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Michael Nicholl (Derry. Ireland)
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Folk Tale
Folk Tale
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £15.24

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars STILL ON TOP, 1 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Folk Tale (Audio CD)
You can always rest assured that Christy Moore will not fail to deliver on his usual high standards both in his song choice and delivery and Folk Tale is no exception. The opening song, Tyrone Boys, whilst I did not recognise it by its title, turns out to be a great reworking both in lyrics and tempo of the song entitled The Other Side which initially was released on the Unfinished Revolution album of 1987. (The political references have been altered slightly). The only verse which remains virtually untouched is the final one which deals with emigration from Ireland, a topic as relevant in today's economic climate as it was in the mid 1980s. Other songs that I would be familiar with are the closing numbers God Woman, Tiles and Slabs and the title track Folk Tale which were initially released on his 1996 album Grafitti Tongue. Farmer Michael Hayes is from the Planxty back catalogue although it is new to me. Easter Snow has previously appeared on his 1991 Collection 81 to 91. The remaining 5 tracks appear to be new. Of these the one which affects the most is On Morecambe Bay, the story of the awful fate of the Chinese cockle pickers who perished in the advancing tides at Morecambe Bay a few years ago. There are two 'novelty songs' included which are My Little Honda 50 & Weekend In Amsterdam. Whilst these grab the attention much more immediately, they are also the two that will wane quicker. This is not to diminish their worth or appeal, it is simply that after the first few listening, the jokes become a little tired. In true folk tradition, the latter (Weekend in Amsterdam) is to the tune of another folk standard. (The Craic Was 90 in The Isle of Man), but what does it matter. (Bob Dylan, whom I would regard as possibly the finest song writer of our times, had in the early 1960s particularly, used traditional and Irish folk airs for many of his songs, for example With God On Our Side which was a reworking of The Patriot Game / Ramblin Gamblin Willie to the tune of Brennan on The Moor etc etc).
If you enjoy good music, superbly delivered and with something relevant to say both socially and politically, you can always rely on Christy Moore to deliver the goods. This new release is no let down and can mix it with the best of his past releases. Yes there are a few reworked songs from past albums, (Tyrone Boys is such an extensive re-working and re writing that it could almost be regarded as a new song) but as with his last recording 'Listen' these are very much worthwhile.


Barn Doors & Concrete Floors
Barn Doors & Concrete Floors
Price: £9.76

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU CAN 'JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER', 25 Dec. 2011
A few weeks ago I knew nothing of Israel Nash Gripka. I had been searching for another artist and in doing so this album came up. Something about the cover caught my eye and I decided to investigate further. All the reviews associated with this release were very positive and what is more the reference to being similar to the Stones' Exile on Main Street prompted a quick on line sample listen which in turn was enough to prompt me to order. Israel Nash Gripka is the real deal, this is simply superb country rock / classic rock. If you like Ryan Adams / Counting Crows / late 60s to early 70s Stones / Primal Scream you will get an idea of what to expect. There are touches of all the afore mentioned artists throughout, though to my ears the Counting Crows comparison is possibly the closest. Several reviewers had mentioned that fans of Springsteen / Neil Young /Steve Earle & John Fogerty would like Israel Nash Gripka and I would include with those John Mellencamp. His song writing can mix it with any of these artists, his vocal delivery is superb and the melodys get under your skin. It is always a delight to come upon an artist who is not that well known and spread the word. Most of those who have already reviewed this release have covered the bases, and there really is not alot to add other than to urge you listen and hope you enjoy. I for one will look into his earlier releases.


The Ravishing Genius Of Bones
The Ravishing Genius Of Bones

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIGH STANDARDS, 24 Nov. 2011
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Having seen Brian when he recently backed Cara Dillon at the Market Place Theatre in Armagh, (For the first time since his childhood when he was my neighbour in the 1970s), I was bowled over by his musicianship. (I did get to meet with him for a brief chat after that concert). I had realized that he was involved in the traditional music scene as I had over the years heard his name crop up as a session musician for artists such as Cara Dillon, but did not know just how good he is. Out of curiosity I did a search on Amazon to see if he had any material out there and he most certainly does, both as a solo artist and with his former band Flook. He now has a new group he is touring with called KAN.

