Traditional Sounds abound for St. Pat's
Looking for some traditional Irish music to play while having your corned beef and cabbage this weekend? Sony's Legacy label just has released six CDs of music from popular traditional Irish acts The Chieftains, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and The Dubliners. These acts, which have all been around since the '50s and '60s, have become synonomous with St. Patrick's Day — and it seems I receive a "new" collection of their classics every year about this time. In any case, all three acts now have new "Best Of" collections on the shelves.
The Dubliners first performed their fiery brand of Irish drinking music (supported by guitar, fiddle, whistle, mandolin, banjo and harmonica) in 1962 and a scion of the band continues today. Their Best Of set includes "Seven Drunken Nights" plus 15 other signature songs from the group's '60s heydays, including "Drink it Up Men," "Maloney Wants a Drink," and "The Pub With No Beer."
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem first performed in Greenwich Village clubs in the '50s after the quartet came to the states hoping to launch acting careers. After an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, they released a stream of albums for Columbia Records in the '60s. Their Best Of disc also includes 16 songs, from their staple "Irish Rover," "Whiskey, You're the Devil" and "The Jug of Punch," to "The Old Orange Flute" and "Paddy West."
The Chieftains, originally a quintet of pipes, fiddle, flute and bodhran, came together in 1963 to release what was supposed to be an album of traditional Celtic music and 40 years later, (albeit with a modified lineup) the band still performs. Their new Best Of includes songs released between 1977-1980, just after the band won acclaim for its appearance on Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon soundtrack. The label also has reissued the three albums that The Best of The Chieftains mines – Chieftains 7, Chieftains 8 and Chieftains 9, which document the slow change of the band from its original to a more modern lineup.
Just in time for Easter! Miklos Rozsa's score to the classic Bible movie, 1961's King of Kings, has never been fully released. But MGM, with Turner Classic Movies and Rhino Records, have collaborated to issue the original, complete four-decade-old, 43-track orchestral soundtrack on full on two CDs.
Also reissued by Columbia/Sony Music Sountrax is the soundtrack to 1992's Strictly Ballroom, a varied affair, with a re-recording of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" by Mark Williams, and the film's star Tara Morice and an orchestral revisiting of "The Blue Danube." It also includes Doris Day's "Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps (Quizas Quizas Quizas)" and several Latin-leaning tracks, mixing tango and salsa rhythms with almost disco beats. Artists include Ignatius Jones, John Paul Young, David Hirschfelder and The Bogo Pogo Orchestra and more.
If you really want to do some music backtracking, Rhino Records has just released the three-disc box Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop: The Greatest Songs from Early Rock 'n' Roll. The 66-song collection includes 32 #1 hits from the pop and R&B charts and includes detailed liner notes by doo wop/early rock expert Bill Dahl. The set opens with Danny & The Juniors' "At the Hop" and continues with The Isley Brothers' "Twist and Shout," The Diamonds' "Little Darlin'," The Chiffons' "He's So Fine," Buddy Holly's "Everyday," Lesley Gore's "It's My Party," Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife," The Shirrelles' "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," The Everly Brothers' "All I Have to Do Is Dream," Ben E. King's "Stand by Me," and on and on.
Even if you're not over 40, you'll probably know most of the classic hits on this set. For those who really want to have it all, Rhino also is offering a limited edition Volume 2 of the box, with 66 additional songs. That set is only available online at www.rhinohandmade.com and is individually numbered (limited to 3000).