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ENDA KENNY Baker's Dozen EKCD 0013

Enda Kenny is a singer/songwriter, born in Ireland, and living in Melbourne, Australia. "Baker's Dozen" - his second album, features eleven of his own songs, plus one each from the pens of Colum Sands and Vin Garbutt.

Despite the exalted company it is Enda's own songs that are the most memorable. Now given that Colum is represented by "Last House on Our Street", that takes some doing. However, set as it is between "Peregrine", (a powerful song about a falcon that has adapted to inner city life, and the analogy of its life with that of the singer), and "Rabin", (Enda's masterful epitaph for Yitzhak Rabin, Six Day War hero turned peacemaker, who paid for his vision with his life), Colum's song is well matched.

That's not all, the opening track "Baker's Dozen", a lament for the traditional bakers who are being put out of work by the supermarkets selling "it in plastic straight from the factory" sets the tone for the album. It is a passionate song about quality and traditional values v "progress".

However, it's not all as intense as the three I've so far mentioned. Enda is a fine performer and knows how to pace a set. Songs about Australia's wide open spaces, and traversing them, are here, as are songs about the pitfalls (and pleasures), to be faced by a musician on the road. Enda is also a protest singer, though in his case he protests about people who try to serve him "Earl Grey". This is a rarity, a humorous song that doesn't make you wince by the third play through the album.

"Cross of Nails" is another major song. Here Enda's inspiration is the mass bombings of the Second World War, and the positive response of the victims, in particular the people of Coventry. It is a hymn to the triumph of humanity over horror. (A Celtic born, Australia dweller writing about war - I smell a stereotype here).

Enda has a vocal style, and quality reminiscent of fellow Irishman, Kieran Halpin, no bad thing in my book. The accompaniment on the album is always interesting without ever overpowering the songs, and much of the credit for this goes to Lindsay Martin on fiddle and Tony Hargreaves on piano.

Enda Kenny makes me think about issues I haven't considered, be concerned about things I never knew about,while entertaining me. What more can you ask?

Having heard the "Baker's Dozen", I want to hear Enda's previous album "Twelve Songs". "Baker's Dozen" is an album to look out for.

John McCreadie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 17 of The Living Tradition magazine.