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Tir Na Nog - Spotlight CD (album) cover


Tir Na Nog


Prog Folk

3.10 | 2 ratings

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3 stars ‘Spotlight’ consists of a collection of Tír na nÓg recordings for BBC from the early seventies, along with a couple of live tracks from what I would assume was one of the latter concerts before the duo disbanded. All tracks were recorded in London, either for BBC broadcasts or for live DJ John Peel sessions. The restored quality of the master material is quite good; yet another example of the respectful care prog-friendly Hux Records puts into the stuff they manage to uncover and commit to CD on a regular basis.

Predictably the majority of tracks here are from the band’s third and final album, which makes sense considering the sessions, and particularly the BBC ones, would have been intended to showcase the band to record-buying radio audiences; and that record was in the midst of being finalized and released around the time most of these sessions were conducted. So from a ‘spotlight’ standpoint the album delivers as advertised; but as a solidly representative compilation of the band’s music things could have been a bit better.

Most notably there is only one song from the band’s debut, the relatively low-key “Piccadilly”. For whatever reason neither Peel nor the BBC felt the need to include the band’s debut single, their namesake track off the first album, or even the very mellow but enchanting “Dante”. Too bad, and quite short-sided at the time.

The songs that are here are all solid enough, and like most everything else I’ve ever heard from the band the execution is impeccable. “Come and See the Show” is a quintessential Brit folk revival tune and excellent period piece, as is its bookend “The Same Thing Happening”. On the other end of their musical spectrum the Dylan cover "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” is a delight that is livened up considerably thanks to the addition of bouncing keyboards.

The other cover comes from Nick Drake (“Free Ride”), which also appeared on the band’s third album in 1973. While ‘It Takes…’ really captures Dylan’s musical spirit, “Free Ride” almost comes off as an attempt at a radio-friendly tune, and in that respect I could have done without its inclusion.

Otherwise this is a very solid offering, albeit one that comes well beyond the twilight of the band’s career. Tír na nÓg still lack a truly comprehensive anthology release, and at this point in time one isn’t likely to come. So fans may want to reach out and grab this instead; its accessible, well-produced and covers enough of their career to make for an enjoyable listening experience. Not great, but pretty good – three stars and recommended to fans of the band as well as modern and progressive folk in general.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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