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The Chieftains 4

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iTunes Review

On this early gem, The Chieftains combine the spirit of a great pub session with the impeccable technique of a small orchestra. The familiar reel "Drowsy Maggie" becomes a showcase for virtuoso fiddle and whistle solos, and "Women of Ireland" (later the theme for Kubrick's Barry Lyndon) is the sweetest of airs. This album marks the arrival of Derek Bell's lilting harp and a more ambitious sense of arrangement: "The Battle of Aughrim" is their first instrumental suite, stringing traditional pieces together to tell a larger story.

Customer Reviews

The best Chieftains album

For anyone not familiar with the Chieftains' music (or Irish music in general), this is the album to get. I've heard about 15 Chieftains albums, and this one best combines the raw energy of their earlier efforts with the lush arrangements of later albums. Particular highlights include the opening "Drowsy Maggie" medley (where each band member gets his own solo), the multi-part arrangement of the reel "the Morning Dew" and the slow air "Mna na hEireann," which Stanley Kubrick used in his movie Barry Lyndon. If you like this album, other great Chieftains albums include the Chieftains 2 (which has the best collection of tunes on any Irish music album I've heard), the Chieftains 8 (which features my all-time favorite Chieftains track "Sea Image") and Boil the Breakfast Early (the first Chieftains album with the incredible flute player Matt Molloy). Other great Irish music albums include the first Planxty album ("the Black Album"), the Best of the Bothy Band (or either their eponymous first album or Old Hag You Have Killed Me), De Danann's Selected Jigs, Reels and Songs (unfortunately never released on CD), Altan's Harvest Storm or Island Angel and Lunasa's Otherworld.


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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