FLEADH The Peacocks Feather (Copperplate LC13476)

FLEADH The Peacocks Feather (Copperplate LC13476)Fleadh’s third album comes to us riding high on the success of their second, The Creggan Bay Disaster. That they are not exactly a household in Britain is due to the fact that they are one of the biggest Irish folk bands in Germany.

I was a bit dismissive of The Creggan Bay Disaster two years ago (shows you what I know) partly because they were tagged as folk-rock which they patently weren’t. Their billing is more straightforward now but the music is still the same – a mix of mostly traditional tunes with original songs by Saoirse Mhór – but perhaps a bit more dynamic in its execution. ‘Table Of Losers’ seems to suggest that German audiences still like a bit of country music with Marcus Eichenlaub’s fiddle and Frank Dürschner’s banjo adding to the atmosphere If I were asked to judge The Peacock’s Feather on the basis of that track I’d move quickly on but then I’d miss the superb ‘You Don’t Have The Right’, a tale of domestic violence in which the perpetrator is unrepentant almost the bitter end.

Top instrumental is ‘Taka Tuka Set’ which includes ‘Willie Hunter’s Polka’ and ‘We Won’t Go Home ‘Til Morning’, better known once upon a time as the theme from Pippi Longstocking. It’s three-and-a-half minutes of pure delight. The band is at its best when Frank Weber’s pipes or whistles are at the forefront. He has a lightness of touch that makes their playing among the best you’ll hear. Just listen to the lift they give to ‘Hunt The Squirrel’ – I enjoyed it so much I stopped the disc to play it again.

I’m still not totally enamoured by Saoirse Mhór’s songwriting – ‘Sleeping And Working’ is also pretty good but the others are merely OK. The album taken as a whole, however, has more than enough to recommend it.

Dai Jeffries

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‘Row Home’, a track from The Creggan Bay Disaster, live: