Robbie O'Connell, Aoife & Donal Clancy,
The Clancy Legacy
(Aodoro, 2010)

How can anyone better the contribution of Liam, Tom, Bobby and Tommy Clancy? After all, the 11 tracks on offer on The Clancy Legacy, by Robbie O'Connell and Aoife and Donal Clancy, are primarily songs we associate with the Clancy Brothers.

I need not have feared. From the first notes of the first track, "A Jug of Punch," I knew I was in a new era, a new tradition and in for a great listening experience. These three truly professional performers carrying the incomparable Clancy gene have produced the next evolutionary step in Irish and indeed international folk music.

Probably realising that few could better the rousing renditions of our traditional songs, they have produced an album of much sweeter and in many ways more beautiful songs.

"A Jug of Punch," sung in a more laidback style, makes a completely new song and one on which, like so many other tracks on offer here, we can more fully appreciate the lyrics in their intricate beauty. Aoife gives a lovely performance on "The Gallant Forty Twa," ably assisted by Robbie and Donal on backing. "The Verdant Braes of Skreen" has pitched up on numerous albums in recent years, but even listening to the lovely guitar introduction I knew this was the ultimate rendition -- for now, at least. The performance is so gentle and yet powerful and the diction crystal clear. It is an absolute joy to hear.

The album is worth purchasing for the wonderful "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme." This is not the more familiar version, but it is outstanding and I implore the radio stations to give it airtime.

This CD features many songs that you will have loved when performed by what I suppose we might call the original Clancys, but I guarantee that this new generation singing "The Banks of the Roses," "Ho Re Ho Ro," "Quare Bungle Rye" and "Soldier, Soldier" will give you new heart. The songs are here fresh and just familiar enough to stir memories.

Robbie O'Connell, already renowned for his solo work, has done something very unusual on some tracks. Where so often singers have taken traditional songs and added new lyrics, he turns it on its head and puts new music to some established lyrics.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Nicky Rossiter

29 January 2011

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