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The Chieftains - Live!

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The Chieftains – Live!

Chieftains.Live.JPG

Released January 1st, 1977

1. Morning Dew

2. George Brabazon

3. Kerry Slides

4. Carrickfergus

5. Carolan’s Concerto

6. The Foxhunt

7. Round the House and Mind the Dresser

8. The solos:

Caítlin Trial

For the Sakes of Old Decency

Carolan’s Farewell to Music

Banish Misfortune/Gillian’s Apples

Tarboulton/Pinch of Snuff

Star of Munster/The Flogging Reel

9. Limerick’s Lamentation

10. O’Neill’s March

11. Ríl Mhor

Seán Potts: tin whistle/bodhrán

Paddy Moloney: uilleann pipes/tin whistle

Seán Keane: fiddle/tin whistle

Derek Bell: new Irish harp/triompán

Martin Fay: Fiddle

Michael Tubridy: flute/concertina/tin whistle

Kevin Conneff: bodhrán

Irish music is one of the most misunderstood and unfairly put down musical genres. Many of my fellow Americans tend to pass off Irish music as music they can only bear while drunk in a pub on St. Patrick’s Day. Many also look at all Irish music as a bunch of lads getting together and having a sing-a-long after a few too many Guinesses. There are even some people who listen to a good deal of Irish music before judging it, but think it all sounds too similar. If you fit into any of these three categories, I very highly suggest you listen to “The Chieftains Live!†and then reconsider your opinion about Irish music.

The Chieftains are the most famous Irish band in the world, and many say they are the best. They are able to take traditional Irish music, which is very simple, and play it in an incredibly complex way. Traditional Irish music, when it is most basic, is a relatively simple 30-60 second melody repeated until it is long enough to be considered a full song. The Chieftains play this simple music with great composition and skill. Their songs are intricately layered, and they have a very full sound. They are masters at creating musical climaxes, incredibly skilled instrumentalists, and an amazing live band. I am continually blown away by this album every time I listen to it, and I’ve been listening to it since I was 6. This album is full of excitement, beauty, joyfulness, and intensity.

Perhaps the best example of a great Chieftains song from this album is the first song, “Morning Dew.†It is a dark reel, with terrific instrumentation. The introduction with multiple tin whistles harmonizing is sinisterly beautiful, and the pounding bodhrán only makes it darker. The entire songs builds up until the last minute, when in an Irish musical sense, all hell breaks loose. The last minute is more wild and exciting than any Led Zeppelin song I’ve ever heard. Another great example of one of the Chieftains’ musical climaxes is the song “The Foxhunt†which is amazing as well. The Chieftains don’t have to be dark to be exciting, though. Songs such as “Kerry Slides,†“Round the House and Mind the Dresser, and “Ríl Mhor†are cheerful and exciting, and show what kind of music people should think of when they think of Irish music (but unfortunately do not). There are also songs that are purely beautiful, such as “Carrickfergus,†“Carolan’s Concerto,†and especially “Limerick’s Lamentation.†These songs are highlighted by the beautiful tone of the tin whistle, the unique sound of the uilleann pipes, and the wonderfully bright tone and nimble fingers of Derek Bell and his harp. You really can’t go wrong with any song on this album, except for “The Solos.†While these short songs (which are all part of track 8) are instrumentally impressive, I would not recommend them to a newcomer to the Chieftains, as they lack the full and layered sound of their other songs.

This album catches the Chieftains at their late 70’s peak, and at the place where they most excelled; onstage. If you have any interest in world music or Celtic music, or if you enjoy great music made by talented musicians, you owe it to yourself to listen to this album. I give it an A+

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I had this record, Batman, I liked it some... thirty years ago??? It´s an old record, I had some more Chieftains albums but some of my friends are fans and my albums are in their homes now... :)

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