Neither a greatest hits collection nor a conventional concert album, On The Road sits somewhere between the two. Here are two dozen of Christy best and most popular songs recorded at seventeen venues in Ireland and the UK over the past three years.
The double-CD set opens with a mighty ‘Ordinary Man’ recorded at the Glasgow Barrowlands with an audience determined to sing it their way. As Christy notes, he felt it best to follow them. Christy’s audiences always know all the words. The band appearing pretty much throughout the album is Declan Sinnott on guitars, percussionist and producer Jim Higgins and Cathal Hayden with contributions from Máirtín O Connor, Seamie O’Dowd, Vickie Keating and Christy’s eldest son, Andy.
Initially the sequencing alternates moods so the second cut is ‘Ride On’ followed by the World Cup saga ‘Joxer Goes To Stuttgart. Is it an Irish thing: the ability to move from ribald comedy from sentimentality? ‘Black Is The Colour’ is followed by an updated ‘Don’t Forget Your Shovel’ filled with political comment and Irish in-jokes and ‘Delirium Tremens’ follows ‘The Voyage’. The fact that these are recent live recordings adds a twist to familiar songs with Christy working the audiences like the master he is. Just don’t expect anything to sound like it does on the studio album – he actually cracks up on ‘Weekend In Amsterdam’. The first set closes with a song that is rarely out of the set: ‘Viva La Quinte Brigada’ and even if you don’t know it you’ll be singing along before the end
The second half starts out in a less rowdy fashion; more what you’d expect from a Christy Moore gig. He opens with his brother’s ‘City Of Chicago’ followed by Ewan MacColl’s ‘Go Move Shift’ and a gorgeous take on ‘Nancy Spain’. Of course, the restraint doesn’t last forever as ‘Lingo Politico’ proves and ‘St. Brendan’s Voyage’ isn’t terribly reverential.
It is possible that you haven’t heard Christy Moore live and these days you’ll probably have to go to Dublin to do so but On The Road will do well enough until you get there. Hear this album and you’ll be booking your tickets.
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‘Ordinary Man’ – live: