Songs of a Catholic Childhood CD


The Songs you remember in a heartfelt, liberating musical journey. Hear this personal and profound musical portrait of the Catholic America of the 40s, 50s, and 60s.  Now available for multiple generations to enjoy together – year round – for years to come!


THE CD – We had three evenings of recorded material from our live shows. We chose the best selections from the twenty-song program, edited it down, mixed and mastered and are sending the completed master to be reproduced.  John Abbey completed that final stage with us. Graphic Designer Judith Quittner Seitzys of Main Royal Design, with Jamie’s input, produced artwork and promotional materials.

Recorded before a live audience. Michael, the oldest of six in the working class Irish/Italian neighborhoods of post WW-II New Jersey, and Jamie, a Baby Boomer from a huge artistic family in a small Illinois town –  tell of life in parochial school – Aunt Dorothy, Pittston PA, The Altar Boy, Bucktown, Nightly Prayers…Hear stories from Michael, as the oldest of six in the working class Irish/Italian neighborhoods of post WW-II New Jersey; and from Jamie, as a Baby-Boomer, and middle kid in a huge artistic family, in a small Illinois town during the 60s and 70s.

Michael and Jamie in solos and duets: Bring Flowers of the Fairest, Sr. Clarissa, Pagan Children, Tantum Ergo, When Blossoms Flowered Mid the Snow, Mary’s Boychild, She Would Sing the Kerry Dances, Sure Has Grown, I Fell Out of Love With Sin Today, Holy City, Bells of St. Mary’s, I Brought My Father With Me, Transfiguration, Song of Bernadette, Vaya con Dios, more
(click on the original program image, left)


ABOUT SONGS: In solos and duets, Smith and O’Reilly perform a winning group of songs, and talk about life in parochial schools during their “formative” years: His –as the eldest of 6, in the working class Irish/Italian neighborhoods of post-WWII New Jersey, in the ’40s, and ’50s. Hers – as the 4th-girl-in-the-middle of a family of 14 kids, in a small Illinois town during the post-Vatican II, Baby-Boom era of the ’60s and ’70s.



I would like to purchase Songs of a Catholic Childhood.
The Songs CD by mail is $25 (postage/handling included)

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ReviewItem From British Music folk reviewer Arthur Wood –Published in the April Newsletter of Maverick The UK’s Leading Independent Country Music

Already, another album featuring Michael Peter Smith
We reviewed Michael Peter Smith’s new album OLD MAN DANCING in this year’s March/April issue of Maverick, awarding it the maximum five stars. Hot on its heels we have the pretty much self-explanatory SONGS OF A CATHOLIC CHILDHOOD, his third collaborative release credited to Michael and singer/songwriter Jamie O’Reilly.

Smith was brought up in post-WWII New Jersey, while in Jamie’s liner notes the Crystal Lake, Illinois raised musician admits she’s a baby boomer. Both now reside in Chicago and this sixty-five minute long, engaging marriage of original and cover songs and stories was recorded during a live performance of SONGS OF A CATHOLIC CHILDHOOD at the city’s Chief O’Neill’s Pub. O’Reilly (vocals) and Smith (vocals, acoustic guitar) are supported by John Abbey (bass).

Smith’s name is appended (as composer) to half-a-dozen songs. There’s the familiar and slyly worded “Sister Clarissa” and the more recent “Sure Has Grown,” while the rib-tickling “Pagan Children,” to which Jamie added some of the lyrics, is new. A composer in her own right, O’Reilly delivers “Transfiguration.” As for the other musical fare on offer, it ranges from the thirteenth century and St. Thomas Aquinas’ “Tantum Ergo” to the one just passed and “Bells Of St. Mary’s” (featured in the 1945 Crosby/Bergman movie) plus Jenny and Lennie’s “Song Of Bernadette.”

In terms of concept O’Reilly and Smith’s SONGS OF A CATHOLIC CHILDHOOD pursues the spirit of the latter’s classic reminiscence MICHAEL, MARGARET, PAT & KATE (1994). Essential.