Link to Living Tradition Homepage





SÉAMUS BEGLEY - The Bold Kerryman

SÉAMUS BEGLEY - The Bold Kerryman
Independent Records Ltd IRL093

Singer, accordionist and storyteller Séamus hails from the Gaeltacht of Dingle in Co. Kerry. He’s been recording since 1972: initially with his sister Máire and then in tandem with guitarists, firstly Steve Cooney and more recently Jim Murray. Over the past few years he’s toured with Jon Sanders, and most recently with Tim Edey, who contributes some suitably skilled and lucid playing to several tracks on The Bold Kerryman, Séamus’s latest record.

Here Séamus lends his richly melodious and superbly controlled voice to a collection of predominantly traditional songs; it’s clear that he’s thought much about his response to these songs over the years, for they come across as considered and mature readings, measured and unhurried and singularly unpretentious – in which respect on occasion some may be thought a touch too easygoing and laid-back (a response which may stem from the listener’s over-familiarity with the material rather than from any deficiency in Séamus’s performances).

Most successful to my mind are the lesser-known items such as Portland Town (which features Meabh Begley’s lovely harmony vocal), the heroic Domhnaill Ó Conaill, and An Charraigh Donn (which Séamus learnt from Dónal Ó Cinnéide of Ballydavid). Damien Dempsey provides guest-vocals on Banks Of The Sweet Primroses, one of two songs here which Séamus got from the singing of Luke Kelly. Producer John Reynolds has lent his distinctive signature to the project, supplying some percussion and gentle, almost subliminal programming which is kept in healthy perspective for Séamus’s voice. For that’s where the necessary focus of the album lies (there’s little scope for demonstration of Séamus’s accordion prowess). The album closes with a pair of contemporary folk compositions: Paul Metsers’ Farewell To The Gold is rather nicely turned, while John Denver’s Today is efficiently managed with a characteristic, pleasing light touch. Séamus is evidently as much at ease with these songs as he is with the purely traditional items.

David Kidman

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 110 of The Living Tradition magazine.