Dónal Lunny

Journey: The Best of Dónal Lunny

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Dónal Lunny needs at least a two-CD set to collate his musical high points over the last few decades; a box set might even be more apt. But you take what you get, and for the most part it's a magnificent collection, even if placing things in chronological order would have been easier. As it is, you slip back and forth through the decades with probably the most important person in modern Irish music. From the Bothy Band and Planxty, the two seminal Irish bands of the '70s (and, curiously, Planxty is represented by "Smeceno Horo," rather than anything Irish). However, that comes right after "Tribute to Peader O'Raida," a Moving Hearts piece that was far too long when first issued, and is still. There's possibly too much focus here on Lunny's work in the '90s, with an emphasis on the Sult and Coolfin bands, and his work as an accompanist, with "Shan Van Vocht," and several other tracks -- more of his sparkling bouzouki and guitar work would have been welcome. And it's all worthwhile for his arrangement of "The Blacksmith," with the gorgeous voice of Eddi Reader out front. Toward the end, you get the short pieces that comprise "Millennium Suite," Lunny's pan-Celtic composition that was presented worldwide by the BBC on December 31, 1999, a fitting end to a celebration of the man.

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