The Chieftains

The Chieftains 3

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The weakest of the group's albums, Chieftains 3 suffers from a sameness to the material. The album starts out rousingly enough with the double-time jig "Strike the Gay Harp," and has a handful of memorable tracks, such as "Carolan's Concerto"; "The Trip to Sligo," a haunting theme-and-variations piece; and "Sonny's Mazurka," a beautiful piece written by a departed colleague of the band, played with poignant, inspiring intensity. It is clear on repeated listening, however, that the group had reached an impasse in repertory after three full LPs. The presence of guest lilter Pat Kilduff on "The Hunter's Purse" shows the Chieftains trying to broaden their musical range. It wasn't until the next album, Chieftains 4, with the addition of Derek Bell on the harp, that the group would take the next major step in its development and break away from its status outside of Ireland as only a successful cult act.

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