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The Eagle and the Harp. Terre di Mezzo, Bobby Pearse. 11 tracks. Total playing time 38 minutes, 22 seconds. FC Productions, BCM 6358, London WC1N 3XX. £11.00 including p&p.The Eagle and the Harp CD cover

Who would have thought it?  A  CD of old and modern folk tunes from an Italian band about to break up and an unknown Irish singer-songwriter seems an unlikely combination.  Yet it does work.  

Terre di Mezzo (Middle Earth) came together for one last time to record this session and itís very good. It's great to see the use of the Scots language in Terre di Mezzo's interpretation of those traditional standards, Twa Corbies and Johnny Cope. We have recently seen a few Ulster-Scots recordings beginning to emerge, so it is encouraging to see that Scots itself has not been overlooked in this cultural revival. Itís not a bad recording either.

Charlotte, the lead female vocalist has a first rate, clear voice. Itís obvious that Scots and English are not her first tongues, but this doesnít detract from her interpretation of the songs, which sound better than Steeleye Spanís well-known version, although Ewan McColl does sound more authentic.

Who is Bobby Pearse, then? Iíve no idea, but his songs are very descriptive of modern-day Ireland with its venality, duplicity, hypocrisy and cant. The Treachery denounces the modern ĎEuropeaní Celtic Tiger Republic as a sick demented society that promised its people much only to betray them. The Lies, a scathing attack on politicians and their worthless promises, borrows very, heavily from Keep on Running by The Spencer Davis Group. The Dream, a song about righting past wrongs and remembering fallen friends seems to be influenced by the Motley Crue song, Every Rose has a Thorn. My favourite track is The Stand. This depicts low-life political gombeen men like Charlie Haughey and his ilk asÖ

"The people that hold the power today

Grab onto the gold until it takes their soulÖ"

and reminds us thatÖ

life isnít about taking

Everything that gleams."

This is a far cry from the usual Fenian ballads that blame all Irelandís ills on the Brits and the Prods. It puts the blame right where it lies with Dublinís own ruling elite. Christy Moore, eat your heart out. Get out of the way and make room for the new kid on the block!

David Kerr

 

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