When Christy Moore sings you can't help but pay attention.
Sid Smith 2009
When Christy Moore sings you can't help but pay attention and, as the title demands, listen. That famously smouldering voice, pungently burnished by years of wringing wit and wisdom from an versatile songbook retains its commanding presence throughout his first album since 2005.
No stranger to having accolades heaped upon a recording career spanning 40 years (including the hugely influential 70s folk group, Planxty), Moore is heard praising others for a change.
Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond, sounds as though its always been waiting to be coaxed into this forlorn, softly-sung eulogy to Syd Barrett, whilst Moore turns on the flinty anger in Duffy's Cut, spitting questions about 57 Irish navvies who mysteriously lost their lives building America's railroad in the 19th Century.
Though that same indignation starkly articulates what happens when the people of South America get in the way of political expediency in The Disappeared, as a writer, Moore is just as exercised by the mundane stuff of everyday as he is by savage injustice.
The Ballad of Ruby Walsh, (a knowing-wink of a song about horse racing) and the bar room raconteur of Ridin' The High Stool, and even the venerable Glasgow venue of Barrowlands, are all celebrated and savoured with evident relish.
Sharing the album with long-term musical partner, Declan Sinnott (who takes lead vocals on I Will), sugary sentimentality gets the better of Moore only once lamenting the passing of Irish blues legend, Rory Gallagher on the live track Rory Is Gone. Still, its easy to forgive Moore such crowd-pleasing indulgences on this otherwise faultless outing.