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The Long Black Veil CD
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The Long Black Veil
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It's a testimony to the considerable talents and character of the Chieftains that none of the celebrity personalities or egos upstage the band on this record. Rather, the musicians always stay in control and the instruments remain at the center of the songs. So while Mick Jagger delivers a stirring reading of the title song, it's the pipes and fiddles that transform the country standard into deep Gaelic soul music. Turns by Marianne Faithfull, Ry Cooder, Mark Knopfler, Sinead O'Connor, and old buddy Van Morrison (doing his own "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?") come off predictably and competently, but breathing life into familiar, mostly traditional tunes like "The Lily of the West" and "The Foggy Dew" is ultimately the province of bandleader/tin whistler Paddy Moloney and his more-than-competent mates. --Roni Sarig
Top Customer Reviews
The Long Black Veil is a bit of a departure for them - the band serves as a background for many modern, popular artists. You might think that Sting, Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, Sinead O'Connor, Van Morrison and others might overpower this group of folk players. But actually, the opposite happens. Sting's lilting voice fades seamlessly into the background as the gorgeous melodies intertwine. The songs are memorable not because a "famous name" is attached to the title, but because the classic tune is handled deftly by the Chieftains, and a well trained voice happens to supply the vocals.
It's fascinating in a way to see this diverse group of artists all singing traditional songs - songs that you might not otherwise ever hear them take on. But the real joy here is to hear your favorite classics done with such care and love. These artists all chose songs that had great meaning to them, and the Chieftains put their souls into the richness of the underlying tune. Each song here is a favorite for me for a different reasons.
Some Irish CDs are meant to be played in the background while people chug beer and talk in loud voices. Other CDs are put on for wild dancing and cheering the night through. This CD shines when you sit back, a glass in your hand, and you really listen to the nuances. You can hear the peat crackling softly on the fire, the wind whistling across the foggy meadows, and the textures of Ireland's past whispering through the beats. I've owned this for many years, and it's a CD I always come back to.
I recall this album being previewed on our local NPR station on a Tuesday and when I went to my local Borders in the same radio market, the CD was completely sold out within a day of the airplay of the title cut on which the Mick does the vocal solo.
And, to make the mix even more interesting, this particular album has quite a large mix of guest stars, far beyond the previous Chieftains hosting a single guest, as they did with their album with Van Morrison. The other guests are Sting, Sninead O'Connor on two tracks, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Ry Cooder on two cuts, Marianee Faithfull, and Tom Jones. Even Frank Zappa makes a ghostly appearance as the host of the recording session with Tom Jones on the `Tennessee Waltz'.
The combination of this awesome collection of talent plus the great instrumental work by the Chieftans themselves makes each and every track on this album an evocation which survives relistening over the years.
One Irish music weakness this album escapes is the feeling that there is really only one `Irish song', done in many different styles with many different combinations of lyrics and instruments. While I never totally subscribed to this theory, there is a sense in which there is a great sameness to the melodies of many Irish songs. This is probably what is meant by the `lilt' of Irish melodies. Oddly, I think it is probably harder to identify the nature of this `lilt' than it is to exactly define what distinguishes a blues song, which must be an iambic pentameter, exactly the same meter as Shakespeare's verses.Read more ›
"Rocky Road to Dublin", performed by The Chieftains and the Rolling Stones is a real hoot and a great way to close out the album! Check out the sudden launching into "Satisfaction" part way through the song!
The only weak spot I feel is "Tennessee Waltz", sung by Tom Jones. I have never been a fan of Jones and I feel his voice has deteriorated over the years. That is a minor quibble, however.
Buy this CD if you enjoy hearing wonderful collaborations!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I remember listening to the tape of this in my parents' car when I was a teen. I loved it then, and I love the CD now.Published 5 months ago by Liz Alexander
The Long Black Veil is a CD where the Chieftains play with a broad range of popular musicians, all of which have an affinity for Irish/Celtic/ and American Appalachian music. Read morePublished 5 months ago by C. Collins
The Long Black Veil CD. The Chieftains. Six time Grammy Award winners, the Chieftains, boast a career of more than 50 years as of 2012, and more than 100 albums. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Stephanie De Pue
I like this album so much that I have purchased it several times in several formats. The Foggy Dew resonates in my bones. Sting's tune is also amazing.Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
Mick Jagger singing Long Black Veil is terrific. My daughters loved it when they were little and I used to sing them to sleep with it for months. Read morePublished 21 months ago by mark schneider
Excellent music by a wide range of guest artists supported by The Cheiftans plus classic Irish tunes performed by The Cheiftans. Now on my Kindle.Published 23 months ago by Tim Arnold
Sometimes this type of album, a group with a lot of guest singers or soloists, just doesn't make it. This compilation is more than the sum of its parts. Read morePublished on January 10, 2014 by Tom
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