Joe Giltrap,
Irish Charmer
(Newsound2000, 2002)

Joe Giltrap is a great songwriter, but on Irish Charmer he foregoes the writing credit to bring us his unique interpretation of a number of folk and pop classics as well as a few new songs.

His opening with Ewan McColl's standard "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" is a brave move that works extremely well. This is a great song, but too many mediocre singers have murdered it in the past. Giltrap gives it a fantastic gentle rendition that will captivate you.

Neil Diamond is a singer who wrote many hits that usually sound best sung by him. "Holly Holy" shows that Giltrap can compete on equal terms with the legendary singer.

I must admit that I approached track 4 with trepidation. From the movie to the video to the CD I thought that the Boss was the only possible singer for this song. I am glad to report that this exiled Irish singer has taken a page from Springsteen with a quiet interpretation of "Philadelphia."

He penned two of the tracks himself and they stand up well to comparison with the other songs here. "Distant Memory," a tale of old age and loneliness, is a beautiful and touching song very well arranged and presented.

Even amid songs composed by the masters, I found my favourite to be a track from Giltrap. "The Way It's Meant to Be" is a song that will ring through for so many, "nights are when I miss you most of all."

"The Island" from the pen of Paul Brady stands with Lennon and McCartney's "Blackbird" and are followed by the excellent interpretation of John Martyn's "May You Never."

With 18 tracks this is a bargain album that does not cut corners and never shortchanges the listener. Giltrap has been on the music scene for a long time and that experience shows on this album giving new life to old standards and delight to even a casual listener.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 18 December 2004