The Barra MacNeils

Until Now

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A rather odd compilation of tracks from the Barra MacNeils' first six releases. It is odd because it focuses on one release (1991's Timeframe), while other albums are merely touched on and only represented by one track. Five of the 14 tracks are from Timeframe, or one half of that album. Their two best albums, Closer to Paradise and The Question are represented by one track each, although the Barras do a re-recording of "Am pige Ruadh" from Closer to Paradise, known on this release as "Mouth Music '97." In fact, it is on the CD twice, once as a "Bonus Extended Version," which really was not necessary given the fact that key tracks are missing from this compilation. The "hits" are here -- "Darling Be Home Soon" and "My Heart's In the Homeland," as well as their incredible duet with Bruce Cockburn on Cockburn's "Going Down the Road" -- but it is what is omitted that is somewhat disappointing. The tracks offered on this release are strong, and do serve as an excellent introduction to the band, but the CD does not do a great job of reflecting the band's diversity or their talent as writers over their first six releases. That is a shame, because there is much more to this band than the Celtic/maritime music represented here. Still, a treat to listen to, and the ideal CD to take on any long drives through the country.

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