Saturday, March 17, 2007

John McCormack - In Irish Song

Yea, for St. Patrick's Day, we'll check out a few Irish tunes by this old tenor, singer popular around 1915, a bunch of years in there. They did some different vocal stuff back then, very sentimental, presented in a very formal way.

These songs are from a modern compilation of some of John's tracks, called "In Irish Song."

Come Back To Erin - Starts with very sentimental instrumental sound, violin and piano. Then John's voice, plaintive and tinny (recording limitations of the time) appears. I can barely make out the words, like a foreign language, but there's a word once in a while. "Come back again," I heard. I hear some of that formal rolling of sounds you hear on old old records, supposed to make it sound classy in some cases or foreign in others.

A Nation Once Again - A better sounding song from a recording standpoint. Still the lyrics are a mish mash for the most part. I heard the title! The instruments include a tuba-sounding thing for the bass notes. John's doing the verses in a very workman-like way. Kind of boring. But I know about nothing about Irish history, so probably this would have some people teary-eyed. Big finish, blah.

Boys of Wexford - "We are the boys of Wexford, who fought with heart and hand." They were fighting to free their native land. The tune sounds like a nice tune for a tribute, memory song, in the folk song style it goes alternately up and down. Like most tunes. Like doing basic skills tests. You put A for a couple and you know there needs to be a B, C, or D probably next.

Green Isle of Erin - Very scratchy source for this track. OK, this isn't doing much for me.

We skip down for one more song:

Trottin' To The Fair - Extremely scratchy source disc for this track, too. But it's a bouncy, sprightly tune. Marching along, bouncy bouncy, one of John's rolled syllables there, more than one. As to what the song is saying, I can't discern the words very well. That was a short track, about 1:22.

Review: John McCormack's songs are old sentimental favorites. They were very popular at one time for entertainment value. Now they're so antique they're other-worldly. And that's good, too. The recordings on this disc (Napster download of it) are from a range of sources, from not so bad to terrible. There are only a couple of reasons why anyone would want it: historical or collector-interest. For entertainment value, there isn't much. The tinniness, scratchiness, and muddled tone, indecipherable lyrics are too much.

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