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Tir Na Nog

Prog Folk

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Tir Na Nog A Tear and a Smile album cover
3.36 | 12 ratings | 3 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

UK 1972 LP edition:
1. Come and See the Show (3:17)
2. Down Day (5:50)
3. When I Came Down (4:33)
4. The Same Thing Happening (4:47)
5. Bluebottle Stew (2:19)
6. So Freely (3:33)
7. Hemisphere (2:15)
8. Lady Ocean (4:33)
9. Goodbye My Love (4:20)
10. Two White Horses (2:36)

Total Time 38:03

US 1972 LP edition:
1. Come and See the Show (3:17)
2. Daisy Lady (2:21) *
3. When I Came Down (4:33)
4. The Same Thing Happening (4:47)
5. Looking Up (3:23) *
6. The Lady I Love (3:28) *
7. So Freely (3:33)
8. Two White Horses (2:36)
9. Lady Ocean (4:33)
10. Dante (2:56) *

Total Time 35:27

* New tracks, not included on UK edition.

Bonus tracks on 2012 Esoteric CD remaster:
11. The Lady I Love (single A-side)
12. Heidi (single B-side)

Line-up / Musicians

- Sonny Condell / vocals, acoustic guitar, clavinet, percussion
- Leo O'Kelly / vocals, acoustic guitar

- Larry Steele / bass
- Barry De Souza / drums
- Nick Harrison / arrangements

Releases information

Artwork: Visualeyes

LP Chrysalis - CHR 1006 (1972,UK)
LP Chrysalis - CHR 1006 (1972,US) W/ 4 different tracks from UK edition

CD Edsel - ED-CD 334 (1991, UK) Same track list as original UK LP
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 2350 (2012, Europe) Remastered w/ 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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TIR NA NOG A Tear and a Smile ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TIR NA NOG A Tear and a Smile reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars TÍR NA NÓG translates from the Irish to Land of Eternal Youth, a mythical land in folklore. Their use of an Irish language name, and their eminence from that country persuaded me to pick up a couple of their LPs many years ago. After an initial disappointment, largely due to the lack of an overt Irish sound that I expected, I entered a period of re-appraisal, and am happy to conclude that their value and my taste for subtlety have both improved with the years.

So, instead of thinking that TÍR NA NÓG might be an early version of HORSLIPS or an Irish equivalent of FAIRPORT, perhaps a Celtic NICK DRAKE or a more proggy DONOVAN or early MAGNA CARTA might be a better reference point. Good taste and understatement are really the bullet points here. Even the psychedelic content that buried many an early 1970s effort is subdued. Elusive properties like flow, constructive compositions, and synergy also suffuse this gentle work. Listen to it from beginning to end without interruption, rinse, and repeat several times and you will emerge refreshed, if you have even the vestige of a prog folk soul.

To more concrete subjects, the lyrics, soft yet imposing vocals, simple acoustic arrangements, and virtuosity are all in abundance, whether it be in the bodhran colored "Looking Up", the angry yet resigned "The Lady I Love", or the infinitely romantic and melodic "So Freely". "Come and See the Show" and "Same thing Happening" exemplify their slice of life lyrics and the latter is coupled by fine acoustic strumming. This duo epitomize the "less is more" philosophy at a time when "More is less" was all too often the mantra.

When these guys set out to find a name that fit, they hit the jackpot, for the sound of TÍR NA NÓG has not aged, and can still induce tears and smiles with its simple beauty.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Second album from this Irish duo, but this time, they added a few guest, including Latino drummer/percussionist Barry deSouza, who would come on as the invisible third member (he gets some songwriting credits if memory serves). But on the cover of their second album Tear & Smile (released in 72), the pictures shows the duo still a perfect a acoustic pair, even if Condell gives up the percussions and O'Kelly the bass playing.

Some of the tracks are sooooo perfect that you can't help but wondering how these guys never made it big: When I Come Down or the spine-tingling So Freely or the violin-enhanced Lady Ocean are all winners, installing happy hippie atmosphere, while other tracks like Something Happening or Goodbye My Love are more poignant and dramatic. The rest of the album is a bit more-of-the-same, but maybe not as successful either, but one never tires of hearing this album as a whole.

The logical follow-up to their self-titled debut Tear & Smile is a stronger album, one where their association is now fully mature and shining confidence.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars The Irish Simon & Garfunkel?

Tir Na Nog is probably best known in these parts for having toured together with Jethro Tull. A Tear And A Smile is their second album and my introduction to this Irish Folk duo. This is an album filled with pleasant and cute Folk and Folk Pop songs with only very slight Rock aspects like some drums and the occasional and discrete keyboards. The style and quality varies a bit over the course of the album. Bluebottle Stew for example is a real throwaway and totally silly, while the drowsy Down Day and particularly the gorgeous love song So Freely are just excellent.

While I find enjoyment in many of these songs, I fail to find anything particularly progressive about any of these tunes. Surely, Tir Na Nog are closer to Prog Folk than, say, Simon & Garfunkel are, but actually not very much. I think that Magna Carta and maybe Lindisfarne are good reference points. If you enjoy those bands (which I do) then you might like A Tear And A Smile also. It is clear from listening to this album that these guys have talent and are good at what they do.

Overall, this is good and pleasant music, but by no means essential for Prog fans in general or even for Prog Folk fans

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