John C. Falstaff's Picks

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What Celtic gigs and albums have made the biggest impressions over the years? Not an easy question, and a different answer would likely be forthcoming if you asked me now, and again a week later. However, looking back at concerts attended and releases that have come my way (and made it onto The Celtic Show), these are my personal picks, year by year, in no particular order.


Concerts (alas, I missed many no doubt fine shows in the latter part of the year):
Pat O'Connor & Eoghan O'Sullivan at house concert, Jul 2011.
Dick Hensold at Emory, April 2011.
David Munnelly Band at Eddies, Mar 2011.
Bua at house concert, Feb 2011.
Tannahill Weavers at Red Light Cafe, Feb 2011.

Bua's Down the Green Fields / Sios Fa Thaobh An Ghleanna
John Doyle's Shadow and Light
Alan Reid's Recollection
Battlefield Band's Line-Up
Andy Irvine's Abocurragh
Seudan's Seudan
Kyle Carey's Monongah
T with the Maggies
Pat O'Connor & Eoghan O'Sullivan's Conversation at the Crosses
Tommy Sands' Songs Arising From the Troubles
Sean O Se's Shean agus Nua
Davy Steele the Show
The Washington Square Harp and Shamrock Orchestra's Since Maggie Dooley Learned the Hooley Hooley


Hugh Morrison's Robert Burns Rocks
Mairead Ni Fhlatharta's O Chaon Taobh
Joe Derrane's Grove Lane
Loreena McKennitt's The Wind That Shakes the Barley
George Murphy & the Black Donnellys' The Ballads of Archie Thompson
Donie Carroll's Down the Slippery Slope
Sean O Se & Ceoltoiri Chualann's An Poc Ar Buile
J. J. Sheridan's Edward Bunting's Ancient Music of Ireland
Kevin Burke & Cal Scott's Suite
Altan & RTE Concert Orchestra's 25th Anniversary Celebration
Karen Casey & John Doyle's Exiles Return
Alex Hodgson's Jeelie Jars 'n' Coalie Backies
Captain Mackey's Goatskin and Stringband's Soldiers' Songs
Daimh's Diversions
Gabe McVarish's Eclection
Mick West's Sark o' Snaw
McCalmans' The Greentrax Years
Teada's Ceol & Cuimhne
Chieftains' San Patricio


Bua's An Spealadoir
Ed Miller's Lyrics of Gold
Pride of New York's Pride of New York
Ben Lennon & Tony O'Connell's Rossinver Braes
Linda Griffths's Storm Nos
Patrick Molard's The Waking of the Bridegroom
Maria Dunn's The Peddler
Green Fields of America's Green Fields of America
Susan McKeown & Loren Sklamberg's Saints & Tzadiks
Lauren MacColl's Strewn With Ribbons
Mick Moloney's If It Wasn't For the Irish and the Jews
Jim Malcolm's The First Cold Day
Battlefield Band's Zama Zama Try Your Luck
Mark Dunlop's Islands On the Moon
Alasdair Gillies' Lockbroom
Catherine McEvoy's The Home Ruler
Mairi Sine Campbell's Back in Lochalsh
Hugh Morrison (et al)'s Ali MacGregor's Music Collection
Manus McGuire's Fiddlewings
The Occasionals' The Full Set
Brock McGuire Band's Brock McGuire Band
Liz Carroll & John Doyle's Double Play


Gregory Grene's Flipsides
Rhys Meirion's Celticae
Tony DeMarco's The Sligo Indians
Ed Miller's The Edinburgh Rambler
Sylvia Barnes' The Colour of Amber
J.J. Sheridan's The Petrie Collection
Breabach's The Big Spree
Brian Conway's Consider the Source
Archie Fisher's Windward Away
Patrick Street's On the Fly
Martin Hayes & Denis Cahill's Welcome Here Again
Margaret Stewart's Togaidh Me Mo Sheolta


Kris Drever's Black Water
Sean O Se & Peadar O Riada's 'Dir Cum Thola is Cuil Aodha
Alison McMorland's White Wings
MacDara's The Love Token
LAU's Lightweights & Gentlemen
Gordon Duncan's Just for Gordon
Athena Tergis' A Letter Home
Eamon Coyne & Kris Drever's Honk Toot Suite
Oisin McAuley's Far From the Hills of Donegal
Brendan Begley's It Could Be A Good Night Yet!
Barachois' Barachois
Paul Brock & Enda Scahill's Humdinger
Kevin Burke & Cal Scott's Across the Black River


The Glencraig Scottish Dance Band's The Ceilidh - Are Ye Dancin'?
Teada's Inne Amarach
Donnie Munro's Heart of America
Mick Moloney's McNally's Row of Flats
John Doyle's Wayward Son
Gwenan Gibbard's Y Gwenith Gwynnaf
Eric Bogle's By Request
Battlefield Band's The Road of Tears
Pauline Scanlon's Hush
The Occasionals' Down to the Hall
Steve Byrne's Songs From Home
Boys of the Lough's Twenty


Planxty's Live 2004
(Astonishingly fine reunion performances from Vicar Street, 32 years after they first burst on the scene. Also available as a video)

Further back in time:

[a random smattering which will be added to as items pop into my head]

O Riada sa Gaeity
(definitive live album recorded in 1969 -- swan song from legendary ensemble many of whom later found fame in The Chieftains. Singer Sean O Se is now touring and recording once more; miss this national treasure at your peril.)

Victor Cunneen's Sweet Bank River
(Kerry singer resident in USA. Obscure as can be; good luck finding a copy)

Ar Log's VI
(a Welsh Fairport Convention?)

Oige's Bang On!
(fine Derry band)

Kevin Mitchell's I Sang That Sweet Refrain
(lovely Derry singer long resident in Scotland)

Clan Alba's Clan Alba
(83 drop-dead gorgeous minutes of Gaughan, Steele et al. Look this one up: my copy cost me $35 back in the 1990s and it was worth every penny)

Moving Heart's Moving Hearts
(stunning – and political – Celtic fusion from 1981, C. Moore, D. Lunny and several future Riverdancers. Musical style now oft imitated, e.g., by Lunasa sometimes and by many Scottish bands)

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