- Audio CD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Shanachie
- ASIN: 5550885107
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
A change of band line-up means that John Williams is replaced on accordion by Mick McAuley who not only plays a full part instrumentally but also supplies backing vocals and a few original tunes.
The opener "Pastures of Plenty" (Woody Guthrie) swings along at a syncopated pace with Doyle's chunky guitar and Egan's mandolin punctuating the beat while fiddle, box and whistle add flowing melodic counterpoint behind Karan Casey's enchanting vocals. A marvellous opener that shows the Solas multi-instrumental talent.
On "The Stride set" Winnie Horan plays leading violin on her own composition before being joined by banjo and box for "Tom Doherty's" and the tunes really pick up pace before Egan (tenor) and Bela Fleck (5 String) start duelling banjos on "Contradiction". The playing is of the highest order, breathtaking in its originality. The set finishes up in climactic whirling Galician style dance tune written by Egan.
The "Waking Up Jigs" build slowly again with fiddle and mandolin before McAuley takes over on box, finishing with his own tune "Aodhan's Jig" to the accompaniment of some wonderful afro percussion sounds by guest John Anthony.
"Grey Selchie" is as plaintive a song as you'll ever hear. Casey's enchanting voice is sublime, contrasting with the gregorian backing chorus. It's a subtle, spooky arrangement of an old mermaid myth theme. Egan's flute, Horan's fiddle and McAuley's box lilt atmospherically and Michael Aheron's cello gives mellow depth to the musical seascape.Read more ›
The weak points are the two songs in Gaelic -- which gain nothing by being sung in the original (unless of course you speak the language) -- and the dreadful La Bruxa, a painful squeezebox effort that might earn a busker a few centimes (or Euros) outside the Paris Metro, but does not belong here. Otherwise, the musicianship is excellent throughout.
Casey'e departure was her gain and the band's loss, but this album remains a must for lovers of Celtic music, and for followers of America's various folk traditions.