04 June 2011

Review: The Irish Tenors: Live in Belfast

The Irish Tenors: Live in Belfast

I didn't like this CD quite as much as I liked Ellis Island, but nevertheless it grew on me.


It's by The Irish Tenors. It's Finbar Wright's debut with the group. He replaced John McDermott, but McDermott still sings on 2 tracks.

What I liked

The Percy French medley was a lot of fun. It's got 3 of French's sunniest tunes. That includes The Lay Of the West Clare Railway aka Are Ye Right There, Michael?. I recommend following the link for the story of Percy French and that railway. Rarely has a late train resulted in so much embarrassment for a railway.

I hadn't heard Mary From Dungloe before; it's quite lyrical.

I liked McDermott on The Last Rose Of Summer. It is the right song for him.

Some familiar songs done well: The Fields Of Athenry, Red Is The Rose, The Kerry Dancers, Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?,

What I didn't like

One disappointing track was Carrickfergus. I've liked the song since I spotted it in a little book of Irish songs 20 years ago. It stands out as lyrical and melodic even among Irish songs.

But I felt that arranger Frank McNamara, whom I normally like, overdid the arrangement, or rather, overdid half of it. The low sections have a nice open feel to them. I liked those. The high sections are accompanied by big orchestral flourishes. I understand what he was trying to do, but IMO those orchestral tuttis were wrong for this lyrical song.

Also, some of the less familiar tracks don't have much to offer. Maybe they'll grow on me too, who knows?

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