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The Essential Chieftains

The Chieftains

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Album Review

RCA Legacy's The Essential Chieftains breaks the legendary Irish collective's career into two sections. The first disc focuses on 18 of the group's finest traditional works like "Boil the Breakfast Early," "The Wind That Shakes the Barley/The Reel with the Beryle," and "Donegal Set," while the second disc relies on 17 of the band's billion or so collaborations, such as "Mo Ghile Mear" with Sting, "Shenandoah" with Van Morrison, and "Foggy Dew" with Sinéad O'Connor. At this point in their long and storied career — 40 albums over 40 years — a truly comprehensive anthology would have required the box set to end all box sets, but this Essential collection is fair enough for purists and accessible enough for casual fans to fill the void until that time comes.

Biography

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...
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