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THE VOICE SQUAD - Concerning Of Three Young Men

THE VOICE SQUAD - Concerning Of Three Young Men
Tara Music TARACD4027

It must be more than 25 years ago that I first heard The Voice Squad (then known as the Duleek Gatecrashers) at Roly Brown’s much-missed Downs Festival. The effect they had on me then was stunning and I’ve never forgotten it. In succeeding years I came across them fairly often and, along with many others, lamented their passing some years back. And then rumour said they were reforming and the world seemed a more positive place again.

I think everyone had very high expectations of this recording and the boys must have known what a hard act they had to follow – not just an extremely high standard of singing, but the rose tinted spectacles of a mass of song enthusiasts. So how does reality match expectation? In my view, Fran McPhail, Gerry Cullen and Phil Callery have in many ways exceeded anything that could be expected of them, but in ways that are subtly different from their former performances. The CD’s dozen tracks contain reprises of old favourites as well as newer (to them) material and the range is broad and eclectic, from the comedy of The Rich Man And The Poor Man to the beautiful handling of the evergreen Lough Erne Shore. Where a song features one individual they ring the changes and this helps to vary the impact. The arrangements have been very well thought out and the singing is invariably spot on, as always.

The difference is that the voices themselves seem more matured and very much at home with each other and after all these years, how could it be any other way? The songs seem a little less ‘edgy’ than in former days, but somehow there is more meaning being dragged out of the stories in the songs. So listening to old favourites has acquired an added dimension and the newer songs have a full and well rounded presentation. For me, many of them are the definitive version of that particular song and that’s saying something. Each member of the group is an extremely fine singer in his own right and each knows his place within the entity that is The Voice Squad. Most of us are familiar with the ballad metaphor that has a rose and a briar growing up and entwining together and this recording put me very much in mind of that; these three voices become a part of one another and in doing so, create something that is greater than the (very considerable) sum of its parts.

Would I recommend this CD? What do you think?

John Waltham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 103 of The Living Tradition magazine.