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View Poll Results: What`s your verdict on Irish Heartbeat ?
Excellent 0 0%
Good 3 42.86%
OK 4 57.14%
Disappointing 0 0%
Awful 0 0%
Voters: 7. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-21-2011, 01:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Irish Heartbeat by Van Morrison and The Chieftains

This is a discussion thread for the album Irish Heartbeat by Van Morrison and the Chieftains, recorded in 1988 :-
Quote:



After building up a huge following in their own right, the Irish folk band, The Chieftains, finally teamed up with fellow country-man Van Morrison to produce an album that should have a wide appeal.

Eight of the ten tracks are fresh and powerful reworkings of traditional songs; the lyrics do not disappoint and Van Morrison`s unique delivery will send a chill down the most jaded of spines. Add to that the full range of the Chieftains` fiddles, pipes and bodhràn, and you have an album that succeeds on many levels. You can play it loudly and be swept away by the swirling music, or play it softly and it still sounds great. There are moments of joy, nostalgia and mystery, and a heartfelt version of Carrickfergus in which VM pulls out all the stops.
The album won a recent selection poll of http://www.musicbanter.com/country-f...lbum-club.html - but of course everyone is welcome to join in the debate.
Any opinions ?
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's a well-produced album and the instrumentals are great... Unfortunately, it didn't really surprise me much. I'm sure it'll grow on me over time, but for now... I find it a bit dull. (The Irish-centered folk thing got a bit exhausting after a few listens... sorry).

I do have a lot of respect for Morrison, though. The fact that he branched out a bit and was still making decent albums in the 80s shows he's a skilled musician...
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Call it cultural bias maybe but this didn't do much for me. While musically it is a good album it left me pretty cold. I guess it's a bit of a challenge to try and take a traditional sound and make it new and exciting. They did it well but there isn't any new ground covered here which is something I look for in my musical explorations.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fazstp View Post
Call it cultural bias maybe but this didn't do much for me. While musically it is a good album it left me pretty cold. I guess it's a bit of a challenge to try and take a traditional sound and make it new and exciting. They did it well but there isn't any new ground covered here which is something I look for in my musical explorations.
You summed it up much better than I did. Thank you.
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I like it a lot. Music doesn't always have to challenge convention or warp boundaries to be enjoyable, sometimes you just want to kick back, give your brain some time off, and listen to something that is just... nice. This is one of those albums for me.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, at least it`s not all bad news for this album, and people are being polite enough to vote no lower than "OK".

It`s true that the music stays close to traditional interpretations and maybe lacks surprises. I rather liked the no-nonsense approach in which they don`t try to make the music too pretty-sounding. For instance, they avoid the big Celtic cliché of electronically-enhanced ethereal beauty that some (female) singers go for. Instead they belt out the music as if they were a pub band, helped along by Van Morrison`s powerful voice.

For the Chieftains at least, this album was quite a turning point in their career, as they hit on the scheme of pairing themselves with various rock stars; Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful among them.

Most recently, they teamed up with Ry Cooder for the album San Patricio. As sometimes happens with folk music, there`s a story behind the song, and in this case the history is perhaps more interesting than the music: the "Saint Patricks" were a batallion of mainly Irish soldiers who deserted the USA in the Mexican-American war and went to fight for their fellow Catholics, the Mexicans. Any one who wants to read about the sad outcome of their idealistic decision can take a look here :-

Saint Patrick's Battalion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 11-09-2018, 10:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The album and subsequent collaboration is amazing, thumbs up to them.
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Old 11-10-2018, 06:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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^ Welcome to MB Jayben, and congrats on finding this old thread!
It's a great album and there are plenty of recommendations around for similar Celtic gems - or perhaps you have some of your own to share?

For anyone who hasn't heard it, here's the opening track, so why not enjoy that agreeable experience of listening and reading along?


Spoiler for Lyrics:
Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One morning last July
From a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so sweet from her two bare feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, sure I shook myself
For to see I was really there.

From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin Town
No maid I've seen like the brown colleen
That I met in the County Down.

As she onward sped sure I scratched my head
And I looked with a feeling rare
And I says, says I, to a passerby
"Who's the maid with the nut-brown hair?"
He smiled at me, and he says, says he,
"That's the gem of Ireland's crown.
Young Rosie McCann from the banks of the Bann
She's the star of the County Down."

From Bantry Bay and from Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin Town
No maid I've seen like the fair colleen
That I met in the County Down.

At the harvest fair she'll be surely there
And I'll dress in my Sunday clothes
With my shoes shone bright and my hat cocked right
For a smile from my nut-brown rose.
No pipe I'll smoke, no horse I'll yoke
Til my plow turns rust-coloured brown
Till a smiling bride by my own fireside
Sits the star of the County Down.

My only grumble is that the whole album is pretty short, and this song in particular could've been stretched beyond its two and a half minutes by putting in this excellent verse as well:-
Quote:
I've travelled a bit, but never was hit
Since my roving career began
But fair and square I surrendered there
To the charms of young Rosie McCann.
I had a heart to let and no tenant yet
Did I meet with in shawl or gown
But in she went and I asked no rent
From the star of the County Down.
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