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PLANXTY 'After The Break' Tara TARACD3001

Originally released in 1979, the re-release on CD is given as 1992, but it dropped onto my doormat a few short weeks ago. There's a bit of a mystery here, but I'm not complaining. This was, is and always will be one of the classic, defining albums of the folk revival. In those far-off days my experience of Irish music seemed to be defined by the sweateriness of the Clancy Brothers, the tweediness of the Chieftains and the beardiness of the Dubliners. Great music, great songs, but a bit formulaic and stereotyped. Then along came Planxty and the formulas and stereotypes were blown out of the water. They were just so undeniably groovy, I suppose.

"After The Break" celebrates the five-piece, with Matt Molloy's wonderful flute complementing the breathtaking skills of Christy Moore, Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine and Liam O'Flynn. The album consists of five tune sets and five songs, all arranged with impeccable taste and played with unerring flair. It's an impossible job to pick a standout track - as each new piece begins it supplants the previous one as the all-time favourite. Andy and Christy sing out of their skins, Matt and Liam play their socks off and Donal keeps the whole shebang in safe, sure hands.

Nowadays, with Celtic music as an all-conquering globe-spanner, it's difficult to imagine the impact that Planxty had in their day. Listen to "After The Break" and all becomes clear. Groovy or what?

Alan Rose

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This album was reviewed in Issue 58 of The Living Tradition magazine.