Thousands Are Sailing
Shanachie (

This is billed as "a collection of classic Irish immigrations songs by many of the finest artists of the past 25 years." Shanachie has a fine, commendable list of performers who have recorded through them. But, Irish music has come to mean different things to different people.

If you follow one strand, Boys of the Lough, Planxty, Dolores Keane, and De Dannan make excellent choices for inclusion. Their distinctive styles have helped popularize Irish music and here are strong examples of their approach. Andy Irvine sings the title song (surely this is Planxty's definitive sound, especially with his voice and bouzouki); the wealth of Shanachie's catalog is such that either De Dannan or Arcady's Rambling Irishman could have been selected - they go for the former, while featuring the latter's Boys of Barr Na Sraide.

My problem is when Niamh Parsons fades out of Barr Na Sraide, it is not easy to change modes for the Wolfe Tones. And after Planxty, I'm not sure it's Liam Clancy I wish to listen to. Immigration is not a strong enough reason to link the various artists. Parts of the album flow perfectly from one track to the next, while others jolt. - Jamie O'Brien

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