Christy Moore,
Ride On
(WEA, 1984)

Christy Moore is often classed as the king of Irish folk. His concerts in venues large or small sell out within days. He seldom releases singles and when he does they are often of a comic nature. His albums are awaited with bated breath. He has a pedigree in folk music that is hard to beat.

Ride On was released in 1984 but has been re-issued since. It is one of the best possible introductions, not only to Christy Moore but to a vein of writing that is incredible.

The title track comes from the pen of one of our greatest Irish songwriters, Cork man Jimmy McCarthy. It is a mysterious song that many people have given their own interpretation -- and maybe that is the sign of its power.

Pierce Turner, a native of my hometown, Wexford, who built a solid career for himself in New York, wrote "Among the Wicklow Hills." Other classic songs on offer are "El Salvador," "The City of Chicago" and, of course, the Ulysses of folk, "Lisdoonvarna," an epic of stream-of-consciousness singing.

My favourite track is one about the involvement of Irish people in the Spanish Civil War. "Viva La Quinte Brigada" is a fantastic song that tells a story that was often hidden in Ireland. The accompaniment on this album recalls the groups Planxty and Moving Hearts as Christy teams up again with Donal Lunny and Declan Sinnott.

This is a short album -- just 12 tracks -- but it's a "must have" if you want to say that you listen to Irish folk music.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 5 June 2004

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