CD Reviews: March ‘10 CD Reviews: March ‘10
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1v6 Dubliners 1 CD Reviews: March ‘10The Dubliners A Parcel of Rogues ARC; 1988 Recorded in 1976 while founding member Ronnie Drew was on hiatus, A Parcel of Rogues is something of anomaly in the Dubliner’s discography. Known for their boisterous, bearded, rough-and-tumble swagger on stage and off, the band toned things down for this album of thoughtful ballads, probably their best. From the light lilt of opener “The Spanish Lady” to the nursery rhyme-ish “Killieburne Brae,” vocalists Luke Kelly and Drew replacement Jim McCann imbue Rogues with melancholy and yearning. Bracing adept sets of reels with traditional classics like “Foggy Dew,” “Avondale,” and a particularly tearful “Boulavogue,” the band also manage to nod respectfully to their pub-playing roots with the foot-tapping fervor of Ewan MacColl’s “Thirty Foot Trailer,” a wistful goodbye to the passing of tinker ways. — T. Bennison 1v6 Pogues 1 CD Reviews: March ‘10The Pogues Red Roses For Me WEA; 1984 Often dismissed for its tinny production, the Pogues’ debut album captures the untethered raucousness of their legendary live performances. Torch bearers of the Dubliner’s legacy, the Pogues put Irish music back on the map in the mid ’80s and brought it from the smoky pub to the swelling stadium, and though If I Should Fall from Grace with God spawned more hits and Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash is more beloved, Red Roses is the best representation of the band’s rebellious essence. With palpable energy they smash their way through standards like “Waxie’s Dargle,” “Poor Paddy,” and Brendan Behan’s “The Auld Triangle,” and introduce the burgeoning craftsmanship of Shane MacGowan with originals “Transmetropolitan” and “Boys from the County Hell.” MacGowan’s reputation as the most gifted poet of his generation could easily rest on “Streams of Whiskey” alone, evoking as it does the whole past of Irish song and the possibility of its future. Respect for tradition runs in threads from track to track only to be turned on its head and kicked in the face with lyrics like: “At the time I was working for a landlord/And he was the meanest bastard that you have ever seen/And to lose a single penny would grieve him awful sore/And he was a miserable bollocks and a bitch’s bastard’s whore.” Beautiful. — T. Bennison 1v6 Christy 1 CD Reviews: March ‘10Christy Moore Live at the Point Grapevine; 1994 On Live at the Point Christy Moore becomes one with his crowd, playing with them rather than to them. From the start, you’re immersed in the evening with “Welcome to the Cabaret’s” jaunty gait interspersed with Moore’s own brand of ad-libbed Irish scat. He then falls into a soothing hush with the bittersweet “Natives” and a subdued take on Shane MacGowan’s “Fairytale of New York,” a version so wistful that it threatens to change ownership. Moore then stirs the crowd into a roar with the anti-drinking stomp “Delirium Tremens,” only to fall back once again into some gentle ballads of lost love and longing for home. The definitive balladeer of his generation and one of the finest live performers of any genre, Moore makes Live at the Point one the most masterful performances ever committed to tape. — B. Bennison 1v6 Chieftains 1 CD Reviews: March ‘10The Chieftains The Long Black Veil RCA Victor; 1995 When the august Chieftains decided to mix modern pop and rock with the age-old sounds of Éire’s green hills, they may have caused many to spill their pints in shock. But with their eclectic, carefully endered selection of supporting musicians and tunes, the outcome is superb. The band lay a solid, traditional groundwork for the likes of The Stones, Tom Jones, Van Morrison, Sting, Ry Cooder, and Sinéad O’Connor, allowing each to do what they do best. So natural is the sound of Sting singing “Mo Ghile Mear” (“My Gallant Darling”) in Ireland’s native tongue you’d think he’d been raised with Gaelic on his lips. Other tracks include Mick Jagger lending his trademark twang to the fluttering harps and haunting fifes of the title track. A favorite though, has got to be Tom Jones’ rendition of “The Tennessee Waltz,” which plays out so convincingly and flows so naturally, you’d swear it was the original recording. There’s not a duff tune in the bunch, and the outcome reveals the mainstream crossover to be much more bridgeable than the ocean that divides us. — B. Bennison
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