CHRISTY MOORE – Magic Nights (Columbia 19075991082)

Magic NightsMagic Nights is the sequel to Christy Moore’s 2017 album, On The Road. Conventional wisdom says that a sequel is never as good as the original but, without making comparisons, that isn’t true here. As before, the twenty-six tracks here are neither a “normal” concert album nor a greatest hits collection. Sure there are some of Christy’s best known songs here: ‘Sonny’s Dream’, ‘A Pair Of Brown Eyes’, ‘Burning Times’, Spancilhill’, ‘The Two Conneeleys’, ‘The Reel In The Flickering Light’, ‘The Well Below The Valley’ and…breathe. We have to remember that all of these songs were significant enough to be performed live since the 1970s but, as Christy says in his notes, a song needs the room to be right.

I’ve heard Christy live several times and know him to be a mesmerising performer but recently I’ve come to wish that the rest of the audience were elsewhere. You’ll hear it here. Christy weaves an intimate atmosphere and you can get the feeling that he is singing just to you. His audiences are enthusiastic and know all the songs so well that they start to applaud before a song has actually finished. I actually appreciate that brief moment of silence after the last notes die away and for that reason I will not listen to this recording of ‘Spancilhill’ again.

That aside, I was hooked by this album from the first moments. I don’t believe I’ve heard ‘Magic Nights In The Lobby Bar’ live and this performance and its position as the opening track only enhances it. As you listen your reaction will be either, “oh, yes, I remember that song” or “I didn’t know Christy sang that”. I was convinced that Padraig Stevens’ jokey ‘The Tuam Beat’ was new but I was wrong – it’s from Lily if you want to check. Either way the result will be to send you scurrying back to an album you’d almost forgotten about and you’ll start to enjoy it all over again.

Needless to say there isn’t a bad song on Magic Nights although I’m surprised that there are few of Christy’s own compositions here – only ‘The Two Conneeleys’ and ‘Veronica’ bear his imprint. Perhaps he’s saving for a third compilation.

Dai Jeffries

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