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TOMMY SANDS "The Hearts A Wonder" Green Linnet GLCD1158

If you didn't know who Tommy Sands was you might guess from the sleeve notes that it must be a very special person who could gather a supporting cast for his album that included Pete Seeger, Dolores Keane, Arty McGlynn, Steve Cooney and Ciaran Tourish to name but a few. The Sands Family were playing in Eastern Europe long before the wall came down, at times being paid using coal as currency, and their songs and warmth have build bridges everywhere and the songs of Tommy and Colum have already assured them of their place amongst the songwriting greats of the revival.

This isn't the strongest set of Tommy's songs and the inclusion of the frail voice of Pete Seeger singing a verse in "The Music of Healing" may be misunderstood by listeners who don't know Tommy or Pete. That particular song, a positive song about the progress towards peace in Northern Ireland, contains elements in the second verse of words by Pete Seeger and words quoted from Pete's father, and is the centre piece of the album.

An album then for those in the know and there are plenty of people in that category. How about a "live" album next Tommy, or is your ploy to force the whole world to make the trip to the Rostrevor Festival to find out what the real fuss is all about.

John Muirhead

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This album was reviewed in Issue 15 of The Living Tradition magazine.