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CHRISTY MOORE - Where I Come From

CHRISTY MOORE - Where I Come From
Columbia/Sony Music 88883790182

This album is a bold move and one which Christy has made with impressive success. He has, by his own admission, reached a point in his life when it feels natural to look back on life and reflect. A couple of years ago he began to put in order the songs he has written over his lifetime. Following that came a decision to record the ones he feels happiest with “while I still can.”

The result is this astonishing triple CD, consisting of 45 songs. 41 are what might be called ‘Classic Christy’ and the other two – the title track and Arthur’s Day (about the Guinness Company’s attempts to create a fake feast day) - open the first CD and close one of the other CDs in a live version. The rest of the set has been almost 12 months in the making: aside from studio recordings with a small band, there are also live takes and sound-check recordings. Christy’s notes on each track explain why the songs are written and why he has chosen to re-record them or make a specific version available.

It’s easy to use words like ‘political’ and ‘protest’ when describing Christy’s own songs. This fails to do them justice: they are about individuals, about the wrongs done to people, about their joys and disappointments and their everyday lives. Despite stretching back (in some cases) decades or being inspired (in even more instances) by a specific event, what is fascinating about these songs and what makes them worth re-recording is the fact that they are still relevant. In some cases, Christy has revisited his original lyrics to update them or to highlight more recent parallels. Listen to how much fun he has with his reworking of Lisdoonvarna. Then, in total contrast, listen to one of the last recordings, a live version of The Wicklow Boy, recorded in that city in August last year.

Despite righteous anger and seething rage in some songs, Christy maintains a quiet delivery, sometimes even speaking the words of songs. These new renditions are all the more powerful for that understatement. Although the nature of the project leaves gaps (his impeccable delivery of traditional songs, his superbly chosen cover versions, his work with Planxty and Moving Hearts), this is the audio equivalent of those self-portraits in which the artist surrounds himself with the significant and symbolic artefacts of his life.

Nigel Schofield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 101 of The Living Tradition magazine.