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on 2 August 2009
The esteemed Irish Band, Planxty's albums are all so superb it is hard to set one above the other but this one, recorded in December 1982 must rank among the best.
It includes some peerlessly played tune sets and instrumentals, one of which is an `aisling' or vision poem, "Taimse Im Chodladh", one of the most beautiful of slow airs. Uilleann piper, Liam O'Flynn gives it true feeling and emotion, while Donal Lunny (who also produced the record) brings his creative genius to it on the synthesiser.. On the singing side, Andy Irvine and Christy Moore demonstrate their talents at the expressive and narrative demands of ballad vocals.
Others reviewing this disc have praised the Irish emigration ballad "Thousands Are Sailing", written by Cathal McConnell and Robin Morton and I can do no more than add my plaudits. It is impossible not to sympathise with the émigrés about to leave their beloved Ireland.
Planxty, themselves so creative in their treatment of music and song, pay tribute to another creative genius with their rendition of Bob Dylan's "Pity the Poor Immigrant" and do it so beautifully I'm sure Dylan will have been moved by their version.
This completely captivating record ends with an English composition from the 16th century, "The Irish Marche", is part of a suite written by William Byrd.
Planxty conclude this classic album with their exhilarating and stirring rendition of this piece and certainly left me wanting more!
Paul Metsers.
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on 25 April 2011
I've an old cassette of this album, the version with the black and white image of the dolmen atop a sackcloth background. When I bought it at the onset of the 90's I'd not heard of Planxty but liked the look of the cover and decided to give it a go (I was reminded of some of the imagery Clannad were using, which at the time must have influenced my choice). If the album had had the alternate full-colour cover it has here it wouldn't have caught my eye. I'm glad it did catch my eye, and whilst I've never upgraded this album to cd, that old cassette still gets played more than most of the old cassettes it shares the cupboard with. And still there are two tracks that stand out from the set for me.

The first is the resplendent instrumental that opens the album "Queen Of The Rushes/Paddy Fahey's Jig", entering with lone bodhran spelling out an insistent rhythm, being joined by swirling pipes and then the rest of the band creating something just wonderful.

The second is the ballad "Lord Baker", a really exceptional piece sung by Christy Moore, his voice captivating and the musical setting it resides in a beautifully-crafted evocation of the storyline. This recording is to this day amongst my favourite performances in the folk idiom. And perhaps I'm the only person who rates it so highly: whilst I've not exactly scoured cyberspace I've yet to see anybody else even mention it when reviewing the album, aside from as a low-point, which almost conjures as much mystification as "Lord Baker" does mystique.

I have only heard one of Planxty's other albums, so cannot comment from experience as to how this one fits in with the rest of their canon, but I hear this one is regarded by many almost as the runt of the litter. Still, I like it, and have enjoyed many years of pleasure from that old cassette.
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on 18 January 2011
It's worth noting that the Planxty line-up that recorded Words & Music was substantially different from that which recorded their five excellent previous albums. The original quartet were joined by two more musicians including keyboardist Bill Whelan who exerted a great deal of influence over the musical direction the band were taking. And that direction was decidedly for the worse: most of the tracks on this album are replete with Whelan's keyboard in the background and the result sounds more like the sort of poor new-age ripoffs of Irish music you sometimes hear in health food shops than the wild, robust, thrilling and emotional sound that Planxty managed as a four piece. There are some good tracks here, and the occasional track in which the keyboard helps rather than destroys, especially the opener but this one is for completists only.
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on 23 February 2005
I had this album on vinyl. It's difficult to get hold of.Worth buying for the track "Thousands are sailing" which combines brilliant singing,musicianship and sadness about Irish C19th experience.Arguably the best single track by Planxty. Which is saying a lot.The rest of the album is very high standard too.
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on 23 September 2013
Wish there had been more details about the tracks on the CD before purchasing it. Also wish there was more details about the tracks and words in the CD sleeve. However Planxty are fabulous.
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on 16 November 2012
I cut my Planxty teeth on this album way back in the 80s on cassette tape and now have it on CD. It is softer and more gentle than earlier albums but that is what makes it special. Bill Whelans influence over the band has come in for a bit of stick for taking them away from their roots but 'Words and Music' should be seen for what it is - an offering of superb vocals and melodies by one of the best folk bands ever to come out of Ireland. It's worth buying just for their rendition of Aragon Mill.
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