In recent times, Celtic music has focused primarily on songs of the pub (drinking songs, jigs, reels) and the more mysterious female vocals (as heard in the Celtic Woman compilations). Also ever present in the repertoire, though, is that basic song form at the core of most musical cultures -- the love song. Golden Bough collect a fair range of regional love songs here, ranging from the mysterious female vocal format to the reel to the rousing, dramatic songs that call more for adventure than love (such as Paddy Tunney's excellent "P Is for Paddy"). There are pieces from Robert Burns that seem a bit more ballad-like than some of the others, but also hold strong pastoral elements. It's that pastoral backing that really identifies a lot of Celtic music as truly Celtic in mood, and the incorporation of the pastoral in a love song ties the love first to a place and secondly to a musical culture. Fans of Celtic music shouldn't find any major surprises here, but they should enjoy the collection for its range and execution. Those who have already found Celtic sounds not to their liking shouldn't be moved much further by this collection, but they may still appreciate the performances.
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AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg