These are affectionate, genial, commendably polished and admirably conservative though not especially sedate renditions which make a virtue out of their intrinsic Irish character and its lovable honesty. This celebration of cajun music and culture includes plenty of footage of musicians in their home environment, often in the same room as groups of dancers, and a tremendous feel of intense enjoyment permeates every second.
Inevitably it's a further sparkling illustration of everything they do best, and as such not an easy album to review without indulging in the well-worn superlatives.
As an instance of this, we need look no further than the legendary Transatlantic Sessions projects, of course, and a sparkling Waiting For The Federals from Series 2 is included here; but then not everyone knows that the even more legendary Channel 4 series Down Home was TS's precursor, and this disc includes no fewer than four brilliant tracks from the recording sessions for the series hopefully as a taster for the release of the whole shebang on disc soon, please!
In addition to the welcomely omnipresent JK, the album's signature musical backing is provided largely by Martin Simpson, Chris Coe and Andy Seward, with contributions from Andy Cutting and David Bailey and occasional chorus vocals from the assembled Bailey clan.
Basically, Glyn can't resist drawing attention to himself by means of undeniably impressive, powerfully crafted musical settings and lyrics that passionately and eloquently embrace entirely justified criticism of the unforgivingly corrupt corporate world in which we try to survive.
David Kidman July Aly Bain et al. The kinda spaghetti-western-smalltown image that might readily be conjured up by the album's title is one that translates into the slightly cheesy musical idiom Glyn adopts on Yahoo! And of course in his choice of songs: Education should be fun, and a child's natural enjoyment of, and willing participation in music, can be both a vital element and a useful tool.
Elsewhere, perhaps, it can be all too easy to get the feeling that Glyn is deliberately setting out to make an Impact capital "I"! Here Roy also brings us a contrasted pair of fine songs by David Ferrard: Two abundantly fine musicians still at the top of their game after a quarter of a century - and showing no signs of decline whatsoever.
Baird quit to go solo in but after the first two albums, Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired and Buffalo Nickel, his career's been somewhat patchy. And when the kids have been captivated and are almost ready for bed, Roy tucks them up with the poetic story of My Pet Dragon by John Maguirewhich is gently enhanced by atmospheric sea sounds created by that good Mr Kirkpatrick's accordion bellows!
These are affectionate, genial, commendably polished and admirably conservative though not especially sedate renditions which make a virtue out of their intrinsic Irish character and its lovable honesty. These are presented in the same order as they occur on the documentary, although the audio CD omits two additional song performances the rockin' Zydecajun Train by Wayne Toups and Raywood by Queen Ida respectively which are exclusive to the DVD and otherwise would've conveniently slotted in after track 11 and before track 15 total playing-time of the CD would easily have permitted their inclusion.
Roy's other instrumental collaborators here - John Kirkpatrick, Andy Cutting, Donald Grant and Andy Seward - give of their very best, playing with spirit and commitment throughout in lovingly-contoured, full-toned yet light and sensitive arrangements.
Elsewhere, the disc travels around much like the itinerant Aly himself! It's probably invidious to single out individual tracks for special praise, since the duo are proven masters of so many different forms and styles of traditional music, and it's probably fair to say that I enjoyed specific tracks in specific moods.
Apart, that is, from an empathic take on A Song For Ireland itself and a particularly thoughtfully-turned version of The Ould Triangle these, more than any other tracks, make it clear that this project is rather a labour of love for Michael and Anthony, who are companionably accompanied on their worthy mission by guest musicians Paul Gurney, Noel Carberry, Aoife Kelly and Johnny Duffy on piano, bass, accordion, fiddle, banjo, uilleann pipes and whistles in straightforward and unfussy arrangements.The Bad Shepherds - By Hook Or By Crook (Monsoon) Transfiguring punk classics into folk songs, those who hadn't actually heard the debut album by Adrian Edmondson, Maartin Allcock, Andy Dinan, and Troy Donockley might have thought it was a bit of a gimmick.
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