Seamus Kennedy,
Seamus Kennedy Live!
(Gransha, 1982)

Belfast-born Seamus Kennedy not only has a gift for music, but a gift for making people laugh. When he combines the two, it's sheer delight.

Seamus Kennedy Live! is one of Kennedy's earlier recordings -- the oldest one still in print. It was recorded live at Ireland's Own in Alexandria, Va. Kennedy supplies vocals, guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, bodhran and harmonica, with Brad Hayford, Brendan Sheridan, Alex McAdam, John Gustaffson, Matt Levine, Alan Oresky, Dan Sheehy and Linda Konczanin joining him on various tracks. Crowd noises are provided by the audience and the pub's staff.

Kennedy provides his trademark mix of traditional tunes and humor. Among the traditional tunes are "Whisky in the Jar," "The Bonny Lass of Fife-O" and "I Wish I Had Someone to Love Me." All are beautfully sung.

The best part of the CD, for me, were the humorous songs. Among these is "Breathalyzed," a parody of "Yesterday" by the Beatles. Two other parodies appear on the CD. One is the insidious "Concrete Road," which parodizes John Denver's popular "Country Road." Listen to the CD even once and for days you'll have the song running through your head with the lyrics from one blending into the lyrics from the other -- which is not necessarily a bad thing, if you have a boring meeting to attend. "Juanita Suarez" parodizes, of all things, "Cockles and Mussels" (or "Molly Malone"), a traditional tune.

Other fun tunes include "Little Gomez," a lively little number about a randy chihuahua, "I'm My Own Grandpa," a rather twisted take on genealogy, and the ever popular "The Scotsman," which answers once and for all the question about just what a Scotsman wears under his kilt.

My only complaint about this CD is that on those tracks where Kennedy speaks (to tell jokes or introduce a song), he's barely audible and you have to turn the volume up. Then, when the music starts up, you have to turn it back down again. However, if you've heard the jokes before -- and you probably have; they're oldies, but goodies -- then it really doesn't matter.

Seamus Kennedy Live! is great fun. If you see a copy, pick it up.

[ by Laurie Thayer ]