This review is written by Dai Woosnam, firstname.lastname@example.org, 9/02
This album is so very different from the usual album I am sent for review. For one thing it is very accessible.
Indeed, it’s a bit of a throwback to the LPs that were being produced 40 years ago. Easy-listening, well-known songs with a beginning, a middle and an end (you don’t know how rare it sometimes seems such songs are becoming!), and a singer in Ian Gallagher who has a relaxed Val Doonican-type voice to immediately help win-over his audience.
Backed by some competent musicians and good harmony vocals, I would have been happy to list this CD as one to have in one’s Christmas stocking this year. But that was until well into the second half of the CD, when the album took a weird change of direction.
Suddenly we got well over 5 minutes of a Glenn Miller medley! Eh? The album is called “My Ireland”: it strikes me that the A Train runs up the West Side of Manhattan, NOT the west side of MUNSTER! True, it’s played well-enough, but it does shake one from one’s reverie of old Ireland.
No doubt, Gallagher will claim that there was a link between his boyhood (in Ireland?: how one would have loved some liner notes) and this American dance-band music. But I feel compelled to tell him that souvenir hunters visiting Ireland and buying this CD would inevitably feel short-changed when they returned to the States and found it to be containing a chunk of home-grown quintessential American dance-band music.
But he remedies matters at the end with a version of “Danny Boy”. Now, this great ballad is a minefield. It is to Ireland just what “My Love is Like a Red Red Rose” is to Scotland: viz, the song that marks the men out from the boys. Many singers embark on both, not fully appreciating the vocal range required.
I had my fingers crossed for Gallagher, as his upper register is not the strongest. However he hit the top notes well enough, although he had to resort to his “head” voice. But he pulled it off.
By the way, I note that he shows the song as “traditional Irish”. Well yes, it is an ancient Irish melody, but the words as I recall, were written by an Englishman, Fred E.Weatherly. Credit where credit is due please Ian!
And as I lifted the CD out of its player, I mused on how whilst I would
not mind the CD in my Christmas stocking, I doubted whether I would rush
to save it in the event of a house fire.
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