Eleanor Shanley
& Ronnie Drew,
El Amor De Mi Vida
(The Love of My Life)

(Daisy Discs, 2006)

With De Danaan, Eleanor Shanley had that magic in vocal ability and interpretation. She went solo and entranced us. She teamed up with the quintessential Dubliner, Ronnie Drew, and gave us the musical proof that just like sweet and sour works in food, the mixture of sweet and gutsy works in music.

This "chalk and cheese" combination is back with an album that equals and may even better that classic. Produced by Mick Hanrahan of Stockton's Wing, this album is a tour de force of old and new, with fantastic arrangements and interpretations.

Warren Zevon's title track sets the tone as we get the marvelous vocal mixture that hits all the right spots. A more familiar song is "Verdant Braes of Screen" that Ben Sands tells me has nothing to do with my home county in Ireland. This rendition is quite different from ones we are used to, but it works very well.

'The Ballad of Henry Lee" from the pen of Nick Cave is one of those great story songs that will eventually appear on record credits as "trad" because although new, it is timeless. Another of Eleanor's regular collaborators, Sharon Shannon, adds to the magic here.

Shanley takes a solo on this CD, and she excels herself with the beautiful "When God Made Me," from the genius of Neil Young. It should be released as a single if our radio stations still permit such beasts to survive.

Have a listen to "Farewell." This should be the "b" side of the single. This is a wonderful variation of the song we know as "The Leaving of Liverpool" from Bob Dylan. Also included among the 11 tracks of music magic here, we get a reprise of "A Couple More Years on You," a song that could have been written with this duo in mind.

Neither of these performers has put a foot wrong over their long recording careers and they maintain the excellent standard. While I enjoy this album to the hilt, I cannot stop wondering what will come next and how soon can I get it.

review by
Nicky Rossiter

30 June 2007

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