Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Songs of Ireland
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop
One out of three...
Ivan Yager | Illinois | 02/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I came across versions of a couple of these songs by accident and spent some time looking for the CD, or CDs, they might be on. Now that I've got this it's kind of a personal treasure.
I've listened to Discs 2 and 3 of this set once each: overproduced stuffy old...stuff.
The payoff is Disc 1.
It's "kinda-live", with simulated Pub noises and "live-like" shout-outs from band members. We hear clinking glasses a little too regularly. Are they drunk or are they sober? Is there an audience? Who can say?
But this is far from cheesy.
The band rocks. They're tight and the textures are amazing. To my ear they catch bits of magic and mystery in just about every turn of phrase and melody. They exhibit an unusual knack for making every moment memorable.
I enjoy what comes off as a sort of authenticity too. For all the fine musicianship, one suspects that these gentlemen do this on the weekends; that they have day jobs in the village. This strikes me as the sort of work that Ezra Pound refers to as being "plucked from a living tradition". For people who get a kick out of accents, the brogues on these guys are a riot.
I haven't counted, but vocals are taken up by three? four? members of the same group?
With classic wit, one fella, singing "Bog Down In the Valley", who has come off like a wasted yokel, pulls off amazing feats of articulation, like Horowitz at the piano.
"Peggy Gordon" and "Spanish Lady", ballads sung by the same guy, are just lovely. It takes subtle chemistry to bring a tear to my eye with a line like: "I wish I was in some lonesome valley where woman's kind cannot be found/And the pretty small birds, they change their voices, and every moment a different sound."
Listen to "Jug of Punch"--that`s a characterful voice and attitude. Listen to any sound sample: "Paddy on the Railway" is another favorite. They might be out of "Juno and the Paycock".
I started off liking a couple of the songs and never having cared for the versions I'd heard of some others. Now I play the whole thing through and I love it all. If you have an appreciation for Ireland and its history, the arts of Irish men and women, a sense of sociology, or just great folk music, you'll appreciate this.
It's a shame that you have to buy a 3-CD set for one great CD. The packaging sucks too. It's criminal that this band--and the bands on the other CDs--go un-credited. No documentation at all aside from the titles of the tracks!.
I would give this set 4 stars rather than five if the system would let me, but it won't. Since I first reviewed this, I discovered a more complete recording (including everything here and quite a lot more...): 40 Irish Drinking Songs (disk 1 of 2) It's currently available, apparently, only as an MP3 download.
I just discovered that this group was called "The Jolly Beggarmen". The '70s seem to have been their prime. Well! The Jolly Beggarmen rock!
Their "Whiskey In the Jar", though short, is my favorite version of all time."