The Voice Squad

Many's the Foolish Youth

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The Voice Squad represent the melding of two related but separate traditions -- a British harmony-singing tradition (as exemplified by the Copper Family and the Watersons) and the unaccompanied solo singing tradition of Northern Ireland (as exemplified by such legendary artists as Paddy Tunney and Joe Heaney). By taking the traditional Irish repertoire and harmonizing it in a generally British style, the three members of the Voice Squad have created something new and absolutely wonderful. All three singers have excellent voices, but tenor Fran McPhail is the one who brings something tonally unique to the ensemble; his voice has an eerie, almost horn-like quality that blends beautifully with the harder-edged voices of tenor Phil Callery and baritone Gerry Cullen. This 1995 reissue of Many's the Foolish Youth, originally released in 1987, brings improved sound quality to a set of songs that showcases this group at its best, on a program that ranges from the romantic regret of "The Banks of the Bann" to the traditional parting song "The Parting Glass" and stops off in between for a couple of Christmas songs ("The Holly She Bears a Berry," "Kilmore Carol," "Shepherds Arise"). The Voice Squad deliver everything with a marvelous combination of power and tenderness that is bound to touch your heart.

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