Irish stalwarts Planxty begin Cold Blow and the Rainy Night -- their third record for Shanachie -- with a rousing version of the Scottish battlefield classic "Johnnie Cope." It's a fitting opening to a record that essentially rounded out their recording heyday as the members splintered off to form equally influential Celtic acts like the Bothy Band, Moving Hearts, and De Danann. Co-founder Dónal Lunny, despite contributing instrumentally to a few tracks and taking a seat in the production chair, left the group, allowing newest member Johnny Moynihan to take over bouzouki and -- along with Andy Irvine and Christy Moore -- vocal duties. The title track is one of the finest of their career, utilizing Liam O'Flynn's expert uillean pipes and the band's peerless harmonizing to a tee. Moore's gorgeous "Lakes of Pontchartrain" and Irvine's moving closer, "Green Fields of Canada," showcase the group's timeless mastery of balladry, a style that would greatly inform their later solo works. Cold Blow and the Rainy Night, along with The Well Below the Valley, and their legendary debut, are essential listening for those in love with, or merely intrigued with, the genre.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger