Christy Moore is coming to town next month. We can’t wait. A singer of great songs, Moore also offers listeners a little of that human touch and always provides a lick of paint to some of the best material around. He’s got a new live album out and it contains one of his greatest moments. By Alan O’Hare.
“Like a folk singing shark amongst a shoal of songs, he’s always moving and hunting great material.” I wrote that about Christy Moore five years ago. He was in town to play his part in the annual Liverpool Irish Festival and had just headlined a gig at the Philharmonic Hall up on Hope Street. Hope is an important word when describing the singing, songs and spirit of the Irishman. For, in amongst the tunes about oppression, war, corruption and drunken husbands, it is hope that this singer offers the most.
His voice is both the biggest thing I’ve ever heard in a room, but also as tender as a word with F. Scott Fitzgerald; it preaches compassion, but occasionally opens up with anger; and its aim is always true. ‘Beeswing’, the song featured here and taken from the 2005 album ‘Burning Times’, is the perfect introduction to the feelings up for grabs and in the air when Christy Moore sings. In the hands of its author, the English folk legend Richard Thompson, the delicate lament twists and turns on taut guitar tunings and a tightening of the throat. It’s great, but hovers rather than soars. In the heart and soul of County Kildare’s finest, however, ‘Beeswing’ balances beautifully in perpetual motion and finds itself betwixt and between a bouncing melody line and a bubbling guitar figure.
“They say that she got married once to a man called Romany Brown
Even a gypsy caravan was too much like settlin’ down
They say her rose has faded, rough weather and hard booze
Maybe that’s the price you pay for the chains that you refuse… “
Listen out for the last verse’s descent into an unexpected minor chord and the vocal Moore pulls out from under many years of emotional mud when he sings the lines quoted above. “Every now and then a version stills my night and leaves me totally satisfied at the last chord,” he has said. “It will leave me not caring about either the audience or the next song… it’s a beauty to sing.”
It’s even more beautiful to hear.
Saturday May 5th 2018, 8pm
Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
Sunday May 6th 2018, 8pm
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
Pic courtesy 4711ers