Christy Moore,
King Puck
(Columbia Sony, 1993;
EMI, 2001)

Christy Moore is the face and voice of intimate Irish folk music. He has spent many years in various groups, promoting the best in the Irish folk tradition while giving a voice to the writing of new composers. His songs range from the sadly honest to rollicking fun tracks.

King Puck is one of his lesser-known albums. It was released a few years ago after he had taken a rest from live performing following a health scare. In many ways this is a plus because he released a CD of songs that probably would not have otherwise seen the light of day. These are not highly commercial songs offered to sell gig tickets. It is like having a personal concert from Moore in your front room.

Unusually for a Christy Moore album, the majority of the tracks are self-penned.

"The Two Conneeleys" is a sad tale of young men lost at sea. It was written by Christy after an event that happened on an Irish island when he was there. It has echoes of Synge's play "Riders to Sea." This is a song written and performed from the heart about an all too common tragedy of island people.

"Lawless" is not written by Moore but it revisits common ground for him. This is a tale of urban reality. "He was Lawless by name and lawless by nature, hard as nails running through the streets, breaking his poor mother's heart."

"Giuseppe" is a Christy Moore song railing against the injustice of the justice system. He recounts the plight of the traveling people in "Johnny Connors." But the CD also has lighter moments such as "Sodom & Begorra," which is a quick trot through the social happenings of Ireland in the 1990s.

A favourite of disc jockeys wanting to leave the studio early is "Me and the Rose." At 13.20 minutes it is the ideal final track for a show. It is Christy Moore at his storytelling best as he recounts a fictional encounter with a real Rose of Tralee winner who was a lady police officer. In it he manages social comment, humour -- "I was after getting conscripted into the altar boys" -- and poking fun at Irish singer Daniel O"Donnell.

Too many people have neglected this CD. It is simple, intimate and beautiful. Give it a listen.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 5 October 2002

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