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CHRISTY MOORE - Burning Times

CHRISTY MOORE - Burning Times
Sony/BMG 82876739682

This marks a welcome return to form for the legendary Irish troubadour - his first solo album since the rather lacklustre This Is The Day (2001). A word of warning though, Burning Times contains no new Moore compositions, but a collection of cover versions of other artistes' material. However, these challenging fifty minutes comprise twelve immensely powerful songs culled from the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Morrissey.

To call them 'covers' is really too trite a description for these moving and inspirational songs. What Moore does is infuse these classics with his inimitable anger and angst creating something new and vibrant which will speak to a fresh generation while still retaining the core elements that first made each song so great. He makes them sound like originals.

Let's start with Richard Thompson's Beeswing - a now - classic poem to a long-lost and much-missed lover. Moore has given it a slow jig feel while providing his own intimate take on the subject matter. You suspect that despite the sad end to the woman's life, Moore understands the need to be free of the shackles expected of us of 'conventional society'. There's also a stunning version of Mitchell's Magdalene Laundries. He brings it back home to Ireland and it's sung from the heart with the bitterness and deep irony that convinces the listener that Moore knows precisely how the Catholic faith treated its unmarried women. And there's also a convincingly fresh take on Dylan's The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.

Morrissey's heavily sardonic attack on the Bush administration's foreign policy and the way in which much of the world now views the USA in America, I Love You is given the unmistakable Moore treatment. The politics won't appeal to everyone but the sentiments will come as no surprise to Moore aficionados. Elsewhere, Moore deals with alcoholism, environmental disaster and the injustice of the legal system, but don't be fooled into thinking this album is downbeat or morbid. Quite the opposite. The inspirational playing of Moore and his long-time collaborator Declan Sinnott gives new life to the songs, making them soar and shine making you want to play them again and again. 

Chris Owen

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This album was reviewed in Issue 66 of The Living Tradition magazine.