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CHRISTY MOORE - Magic Nights 

CHRISTY MOORE - Magic Nights 
Sony Music / Columbia 190759910825 

For an artist with such a diverse catalogue of bands such as Planxty and Moving Hearts, as well as a longstanding solo career, Christy Moore’s prowess lends itself best to a live show. Before an appreciative audience and in the right atmosphere, his voice and guitar cut through the myriad of emotions like a sharpened chef’s knife through an unsuspecting fillet. Christy confesses that he prefers live recordings to studio creations, which may come as a surprise given the plethora of landmark studio records which bare his name. He admits as much in the accompanying booklet of Magic Nights, his second live collection which comes soon after his On The Road collection.

This album is the product of all his live shows being recorded, and great consideration has been given to its mix and match assembly, providing light and shade as well as documenting a dynamic live performer. The John Spillane penned title track celebrates famed song-filled nights in Cork’s Lobby Bar, itself a performing haven and melting pot of creative expression. Here, this collection recalls many magical nights with Christy Moore and his audience.

The backing comes from Declan Sinnott, and there are various collaborations with Seamie O’Dowd, Jimmy Higgins, Cathal Hayden and Máirtín O’Connor. Songs include the welcome return of Spancil Hill – Michael Considine’s ode to migrant nostalgia which occurs by accident as a result of a request from the crowd; Christy willing to go for it at a moment’s notice. The performance emerges a freshly hewed gem of recollected poignancy. Another song included is an inspired Tipping It Up To Nancy where the insertion of Out On The Ocean emits a scream of uncontrollable joy as Messrs’ Hayden, O’Dowd, Higgins and O’Connor let rip in jig-timed buoyancy. It recalls the Christy Moore Band of the late 70s. There is equal drama and skill in evidence in a solo performance of The Well Below The Valley that twists and turns through random waywardness to create a compelling performance. Magic Nights has plenty of thrills and spills – thought provoking songs and rollicking moments to treasure - it does Christy Moore proud.

John O’Regan


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine