Brace Yourself Bridget,
Brace Yourself Bridget
(Ante Up, 2005)

The name of this group prepares you for the wonderful onslaught of sound that will burst from your speakers when you fire up this CD. Think of the Pogues, but with better diction and no loss of energy.

From the opening track, "Irish Rover" coupled in an inspired set with "Farewell to Eireann," you are on high-octane Irish music expertly delivered. This six-piece "Celtic orchestra" uses a marvelous combination of instruments to produce some exceptional sounds, but they never lose the heart of the music. Listening to the album you feel that they just enjoy what they do.

The repertoire is filled with traditional songs, but they are also adept at taking more recent songs to get the feet tapping at a ferocious rate. The hit from Goats Don't Shave, "Hills of Donegal," is a case in point. Another that gets the Bridget treatment is the top-class Andy M. Stewart work "Take Her in Your Arms," one of the best folk songs in decades.

One of the joys of this album is the slightly different takes the band has on songs we are so familiar with, like "Whiskey in the Jar." It does not slow it down, but there is just that slightly different rhythm and it works to great effect. Andy Irvine's "Clare Song" is probably not so well known, but if this album gets a bit of airplay that could be rightfully rectified. This could be an anthem for the banner county.

Other songs on offer here are "Tell me Ma" and "Raggle Taggle Gypsy" getting wonderful treatments. They end the set with a riotous rendition of the classic "Fields of Athenry" and leave you panting and shouting for an encore.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Nicky Rossiter

2 June 2007

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