The Chieftains

The Chieftains 2

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

This is the real stuff, the very best of the group's early albums and the best representation of the Chieftains' original sound. If anything, the group is more confident the second time out, and the material, consisting of traditional airs, jigs, and polkas, is stronger than on the first album. Opening with the gorgeous double jig "Banish Misfortune, Gillan's Apples," which goes back to the time of the 16th century fiddler Raftery of Connacht, the record simply gets better all the way through. Though more familiar as a harp piece, "Planxty George Brabazon" (written by the harper-composer Turlough O'Carolan) comes off stunningly here played on pipes, flutes, etc., without a plucked instrument in sight; "The Foxhunt" is a great showcase for Martin Fay and Seán Keane's fiddle skills; the mournful, somber, but beautiful "Am Mhaighdean Mhara" was the tune that Stanley Kubrick absorbed into his movie Barry Lyndon, and tells a magical story of torment and lost love. Production on the album is first-rate and, in particular, makes excellent use of stereo separation.

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