Tommy Makem - Songbag

Number of Discs
Tommy Makem
CD / Album
Label / Studio
Shanachie Records


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This album is a wonderful way to discover the work of Tommy Makem separate from that of the Clancy Brothers. Although a studio recording (made in New Hampshire, where Makem lived in his last decades), it is strongly representative, in its content and presentation, of the artist's live shows: the repertory is supported by Makem's personal notes on each song, making the CD almost as much a history lesson as a delightful listening experience (had it been made a decade or so later, it would probably have been a live show on DVD). Makem is in superb voice on a range of material, traditional and original, that spans three continents and several centuries, all to mostly acoustic accompaniment that wouldn't have been too different at the outset of his career. On a cautionary note for folk purists, there are synthesizers credited among the instruments, but these are used with such subtlety that one can easily miss their presence. By this time in his career, Makem had become the Celtic equivalent of Pete Seeger, his range and repertory transcending category, and in his case something even more -- there is a subtle actor-ish quality to his work here (in keeping with his aspirations in that area) that makes these recordings not just musically compelling but gives them a dramatic edge as well, whether the material at hand is light or serious. And the listening experience is, thus, further enriched beyond the merits of the music itself. ~ Bruce Eder

1) The Wild Colonial Boy (03:12)
2) The Little Beggar Man (01:50)
3) Johnny, I Hardly Knew You (03:53)
4) Canada My Own Land (02:56)
5) Gentle Annie (04:45)
6) Roddy MC Corley (02:51)
7) The Old Orange Flute (03:20)
8) Johnny MC Eldoo (01:52)
9) The Black Velvet Band (05:27)
10) The Irish Rover (02:35)
11) The Rambles of Spring (02:55)
12) Farewell to Carlingford (03:27)
13) Wild Rover (03:42)
14) Red Is the Rose (04:33)
15) Tim Finnegan's Wake (02:45)
16) The Moonshiner (02:46)
17) The Butcher Boy (03:45)
18) I'll Tell Me Ma (02:15)
19) Bold O'Donahue (02:01)
20) Four Green Fields (05:32)

E1 Distribution
Main Format
Explicit Lyrics
Keyword Index
Songbag | Tommy Makem