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Loudest Whisper - Loudest Whisper II  CD (album) cover


Loudest Whisper


Prog Folk

3.88 | 6 ratings

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4 stars No one can accuse these guys of rushing records to market. Seven years after their debut (and a decade or so after the band’s founding) comes ‘2’. Unlike the first album ‘The Children of Lir’ this record has no particular theme, consisting instead of a collection of singles from the band’s various efforts throughout the seventies, along with some new material. Geraldine Dorgan remains the main vocal presence in the group, although again the O’Reilly brothers offer accompanying harmonies, and Brian O’Reilly even manages to take the lead on occasion.

The O’Reilly brothers readily admit to the influences of North American folk rockers like the Mamas & the Papas, Neil Young, John Sebastian and the like. While the Mamas & the Papas and CSNY are much in evidence on the first album, here the vocals lean much more heavily toward America, James Taylor, and even their soft/folk/art-rock Brit counterparts the Moody Blues. “Magic Carpet” harkens to the Big-7 Moodies albums, and particularly to the John Lodge-penned tunes. This was also the first single from the O'Reilly's own studio and label in 1979.

There’s some fair range of motion musically here as well, just as there was on their first album. “Old Friend John” sounds like Maria McKee crooning a Lone Justice neo-country ballad about a friend of the band who is now engaged in pushing up daisies. “Grey Eyes” on the other hand veers into soft psych territory with some very nice fuzz guitar and unusual percussion. “Pied Piper” could have been a Peter, Paul & Mary folk ditty; and “Wheel o’ Fortune” is going to get recorded by some young Nashville country vixen like Leann Rimes or Gretchen Wilson if it hasn’t already. “Cold Winds Blow” smacks totally of a Gordon Lightfoot tune with the vocals a register higher.

Other than the very sad and charming “Old Friend John”, I think the most memorable track is the passive anti-war lament “The Name of The Game” with its emotive keyboards, light string accompaniment, and Pete Seeger-like protest lyrics (“run soldier, run – throw away your gun; the race cannot be won without your shame”).

The band would end up releasing another album a few years later, ominously titled "Hard Times". By 1985 they would exist in name only, and today only the O'Reilly brothers remain from the lineup of this album. Too bad, because these guys clearly gelled well together and could have made a lot more very engaging music if they'd held it together. Nice to hear that the O'Reillys have been touring and finding some success with the band's music even today and have enlisted new friends and even their own families to help with the music.

This album probably isn’t as good as it could be considering the moderate effort required to find it. But if you’re okay with a CD reissue this is an easy find, and a great (and rare) example of Irish folk rockers putting on the jig with a friendly nod to some popular American and Canadian folkers that provided musical backdrops to the O’Reilly’s and Dorgan’s younger years. For that I really like this album. The rating system fails once again as this is clearly a 3.5 star album, but the artist should never be forced to pay for such inequities, so four stars it is and well recommended to fans of pretty much any kind of folk.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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