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The Long Black Veil

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Album Review

With Long Black Veil, the Chieftains attempted a mainstream pop crossover by recording with rock and pop stars from the Rolling Stones and Sting to Van Morrison and Sinéad O'Connor. Instead of changing their sound to accommodate the talents of their guests, the band plays it straight. As always, their performance is superb; what is surprising is how well the pop stars sing Celtic material. None of the guest singers sound displaced or uncomfortable, which is largely due to the sympathetic performances of the Chieftains. In fact, the pairings work so well that Long Black Veil doesn't sound like an effort to broaden their audience; rather, it sounds completely natural.


Formed: 1963 in Dublin, Ireland

Genre: World

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The original traditional Irish folk band, as far as anyone who came of age in the 1970s or '80s is concerned, is the Chieftains. Their sound, built largely on Paddy Moloney's pipes, is otherworldly, almost entirely instrumental, and seems as though it comes out of another age of man's history. That they became an international phenomenon in the '70s and '80s is testament to their virtuoso musicianship. The Chieftains were first formed in Dublin during 1963, as a semi-professional outfit, from the...
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