Breathe easy! After 6 long years and numerous dodgy
collaborative albums with rock stars such as Sting and Mark Knopfler, Ireland’s
best-known ‘musical ambassadors’ are back with a traditional album. And right
from the jaunty intro of the opening track, Lots
of Drops of Brandy, you know that they’ve returned to top form. The rest is
an Irish musical journey of rediscovery. Starting off in Dublin with a street
song and then Dubliners banjo-player Barney McKenna, they head to Kerry and
enlist ace singer and box-player Séamus Begley, pop into Clare for the
Kilfenora Céilí Band and fiddler Tommy Peoples, and nip into Matt Molloy’s own
Westport pub for a session before meeting up with Altan in Donegal.
And that’s only part of it!
As ever the ensemble playing is as tight as a tourniquet, but The Chieftains
haven’t sounded this carefree since Irish
Heartbeat and manage to embrace both the styles and spirit of the music
with a dexterity denied to others.
This snippet of a review by Geoff Wallis was originally written for a long defunct website collaboration between The Rough Guides and Amazon, hence the somewhat breathy style.