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Daisy Discs DLCD023

Following the success of their Tunes album, Sharon Shannon and Mike McGoldrick have swapped Frankie Gavin for Dezi Donnelly on fiddle to produce a more contemporary sound.  This is still an Irish dream team, but Shannon and McGoldrick are in funk mode and there's plenty of brass from the guests.  You know you're out of trad territory when the credits include names like 2Play, Roachie and Lightnin' T.
Renegade is loads of fun and full of good tunes.  The Maid Behind The Bar does exactly what it says on the tin.  Neckbelly has that Green Jamaican feel which Shannon, McGoldrick and Sean Smyth do so well.  Freemount Bypass is one of two tasty tunes here by Jim Murray - the other is Ballinderreen Pier. Just before that, Sally May Melia is a bit of a weak point: not so much a composition as a cross between an Edward II polka and Hey Jude.  Moving swiftly on, The Full Set is a fine pair of McGoldrick tunes.played pretty straight but with bags of attitude, and the final track goes dancing with two of those bouncy Shannon tunes.
The three vocal tracks (the reason this album isn't called Tunes 2) are varied and interesting.  2Play's production of Got a Hold of Me sits somewhere between Jah, Bollywood and Horslips, with Roachie's vocals just on the safe side of Ali G.  Mike McGoldrick's singing debut on Ger Wolfe's song The Curra Road is surprisingly good, but not so good that I'm concerned about his future flute albums.  Jim Murray more than justifies his headliner status with The First Time Ever, an evocative rendition of the MacColl/Seeger classic. And then, sadly, the CD is over:  38 minutes is rather brief, but this quartet packs plenty of music into it.  Renegade should be widely available.
Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 78 of The Living Tradition magazine.