A Review of the Eamon Friel CD
"Here is the River"
"Here is the River"
Copyright 2006 Thran Records
by Eamon Friel
This review is written by Dai Woosnam, email@example.com, 5/07
When I was a small kid, I went to a school where there was a giant
sampler on the wall. The sampler had been sewn by students long
gone to the senior school. The words read as follows:
“Lost. One Golden Hour studded with Sixty Ruby Minutes, set in Sixty Brilliant Diamond Moments.”
It is about half a century since I last saw that sign. And I doubt if I
have ever even thought about it for at least seven or eight years. But
for some bizarre reason, it flashed across the inside of my eyelids as
I listened in rapt attention/concentration to this album late at night
with the lights down (I was following the advice of Kevin in his
Ah, who knows why the human brain moves in the ways it
does? Often there is no logic: just wonderful
And needless to say, the image suddenly appearing in my memory, was not
a sign that I was wasting time here: on the contrary, it was telling me
that here I was spending my time just about as fruitfully as it was
possible to do. So thank you, Eamon Friel.
To my shame, I had missed his previous 4 albums. And I mean “shame”,
because I was aware of his abilities having heard him several times on
BBC Radio 5. And so this album has proved the
revelation that albums 1-4 may have been to his different fans.
It is close on being an unalloyed DELIGHT. From start to finish. His
songs entertain, enthral, make you smile and put a tear in the eye.
What more can you ask for?
And he delivers them in a Christy Moore/Sands Family “sotto voce”
delivery, and in an accent less redolent of his hometown of Stroke City
(Derry/Londonderry), and perhaps more reminiscent of a “universal”
Irish accent. The sort of accent that Limerick born Frank McCourt has
(although he has had his many years as a New York schoolteacher iron
out the creases in his!).
And why do I think of McCourt? No doubt my brain is making weird connections again.
I suppose he springs to mind because the overriding impression one gets
with Friel is not just of a very pleasant singer (which he is); not of
a man with an ear for a good tune (which he sure has); but above all,
one leaves the CD's final strains convinced that here one is in the
presence of a natural storyteller.
This man has a big novel in him. One day we will get it. For the moment
we music fans should thank our lucky stars that he is writing these
novellas which he is then compressing into four or five stanzas of real
There is not a track that disappointed me. And several that proved ready to take residence in my soul.
Foremost of these is a sensational song called “King And Queen”. No,
no, it lays no heavy political “trip” on you: quite the opposite. It is
wondrous work of his imagination. These two are not royals but mountain
peaks, and Friel gloriously imagines them in conversation with each
other. And it is not just the lyrics: the tune also is a little gem.
Especially the mandolin playing at the end: it is as haunting an
instrumental passage as I have heard in an age.
Throughout the musicianship is of the highest order, and if I mention
Eddie O'Donnell's mandolin there, let me hasten to add that I could
easily mention the dozen other fine musicians Eamon surrounds himself
Don't ask yourself whether you will buy a copy of this CD. Ask yourself, how MANY copies!
- Here is the River (4:58)
- I'll Go Along With You (3:19)
- King and Queen (4:56)
- Never Say Die (3:37)
- Love of My Heart (4:36)
- From My Window (3:07) (Friel/Duggan)
- Under the Green of the Trees (5:10)
- All the Lost Things (2:32)
- The Western Wind (4:10)
- The Shangri La Cafe (5:20)
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