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DONAL MAGUIRE "The Clergy's Lamentation" Rossendale Records muscd002

1980 was the last release date for this album and now, some twenty years on, a reprieve and a release on CD. Added to the songs and tunes from the original sessions are three, more recently recorded songs. So, how does all this shape up in the new digital world of 2001?

It shapes up very well, very well indeed. Donal Maguire is an exceptionally fine singer. His soft Irish accent has a lightness that allows the words to sail with the tune, control enough to hold or add decoration and a strong sense of the slowish pace and timing that many songs (certainly those recorded here) require. The songs are all good and include fine versions of, "The Bonny Labouring Boy", "Roger The Miller", "The Shamrock Shore", "The Generous Lover" and "The Grand Conversation on Napoleon". The instrumental tracks may have faired less well with time. This I feel this is due more to eighties recording styles, although the harp playing of Wendy Stewart on the title track, "The Clergy's Lamentation" and, "The Pride of Glencoe", is as rewarding as ever.

In these times when there are so many recordings of " good singers", that can only trace the roots of their songs back to the last CD they've borrowed, it really is a joy to hear someone of substance and maturity. If your thinking this is born from, things-were-better-summers-were-longer-leave-our-front-doors-unlocked, feelings of nostalgia then educate yourself and have a listen to this CD, or better still, go and see the man himself.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 43 of The Living Tradition magazine.