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MOVING HEARTS

Prog Folk • Ireland


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Moving Hearts biography
From the personnel list alone, MOVING HEARTS qualifies as an Irish supergroup. Its original members were already near legends of the traditional scene, but they didn't just get together to do more of the same. They broke ground in a variety of ways, from their revival of protest folk music within a traditional meets rock and roll context to their intermingling of pipes, sax, and electric guitar, all impeccably played and produced with a sort of manic professionalism. As such, they kicked at the boundaries of a variety of styles while remaining distinctly Irish.

As could be expected from the strength of the characters involved, the lineup during the brief 4 year history of the band was anything but stable, with 19 members having called the Hearts home at some point. The group's two classic studio albums, Moving Hearts and Dark End of the Street influenced a generation of Celtic rockers like RUNRIG (who actually might have influenced MH originally), THE POGUES, THE MEN THEY COULDN'T HANG, THE WATERBOYS. and more recently the DECEMBERISTS. Founding member, vocalist Christy Moore, formerly of PLANXTY, left after one year to much solo success, and has been called the greatest living Irishman by Pogues' singer Shane McGowan.

WEA must have realized the red hot property they possessed and rushed out an album in North America which, although named for and endowed with the cover of the group's second album, was actually a compilation of material from the two releases. It got some airplay on college radio at least in Canada.

When they became an all instrumental band, represented in "The Storm", the folk-jazz fusion line became even more blurred, and the group earned its progressive stripes irrevocably. It is more or less this incarnation which reforms regularly to the present time for tours.

MOVING HEARTS belongs on ProgArchives for their robust take on ethnic fusion, their status as musicians' musicians and their strength at adapting socially conscious material to a style known more for danceability.

Moving Hearts official website

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Buy MOVING HEARTS Music


StormStorm
Import
Tara Records 2012
Audio CD$9.46
$3.96 (used)
Platinum CollectionPlatinum Collection
Import
Rhino/Wea UK 2007
Audio CD$2.78
$1.95 (used)
Dark End Of The StreetDark End Of The Street
WEA
Vinyl$12.99
$12.89 (used)
Live in DublinLive in Dublin
Alliance 2008
Audio CD$11.32
$13.96 (used)
Donal Lunnys Definitive Moving HeartsDonal Lunnys Definitive Moving Hearts
Import
Warner Bros UK 2008
Audio CD$10.80
$18.78 (used)
2-1 Freddie 7 Inch (72-1 Freddie 7 Inch (7" Vinyl 45) UK 51% 1983
0.51
Vinyl$12.56 (used)
Moving Hearts: Live in DublinMoving Hearts: Live in Dublin
Import
2008
DVD$728.55 (used)
Let Somebody Know 7 Inch (7Let Somebody Know 7 Inch (7" Vinyl 45) UK Wea 1982
Wea
Vinyl$9.18 (used)
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MOVING HEARTS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MOVING HEARTS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.82 | 3 ratings
Moving Hearts
1981
3.90 | 2 ratings
Dark End Of The Street
1982
4.82 | 2 ratings
The Storm
1985

MOVING HEARTS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Live Hearts
1983
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in Dublin
2008

MOVING HEARTS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MOVING HEARTS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Dark End of the Street
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Platinum Collection
2007

MOVING HEARTS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

MOVING HEARTS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live Hearts by MOVING HEARTS album cover Live, 1983
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Live Hearts
Moving Hearts Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars I can't be sure whether the initial incarnation of MOVING HEARTS with CHRISTY MOORE ever played live, but if they did, it does not seem to have been captured on you-tube, let alone on disk. By the time "Live Hearts" was performed in 1982, Mick Hanly had replaced Christy on vocals. It appears that the group was still adapting new material to their repertoire because this album features several tracks not present on either of their first two releases.

The performance of the new songs seems somewhat lackluster, as if Hanly was still finding himself within the band, and the synthesizers appearing on "Dark End" are all the more pronounced here. But, since renditions of "Let Somebody Know" and "What will you do about me" are both excellent, I wonder whether it is simply the newer songs like "1-2 Freddy" and "Open Those Gates" that aren't worthy of the group's repertoire. In contrast, "Strain of the Dance" is superb, sounding surprisingly akin to what Christy Moore was to do on his own a bit later, like "Biko Drum". Here Hanly seems much more confident, perhaps because he is working with a much more powerful piece to begin with. The album closer is a fine version of the instrumental "Lake of Shadows"

Hence we have a mixed bag of live performances that are valuable if only because they remain the only available concert recording of the period, but also reflect a band that rose to the level of its material. With two out of the three newer songs being inferior, perhaps the saga was indeed spent in two short years, and least for Moving Hearts as a vocal oriented Celtic rock band. 2.5 stars rounded up for historical significance.

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 Dark End Of The Street by MOVING HEARTS album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.90 | 2 ratings

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Dark End Of The Street
Moving Hearts Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Following up a debut like "Moving Hearts" the previous year must have been a daunting task, and subsequent partial implosion was inevitable, but MOVING HEARTS easily met the challenge on "Dark End of The Street". This is more an album of its time and, while still arguably a classic, isn't entirely in the same league as its predecessor.

The album opens with perhaps its weakest track, "Remember the Brave Ones", penned by Christy Moore's brother Barry, soon to be known as LUKA BLOOM. It's not bad but a bit overwrought and marred by period synthesizers. Still, "All I Remember", while easily the poppiest song ever released by the group, manages to buck the signature sound more convincingly, like an affectionate cross between BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and RUNRIG. The title track is a convincing interpretation of a classic folk song with lyrics that can be applied to one's own unique circumstances. "Allende" and "Let Somebody Know" are both warm ballads, while "Half Moon" is a languid and lovely instrumental with bass, sax and piano blending sultrily.

"What will you do about me" is probably the most transcendent piece here, sung from the point of view of an aging peacenik environmentalist who refuses to give up the ghost much to the chagrin of the authorities. The chorus makes one and one's hairs stand equally at attention and the sax, pipes, lead guitars and synths round out this roughly woven and moody number.

Highly recommended even if somewhat dated, "Dark End of the Street" shines at the 4.5 star level even today.

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 Dark End of the Street by MOVING HEARTS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1982
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Dark End of the Street
Moving Hearts Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Following the success of the two classic MOVING HEARTS albums in the UK and Ireland, WEA released a compilation with the highlights of both for American consumption, curiously named after and endowed with the same cover as the second of these. It is a good representation of the scope of the group's Celtic rock signature sound.

The album is slightly weakened by one song in particular that does not mesh well even within that admittedly broad lexicon. That song is Barry Moore's "Remember the Brave Ones". Barry was to re-brand himself as LUKA BLOOM and meet with moderate success in America, as a way of thrusting out from under his brother Christy's dominance in the nest. This track doesn't even sound like Luka, and, while thematically in step with the political struggles concept, is musically a bit more 80s sounding, with synthesizers played by Donal Lunny. Still, it does have that indelible spirit, and sounds better now than I remember it in the day. The compilers also chose to include two rather rote pipe led instrumentals, where one would have easily been sufficient.

For the rest, apart from superb "Hiroshima Nagasaki Russian Roulette" and "No Time for Love" originally on the self titled album, we are treated to several winners culled from the second release, the urgent "What Will You Do About Me" being the best of these. It flawlessly channels the peace movement of the 1960s but from the perspective of one old enough who have been there in the first place, telling us that he didn't abandon those values for the comforts of the bourgeois lifestyle. He's sticking around for the long haul, and what shall we do about him. "Let Somebody Know" is a gentle feeling ballad, and "Dark End of the Street" shows they could tackle full-on soul numbers and transform them into subversive Irish folk. "Half Moon" is a lovely bass-led instrumental, with timely piano rolls, on par with "Lake of Shadows" off the debut, omitted here.

If you are a vinyl collector in America, you might find one of these around, and it would be worth the search. Since only 2 tracks from the second album are missing here (both good ones of course), you might be fine with just the debut and this compilation. But, if a true collector, seek out the two original albums in all their glory. This street is well worth travelling whether in darkness or in light.

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 The Storm by MOVING HEARTS album cover Studio Album, 1985
4.82 | 2 ratings

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The Storm
Moving Hearts Prog Folk

Review by Hercules

5 stars Long overdue on here, Moving Hearts are a loose aggregation of some the finest folk musicians in Ireland. Based round Piper Davy Spillane (who was at the heart of Riverdance) and Donal Lunny (Bothy Band/Planxty), they made some astonishing albums, The Storm probably being the finest of them. Don't expect a rock influenced folk album (or vice versa) a la Horslips; this is much more influenced by traditional music.

The first side starts with one 13 minute piece, The Lark, which is in several parts, all of which are based on traditional tunes and adapted by the band. The pieces flow beautifully, the musicianship is stellar, especially Eoghan O'Neill's astonishing bass playing and the twin piping of Spillane and Declan Masterson. The pace and intensity ebbs and flows, gradually building towards a powerful climax. The second track, the Titanic, is a couple of band-composed tunes in traditional vein. Strangely, I find The Lark so emotionally draining that I usually take a break after it before resuming listening to the rest!

The second side follows in similar vein to The Titanic, being mostly band composed; the highlight being the astonishingly beautiful and poignant tribute to Irish nationalist writer Peardar O'Donnell.

The music is incredibly complex, with fabulous rhythmical changes, pounding bodhrans and thundering bass over which the melody instruments weave complex, beautiful tunes. Some of the wild sax playing towards the end of The Lark is reminiscent of Van Der Graaf Generator but much better. The recording quality is also truly wonderful, allowing the instruments to be clearly distinguished and yet delivered with astonishing power.

Some will argue that this is really Irish folk, not prog, but the complexity and variety stands it well apart from more traditional (though excellent) Irish folk bands like Boys Of the Lough, Planxty and the Bothy Band. It's an astonishing album, well worth the full 5 stars. A genuine masterpiece which no lover of good music should be without.

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 Moving Hearts by MOVING HEARTS album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.82 | 3 ratings

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Moving Hearts
Moving Hearts Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

5 stars CHRISTY MOORE was already a legend of Irish folk music when he got together with others of his ilk for this project. They stormed out the gate on this, one of the strongest debut albums in rock history. The unfathomable chemistry is on par with other inaugural works like those by KING CRIMSON, PROCOL HARUM, LINDISFARNE. As in those cases, although perhaps less arguably, MOVING HEARTS pretty much blew their wad then and there. Sure, echoes reverberated to the next and final studio offering as a vocal group, but this is surely where you need to start if your interests lie in the roots of roots-influenced socially conscious Irish rock of the last 2 decades of the 20th century. This includes artists like BIG COUNTRY, THE MEN THEY COULDN'T HANG, THE POGUES, THE WATERBOYS, THE SAW DOCTORS, and even the early 80s efforts by MIKE OLDFIELD, and countless others from Ireland and beyond.

On so many levels, this is a classic:

the choice of material. These performers could have written their own, but their selections demonstrate a sensitivity to the breadth of protest music, and also helped to popularize artists toiling in relative obscurity. Even more impressively, the material wells from the heart of Ireland regardless of its origins, and at the same time could apply to anywhere where political and social upheaval still rages.

the live energy imparted in the studio recording. I am not sure if this was recorded live in the studio but it sounds as if in front of an audience, but with all the studio technology that could be mustered. A rare achievement indeed.

the professionalism of the musicians

the virtuosity of the musicians

the integration of sax with more traditional folk instrumentation like pipes, and the integration of traditional instruments with searing electric guitar

The inimitable voice of Christy Moore who had released possibly two dozen solo albums in a similar if more subdued spirit.

From the deft opening picking of Jim Page's "Hiroshima Nagasaki Russian Roulette" through to the fade out of Jack Warshaw's "No Time For Love", MOVING HEARTS wrings it all out unfailingly. The interaction of pipes, lead guitars and sax in "Hiroshima..", and the jaw dropping sudden ending, help to establish the standard which is rarely let down. "Irish Ways and Irish Laws" is almost creepy in its depiction of what once was in Ireland before invasion upon invasion changed its course. "Landlord", with his "mortgage on my body, and deed to my soul", demonstrates that not every significant issue is played out at a national level. "Faithful Departed" is thoroughly engaging and builds to a glorious crescendo in the chorus and instrumental ending. "Lake of Shadows" is a shimmering instrumental that hints at the coming direction for the group after its initial boom and bust, a languid affair coaxing extraordinary pathos from sax and bass, further encouraged by a sweet melody. And "No Time for Love" has been reincarnated many times but, if you have heard this version, you will always want to punctuate the others with the guitar and sax fills that give this one so much more impact. The plight of political prisoners everywhere that is described therein remains more relevant than ever.

If you are approaching this band from a prog only perspective, then start with the all instrumental "The Storm". However, if you want their definitive statement, this masterpiece will move even the heaviest of hearts.

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