Golden Bough

Golden Bough Live

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Golden Bough was one of the formative American-based Celtic bands, founded in the Bay Area in 1980. This live CD comes from a concert celebrating 25 years of the group's existence, bringing together all the present and former members. Think of this as a kind of greatest-hits collection, and you're on the right track. The traditional material fares better than their own compositions, and some of the instrumentals, such as "O'Carolan's Draught," work quite beautifully. The problem comes with the songs. Some, like "Country Life" and "John Barleycorn," have been done quite definitively by others, and Golden Bough adds nothing new. Elsewhere everything is fine, but not outstanding. The singing tends toward the twee, lacking in passion. That said, they're a fine band, with excellent instrumental chops, and the various members from all eras fit together well. It just simply never takes off for the stratosphere or has the sense of occasion that it should.

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