Current Play List: April – May 2008

Current Play List: April – May 2008 by David Whelan The last 8 weeks have blurred together. Some work projects have required significant focus, we’ve had some paperwork, and Irish dance “feis” season has started in a big way. I haven’t branched out too much: the Pogues and the Blues Brothers are in heavy duty rotation. But a serendipitous channel surfing brought up a TV concert / special for Great Big Sea, and I’ve been listening to a number of their discs since then.

Canadian / Traditional

Great Big Sea have been around for more than a decade but they’re brand new to me.  After catching the special (it appears to have been a rebroadcast and I watch sufficiently little TV that I honestly can’t find or remember which channel showed it), I swung by their very sophisticated Web site.  Not only can you listen to samples, you can download the entire disc for their first two albums ($$) and learn other things about the band.  I ended up going to the Toronto Public Library and borrowing two of their CDs.  “Sea of No Cares” was okay but didn’t really grab me.  The two-disc “The Hard and the Easy“, though, is brilliant and on my short list for a purchase.  I’m going to borrow a few more of their CDs before I make the final plunge!

A few notes on The Hard and the Easy.  They have a great rendition of Captain Kidd, which I’ve been singing to the kids for a few years.  [The favorite part is when Kidd is going to the block, and we draw our thumb across our throats with a slitting noise!!]  This is a slightly different version from the one I downloaded from Digital Tradition, and is also different from the original one I learned from a John Roberts and Tony Barrand recording (as part of the National Geographic’s recording in 1973, “Songs and Sounds of the Sea”).

Also, if you’re familiar with The Mermaid, then beware that it’s probably not the one you know on this disc!!  It’s an absolute RIOT, but it’s still quite different from the (I assume) more common one.  And don’t miss the DVD with some very funny interviews with the band about the songs on the music disc.

In fact, anyone who likes traditional music (accordion, guitar, bodhran, etc.) or when it’s updated a bit like the Pogues, will enjoy Great Big Sea.