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In Person At Carnegie Hall

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Album Review

Irish folk music isn't for everyone, but if you're the slightest bit interested in the genre, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem are required listening. While both the Clancys and Makem have produced some fine solo albums, their best work remains their collaborative recordings. Particularly on live records like this one, their love for the music and culture of Ireland comes across loud and clear, delighting the audience and the listener. Thanks to an above-average collection of tunes and the lively performance of the musicians, In Person at Carnegie Hall is a great starting point for the uninitiated. It also serves as a good tolerance test for listeners who are uncertain whether Irish music is really for them; if you don't like what you hear on this album, chances are you won't care for anything else the genre has to offer. Of course, it's hard to imagine anyone not being drawn in by the opening one-two punch of "Johnson's Motorcar" and "The Juice of the Barley." And it just gets better from there. Not only are all the songs fun to listen to, but each one represents a particular type of Irish tune. There's the drinking song ("A Jug of Punch"), the protest song ("Patriot Game"), and the rollicking singalong ("Reilly's Daughter"). But the standout here is the 12-and-a-half-minute track "The Children's Medley," in which the musicians string together more than a dozen different songs and poems from their childhood. The result is beautiful pastiche of old-old-school Irish folk music that makes you appreciate the history and beauty of the form.

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