I decided to take a gamble on this his latest solo release, and it did not disappoint. The quality of the musicianship throughout is simply superb as is the overall production of the album. The stand out tracks invariably are those Brian has composed himself and these include TRACK 3 Marga's Moment/The Crooked Reel; TRACK 5 Last of The Starrs; TRACK 7 Forest Baby/Morna/Castlrock Road; TRACK 8 If Only a Little; and TRACK 9 The 40 Year Waltz/Night Ride To Armagh which for me is the crowning glory of this album. This is not to take away from the remaining four tracks which are superbly executed and delivered.

The liner notes include a poem simply entitled Tomas written by Brian's sister Morna, and knowing the family I can only presume this is dedicated to their late uncle Tomas Finnegan.

The overall feel of the album is not so much traditional (There is a strong traditional influence as would be expected here as this is Brian's background), but it is a folk / traditional blend that will appeal to fans of both genres. This is a wonderfully relaxing listen and highly recommended. You do not need to be a fan of Irish traditional music to appreciate and thoroughly enjoy Brian's work. I for one will be seeking out his earlier albums both solo and with Flook.


Classic
Classic
Price: £10.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Embryonic Rather Than Classic!!, 6 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Classic (Audio CD)
Firstly, I hope I am not being too pedantic, but the title of this collection is a little misleading and inaccurate. This is not Classic Thin Lizzy, although it does contain a few classic compositions, to be more accurate, it is a collection of tracks taken from the period their first three albums, which demonstrates the roots of what was later to become the international success that was Thin Lizzy under the leadership of Phil Lynot. Jailbreak, Johnny The Fox, Black Rose, Live & Dangerous etc are albums that demonstrate what would be termed Classic Thin Lizzy.

So to this collection. The two opening tracks, Whiskey In The Jar and The Rocker are definitely classics. The former, a superb reworking of a "traditional" Irish folk song was possibly the first we knew of Lizzy and to many the definitive interpretation of this song and the latter became a standard in their live shows. Both are taken from the superb third album of 1973 Vagabonds Of The Western World. A further six songs from that album are included here (Vagabond of The western World with its Irish Folk leanings, Randolph's Tango, Black Boys On The Corner, a pseudo political commentary on refusing to accept ones perceived place in society, Little Darling, a superb rocker, Remembering Part 1 and Little Girl In Bloom) These songs I would be most familiar with as I purchased Vagabonds back in the late 1970s as my first Lizzy album. The remaining ten tracks have been lifted from the first two albums (Thin Lizzy & Shades of a Blue Orphanage)plus non album B sides and singles. To me these ten tracks are fresh territory and are by and large excellent. Listening to this collection there are hints of Jimi Hendrix, blues and even a slight country trace in track 7 (Here I Go Again).

For many Thin Lizzy began with the classic line up of Phil Lynott, Brian Downey, Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham and with the breakthrough album Jailbreak. However this collection which predates that era and contains the original line up of Lynott, Downey and ex-Them guitarist Eric Bell illustrates how the Lizzy sound was developing. The only change to this line up is on the track The Rocker where Eric Bell was replaced by the late great Gary Moore.

A delightful collection of not so much "classic" Thin Lizzy but rather embryonic Thin Lizzy and highly recommended if you don't already have the first three albums.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2014 10:13 PM GMT


Georgia Warhorse
Georgia Warhorse
Price: £18.14

4.0 out of 5 stars IF YOU LIKE GOOD MUSIC YOU WILL LOVE THIS, 4 Jun. 2011
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This review is from: Georgia Warhorse (Audio CD)
Once again Paul Jones on the Blues show on Radio 2 has turned me onto an artist of whom I had no prior knowledge of. (The last one was Joanne Shaw Taylor). During a studio interview with JJ Grey, I was taken with the quality of the tracks being selected and the stories behind some of which were intriguing. What struck me first was the vocal style. It initially put me in mind of Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes, particularly on the song King Hummingbird. Only after the interview was over did I get the name of the artist and up to that point I had convinced myself that this was a Chris Robinson solo outing. Having pulled the car over at the end of the interview awaiting the album and artist title, I promptly ordered this recording on arrival home. Not only did the album delight in its entirety, but a number of musical and vocal styles became apparent. The opening song Diyo Dayo was reminiscent of Lee Brilleaux of Dr Feelgood fame; there is the strong flavour of The Black Crowes throughout several songs and also a very strong Southern Soul feel. A genuinely good album of a late sixties blues / soul / rock flavour. If this style is your thing I cannot recommend this highly enough. One thing for certain, I shall be seeking out further recordings by JJ Grey.


Live 2004
Live 2004
Price: £5.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AS IF THEY HAD NEVER GONE AWAY, 7 May 2011
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This review is from: Live 2004 (Audio CD)
I have very mixed feeling about Planxty. I am certainly not a fan of traditional Irish music, but when it comes to folk, well that is an entirely different matter. The very fact that Christy Moore was a key founding member of Planxty, I have always held a certain degree of respect for their work and it has always been the songs rather than the instrumental pieces which I have found most accessible. Back in the early 1970s, Planxty, like Horslips were opening up a whole new world to us teenagers in Ireland who were raised on a diet of rock-n-roll, by bringing a rock sensibility to folk and traditional Irish music. They looked like a rock band, (Probably even behaved as a rock band). They drew on influences outside of Ireland and introduced what at the time were exotic instruments to this island. As a consequence instruments such as the bouzouki have become standard fare in traditional circles.

Every now and then a song will get locked into my mind for a few days, and The Blacksmith which had been recorded by Planxty was one such song. As a consequence I sought out a suitable Planxty album which not only contained this song but also Little Musgrave which has for a long time been a very firm favourite of mine, and live in 2004 appears to be the only Planxty recording which has both plus the wonderful Raggle Taggle Gypsy. Listening to this album, Planxty have remained true to the original recordings I remember from my youth, although Little Musgrave appears to be at a slower tempo to what I recall. I normally will get bored very rapidly when traditional music is played, but Planxty for some reason will hold my interest. This may be due to the different approach to the genre or the inclusion of the songs. I did have the luck to see them live back in 1980 or 81 (shortly after the release of the album 'After The Break') at the University of Ulster; however that appearance was marred by a poor sound system.

As a piece of important Irish music history, Planxty Live 2004 is an essential addition to any music collection. Their influence on the direction of Irish traditional and folk music is more than significant. Christy Moore, Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine and Liam O' Flynn as a collective still have that spark and that magic which back in the 1970s brought them to the world's attention.


I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive
I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DOING WHAT HE DOES BEST, 27 April 2011
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Steve Earle has delighted us with so many great albums and this latest 'I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive' (A title giving a nod to the great Hank Williams) is no exception. On the first few listens I would say that although there is nothing new in style or content what we get is typical Steve Earle. The opening track, 'Waitin' On The Sky' harks back to Steve's early rockabilly style roots as exemplified by Early Tracks and of which traces were found on his first two studio albums Guitar Town and more so Exit O. Little Emperor is a classic Steve Earle song both in style and content (His thoughts on G W Bush). The third song (The Gulf Of Mexico), written after the BP drilling disaster sees a change in style typical to that of Irish folk, (Think of The Pogues) and the fourth Molly-O continues this folk theme. God Is God / Lonely Are The Free / I Am A Wanderer sees us back with a familiar Steve Earle style which could have easily come from albums such as Train-A-Commin / El Corazon or Jerusalem to name 3. Laid back, thought provoking, acoustic and beautiful.Every Part Of Me written whilst on a UK tour during the period when his wife was giving birth to their son John Henry, is a simple love song straight from the heart. Meet Me In The Alleyway is a superb County Blues with a New Orleans flavor which would not have been out of place on his post prison album I Feel Alright. Steve is joined by his wife Allison Moorer on the 'love' song Heaven Or Hell. This City, the closing song would not have been out of place on Washington Serenade, deals with the New Orleans floods of a few years ago, and whilst a good track is possibly the least immediate song here.

This album sees Steve Earle back on form with a strong set of songs and a variety of styles typical of the man. There is little of the heavily rock influenced country that brought him to the attention of most of us,(I'm thinking here of Copperhead Road) but if you have been used to his style on albums from 'I Feel Alright up to The Revolution' you should like what I'll Never Get Out Of This world Alive has to offer. Acoustic based country folk at its best, with as usual intelligent and thought provoking lyrics. In all a very worthy addition to your Steve Earle collection. If you have not yet listened properly to Steve Earle, there are many superb albums where you could start and this one is as good as any.


