Rory McCarthy & the Preycawns,
When is Daddy Coming Home
(Crow, 2006)

The Cork Butter Exchange Brass & Reed Band is the first musical sound you will hear on this album before Rory McCarthy leads into a wonderful version of "England's Motorway." His voice is ideally suited to the song and the arrangement makes a good song great.

McCarthy is essentially a singer in the sean-nos tradition, but his voice will convert even those who might run a mile from such a style. He displays this talent to excellent effect on "Molly Bawn."

The album contains a combination of traditional and new songs, and he crosses the border from Rebel country for Mal Blackie's "Tipperary Girl" and does her proud. The backing works to great effect on this track -- you can almost feel the atmosphere of the pub or other live session.

He has a wonderful knack of picking great songs that are not over exposed by other singers. "Dark Horse on the Wind" is one example, as is Bob Dylan's "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll."

Bandmate Fintan Lucy's song "Peace Will Come Again" has a lovely traditional feel that is enhanced by the opening harmony. He jumps back to traditional material with an unaccompanied "Hot Asphalt" that gives pride of place to lyrics that are all too often submerged in rollicking renditions.

"Ireland Free" comes from the pen of John Spillane but very much the vocals of Rory McCarthy. The album closes with the perceptive "Lovers & Friends" with the line "there's more friendship poured out in a bottle of stout than you'll find in statutes and sermons." This is a great finale piece in a live gig.

The track "Crows, Shandon Bells & Cork Talk" is one that non-Corkonians will listen to occasionally. The Cork person living away from the city will love it, as it will bring the Lee to their home.

This is a great album that should get a wider audience. (For those who are not familiar with Gaelic, preycawns are crows and as we all know crows can't sing -- well, maybe in Cork they can.)

review by
Nicky Rossiter

9 June 2007

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