The debut album by the Chieftains, recorded when they were still a semi-professional outfit, is more restrained than their subsequent efforts. The opening number introduces each of the bandmembers, Paddy Moloney and Sean Potts on pipes, followed by Michael Tubridy on flute and David Fallon on bodhran, Martin Fay on the fiddle, and then Tubridy on the concertina. The group would later acquire what can only be called a more soulful approach, but the playing here was a revelation at the time, if only for its stripped-down authenticity. The music -- mostly airs, reels, and jigs -- and performances lack the otherworldly quality that characterized the Chieftains' 1970s albums, but the melodies are still extremely pretty, and make up in immediacy and high spirits what they lack in mystique and mysticism. Martin Fay's fiddle is more prominent here than on subsequent records, where Moloney's pipes became the major voice within the group. Highlights include "Comb Your Hair and Curl It/The Boys of Ballisodare," "The Musical Priest/The Queen of May," "The Walls of Liscarroll," and "The Connemara Stocking."
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder