The debut album by the Chieftains, recorded when they were still a semi-professional outfit, is more restrained than their subsequent efforts. The opening number introduces each of the bandmembers, Paddy Moloney and Sean Potts on pipes, followed by Michael Tubridy on flute and David Fallon on bodhran, Martin Fay on the fiddle, and then Tubridy on the concertina. The group would later acquire what can only be called a more soulful approach, but the playing here was a revelation at the time, if only for its stripped-down authenticity.
Soriana is ‘our Syria’. Our country that we left behind, forced out either by a search or by circumstances. We head out thinking that we carry no baggage, completely unaware of the biggest gift our country has bestowed upon us. That gift is the gift of musical knowledge. It remains with me throughout many journeys, it soothes wounds and inspires creation, provides warmth and a platform of stability, images, aromas, tastes that water the mouth and inspire new creations still. This music is my gift to our Syria – Soriana.
On A Queen of Hearts, French-American vocalist Rosemary Standley, better known as the singer for the band Moriarty, turns her vocal talents to the cabaret era. In 2013, she performed in the musical A Queen of Hearts directed by Juliette Deschamps at the Theatre de la Bastille. Afterward, she and pianist Sylvain Griotto took the show on the road. Here, she slips into the skin of a star and evokes memories of Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Nina Simone and Billie Holiday.
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.
Although admittedly a posthumous release, I was very surprised at the rather dismissive tenor of many of the reviews of this album to date. Hopefully this record will be reappraised soon as being a release worthy of anyone's consideration as I feel it does enhance an already rich legacy left behind by this very fine and innovative band. (So what if Charisma wanted to ride the slipstream of the lucrative ELP juggernaut?)