Monday, September 11, 2006

When The Celts Get The Blues ...

Celtic Blue play traditional Celtic folk music and "Live Legless" is a fine example of true Celtic spirit and are damn fine drinking songs too! Celtic Blue hail from Guelph, Ontario, Canada and is where they recorded this live album over a period of 2 shows in the spring of 1989. I have to thank my brother for this gem. He gave me a bag o cassette tapes to sort through and take what I liked and Celtic Blue was one them. This album really got me interested in folk music such as Clannad and The Chieftains and certainly influenced my appreciation for folk metal. Being a cassette tape posed a problem for me. Tapes wear out and I was listening to this a lot and I'll be darn sure I wasn't going to find another copy. I managed to dub the cassette to my computer into Cool Edit as 2 tracks (1 per side of cassette) and then proceeded to split each song into its own track as well as adjust the audio levels. It took a while, but it worked (as well for my 50 cent bargain tapes). Now Celtic Blue reside in my Ipod for generations of enjoyment. So what is the album like you ask? Well .....

Let me start by saying this is a heck of a foot stomping, beer chugging, back slapping good time. The album begins with the fiddle driven romp "Fairy Dance" which gets the blood flowing and blends seamlessly into "Soldier's Joy" with contemporary lyrics like ~ 25 cents for the morphine, 15 cents for the beer. 25 cents for the morphine, let's get the hell outa here!~ A sheer joy of an opener. Then we get raw sound of the ballad like song "Bank Of The Roses" which is sweet and lovely. You can hear a bit of feedback at the beginning, which gives me the impression that these guys just wanted to get playing and fiddle with the sound as you go. A real raw recording, professionally mixed but exudes a powerful stage experience. Before we can take a breath we are presented with the toast worthy beer chugger number "All For Me Grog". If not for this album, I'd have been terribly unprepared for the energetic Pub Sing at our local summer Renaissance Fair. Thank You Celtic Blue!

Other songs consist of traditional pieces like "Liverpool Lou", "The Wild Rover" and "Donald, Where's Your Trousers?" Played with bouncing energy which is contagious. The band performs with a raw professionalism. Performance artists who (not to knock their talent) are not necessarily proteges, but perform with exuberance and don't care if the fiddle or flute hit a sour note or the timing of the acoustic picking is slightly off. The sound is that of a group of musicians who love the music and love performing.

We are also treated to other traditional pieces which are a bit more thoughtful, passionate such as "As I Roved Out" and "Whisky In The Jar". And let's not forget about the instrumentals on top of "Fairy Dance". I'm talking about "The Reel Chicken" a fiddle loving' foot stomper and the mandolin/acoustic pickin' masterpiece "Auntie Mary & The Canary" an original tune penned by guitarist Doug Watt.

The stand out tracks are the album closer "Ye Canna Shove Your Granny Off The Bus". A morbidly fun sing a long (and the crowd does) song which brings the show to an energetic "wanting more" end. And then there is my favourite track "This Is It". Another original tune by fiddler (and vocals for this song) Rikki Gee and Cribbs (In the liner notes they thank a Willie Cribbs so it might be him). This is a blast of a downer tune. Depressing in its rollickin' catchy tune with an inspiring chorus of ~ This is it (this is it) This is it (this is it) Got a lot of hopes, They ain't worth shit ... well it ain't so bad y'know, wheeeeeeee! ~ Each chorus is followed by a blistering romp of a fiddling solo. Fantastic song.

Celtic Blue's live album is great and I can only imagine what fun watching them would be. You can hear the hoots and cheers of the crowd as they sing along and party it up. Al Clarke's vocals are gruff with hints of an Irish accent and bring a real traditional feel to the songs. And his Tin Flutin' ain't bad either. I don't think these are still playing, and I know nothing of a studio album, but I'm glad to be able to experience the sheer joy of their performance if only in my head and in me Grog! Cheers!


Blogger Chana said...

oh my i'm feeling lucky. this is two post in a row..heck, it's two post in total ;) ...Celtic, folk= nice, nice! good music, sweet sound, fun, happy good time.

oh that wonderful brother of yours to introduce you to this..

8:39 PM  
Blogger José Carlos Santos said...

wow, i'll have to get this. i'm a huge fan of the pogues and flogging molly, so i think i'll love this to bits!

2:58 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

I like the cover.

7:20 AM  
Blogger José Carlos Santos said...

say, would it be possible for you to send me those files you ripped to your computer? i don't think i'll find this anywhere else...

you can zip and send them to my email through, for example, or however else you prefer, if it's not too much hassle.

thanks a bunch!

1:42 PM  

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