The Sharon Shannon Collection 1990–2005
Independent Record Label DLCD012; 2 CDs; 110 minutes; 2005
It doesn’t seem that long ago since the first ‘best of’ compilation by the Clare-born button-accordionist hit the shelves, partly because that 1998 release was reissued by Independent in only 2003. Does that make this new collection superfluous? Well, yes and no.
As a career-so-far-retrospective Collection’s first disc is entirely focused upon the instrumental side of Sharon’s recording career where she has always shown discernment in her choice of side-men and -women, and only five of its seventeen tracks appeared on the previous selection. As it goes, it’s by no means an unrepresentative account of Sharon’s ever-rhythmic playing and features a blend of bouncy tunes, drawn mainly from Ireland, but also including El Mercado Tesataccio and Coridinio.
In latter years Sharon’s releases such as The Diamond Mountain Sessions and Libertango have seen her described as being no more than a guest on her own albums and the second disc here amply reinforces that proposition. This consists almost entirely of recent collaborations with singers such as Jackson Browne, Sinéad O’Connor, Steve Earle and Damien Dempsey, though peeks right back to the start of her musical journey with The Waterboys’ When You Go Away. Whereas the instrumental disc has a natural flow, this one feels like a lumpy, thrown-together affair, too inconsistent and often too trivial. Worst of all, however, it includes two tracks from the diabolical Dessie O’Halloran whose voice is utterly redolent of chalk scraping across a blackboard.
Sorry, but no cover scan is available since the record company only sent a ‘white-label’ promo.
This review by Geoff Wallis first appeared in Songlines – www.songlines.co.uk.
For more information about Sharon Shannon visit www.independentrecordsltd.com.