Various Artists

Bringing It All Back Home, Vol. 1 [Valley]

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Bringing It All Back Home, Vol. 1 is the first of three volumes of Irish and Irish-related music "produced in conjunction with a BBC television documentary of the same name, " as the sleeve note puts it, but not billed as a soundtrack. "The Influence of Irish Music, " reads an album cover subtitle, and that provides a key to the contents, which combine traditional and original Irish music played by Irish artists such as Hothouse Flowers, De Danann, and the Clancy Brothers with songs in the Irish tradition but sometimes performed by international artists, such as Richard Thompson ("The Dimming of the Day") and the Everly Brothers ("Rose Connolly"). The music is newly recorded for the most part, and the mixture gives a broad sense of the range of Irish music and its descendants. The dark side of the spread of the music, however, is the diaspora that helped bring it about, a subject touched upon in the song lyrics, especially Mick Moloney, Jimmy Keane, and Robbie O'Connell's performance of Peter Jones' "Kilkelly," an epistolary tale of emigration that virtually anyone of Irish descent won't be able to listen to without crying. Part of the attraction of Irish music, of course, is its appeal to the emotions, and that characteristic is present here in abundance.

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