Fresh from his surprise turn with Coldplay at Oxegen, Christy Moore springs another album that confirms his on-going relevance but also feels akin to peering at a relic from another era.
As ever with Moore, Folk Tale covers both matters humorous and deathly serious but when he wheels out Tyrone Boys, a song he started in 1987 but only finished recently, its calcified talk of the Papal visit of 1979, the Kerry babies tragedy, and atrocities by British troops really do make you wonder what century he’s living in.
He’s better when the pained pieties are left behind for My Little Honda 50, a cute ditty eulogising the impact that the titular hairdryer on wheels had on rural Ireland and Easter Snow, an elegant slow air in praise of master piper Seamus Ennis who Christy first met in the late sixties. Farmer Michael Hayes, first recorded with Planxty in 1976, is a terrific tale of a farmer who kills his landlord and lives a Scarlett Pimpernel-like existence before escaping to Amerikay.
On Weekend in Amsterdam, a song with the same giddy rush as The Crack was 90 in The Isle of Man, you’ll be tickled to hear Moore reel off a list of sex toys while any fears that God Woman will be another sanctimonious hymn to Christy’s innate maternal instinct are allayed by some laugh out loud moments.
Declan Sinnott provides an overly tasteful gloss to proceedings and while it can be hard to take Moore seriously when Ding Dong Denny O’Reilly is doing the rounds, he remains a brave voice and an astute chronicler of both the good and the bad times.