Chieftains: Tears of Stone

Tears of Stone from 1999 is, apart from just one track, quite brilliant. It starts with Brenda Fricker narrating with Anuna on “Never Give All the Heart”. It’s a superb starting track that sets the mood. This is followed by “A Stor Mo Chroi” sung by Bonnie Raitt, superb! And then “The Lowlands of Holland” sung by Natalie Merchant. It’s a haunting start to the album, which only gets better at track four with Joni Mitchell singing “The Magdalene Laundries” – a track that makes the hairs on the neck stand up.

In truth, there isn’t a bad track on the album. How could there be, with artists like the Rankins, The Corrs, Sinead O’Connor, Mary Chapin Carpenter, to name but a few, giving their all to some great traditional songs such as “Jimmy Mo Mhile Stor”, “I Know My Love”, “Factory Girl”, and “Deserted Soldier”.

The one track, that is good, but didn’t really work for me is “Sake In The Jar” sung by Akiko Yano in Japanese. I felt this one did not really add to the album, but don’t let my comment put you off buying it. Every album has to have some fodder!

The penultimate track, “The Fiddling Ladies”, runs for over 10 minutes in fine Irish session style and features Eileen Ivers, Natalie McMaster, Maire Breatnach and Annbjorg Lien doing their thing, which appears to be enjoyed by someone’s dog at the end! The album ends with a sleepy version of “Danny Boy” sung by Diana Krall.

(BMG Music, 1999)

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