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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 13 February 2008
Marries folk and trad, instrumentals and songs, originals and timeless classics.If you're interested in folk, or Irish music, or acoustic music you can't not have this album !

Planxty had 2 outstanding singers in Christy Moore (still enormously popular in his own right) and the hugely influential Andy Irvine (exceptional composer, and collector of folk songs from all over the world). The group featured the superb Liam O'Flynn on uileann pipes. Not only has O'Flynn influenced every Irish piper since, but also his prowess and beautiful tone have promoted the instrument to such an extent that many Scots and Galician pipers have added it along to their own native pipes.

As if the above wasn't enough Donal Lunny and Irvine provided some of the best interwoven string accompaniments ever recorded on various bouzoukis and mandolins. Moore contributed fairly basic guitar but with the Lunny-Irvine team on board nothing else was needed. When you add great songs and tunes to four such magnificent performers you 're bound to end up with something special. The term "supergroup" is bandied around a lot these days but nobody I've seen referred to in that light can hold a candle to Planxty.

I could go through every track, but really it suffices to say that there isn't a weak moment on the album, and I agree with the other reviewer (and countless others) who reckon Irvine's "West Coast of Clare" is one of the finest love songs ever written.

Absolutely essential purchase !
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on 26 December 2011
As a young student back in 1974 I was an avid Dubliners fan and used to sing all the songs in the bar after a rugby match.....great days looking back. Then I was hit by a thunderbolt in the form of this first album by Planxty. It ranks right up there with the 'Where were you when you heard JFK had been shot '! Their music was on a completley different level and opened for me the floodgates that has seen traditional music become the bedrock of my life. Thank you Planxty !
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on 1 June 2004
For anyone hoping for an introduction to Irish music, this CD is the one to have. I have 5000+ CDs in my collection and across all genre's, this is my favourite. Nowhere else will you find such a mix of unbridled enegy, aching ballads & instrumental virtuosity. This was the Planxty's first and finest album and all subsequent efforts, though each having three or four great tracks, never captured the atmosphere of the first. Where will you find a finer ballad than the West Coast of Clare, heavier metal than Merrily Kissed the Quaker or anything, ANYTHING to compare to the Raggle Taggle Gypsy!
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on 21 February 2012
"... like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes. He star'd at the Pacific--and all his men. Look'd at each other with a wild surmise ..." Keats, 1816

The other reviews say it all: best album, best Irish, where you you when you first heard it, your first kiss. I rarely find myself agreeing so completely with anything anyone says, particularly about music, but this album is the exception. It was like I'd been waiting all my life to hear it. My musical life was transformed the instant I was sucked into it, maybe 35 years ago. I play it, I hum it, I sing it, I love it. My worst fear is that Planxty will re-form and these eerily familiar old, old men will creep up onto the stage and spoil the magic they created when we were young. I've had serious flings with a few other albums over the years, but the thrill of this one never leaves and I always go back to it.
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on 20 May 2011
I'm a huge fan of Ewan MacColl, Dick Gaughan, AL Lloyd, Chris Wood, John Langstaff, Martin Simpson, great traditional Folk in general. Only recently decided to to take a chance on this band and subsequently, Christy Moore....OH MY it as soon as you can. Wonderful stuff.
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on 6 November 2006
I first heard this album at a very young age when I found a cassette copy in my father's collection. For some reason I was aware of Christy Moore being in the band, though I had no idea what lay in store! From the Raggle Taggle Gypsy through to the Blacksmith via The West Coast of Clare, this album deserves the true title of absolute classic, and amazingly sounds so fresh today. This album led to my taking up the bouzouki, and I would be hard pressed to find one that has had such an influense on me.
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on 24 December 2012
The so-called "black album" by Planxty was a revelation to Irish youth when it was first released and helped make Traditional and Folk "cool". Like the "white album" it features four exceptionally talented and distinctive artists. Unlike the Fab Four only two are lead vocalists but Donal Lunny is an exceptional harmony singer and Liam's piping is a voice in itself. This is not Planxty's Greatest Hits but it is their greatest album and should never be split or played out of order. Like a good Irish Session, it moves from song to tune and back again so that even the casual listener is never allowed to be bored. There are slow airs and ballads and rabble-rousing anthems and it features self-penned numbers by Andy Irvine and a contemporary anthem "only our rivers" which sound as if they have been part of the folk canon for ever. Vocalist Christy Moore has rarely sounded better and is not yet sounding like a parody of himself. If you want to introduce a "foreigner" to Irish acoustic music, which in fact was my brief for purchasing, I do not believe there is a single album available which is better qualified. A timeless classic.
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on 9 May 2014
The 'Black' album, I first bought this speculatively back in 1981 as a vinyl disc and instantly fell in love with it. Consequently this album has become one of the defining records of my life and is right up there on my personal Desert Island Discs list! If you like folk/trad music you will be blown away by this record. Superb musicianship, a wonderful mix of trad and their own compositions. It even propelled me on a journey when, as a young teenager sat in my bedroom in southern England I listened over and over again to 'The West Coast of Clare' so in my twenties I upped and went to the West Coast of Clare where I walked to Spanish Point and sat in a pub in Miltown Malbay (I didn't find her either Andy!). And whilst I'm name dropping, I once met Christy Moore in an airport and he is the nicest guy you could ever wish to meet! Go buy it!
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on 20 March 2013
Perhaps one of the sadest things about the finest musicians is that they are always exploring and developing - then moving on. Planxty have not been together for many years now - they officialy split in 1985. Though they have been doing wonderful things individualy and in new partnerships, they have occasionaly reunited for a concert or two. But my main focus is the incredible music that Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Donal Luny & Liam O'Flynn created in the 1970's. Whether it is gothic tales of the darkest side of religion or quirky romantic renditions, Planxty created real earthy, pasionate, firey, traditionaly rooted Celtic music - not just pub sing along stuff. The gulf between Planxty and bands like The Chieftains or The Dubliners is huge. If you think those two 'pop' groups played Irish music, you haven't heard Planxty. Though my favourite album is Well Below The Valley this album is pretty close behind and is probably more eclectic for the first time listener. If you've not heard Planxty yet, you really don't know what you've been missing.
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on 23 November 2010
Worth buying twice, as my last copy went with a break-in London in 2008 (burgelers with taste? Who knew? ). I missed it so much that I decided to buy it again last week.

This collection of songs has everything you would expect from such fine performers. Simply brilliant.
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