November last year saw the release of Christy Moore’s On the Road on CD. The release featured 24 live tracks, recorded over the past three years in 17 venues across Ireland and the UK. In our review of the album, David Pratt declared it a “quintessential release from a national legend.” He also opened his review with the reminder that in 2007 Ireland’s National Television and Radio Broadcaster, RTÉ, named Chrisy Moore as Ireland’s Greatest Living Musician in their ‘People Of The Year’ Awards’.
An Irish icon, On The Road reached #1 and has now passed double platinum status in Ireland. It is his deep urge to connect with the listener and to transmit the meaning of the songs he sings that has endeared him to audiences of all ages. Christy has released more than 25 solo albums, from Paddy on the Road in 1969 to Lily in 2016. It seems only fitting that Sony should give this release the vinyl treatment. On the Road is out now and comes a 3LP set.
Despite his long music career as David pointed out in his review, the tracks on this release have been well chosen “ebbing and flowing between light and shade, humour and gravity in a well-balanced way. I’ve quoted extensively from David’s review below which can be read in full here.
David broke down the songs featured into a few broad categories:
Firstly, there are a handful of traditional songs delivered in a straightforward, traditional way, Black Is The Colour, Cliffs of Dooneen, a song that has been in his set since his very first gig in 1966, and Raggle Taggle Gypsy being good examples of this.
Performing contemporary, or near-contemporary, songs of others, Christy often elicits nuances either missing from, or different to, those of the original, thus Richard Thompson‘s Beeswing and Fairytale Of New York, the now-staple Christmas favourite made famous by The Pogues & Kirsty McColl, might not be to everyone’s taste, however sympathetic and well-meaning the delivery. One highlight, of the many on this set, must be his version Barney Rush‘s Nancy Spain, a moving interpretation, beautifully performed with a glorious fiddle solo and fine audience participation.
A third area, and one for which Moore is rightly lauded, is that of combining social history with comic satire, be that with specific reference to Ireland or beyond. It will be no surprise then to find Joxter Goes To Stuttgart, a rousing tale of the Republic of Ireland’s first foray into a European Football Tournament in 1988, (complete with a memorable win over England), appears along with Weekend In Amsterdam, where little imagination is required as to content together with the popular If I Get An Encore.
Lisdoonvarna, written to appease Rory Gallagher fans at the eponymous Festival, and Christy Hennessy‘s Don’t Forget Your Shovel also fall broadly into this category, as does his own Delirium Tremens, a paen to previous alcohol issues and having the same melody as the aforementioned Joxter, and all confirm the undoubted talent of the man.
His left of centre political and social commentary, often from an Irish Republican perspective, is more than fully in evidence here, with at least eight tracks falling under this umbrella. The opening song on the set Ordinary Man, by Peter Hames recounts the travails of an ordinary worker losing his job due to a factory closure, and would, unfortunately, seem to be as apposite now as it was when it was first written. Coincidentally this song was also the opening track on his 1985 Ordinary Man LP. In a similar vein, Go Move Shift by Ewan Maccoll, which concerns travellers being moved on despite the imminent birth of a baby, is delivered with passion and conviction. Such emotion is replicated in Viva La Quinte Brigada, recounting as it does the Irish who left their home country in 1936 to fight Franco and fascism in Spain. Firm live favourite, City Of Chicago, referencing the emigration of Irish to America during the famine years of the late 1840s also gets an outing here, along with the only new song to appear, Lingo Politico, written by Pat Quinn, which manages to convey barbed acerbic comments through its humour.
The 1984 Ride On album is further represented, both with Jimmy MacCarthy‘s Ride On, and Mcllhatton, which was banned after it was discovered that it was written by Bobby Sands whilst in prison. A similar outcome also befell the final track on the collection, Time Has Come, describing the last meeting of a hunger striker and his mother, and was also banned, but here it makes for a perfect bookend to the album.
Order it here: http://smarturl.it/ChristyOTR
Joxer Goes to Stuttgart
Black is the Colour
Don’t Forget Your Shovel
Fairytale of New York
Cliffs of Dooneen
Weekend in Amsterdam
Viva La Quinte Brigada
City of Chicago
Go Move Shift
Raggle Taggle Gypsy
St. Brendan’s Voyage
Bright Blue Rose
If I Get An Encore
North & South
Time Has Come