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Flirting With the Edge

4 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 24, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

John Whelan ~ Flirting With The Edge

Amazon.com

Wow! This aptly titled CD from John Whelan and his musical friends packs a real punch. Even on the more mysterious and lyrical pieces, there's an underlying, focused energy that says "zone": as in everyone who played on this album was in one during the recording. Whelan can play a wild, raucous accordion that's never sloppy or self-indulgent, and when he's paired with Oscar Lopez on guitar, the two spawn a chemistry that takes one's breath away. As Whelan says on the jacket, he and Oscar weren't schooled in their instruments, and a lack of self-consciousness shines throughout this collection. The few ballads sprinkled throughout the album add a lovely respite; Connie Dover's work on "Red Is the Rose" is especially radiant, and the flamenco-flavored pieces are surprisingly graceful and genuine. As on 1997's Celtic Crossroads, Whelan aimed on this CD to push the musical envelope via collaboration, and the celebratory Flirting shows the man has again met his artistic goal. --Karen Karleski
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 24, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Narada
  • ASIN: B000006FCK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541,647 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 26, 1998
Format: Audio CD
John Whelan's latest cd is another great addition to his others. The music is energetic, moving, haunting, all at the same time. John Whelan is a superb musician and I eagerly await for more recordings by him. Flirting with the Edge is a good name for the CD. John Whelan takes Celtic music ands delivers it with <POW!> I really like this CD.
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Format: Audio CD
It really kills me to give this CD less than 5 stars, but it is just missing that one standout track that i would expect from John Whelan. Whelan himself personally recommended this CD to me last year after one of his performances when I was telling him that I want a recording of him going musically insane. Well, don't get me wrong. This recording is absolutely incredible, but there is something missing. Maybe this CD could have benefitted from a live track like so many other recordings have. Anyway, now that I have gotten my sole complaint out of the way, i can talk about all the good stuff.
Whelan flirts with the edge in that he challenges the limit and pushes the boundaries. He gets help from many incredible musicians, including Bernadette Peters, Pat Kilbride, Connie Dover, and Oscar Lopez just to name a few. Also helping out is the John Whelan Band, which includes Robin Bullock, one of the most magnificent guitar players you will ever hear (i encourage you to check out his 3 solo efforts as well), and Liz Knowles, a truly awesome fiddler.
As far as the actual tracks go, the ones that stand out in my mind are "Dublin Lady," sung by Peters, and "Red is the Rose," sung by Dover. It surprises me that even after listening to this CD for hours on end, the tracks that I remember most are the ballads. Usually, I skip the ballads and get to the good stuff (the reels), and at times, I still do, but unfortunately, the reels and jigs lack some of the punch that i was expecting. Whelan claims that this is essentially a live album because of the enthusiasm that it packs, but I almost wish he would have pushed the boundaries a little more.
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I've heard John Whelan's music before and liked it very much.....this CD kind of disappoints you......too many songs sound the same....there is no variety in his style this time....or change up of the rhythms he uses....
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John Whelan and his fellow musicians have achieved a beautiful collaboration on this recording. This is music that feels and sounds unconstrained by, yet rooted firmly in, tradition. The diverse musical cultures and instruments represented here (Irish button accordion, Flamenco guitar, African djembe and thumb piano) synergize to create a captivating listening experience that goes beyond the boundaries of traditional Irish music, while remaining true to its heart. Across the shifting moods and tempos of these tunes, Whelan and his friends sound as if they are inspired to be playing this music, putting a lot of heart- not just serious chops -into it. An all-around excellent set, for sure.
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