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SWEENEY'S MEN 'The Legend Of (2CD)' Castle Music CMDDD932

There seems to be a lot of re-releases about at the moment, with Castle/Sanctuary being at the forefront with some excellent-if sometimes obscure-examples. This one is a re-release of a re-release, expanded to a double from a two on one cd from a few years ago.

Sweeney's Men, named after a book title, seem to be a bit like Fairport in the members they have included but it is Andy Irvine, Terry Woods, Johnny Moynihan and Henry McCullough who will be the most familiar to readers.

The first CD is most notable for "Willy O'Winsbury" for which Andy accidentally put the wrong tune to the set of words; incidentally the tune was borrowed by Fairport in 1969. Disc 2 has more input from Terry Woods resulting in a different, more contemporary feel to it.

Both Cds include extra material, interesting no doubt to Sweeney completists, but not really adding anything to the original albums, especially the inclusion of two by Steeleye Span!

A mention of the sleeve notes.Written by Colin Harper they provide an excellent history of Sweeney's Men and of what the members have done since then. However, who is this Liam Offline who was a member of the original Planxty mentioned in the notes? Another example of the computer spell checker? Surely names should be checked for errors like this.

So the crucial question - is "The Legend of Sweeney's Men" worth buying? If you haven't got the original two on one, and want to hear what was innovative in the late 60s, then yes definitely. Otherwise have a look at some of the other material available on the Castle /Sanctuary Label.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 58 of The Living Tradition magazine.