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KIERAN HALPIN The Devil And His Dealing

KIERAN HALPIN The Devil And His Dealing

Kieran’s 20th album sees a return to his relaxed intimate songwriting style for which he is renowned. The 11 tracks here, all self-penned as usual, range from delicate declarations of love for a child (Real Love) and nostalgic ditties (New Years Day, Long Lost Friends) to bitter reflections of an unfulfilled career path (Persona Non Grata) and his recurring subject – the devil (title song). Most of the songs are instantly distinctly KH songs, and prime fodder to be covered by others, due to their original melodies, succinct lyrics and the atmosphere their combination creates. The fellow instrumentalists are well chosen and tick all my boxes, in particular Manfred Leuchter’s accordion on October Moon, and Percy Pursglove’s double bass throughout is superb. Jimmy Smith’s lead guitar solo on Year After Year is in the Jerry Donahue mould and perfectly complements the song – although I must refrain from reinterpreting ‘year’ as ‘beer’ in the chorus (I am not visiting darling I’m here for the year after year). Dunno if his gravelly voice will please too many of the target audience, but let the songs take you where they will and you will be royally rewarded.

An incredible 38 year career (I’m sure Kieran doesn’t need reminding) has resulted in his songs being covered worldwide by a variety of different artistes, but more importantly by the new generation of singer-songwriters, and there’s plenty of material here to be plundered – particularly as he has a new song book (his third) out soon, featuring all the songs off his last three albums. That should be a cracker too…

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 91 of The Living Tradition magazine.