I was astonished to see that this groundbreaking album had only one review! This marks both the true start of Christy Moores recording career (he made one album prior to this but was unhappy with the result) and first gathering together of what would become the legendary Planxty.
It's a great collection of songs, very varied, mostly Irish but with a couple of American and English thrown in.
Christy Moore's voice has an extraordinary combination of urgency and gentleness. What I especially like is that he does not "dramatize" or "interpret" these songs - he. It's a very unadorned, truthful kind of singing.
But what makes this record really special for me is the playing of the band and the way it has been recorded: 2 mics in a basement capturing the ambience of both the room and the occasion. In effect this is a live recording without an audience. 40 years later it still sounds amazingly clear and vibrant.
Prosperous is a fine example of Christy Moore's original sound. It marks the beginnings of his fantastically successful career as a musician, both as a solo artist and as a member of some of folk's finest ensembles. Following a decision to move to England and a stint of performing and recording in Britain, Moore subsequently reneged and returned to Ireland to record with the finest folk musicians that he could assemble. Recorded in and named after a place steeped in both tradition and innovation (Prosperous, Co. Kildare), this is very reflective of both the album and the artist.
The album kick-starts with Raggle-Taggle Gypsy/Tabhair Dom Do Lamh: it's a slightly different version of from that recorded on the subsequent Planxty album. It's slightly slower and a more deliberate performance, but a fantastic version nonetheless. The Dark Eyed Sailor is a pleasant slow song, which also contains echoes of traditional favourites Fiddlers' Green and Lakes Of Pontchartrain. I Wish I Was In England is a good, lively, stomping folk song, credited to Christy's writing and arranging. It reflects a sentiment felt by many's an abandoned Irish lover at a time when most Irish had to seek gainful employment abroad (and cheap flights were also a distant dream!). The album definitely contains some fine contemporary work, but it also reflects Moore's intent to reflect the parallels of traditional styles in contemporary folk. Lock Hospital is a powerfully gentle anti-war piece and could well have been an inspiration for Eric Bogle's fine song The Green Fields of France. This is a folk song, but there are many blues songs also about the Lock Hospitals. James Connolly is a fine lament, sung in the sean-nochas unaccompanied style. It's a song about freedom and civil rights and the powerful words, which were relevant then (back at the events of 1916 and when the song was recorded in 1972), are still relevant today. The Hackler From Grouse Hall starts with some powerful, pounding rhythms on the bodhrán and develops into a fantastically uplifting song. Moore also includes a very appropriate Dylan song: Tribute to Woody. This managed to pay homage to so many of his influences, as Christy was a huge fan of both Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. The song also name-checks many other greats (such as Lead Belly) who undoubtedly influenced Christy Moore in one way or another. A Woody Guthrie song - The Ludlow Massacre, fittingly follows the Tribute. Again the song manages to highlight social injustices and sings the plight of the working people. Another anti-war song follows: Letter To Syracuse. This song is a very clever piece about the basic concept of propaganda: how soldiers deny their troubles in foreign warfare to spare their families at home from anxiety. The next two songs are currently staples of the national folk repertoire and Moore's versions are considered to be responsible for retaining these Irish classics. Spancil Hill is a tale of an emigrant's nostalgia for his hometown, the local fair, his family, friends, neighbours and lover. Cliffs Of Dooneen depicts a typically beautiful scene from the west coast of Co. Clare. It is one of Moore's classics and this particular version demonstrates some beautiful musicianship from uileann-piper Liam O'Flynn. The album finishes with a prodigal son type of tune. It's an English song learned from a folk singer from Manchester. This may have reflected Christy Moore's attitude to Ireland at the time because he had spent so much of his singing career around the folk scene in England. Prosperous is the album that first brought the musicians of Planxty together (Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny and Liam Óg O'Flynn). It charters the beginnings of the fine work by these four great talents along with contributions from many other fine musicians. It's a fine album which marks the homecoming of one of Ireland's most-loved performers.
This is an early record by the now established singer Christie Moore. The first track slowly shades into "Tabhair dom do lamh" or Give me your Hand in English. There are some tracks with a background such as "Lock Hospital", the original version of "Streets of Laredo" with a poor soldier cut down by syphalis and being buried - "The girls of the city were the ruin of me". There are also tributes to Woody Guthrie and his fellow commie Pete Seeger as well as upbeat Irish songs like "Spancilhill" and the "Hackler from Grouse Hall".