This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 4/01
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Andy Irvine could probably read the menu of a Dublin dive and lend it a certain gravitas. Such is the authenticity and appeal of his vocals. Finally affixed to a label distributing his solo efforts, he remains among the best of the class, social and historical consciousness storytellers and hell raisers.
In this release, he jumps right into it with "Gladiators." Saluting past and present members of the Industrial Workers of the World, Irvine spotlights a bit of obscure Australian history, shaming the Aussie government's actions with his recounting.
"Moreton Bay" continues the theme. Singing of the penal colony there and its infamously cruel commander, Captain Patrick Logan, Irvine details the prisoners' suffering. Logan is eventually killed in an Aborigine ambush and buried face downward in a shallow grave 'looking at Hell, where he was surely bound,' states the liner notes. Irvine sings:
"...Like the Egyptians and the ancient Hebrews"When the Boys are on Parade" starts out as a seemingly pro-military tune but soon detours. Irvine sings of the soldiers:
We were oppressed under Logan's yoke
Til a native Black there he lay in ambush
And he gave the tyrant a mortal stroke..."
"...But the position they'll be filling is to be able and be willing"Born In Carrickfergus" tells the true tale of a refugee from Northern Ireland. Lamenting exile from his native land but happy to be residing in the calm of Australia, Irvine concludes with these wise words:
To be killed or do the killing when there's a price that must be paid...
...Some will wonder what's to fear and say there is no danger here
But there has never been a year when Soldiers haven't been at war
And the eternal executions and the bloody revolutions
And the ultimate solutions too have all been seen before...
...And you may love them and adore them you may hate them and abhor them
But for Gods sake don't ignore them when the Boys are on Parade."
"...I was born in Carrickfergus in the sweet County AntrimIrvine also performs a powerful version of Alfred Noyes' ghostly tale of ultimate sacrifice, "The Highwayman." The lighthearted and enchanting "They'll Never Believe It's True," deserves mention, too. Employing wonderful word placement and usage, you'll find yourself prancing around the room on this one.
I've been gone ten years without too much regret
For the first time in my life I feel confident and trusting
But the lessons learned I never will forget
I support the native people who live throughout this land
For very well I know the weight of the oppressor's hand
And I teach my children likewise as they flourish and they grow
And I'm happy living where the Brisbane River freely flows..."
Irvine, on vocals, bouzouki, mandolin, hurdy-gurdy and harmonica, is backed by Rens van der Zalm on guitar, fiddle, mandolin, tambura and bass guitar; Lindsey Horner on double bass; Maire Breatnach on viola; Cormac Breatnach on low whistle; Dermot Byrne on accordion; Steve Cooney on Spanish guitar, percussion and kalimba; Declan Masterson on uillean pipes and low whistle; Liam O'Flynn on uillean pipes and tin whistle; Nikola Parov on gadulka; Brendan Power on harmonica; and Lynn Kavanagh, Mandy Murphy and Phil Callery on backing vocals.
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