Irish Times

Archive: Album Reviews – Andy Irvine – Way Out Yonder (2000)

ANDY IRVINE “Way Out Yonder” Own Label AK2

A new Andy Irvine release always sets off a tingle with me, because I know, just know that I’m going to find something in it to enjoy, whether a new song, radical, sad or otherwise here, or maybe a Balkan-influenced tune there. Maybe there’ll even be a guest musician or two that I’ll appreciate.

Well, Andy, you’ve not let me down this time, as this one’s got the lot. The title track is as jaunty a tune as I’ve heard for a while, one of these ones that keep popping back into your head for no reason other than enjoyment, with swirling harmonica and intricate string work.

And as for the songs – well, my money would be on the opening number “Gladiators”, a history lesson about the I.W.W. in Australia at the time of the First World War, to be one which is picked up by club singers, but maybe others’ tastes would prefer the new version of “The Girl I Left Behind” or the totally whimsical and imaginative “They’ll Never Believe It’s True” (they won’t!)

“Moreton Bay” is the only traditional song in this collection, here getting a suitably poignant arrangement, and Andy breathes new life into “The Highwayman” – yes, the Alfred Noyes poem everybody got at school, here sung to a Loreena McKennitt tune.

As for the musicians, let’s just say there’s ten of them and three backing vocalists, any of whom would pull the crowds out. Get the CD to find out more – I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

Gordon Potter
This album was reviewed in Issue 41 of The Living Tradition magazine.




Archive: 1st Aug 2000 – Irish Times Review – Andy Irvine (with guests)

Andy Irvine (with guests)

Tue, Aug 1, 2000, 01:00 – MIC MORONEY

The whisper had gone out about a reunion of the Planxty desperadoes, but this was Andy Irvine’s night, and a huge crowd gave him pin-drop attention as he boldly executed long, historic, left-wing pinko ballads like that Australian anti-conscription song, Gladiators – and they roared for more.

He lilted unaccompanied into that hilarious auld diddle about the Irish mother who posted a letter addressed to “My Son in Americay”, then swooned back off onto mandolin/bouzouki for Braca Hill, or that Antrim song, Come With Me to the Mountain.

Personally, I was raging to hear Born in Carrickfergus, but it was great to see those idiolectic tunings and pickings again; mandolin melodies plucked at great variance to what he was actually singing.

After the break, Donal Lunny came on, and there was a lot of tuning and fussing. It never got right in the end, but Lunny quietly shouldered Irvine’s My Heart Tonight’s In Ireland. On Chetvorno Horo, a Balkan 7/16 tune, Lunny’s bouzouki and Irvine’s mandolin were making that magical mesh of strings again, even though – the old Planxty curse – they could hardly hear each other.

When Christy Moore arrived, the extremists were howling “Up Newbridge”, but the boys kept it low and accoustic, trying to find some way back between Christy’s so-gently flogged guitar/bodhran and the out-there mandolin/bouzouki of the others.

That’s when they started very quietly strumming the heartstrings: leaving you swaying gently to Andy on Arthur MacBride, or his Ur-camp A Blacksmith Coorted Me, while Christy dug the emotion out of Lord Musgrave and The Lakes of Pontchartrain. No joking, they finished up with Andy’s great song The West Coast of Clare, and I’ll Go No More A- Roving.

God forgive me, but there were tears in my eyes.


This review featured in the Irish Times it is unclear the venue the performance took place. It seems to be a rare performance by 3 members of Planxty.
 If anyone has any additional info please get in touch.

Irish Times Review: Planxty – Between the Jigs and the Reels

Planxty – Between the Jigs and the Reels album review: Four decades of bursting trad’s boundaries

Album: Between The Jigs And The Reels

Artist: Planxty
Label: Universal Music
Genre: Traditional

The boys are back. This CD/DVD is a timely reminder, 44 yearsafter their debut, of the revolutionary musical imaginations that fuelled Planxty’s music and shaped so much of what has happened since then in the world of traditional music.

Liam Ó Floinn’s piping in the beautiful opener, True Love Knows No Season, as it weaves in between Andy Irvine’s sinuous harmonica (laden with dustbowl influences), will send a shiver down the spinal column of the most nonchalant listener.

Between the Jigs and the Reels is a lesson in evolutionary musical biology, with Christy Moore still feeling out his own voice on the early recording of Follow Me Up to Carlow. His reading owes more to the balladeering tradition of The Dubliners than it does to his later incarnation, which was (mercifully) devoid of the earnest troubadour of this early rendition. The incantatory rhythms of Dónal Lunny’s bouzouki and the delicately picked melody lines of Irvine’s mandolin are equally breathtaking.

There is a healthy balance between the show-stoppers (Little Musgrave) and the infinite complexities of the tunes (Baneasa’s Green Glade), with plenty of space in between to make room for every listener.

The gargantuan DVD, bursting with outtakes from a slew of RTÉ recordings, is a treasure trove, with complementary versions of seminal recordings that will have ally self-respecting trad anoraks comparing and contrasting album and DVD for months.

The precision-engineered punctuation of Ó Floinn’s pipes defines the melody line of Sí Beag Sí Mór, another reminder of just how pivotal he was in placing the pipes front and centre, after decades in the doldrums.

Between the Jigs and the Reels is also striking for the riches of Planxty’s ensemble contributions: all multi-instrumentalists, with three vocalists rambling from the west coast of Clare to the furthest reaches of eastern Europe, propelled by calculus-like rhythms and genteel vocals.

The visuals are a delight as well: Is that really a shirt and tie on Dónal as he sails The Good Ship Kangaroo? A fiery, freewheeling collection.

Planxty’s Between the Jigs and the Reels: A Retrospective is released on October 28th through Universal Music.