BARRY GLEESON - I Heard A Bird At Dawn 

Barry Gleeson is a cornerstone of the famed Goilin Singers Club of Dublin where enthusiasm and skills fuse and flourish. Barry is tastefully accompanied at various points by accomplished singers and musicians from within the Goilin and beyond. These include the Scottish group, Palaver, Kevin Conneff and his actor/musician brother Brian on fiddle, bouzouki and banjo - to name a few! There is a choice selection of material and the fourteen tracks are given the distinctive Gleeson trademark.

It opens in grand style with a nicely paced ‘Colonel Martin’ from the pen of WB Yeats followed by a delightful ‘Loves Old Sweet Song’ learned from his mother, a song which permeated James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’. Another cracker is ‘The Mero’, learned from Ronnie Drew, which maintains the ‘Joyceian’ flavour prevalent throughout. The Irish love of parody is present with the outstanding ‘Female Prize Fight’ with its echoes of the better-known ‘Morrissey and the Russian Sailor’. ‘The Hardy Sons Of Dan’ is surely as good a praise-song for a football team as you’re likely to hear. Then again, there is the witty and well-crafted, ‘Girls Along The Road’, from John Kennedy of Co. Antrim. I was particularly taken by ‘In The Bog With the Millionaire’ from the pen of Hughie the Poet (1893-1985)

This is a mere sample from a remarkable and engaging body of work by a singer of maturity and perception at the top of his game. There are detailed song notes and full texts by Barry and brother Michael. One complaint is the lack of detail about Barry himself. This production commands attention.      

Geordie McIntyre

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This album was reviewed in Issue 65 of The Living Tradition magazine.