various artists,
The Rough Guide to Irish Folk
(World Music Network, 2009)

The Rough Guide to Irish Folk is a great addition to a series of CDs highlighting the music of various countries. This collection will appeal to visitors and natives alike because of the variety and the quality of the performers as well as the songs.

Seamie O'Dowd open the proceedings with a spirited rendition of "Crooked Jack." One of the best -- and truthful -- tracks on offer has to be "The Spoons Murder," an unaccompanied piece of over five minutes by Con O'Drisceoil that will surely appeal to every person of talent who has ever played a pub session. Bodhran, accordion or any other instrument -- depending on what those semi-talented interlopers consider themselves virtuosos in -- will replace the spoons as singers adopt and adapt it.

Karan Casey, Cara Dillon, Arty McGlynn and a host of other big names in the business rub musical shoulders with a number of performers who are new to me over the 17 tracks on the album. Robbie O'Connell gives us a lively take on "The Flower of Kilkenny." It closes with the marvelous Sean Tyrell singing "The Rising of the Moon," but be warned -- in common with much of this album -- it is not the familiar song but in fact a much stronger piece.

This album comes with another bonus. You get Karan Casey's Ships in the Forest album absolutely free; either album in the package is worth buying on its own, making The Rough Guide twice the value.

review by
Nicky Rossiter

14 November 2009

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