The Long Black Veil Audio CD Celtic sound and rhythm
More than three decades and many albums spent charting the gorgeous musical landscape of Ireland have made the Chieftains by far the world’s most recognized and qualified ambassadors of Celtic sound and rhythm. Having toured the globe and garnered numerous awards, the traditional sextet has set its sights on something bigger: the pop charts. Though they’ve worked in the past with names like Roger Daltrey, Nanci Griffith, and Willie Nelson, on The Long Black Veil the Chieftains graduate to A-list guest stars with appearances by Sting, the Rolling Stones, and, yes, even Tom Jones.
It’s a testimony to the considerable talents and character of the Chieftains that none of the celebrity personalities or egos upstage the band on this record. Rather, the musicians always stay in control and the instruments remain at the center of the songs. So while Mick Jagger delivers a stirring reading of the title song, it’s the pipes and fiddles that transform the country standard into deep Gaelic soul music. Turns by Marianne Faithfull, Ry Cooder, Mark Knopfler, Sinead O’Connor, and old buddy Van Morrison (doing his own “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?”) come off predictably and competently, but breathing life into familiar, mostly traditional tunes like “The Lily of the West” and “The Foggy Dew” is ultimately the province of bandleader/tin whistler Paddy Moloney and his more-than-competent mates. –Roni Sarig
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