The Wheels of Life Dolphin Records ****: There's a cool fermentation process informing Liam Clancy's first solo CD in 10 years.
He's jettisoned the polished performer persona that characterised his duo performances with the late Tommy Makem, leaving an emotional honesty that's compelling. Amid the nine studio tracks and three live outtakes here, standouts include a cover of Shane MacGowan's The Broad Majestic Shannon , and Ambletown, a quiet, subtle alternative to the chest- thumping version of Home Boys Home , so beloved of balladeers throughout the 1960s. Shenandoah is given a particularly sympathetic treatment, too, but it's Clancy's duet with Gemma Hayes on Roseville Fair that whispers of Clancy's continuing musical curiosity. Duets with Tom Paxton, Donovan and Mary Black, and superb musical accompaniment from members of Danú, add further colour to the mix. www.liamclancy.com
Legendary, January 25, 2009
Even if you are brand-new to Liam Clancy, you will still be able to appreciate this legendary singer's performance. I've been a fan of Liam Clancy (plus The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem) for almost 15 years. What always strikes me about Liam's performances is the pure honesty and storytelling ability he interjects into the songs. Liam became famous in the 1960's during the folk era with The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. They took the old Irish ballads and rebel songs and reenergized them with new life and vigor and took the USA and Ireland by storm. Liam then joined with Tommy Makem in 1975 and formed the legendary duo "Makem and Clancy". They produced some of the best recordings of Irish music ever heard; thankfully these albums are still in print.
Rarely does one get the chance to share a glimpse into the soul of an artist. Liam Clancy lays it bare here holding nothing back, giving us some of his most emotional performances ever. "Broad Majestic Shannon", "Ambletown", and a new recording of "Roseville Fair" are standouts on this album for me.