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The Chieftains 8

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Album Review

The debut album by the Chieftains, recorded when they were still a semi-professional outfit, is more restrained than their subsequent efforts. The opening number introduces each of the bandmembers, Paddy Moloney and Sean Potts on pipes, followed by Michael Tubridy on flute and David Fallon on bodhran, Martin Fay on the fiddle, and then Tubridy on the concertina. The group would later acquire what can only be called a more soulful approach, but the playing here was a revelation at the time, if only for its stripped-down authenticity. The music — mostly airs, reels, and jigs — and performances lack the otherworldly quality that characterized the Chieftains' 1970s albums, but the melodies are still extremely pretty, and make up in immediacy and high spirits what they lack in mystique and mysticism. Martin Fay's fiddle is more prominent here than on subsequent records, where Moloney's pipes became the major voice within the group. Highlights include "Comb Your Hair and Curl It/The Boys of Ballisodare," "The Musical Priest/The Queen of May," "The Walls of Liscarroll," and "The Connemara Stocking."


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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