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DE DANANN - Jacket of Batteries RATING: ****
Green Linnet GLCD3053 Reviewer: Brendan Carson

   [click the picture to go to the Green Linnet website]

Possibly one of the best traditional bands ever to come out of Ireland. This is yet another version of the band with the ever brilliant Frankie Gavin on Fiddle, Alec Finn on bouzouki, Eleanor Shanley and her magnificent vocals, Colm Murphy with his serious bodhran playing [Aiden Milligan eat yer heart out], amazing accordeonist Aiden Coffey and guest Adele O'Dwyer on the cello who adds real depth to the music.

This is truly the acme of didley-dee .

'A starts the CD off with lovely driving rhythm with Finn at his very best with the finest of simple vamping on the guitar. Tastefully accompanied by Coffey on the drum.

Eleanor Shanley has one of the finest voices in folk music today and her rendering of Phil Colclough's 'The Call and the Answer' is outstanding. The quality of her singing will get the hackles sitting up on the back of your neck.

The next tune is a classic piping special - 'The Clumsy Lover'. Coffey's playing mimics the war pipes with great effect and when he ramps it up into reel time it reely takes off. 

I sometimes think Frankie feels he has to prove he can do more than 'just' trad music and it has almost become par for the course for them to include a classical type piece on every album. 'The Flatbush Waltz' allows him to show that he has a light touch every bit as effective as his usual driving reels and jigs while 'The Rambles of Bach' sees both Gavin and Coffey in technically superb form. Nice bass playing from guest musician Trevor Hutchinson of Lunasa.

Another cracker of a song from the pen of Phil Colclough is 'Catalonia' remids me of some other song which I simply cant put my finger on - perhaps someone out there can help me out??

Charlie Lennon is rightly famed for his excellent tunes and 'Sailing In' is no exception. Here beautifully and simply arranged by Frankie with Alec's bouzouki weaving in and around the fiddle. This is followed by one of Frankie's own - 'Alice's Reel', when the drum and accordeon roll in to lift the tune.

An old standard ' The Mountains of Pomeroy' is given a new treatment. Alec shows what a truly great instrumentalist he is with resonating guitar playing that evokes all the words of the song and of the mountains in deepest Tyrone.

Eleanor follows this with a rendering of 'Taim i mo Shui'. This is another standard in Gaelic and delightfully put over here. Finn shows off again by demonstrating his mastery of the keyboards.

'Doberman's Wallet' ?? I'm not quite sure where a doberman keeps his wallet but this tune from Frankie definitely has bite! [Or maybe it's being hidden from Bilko].

Carrickfergus gets the run out again. It's a great song but I'm a wee bit bored with it as it has been seriously played out in recent years. I'm sure they could have come up with something a bit less well known - or perhaps this is one for the American audience??

To finish off we have another of Frankie's favourite ploys - take a Beatles song and turn it into diddley-dee. This worked to great effect when done the first time around with 'Hey Jude' but it stills works OK. [Especially as Frankie plays the flute on this track - mmmmmmmmm]

All in all this is as good as any other De Dannan albums. Full of lift and skill throughout with just the right mix of vocal and instrumental tracks.

This gets **** from me - BUY IT!