caravaggio masterpiece, it takes much less than 300 years to realise that for a few quid we too could be in touch with a national treasure. Yes, ‘Never Learned to Dance’ really is that good!” – Chris Donovan, Hot Press, May 5, 1993
“… there’s not a bad song in the bunch, and O’Connell approaches every aspect of his work with care and intelligence.” – Daniel Gewertz, The Boston Phoenix, May 14, 1993
“… O’Connell has a unique perspective on life from both sides of the Atlantic. His music spans a wide spectrum of emotion, balancing cynicism with light hearted discourse and moving sentimentality… Although he has obvious roots in traditional Irish music, O’Connell is never limited by its charm or range. Instead, he pushes his music further into the mainstream…” – Chris Fisher, The Minuteman Chronicle, July 3, 1993
” He may never have learned to dance, but Robbie O’Connell writes songs with soul, sensitivity, political and social awareness, and humour.” – Steve Winick, Dirty Linen, August/September, 1993
” This recording sports great songs, fine singing, superb accompanists, and first-rate production by Johnny Cunningham…Allowing for the grace of O’Connell’s songs, the disc would sound great even if he was singing mouth music. The music just flows and flowers. You’ll take pleasure in repeatedly playing this disc.” – R. Warren, Sing Out, Vol. 38 # 2.
“In O’Connell’s third solo album, he captures the reality of the Irish diaspora with extraordinary wit and power… This is a mature, fully realised work. For those who haven’t watched O’Connell arrive, it’ll be a pleasurable discovery.” – Aaron Howard, Public News, March 17, 1993
“Robbie O’Connell is a very busy singer. In addition to performing with Aengus and Green Fields of America, he was for many years an important part of groups led by his famous uncles, the Clancy Brothers. For my money, however, Robbie is at his best as a solo performer. He does sing about serious subjects like war and emigration, but many of his best and most requested numbers are comic songs. A baker’s dozen of these, both traditional and self penned, have been gathered together on Robbie O’Connell: Humorous Songs – Live!
The disc does a great job of recreating the feel of a live performance, including the sound of the audience’s enjoyment and Robbie’s own dryly humorous spoken introductions to the songs. “You’re Not Irish” was inspired by Robbie’s early years as an entertainer in America, when he found that attempts to introduce audiences to traditional Irish music only annoyed folks who preferred “Danny Boy” and “McNamara’s Band.” “How Does Dennis Do It,” is Robbie’s answer to the question of how Mr Thatcher might have inspired himself to make love to Maggie. “Stick To The Crather” is a hilarious 19th-century paean to poitâ€™n. “The Night That Paddy Murphy Died” popularized by New York’s Flanagan Brothers in the 1930’s, is a song about an Irish wake that could rival Finnegan’s for riotous behavior.” – Don Meade -On The Fiddle- Irish Echo, December 1998