Thursday, March 17, 2011

CD Review: Cherish The Ladies - The Girls Won’t Leave The Boys Alone

Hope everyone is having a festive St. Patrick’s Day. In that spirit, here’s a review of a Cherish The Ladies CD I did for the Illinois Entertainer back in 2001. The band will be performing with the New Philharmonic this Saturday and Sunday at the McInnich Arts Center at the College of DuPage.

The Girls Won’t Leave The Boys Alone is the eighth collection of original and traditional Celtic music released by Cherish The Ladies. This time out, the six-woman band is augmented by an international cast of male singers and musicians. The music exudes a close knit ambience, much like At Home, the 1999 album that featured The Ladies performing with members of their families.

New lead singer Deidre Connolly fits right in, weaving gorgeous harmony vocals with flute and whistle player Joannie Madden and piano player Donna Long on “The Broom Of The Cowdenknowes” (which also features Eric Weissberg on banjo). The touching ballad “Ireland Love Of My Heart” showcases Connolly’s voice, and she joins John McCutcheon (vocals and hammered dulcimer), Tom Chapin (vocals and banjo), and Tommy Makem (vocals) on the folksy “Rambling Irishman.”

Liam O’Maonlai from Hothouse Flowers sings in Gaelic on “The Mad Puck Goat,” a funny song with irresistible percussion, and Luka Bloom croons the romantic ballad “I'll Walk Beside You.” Singer Paddy Reilly and fiddle player John Sheahan contribute to the passion of “Down By The Glenside,” a tribute to Irish freedom fighters. “The Jolly Beggerman” is a ribald tale spun by singers Liam Clancy and Arlo Guthrie while Pete Seeger strums a banjo.

The Girls Won’t Leave The Boys Alone offers a number of spirited jigs and reels. The quartet of reels that closes the CD finds Cherish The Ladies joined by musicians Billy McComiskey, Brendan Mulvihill, and Mick Moloney. Moloney first suggested the idea of forming Cherish The Ladies to Joannie Madden back in 1983.

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