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on 3 August 2004
Planxty create a sound which is completely unique - it sounds like something which echoes deep in our Celtic psyche, yet it sounds new, innovative, and exciting at the same time. Compared with some of the other fine Irish folk groups of that generation such as The Fureys, The Cheiftains, and The Dubliners, Planxty provide a similar genre of music, yet in many ways it's completely in a league of its own. The sounds of Mediterranean instruments blending with Celtic instruments and Balkans music married with music from Ireland and Britain is a concept and a sound that has worked incredibly well for Planxty and this 2004 album reaffirms that. The music sounds as fresh today as it did 30 years ago.
The world that Planxty depict is on a very different dimension from the usual landscape of the folk genre: These aren't the typical tales of the rich lording over the poor, or the love of my sweet lovely Irish cailín, or the heartbreak, loneliness and danger of emigration. Women, sailors, gypsies, blacksmiths and beggars are the heroes and villains. Ladies betray Lords with the hired-help and the lesser ranked; farm labourers defy and defeat Sergeants and their soldiers; and women scorn men who choose duty as soldier or sailor over a married life at home. Their deeds are recorded in such fine, intelligent, humorous, dramatic, and musically crafted form that it will delight you to hear this record of social history.
Planxty 2004 is a fantastic work of musicianship, with many, many highlights on this album. The THREE front men of this band (Christy Moore, Andy Irvine and Liam O'Flynn) each take their own opportunity to shine in Planxty's unique light after a gap of almost twenty years from performing together.
Christy Moore fans should check out the song Little Musgrave - close your eyes and listen as Christy completely relives each character's role depicted in the scenes of this track.
Andy Irvine's rendition of Arthur McBride is fantastically uplifting and he sings this song as if he was Arthur himself standing in front of the Sergeant scorning the forces and the Crown!
The skills of Liam Óg O'Flynn are made abundantly clear from the opening track (The Starting Gate) and O'Flynn highlights and complements so many songs and tracks of this album that it is quite difficult to rate one piece or moment above the other. My favourite instrumental piece has to be The Starting Gate however, as Liam demonstrates his skill on both the whistle and the uileann pipes and it's the perfect piece to capture the pure Planxty sound.
Dónal Lunny ties this album together with his contributions to all of the tracks. He is credited in earlier work as the composer of the immortal bridge between the song Raggle Taggle Gypsy and the instrumental piece Tabhair Dom Mo Lamh which many consider to be the highlight piece of Planxty's catalogue. Lunny is the quiet, shy, intelligent scientist of the band and he weaves this album together with beautiful bazouki riffs and melancholic guitar accompaniments.
Planxty Live 2004 is a must for any fans of folk music, Irish music, world music, different music - brilliant music!! It's proof that well written and arranged music stands the test of time and spans genres and generations. It's proof that brilliant, exciting and interesting musicians never really lose it (as long as they've got their health)! This album is not only a record of the sounds and songs of surviving folk music - it's a template for the future of folk music.
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on 9 May 2006
As another reviewer has pointed out,the CD is great, but I think that the DVD is even better: there's the on-stage banter between the players and with the audience, there are explanations of the origins of some of the songs/tunes and there's a different and faster performance of "Raggle Taggle Gypsy." Let your eyes as well as your ears feast!!
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on 7 August 2010
More's the pity, I'd no idea Planxty had got together for this concert series, still less that they'd put out this CD, until someone recommended it. On first listening I thought: nice, by third hearing: superb.

The music speaks for itself, the performance and musicianship is warm, fresh and just about faultless - as good if not better than the Planxty of 30 years before, and how many bands can you honestly say that about?

