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Irish Heartbeat

4.6 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

CD has 10 soundtracks and is produced by Van Morrison and Paddy Maloney**Distributed by Polygram Records**

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His early career found him immersed more in American blues and jazz than his own Celtic heritage, but Van Morrison has periodically revisited that facet of his music since the mid-'70s, when Veedon Fleece offered his first clutch of explicitly Irish songs. No album has found him digging deeper than this 1988 collaboration with the Chieftains, who more than meet Morrison's always high standards for musicianship and produce a rich, empathic backdrop for a set of traditional ballads, jigs, and reels, with an acoustic remake of Morrison's own "Celtic Ray" and the lovely title song. With two of Ireland's finest female singers (Maura O'Connell and Mary Black) along for the ride, this amounts to an Irish supergroup--and the music lives up to that promise. --Sam Sutherland

Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mercury
  • ASIN: B000001FNX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,205 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
As funny man Jack Black once said in "High Fidelity", "It's ridiculous if you don't own this album." ....and that goes double for those who are fans of Van Morrison or Celtic music. "Irish Heartbeat" was a landmark album because it was the first attempt by Celtic traditionalists, The Chieftains, to collaborate with well known popular music singers. Contrary to the complaints of a few "critics", (aye, me friends, they are likely to be agents of the Royal Ulster Constabulary), Paddy and his lads from Dublin do some of their most inspired playing behind Van's soulful crooning. It is a snapshot of Van Morrison riding the crest of his longest wave of artistic success. Arguably the five year period between 1985 and 1990 was the most sustained upward arc of the long and frequently mercurial career of Morrison. The line-up of the Chieftains is also their most musically accomplished grouping in their long 40 plus year history. The six man Chieftain unit on "Irish Heartbeat" played together longer than all other editions of the group combined.
When I first purchased "Irish Heartbeat" in 1988, I confess I did so with a great deal of trepidation. I've never been a fan of collaborative albums by "superstar" musicians. Frequently these albums bring out the worst performance impulses of the musicians. Too often these collaborations becomes a game of musical brinkmanship where musicians play against each other for dominance; or even worse, in an attempt to accommodate each other, musicians play from a banal template, rather than risk being branded a "solo hog" or a "glory hound".
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Format: Audio CD
This CD was my introduction to the Chieftains and to Celtic music. I had enjoyed listening to Van Morrison since the '60's but had grown tired of his music. When a friend introduced me to Irish Heartbeat I was totally enthralled by the rich folky tunes. It became my favorite CD and stayed as such for more than a year. When my daughter was born in 1990, I often sang her my favorite songs from this exquisite collection, "Star of the County Down" or "Marie's Wedding". She just turned 9 years old and she still requests them from time to time. It is the best of all The Chieftain CD's I have heard (over 10 in all). if you like The Chieftains, Van Morrison, World Music or Celtic Music... or if you want to hear something a hundred times better than your "Riverdance" CD, there is no better place to start than "Irish Heartbeat".
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By Adam McClay on November 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD
There is some absolutely gorgeous stuff on this album, and it's the kind of music you can listen to over and over again. The Chieftains are virtuoso musicians; by far the best at creating that haunting Celtic sound. And what I really like about this album in particular is that you can tell within two bars whether each song is a traditional Irish melody or a Van Morrison original. His songs have that definite sound that's unmistakable, whether being covered by Rod Stewart or Phoebe Snow. He's one of the greats, and so is this album.
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Format: Audio CD
I bought this album when it came out in 1988. I think I had it on cassette. I remember working at a park in Northern California that summer and listening to this wonderful album over and over again. I loved it then and I love it now. In fact, I love it even more since my wife and I returned from a trip to Ireland earlier this year, having immersed ourselves in Irish music for a solid week.

I've always loved the traditional Irish music, not only for the melodies but also for the rich sense of history and community the lyrics convey. However, what makes this album stand out is Van Morrison. He is an incredible singer who knows these songs and their history in vivid detail. That he collaborates with the best group of traditional musicians in Ireland means that he can transform these famous songs into something enchanting, memorable: as good as any album you're likely to hear this year (or any year).
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By Ed on March 12, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The gritty tenor of the Great One, combined with the mellifluous genteel instrumentation of the saintly Chieftains, presents an ethnic alchemy of timeless proportions. I simply cannot tire of this music.
The traditions, history, and natural beauty of Eire is certainly sufficient to lure tourism. But nothing viscerally CAPTURES Ireland the way this music does. The smell of peat and the flavor of stout emanates from this record. Which serves well the restless soul.
Every so often something comes along works so well that you wonder why it wasn't tried before (or since). Best to savor that rare moment in show business when art is created.
"Irish Heartbeat" will warm your heart the way it does when your daughter wears her Easter bonnet in the sunshine. "County Down" will beckon you to the nearest pub. And "Carrickfergus" will make a grown man cry. The ethereal "Lagan Love" will make you go to church. The various jigs will make you understand why the Irish are found the world over.
Salute, gentlemen. Long may you run.
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