Riot City Blues
Riot City Blues
Price: £4.28

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC ROCK WITH A 60s VIBE, 5 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Riot City Blues (Audio CD)
I have been aware of the existence of Primal Scream for quite some time, but know very little of their output apart from what has been aired on radio. It would be probably fair to say I paid very little attention to their music until I kept hearing the superb track 'Country Girl' (apparently being the default choice of BBC Radio 2 DJs). Even if the remainder of this album 'Riot City Blues' had been poor, which it certainly is not, I had decided that at least for that song it would have been worth the money. This album has turned out to have been one of my greatest finds of recent years. I don't believe there are any poor songs presented throughout the 10 on offer here. Style wise I can hear strong Rolling Stones influences, particularly within the 7th track (We're Gonna Boogie) which harks back to The Stones early 1960s heyday of blues orientated rock. There are also hints of early mid 60s Dylan within track No6 (The 99th Floor) at least musically, and song No9 (Hell's Comin' Down) has the feel of The Faces when Rod Stewart was at the helm with its use of the mandolin. If 60s style classic rock is your thing, then this album may well please you.


Better days (1991)
Better days (1991)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC SOUND OF NEW JERSEY, 16 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: Better days (1991) (Audio CD)
I discovered this superb album many years ago when searching through the 'bargain bucket' at my then local independent record shop (Remember them!). At the time I had never heard Southside Johnny, although I had heard of the name, so as the album was going for a song so to speak, I thought it was worth the gamble. Well it certainly paid off as this turned out to be a simply stunning collection of well crafted, well delivered and well produced songs. Those of you familiar with Bruce Springsteen may already know about Southside Johnny. He could be regarded as part of 'The Jersey Sound' and this recording has this in spades. The album has been produced by Little Steven of the E Street Band and he has song writing credits for all but three of the eleven songs on offer, and of the remaining three one has been written by The Boss himself (All The Way Home) on which he makes a guest appearance. He also provides second lead vocals on 'It's Been A Long Time' Other guest vocalists are Bon Jovi & Little Steven. For me the pick of the eleven songs are Its Been A long Time / Better Days / All The Way Home / I've Been Working Too Hard / The Right To Walk Away and Coming Back. However this does not diminish the quality of the remaining five tracks not listed here. A great album and if you love the Jersey Sound and love the music of Bruce Springsteen, then you will love this.


White Sugar
White Sugar
Price: £17.58

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STUNNING DEBUT, 15 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: White Sugar (Audio CD)
In my humble opinion, this offering from Joanne Shaw Taylor, whilst not as immediate as her follow-up release (Diamonds in The Dirt), is a superb collection of well crafted self penned songs in a classic blues / rock style. At only 24 years of age, she demonstrates a maturity well beyond her age musically, vocally and lyrically. Reading the blurb on her web site, she points to Jimi Hendrix amongst others as having been a major influence in her playing style and this is easily heard on this album (Listen to Kiss The Ground Goodbye, track listing No7). Her follow-up album at times reminded me musically of early ZZ Top, but on this release (White Sugar) that comparison is much less noticeable. One reviewer has linked her style on White Sugar to that of Status Quo, indicating that this is a negative thing. I however fail to pick up on any similarity throughout this recording. I for one would not have been disappointed if in fact she had imitated their distinctive 12 bar blues style, as in their early days, Quo were a force to be reckoned with. Unlike Diamonds in The Dirt, there is a greater variety of traditional blues and rock styles on offer throughout this album, and the closing track, Blackest Day, is a real classic blues number reminiscent of B B King. Overall this is a slightly softer sounding album than its follow-up (Diamonds in The Dirt) leaning more towards a Robert Cray sound with a touch of blues funk, but a harder edge is still noticeable at times. Vocally she sounds much softer, but still great. I look forward to future recordings by this superb new talent. She really deserves to be a major international sensation, but so long as the public continue to demand the bubble-gum tripe that makes the charts today, true talent such as that of JST will always be overlooked by all but a discerning few and she will remain a cult artist. Maybe this is no bad thing, as we have an extremely talented individual doing what she wishes and not what music executives interested only in profit think we want, and more importantly those of us in the know will feel that we have something only we have discovered to pass on to the un-educated masses. A superb guitarist who is almost on a par with the greats such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons, Jimmy Page and dare I say it the greatest of them all Rory Gallagher. Get this or her follow-up album and I can assure you that she will blow your socks off.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 21, 2012 8:38 PM BST


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