Water From The Well CD
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On Water from the Well, Paddy Moloney and the Chieftains return to the traditional Irish music that first made their reputations in the early 60s. Unlike most of their recordings from the 1990s there is nary a rock star, folk singer, or symphony orchestra to be found. Instead the Chieftains have chosen to play with some of Ireland's finest musicians, including Barney McKenna, Seamus Begley, Altan, and the Kilfenora Ceili Band. Here the Chieftains cover the entire spectrum of Irish traditional music, from a stately version of "Planxty George Brabazon" with the Belfast Harp Orchestra to a raucous session in flautist Matt Molloy's pub to a number of ballads sweetly sung by Kevin Conneff. The Chieftains have always performed at the highest level, but on Water From the Well the combination of familiar tunes and great musical guests seems to have inspired them to some of their best playing in years.--Michael Simmons
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But in fact, the Chieftains are as much a high-concept band as the Pogues, and the music they play has never been traditional. They merely take that music and use it, as others do, as a base - in their case, for quasi-classical Chamber Orchestra arrangements (admittedly performed with great proficiency).
It's years since I've bought or listened to them but, reading these reviews, I hoped they might genuinely have gone back to basics with this one. But no - still much the same old Chieftains. The only thing that's changed is I have grown less able to tolerate the archness of it all.
This is a bitty, miscellaneous-seeming album. It has its moments, but does no more than hint at what the music is capable of.
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