The Rising of the Moon: Irish Songs of Rebellion

The Clancy Brothers / Tommy Makem

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The Rising of the Moon: Irish Songs of Rebellion Review

by Johnny Loftus

The Rising of the Moon was the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem's first appearance on wax as a group. Recorded in 1959, in the kitchen of Kenneth S. Goldstein (co-creator of the Tradition label with Paddy Clancy), the album is a largely austere collection of fight songs and ballads that trace the fighting history of Ireland. It features the singing of Paddy, Liam, and Tom Clancy; Makem sings as well, adds his tin whistle, and even plays rousing, military-style percussion on tracks like "Men of the West." While Makem and the Clancys' vocals are rich and melodic throughout the set, Rising of the Moon might be most striking for its instrumentation. Besides the input of Makem, the album features expressive guitar and harp, courtesy of Jack Keenan and Jack Malady, respectively. Both musicians help to lend Rising of the Moon its intimate, fireside feel; it's a sound that the Clancys and Makem would move away from on later, more crowd-pleasing releases, but here it helps imbue these songs with a respectful air. "Eamonn an Chniuic" is supported by the plucked harp like raindrops on a stubbornly wavering flower petal, while the instrument adds color to the guitar's urgent rhythm during "Foggy Dew." "Whack fol the Diddle" introduces one of the group's most famous singing techniques, while Makem's whistle livens up the title track's melody. But it's "Wind That Shakes the Barley" that could best combine aesthetic instrumentation with heartfelt emotion. This Tradition reissue includes Paddy's original liner notes and was digitally remastered for optimum sound quality.

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