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June 2019
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A personal CD review of the ''Irish Album''

Gertraut, Austria


In the book "Ireland, People and Places" I found this interesting sentences:


"The Irish ways of singing and making music break down into two basic categories plaintive slow airs on the one hand and fast exuberant airs on the other." And it was said that expert musicians had magical power and could use it in three special ways,


1) to soothe the listeners
2) to make them sorrowful and
3) to create mirth.


Wanting to know what this all is about, I went and bought the new CD "The Irish Album" by The Celtic Tenors. And now I will be a very thorough listener:


It starts with the enchanting "Fields of Athenry", a simple pure air, full of plaintive sweetness and with lyrics conveyed to you by these three singers in a whay that hurts you throughout. Not so much maybe because what happened 150 years ago, but it makes you realise that even today there are fathers who are punished because they need to get food for their starving children at all cost.


Next comes "The Wild Rover" starring The Dubliners as special guests, they all do those rousing rythems with glee and after the last chorus you might ask yourself if it is really a "no nay never" or if there is still a foot wedged between the door and the doorframe!


Well, however this may be, then follows "Whiskey in the Jar", again with the Dubliners as guests and there's where I start to ask "Dear Tenors, please have mercy on your German speaking audiance, don't sing any faster, we have to translate that first!. Of course I really enjoyed this ballad very much and was still breathless afterwards from listening.


Now take a deep breath for there follows something that is simply lovely. "Mary of Dungloe". Niall Morris sings it very sweet and wistful, it is his solo song. Matthew and James having kept their soli in the songs "The Contender" and "The Green Fields of France". And it is as lovely as always when two tenors take their voices back and let the third have "first go" at a tune. I think it is pretty unique for singers with their skill do background-singing for each other!


With a wink in a high spirits comes the next song, "Phil the Fluter's Ball" and it is sung in a way that you see very effectfully the characters it describes before you. Now did I enjoy myself listening to it!


After all this there follow the seven Irish songs from the "So Strong" CD, all known and loved, mulled over and already talked about. These new songs fit into the whole without any break.


And then "Dublinana" starts, I can only say that I would love to hear all of those "short-cut" songs from this medley in the whole, if possible with the lyrics ready, as now the "up tempo" sometimes really gets too fast for me. I can't translate that any more, this is sung faster than I am able to speak. But the Tenors and the Dubliners don't get stuck at all! Maybe "Molly Malone" and "The Rare Aul' Times" are as welcome a breather for them as for me. On the whole it sounds absolutely enchanting, even if it is sometimes a contest in fast-singing versus fast-listening!


At the end of this CD you will find two bonus tracks, known and beautiful: The mythical "Mystic Lipstick" (as far as I know it has been the first single CD the Celtic Tenors did together" and "Remember Me / Recuérdame", this time accompanied by Phil Coulter, the composer of this irresistible song, only by piano. And I must say, that I like this version even more than its being sung with Orchestra, but who if not he could determine what possibilities are hidden in those three singers' beautiful voices?


Well, what did the Irish historian say about the magic power of the expert musicians first, second and third?


So dear friends, now listen carefully and then arrange these songs according to the categories they fit into! I guess, I'll start again as well......