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New Irish and related releases June 2001

THIS IS THE DAY. Christy Moore. COL 503255.2. After a long and very illustrious career, Christy has given us what is probably the best recording he has ever made. With a collection of great songs, he has never been in better voice. Even on a soul number – Dan Penn’s ‘Cry Like a Man’, the singing is wonderful. If he ever makes a better record, we will indeed be privileged.

ALMOST EVERYTHING. Patrick Kavanagh. CCT1CD. One of the glories of the early Claddagh catalogue, this is now on CD for the first time. Kavanagh, the leading post-Yeats Irish poet, speaks his own poetry in the lovely accent of his own South Monaghan. There is also a long section of autobiographical prose, containing a lot of his personal philosophy – and beginning with a song to the air of a Dublin street song – ‘If Ever You Go To Dublin Town’.

MY NAME IS NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Frank Harte & Donal Lunny. HDCD 0027. On two CDs, Frank Harte traces the history of the Napoleonic wars in the songs of the common people. There are 26 songs in all, beautifully sung and accompanied. I wouldn’t try to learn all of them, but all of them are worth learning.

THE MERRY SISTERS OF FATE. Lunasa. GLCD 1213. This is the third album from Lunasa, and like the other two is well worth having. It’s instrumental music played to a high level of virtuosity, with their trademark attention to well-formed arrangements.

THE DIAMOND MOUNTAIN SESSIONS – special edition. Sharon Shannon and Friends. GRACD 289. This is Sharon’s album of a few months back, with guests such as Johnny Hoban, Steve Earle, John Prine and others. But now it has an extra CD in the package, a live concert from Galway with her band The Woodchoppers.

NO TIME TO EXPLAIN. Blood or Whiskey. IRE 002. A second album from the Kildare-based punk band, who like to use traditional forms for their well-written ballads in a style that’s somewhat reminiscent of Shane MacGowan. Their first album still sells after some years, and they seem to have developed something of a cult following.

THE VERY BEST OF… The Pogues. Warner 8573 87459 2. A compilation that is what it claims to be.

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