This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 3/03
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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There's no false advertising here. As simply but explicitly titled, Colcannon's latest is just short of an hour of traditional songs and tunes, familiar staples alongside the rarely heard.
However, this is not some vainglorious attempt to capture some musical genealogy. As lead singer Mick Bolger puts it in the liner notes: "There was no particular notion of returning to our roots--those roots are too many and varied to be gone back to easily."
The Denver-based quintet provides 14 cuts, seven tunes and seven songs, three sung in Gaelic. The genesis for including the various cuts came from the band members playing or singing the numbers away from the concert stage and finally seizing an opportunity to record these personal favorites.
The Bolger-sung, anti-war tale "Benjamin Bowmaneer" is made more interesting due to its compelling rhythm. The love song "Jimmy, mo Mhile Stor" is a novelty in that it isn't saddled with a broken-hearted ending. A young lady is awaiting the return of her beau and, as indicated in the liner notes, she will cover him with honey when he finally returns. Guess she wants him to stick around.
"The Wealthy Squire" heads in the opposite direction as a promise to await a lover's return is broken, with the news provided in the form of a "Dear Sean" letter." The feats of a Robin Hood-type highwayman is the subject of "Alan Tyne of Harrow" while restrained reflection draws in the listener in "The May Morning Dew."
The County Kerry-born Bolger's vocals lend a dignified authenticity to the songs.
The variety of instrumental offerings veer from slower tempos to those such as "Ryan's Rant" which takes off at hyperspeed.
Colcannon concludes, as seems fitting in a collection of traditional offerings, with a Carolan tune, "Young Terence MacDonough," sometimes known as "Counsellor MacDonough's Lamentation."
What has always been a Colcannon trademark is the appealing element of cheekiness. One could always count on the inclusion of a humorous ditty or a wink-of-the-eye double entendre selection. However, the band has chosen to go with a more straightforward approach here.
But judging this release for what it isn't, rather than what it is, is inappropriate. Let's simply call it down-home Celtic music, with a dash of U.K. traditional thrown in for spice.The title certainly fits. The music works.
Colcannon consists of Mick Bolger on vocals and bodhran; Mike Fitzmaurice on double bass and guitar; Rod Garnett on flutes and fife, Jean Bolger on fiddle; and Brian Mullins on mandolin, mandocello, bouzouski, guitar and whistle.
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