Christy Moore

Christy Moore [Atlantic]

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This self-titled album, Christy Moore's first on Atlantic Records, seemed intended to introduce him to a wider audience, possibly including American listeners. The album cover includes quotes from Irish music celebrities like Elvis Costello, Shane McGowan and Bono, describing Moore as the "greatest living Irishman" and the Irish equivalent to Woody Guthrie. These endorsements are true enough, but the album they promote proceeds to water down Moore's greatness almost beyond recognition. On several tracks the predominant instrument is the synthesizer rather than the acoustic guitar. And where the guitar is used, it is often in a paper-thin remedial picking pattern that does nothing to demonstrate the artist's virtuosic abilities on the instrument. The album also does little to demonstrate Moore's songwriting talents, featuring only one original Christy Moore song, "Delirium Tremens." It is a clever and tuneful song about a man's hallucinations while trying to give up alcohol, but the twinkly keyboard arrangement it receives here (by producers Moore and Donal Lunny with assistance from new age icon Enya, who also provides background vocals) is inappropriately soft and lilting. But two of the brightest points on Christy Moore are not political at all: "City of Chicago," written by Christy's brother Barry (better known as Luka Bloom), and Jimmy McCarthy's "Lisdoonvarna," a witty song about a summer music festival in County Clare, Ireland. Christy Moore is not a bad album, but it makes a poor introduction to his music. Moore may well be "the most powerful Irish folk singer today," as Jackson Browne claims on the record jacket, but this album is not so much folk music as easy-listening '80s pop.

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