This is not such a bizarre cross-over as one might imagine for in the 18th century the great Irish musician Turlough O’Carolan, a blind harpist, met the Italian musician Geminiani in Dublin, and through him encountered the music of, yes, guess who, Antonio Vivaldi. So here we have a case of substituting Irish instruments for baroque ones, using baroque instruments to accompany Irish themes, by creating dialogues between Celtic and baroque instruments, or by letting all the musicians improvise. One moment we appear to be listening to a ‘straight’ baroque concerto, then all of a sudden the conventional string continuo/ripieno of the baroque ensemble (Le Orfanelle della Pieta) gives way to celtic musicians playing a jig or reel on anything from a Irish bouzouki to a fiddle. The baroque group consists of three each of first and second violins, one viola, two cellos, a bass and harpsichord while the Irish musicians play Irish fiddle, an Irish flute (like a baroque flute), tin and low whistles, Uileann pipes, Irish bouzouki, mandolins, bodhran, bones, and the Celtic harp (played here with metal strings to resemble its harpsichord counterpart in the other group).
The Third Rail are best remembered today because their closest brush with hit-single status, 1967's "Run Run Run," appeared on Lenny Kaye's pioneering original Nuggets compilation in 1972. But while that album was the shot that kicked off the great garage rock revival, the Third Rail's music was a far better example of the glorious products of the pop music factory that was the Brill Building rather than teenage rock & roll run wild and free. Group founder Artie Resnick was a seasoned pro in the music biz, having written "Under the Boardwalk" and "Good Lovin'," and vocalist and co-writer Joey Levine was a teenaged pop prodigy who (like Resnick) would later become a major player in Buddah Records' mighty bubblegum empire a few years down the line. But in 1967, Levine was just a bit too clever for his own good, which is a big part of the pleasure of the Third Rail's sole album, ID Music.