EDDI READER – Vagabond (Reveal REVEAL022CDX)

VagabondYour first thought is “what a lot of fun Eddi and her compatriots had making this album”. The second is “what a remarkable album they made”.

There is a huge range of songs and styles here from the thirties jazz-swing of the opener, ‘I’ll Never Be The Same’, to the autobiographical ‘Midnight In Paris 1979’ and the rather hard-nosed sentimentality of Michael Marra’s ‘Macushla’. It’s a tribute to the assembled musicians – such names as John McCusker, Phil Cunningham, Boo Hewedine and Donald Shaw will give you a clue as to their credentials – that such a collection of songs flows and blends so well. Roy Dodds and Ewen Vernal obviously moonlight in a jazz club somewhere and Alan Kelly’s accordion melds with their drums and bass to evoke metropolitan France or somewhere off-off-Broadway and provide the principal feel of much of the record.

‘Back The Dogs (Dancing Down Rock)’ is a delightfully off-the-wall piece based on stories Eddi’s grandmother told her about life in Tralee. It’s interspersed with recorded snippets of the old lady and is as vivid a depiction of the old days in Ireland as you could wish to hear. Two traditional songs, ‘Buain Ná Rainich’ and ‘In Ma Ain Country’ provide a diversion from the “modern” pieces but the record is probably summed up by a line from the last track, Hewerdine’s ‘It’s Beautiful Night’: ‘A moment out of time’. I love this record.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website: www.eddireader.com

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