various artists,
Larry Kirwan's Celtic Invasion
(Valley, 2013)

Larry Kirwan -- an expat from Wexford, Ireland, and 25 years the impish leader of Black 47 -- generously shares his personal musical preferences on Celtic Crush, a weekly broadcast on SiriusXM. Larry Kirwan's Celtic Invasion is a collection of a dozen of his favorite tracks.

He has good taste. It's a fine selection, heavily slanted toward the rocky side of the road as befits a member of Black 47.

"The Celts were a warrior people who celebrated their history in songs and stories," he explains in the liner notes. "This tradition held firm until ambushed by Dylan, Hendrix and The Beatles. When the dust settled we found we could mix the grit of a Stratocaster with the feral beauty of the uilleann pipes, or anchor a raving fiddle with four-on-the-floor, and so on. ... Each act on Celtic Invasion has a different take on the new tradition."

The album kicks off with the Barleyjuice anthem "Weekend Irish," followed by Runrig's "Clash of the Ash" and a Black 47 offering, "Uncle Jim." Next comes Pat McGuire's "You're So Beautiful," the Waterboys' "Savage Earth Heart," John Spillane's "Buile Mo Chroi," "22" by Celtic Cross, Peatbog Faeries' "Wacko King Hako" and the Blaggards' "Irish Rover." The list wraps up with "Sullivan's Lake (The Flood)" by Garrahan's Ghost, "Meet Me on McLean" by Shilelagh Law and "Si Do Mhamo I" by Hothouse Flowers.

Every one's a winner. It's a solid set of bands both familiar and new -- and each track is apt to send new listeners on a quest for more by these bands. Well done, Larry!

music review by
Tom Knapp

29 March 2014

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