various artists,
Celtic Voyager:
Tales of the Traveller

(Castle Pulse, 1998)

This is one of a series of CDs that I've purchased, not in record stores but on a music rack in what we call "Pound Shops," stores where all sorts of items are sold at discounted prices. These particular albums were selling at 3.99 ($3).

Although the tracks are all lifted from previously released albums, the artists and songs in this series are often very new. Everything in the series plays off the Celtic theme; this particular CD is subtitled Tales of the Traveller.

"Yanks," written and performed by Eamon Friel, is very good song recalling how back in the '60s and '70s we Irish lads all played games which required us to pretend to be American -- they were usually based on Dragnet, Bonanza or Sgt. Bilko. The song recalls how the Irish loved America in those days, from Kennedy to Hollywood ... and how as they grew older they became disillusioned.

A group called West of Eden performs "Raising O'Malley's Barn" and you would swear that you were sitting in Connemara as you listen to the riveting sound. Interestingly, the singers are Swedish. The same group provides a haunting love song called "Where the Ivy is Growing."

"The Queen of Galway Town" is real Irish toe-tapper provided by the Barleyshakes. Marian Bradfield is a regular contributor to this series and her self-penned "I Still Hear Your Voice" is up there with the best of love songs written in any part of the world.

Celtic Voyager is a gem of an album from a goldmine of a series. It is marketed as showcasing the successors to Van Morrison, Sinead O'Connor and U2, and perhaps it is because these legends are still producing that the array of new talent here are not getting the exposure they deserve.

Listening to some of the dross being played regularly on radio stations today, one might despair for good music. Listen to these new tracks and your spirits will be revived. The only problem is that there is little or no outlet for this massive talent -- especially in Ireland.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 4 July 2001

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