View Full Version : Irish folk music suggestions

Brian Ray
Apr-25-2004, 1:03pm
Howdy all,

I'm interested in exploring some celtic music and would like some suggestions. After doing a little homework, I think I would be most interested in Irish Folk. Perhaps a group that plays drinking songs as well as classic beautiful tear-jerkers.

I usually favor groups that are:
- all acoustic
- have great tunes (words are important)
- not especially clean sounding (Pogues=like?)

Any advice and/or links would be appreciated...


Apr-25-2004, 3:06pm
Start with Planxty or the Dubliners (these two meet your criteria and re widely accessible - the Dubliners especially have that "dirty" sound with the raw vocals of Ronnie Drew and soaring but gritty Luke Kelly) . Prepare to have your notions of Irish music expanded.

Apr-25-2004, 4:07pm
For an American Version, check out Celtic Thunder from Washington DC. Great group, great vocals, incredible instrumentals.


Bob DeVellis
Apr-25-2004, 4:22pm
If it's the realy folky stuff you like, check out the Clancy Brothers. They brought Irish music to the attention of Americans and started the revival, in a sense. They're "folk" in the same sense that the Kingston Trio were, commercial but fun.

If you can find a copy of "The Best of Festival Folk," it lives up to its name. It's a 3-CD compilation of Irish folk from people like the Fureys, Stockton's Wing, The Dubliners, Jim McCann, and others. It may be tough to find a copy of this in the US, though. Separate CDs featuring these groups and individuals on their own will have more of the same, of course.

If you like the Pogues, there's always the Waterboys, in a similar vein. Not as raunchy as the Pogues, but worth a listen. Also, if you're a Pogues fan, keep your eyes open for If I should Fall from Grace" a bigraphical/documentary movie about Ian McShane. Not exactly family viewing (unless you want to impress on your kids the evils of drugs/alcohol), but riveting, nonetheless. Great concert clips and unreal interviews with Shane and his parents.

None of these recommendations are heavy into traditional Irish dance music -- the jigs and reels -- but it sounds like you're looking fore something different fromthat.

Brian Ray
Apr-25-2004, 5:58pm
Thanks all,

Fine suggestions. I'm especially digging the Dubliners... I guess I'm kinda looking for the celtic equivilant of Ralph Stanley, who is one of my favorite classic Bluegrass song writers. On the newer side, I love Gillian Welch's writing.

Musically, I dig the looser pub style (in all music) and usually find live recordings to my liking. If there is anything similar to Blugrassbox.com (http://bluegrassbox.com) for celtic music, please let me know!

Apr-26-2004, 6:29pm
I second the recomendations for The Clancy Bros. and The Dubliners. You shouldn't have any trouble finding live albums from them.

As far as finding legal recordings online (like bluegrassbox.com), I don't think you are going to have much luck. It's been a while, but I think emusic.com has a lot of some Clancy Brothers stuff, as well as most of Planxty's albums and a lot of Solas' (another recomendation) stuff. I cancelled my subscription there when they raised the price a lot and started limiting the number of downloads, but it might be worth the trouble to pay for a few months worth of downloads from there to get the stuff you want.

Apr-27-2004, 3:23am
You could check out some of Christy Moore's solo work (he was also a member of Planxty and Moving Hearts).

He's been recording since the late 60's and his material is pretty varied, but two early-ish albums that I think might fit your criteria are Prosperous and Live In Dublin. These are all acoustic, feature great songs and some excellent instrumental playing in the accompaniment of the songs, without being over-produced.

On Prosperous, Christy is accompanied by the musicians who soon after would go on to form Planxty - Andy Irvine on mandolin, Dónal Lunny on bouzouki and Liam Óg Ó Floinn on pipes. On Live In Dublin, he's accompanied by Jimmy Faulkner on guitar and Dónal Lunny on bouzouki.

There's a great live feel off both albums (although Prosperous isn't an "in-concert" album). Again, they're not as raunchy as the Pogues, but they represent (for me, anyway) an important development in the whole folk-singing phenomenon in Ireland.

Apr-27-2004, 8:56am
Also, if you're a Pogues fan, keep your eyes open for If I should Fall from Grace" a bigraphical/documentary movie about Ian McShane.

Been watching too much "Lovejoy" bob?