Just a word about the song Little Musgrave, the music for which Christy Moore is supposed to have discovered by chance. It bears a very strong resemblance to Matty Groves on Fairport's classic album Liege and Lief - compare the story and the words: only the names and the tune are different.
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on 29 July 2004
Planxty create a sound which is completely unique - it sounds like something which echoes deep in our Celtic psyche, yet it sounds new, innovative, and exciting at the same time. Compared with some of the other fine Irish folk groups of that generation such as The Fureys, The Cheiftains, and The Dubliners, Planxty provide a similar genre of music, yet in many ways it's completely in a league of its own. The sounds of Mediterranean instruments blending with Celtic instruments and Balkans music married with music from Ireland and Britain is a concept and a sound that has worked incredibly well for Planxty and this 2004 album reaffirms that. The music sounds as fresh today as it did 30 years ago.
The world that Planxty depict, is a very different world where sailors, gypsies, blacksmiths and beggars are the heroes and villains. Ladies betray Lords with the hired-help and the lesser ranked; farm labourers defy and defeat Sergeants and their soldiers; and women scorn men who choose duty as soldier or sailor over them.
It's a fantastic work of musicianship, with many, many highlights on this album. The THREE front men of this band (Christy Moore, Andy Irvine and Liam O'Flynn) each take their own opportunity to shine in Planxty's unique light after a gap of almost twenty years from performing together.
Christy Moore fans should check out the song Little Musgrave - close your eyes and listen as Christy completely relives each character's role depicted in the scenes of this track.
Andy Irvine's rendition of Arthur McBride is fantastically uplifting and he sings this song as if he was actually standing in front of the Sergeant scorning the forces and the Crown himself!
The skills of Liam Óg O'Flynn are made abundantly clear from the opening track (The Starting Gate) and O'Flynn highlights and complements so many songs and tracks of this album that it is quite difficult to rate one piece or moment above the other. My favourite instrumental piece has to be The Starting Gate however, as Liam demonstrates his skill on both the whistle and the uileann pipes and it's the perfect piece to capture the pure Planxty sound.
Dónal Lunny ties this album together with his contributions to all of the tracks. He is credited in earlier work as the composer of the immortal bridge between the song Raggle Taggle Gypsy and the instrumental piece Tabhair Dom Mo Lamh which many consider to be the highlight piece of Planxty's catalogue. Lunny is the quiet, shy, intelligent scientist of the band and he weaves this album together with beautiful bazouki riffs and melancholic guitar accompaniments.
Planxty Live 2004 is a must for any fans of folk music, Irish music, world music, different music - brilliant music!! It's proof that well written and arranged music stands the test of time and spans genres and generations. It's proof that brilliant, exciting and interesting musicians never really lose it (as long as they've got their health) - the packaging and marketing can just get a little dated or lost! This album is not only a record of the sounds and songs of surviving folk music - it's a guide for the future of folk music.
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on 1 October 2007
I don't wish to sound smug, but I was present at one these series of concerts (Feb 2004 Vicar Street Dublin). I can safely say without exception that ( as a Planxty fan) it was the best concert I have ever attended. For me it was wonderful to see the sheer skill & Virtuosity of all the lads, live on stage.

For those not familar with Irish Traditional Music, Planxty are considered to be the bollox, and rightly so!

A certified desert island disc.
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on 12 July 2004
If you've never heard Planxty play before you will love this album. If you have but have not heard them recently you will enjoy the maturity that has come into their sound over the years, although it still maintains it's raw and exciting origins which made Planxty such a hit back in the 70's when they appeared on the trad scene. If you saw the Planxty gigs in Vicar Street, from which this is recorded, this album is a 'must have' and will bring you back to the cold winter nights in January and February 2004 when Planxty warmed us all with their music. Also, do yourself a favour and get hold of the Planxty Live DVD, which is a visual recording of the same concerts, and is a master-class in the playing Bodhráns, Bazoukis, Banjoes, Guitars & Uileann Pipes - amazing stuff.
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on 7 May 2011
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.
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on 17 September 2007
Only recently I discovered the existence of this live recording of a reunion concert in 2004. Having all their earlier work (on vinyl) most tracks were quite familiar to me. Comparing this concert with the original recordings one cannot fail to admire the high level of musicianship and the way everythings seems to fit even after so many years, and the ravages of time are only so slight. Which brings me to my only complaint, really. I was a bit disappointed just because the material on this cd sounds so much like the originals. Usually a live recording gives you something extra or different and that's not the case here, unless that something is really subtle.
That said, upon arrival this cd has got into and stayed in my cd player for several spins in a row, so it's certainly a well-appreciated addition to my Planxty collection.
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on 9 July 2009
what a great cd...old tunes and songs perfomed with a freshness that is refreshing..a must for all lovers of traditional music,performed by four people who have each become stars in their own right...Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine,Liam O'Flynn and last but not least Christy Moore.Without doubt a collectors item.
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on 9 October 2009
This is an instant classic, I just love every track! Lots of variety in the music, legendary performers and you can just feel the atmosphere. Wish I'd been there!
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