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The Wide World Over: A 40 Year Celebration

The Chieftains

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Album Review

In the Chieftains' four decades of recording, they've changed labels a handful of times, and each label has seen fit to record at least one or two collections of the band's output under their tenure. At this point they have so many best-ofs and greatest-hits compilations, it's tough for the listener to know the best of what they're actually hearing. New millennium — new collection: the band's longtime label, RCA Victor, has done the Celtic community a favor by releasing a collection that deals more with the band's journey through their different phases as opposed to trying to reassemble a hits package. The end result is almost like listening to a radio station that only plays Chieftains songs. There are some live tracks, their countrified romp through "Cotton-Eyed Joe"; Van Morrison's adult-contemporary "Shenandoah"; an unusual introduction of the bandmembers in Chinese; appearances from Sting, Diana Krall, and Art Garfunkel; and a couple of new recordings. The breezy cover of "Morning Has Broken" fares better than the hybridized "Redemption Song" (in fact, it's a challenge to think of any instances of a successful Celtic/reggae alloy). The album will be enjoyed by Chieftains fans as a fun collection of songs they have never heard back-to-back before, and those looking for a greatest-hits collection will have plenty of other places to look.

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...
Full bio

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