- 10 Jan 20
IRISH ROCK LEGENDS JOIN FORCES FOR EPIC AFFAIR
One of the disappointments, arguably the only one, of Horslips' re-emergence was the absence of drummer Eamon Carr. Not only does this new treat from Eamonn Dowd and The Racketeers welcome the man back to his rightful throne, the songs are also built around Carr's poetry/lyrics, reminding us that he's easily one of our most undervalued wordsmiths. The Sweden-based, Irish-born Dowd is no slouch either. This may be only his third solo album, but he's been a staunch presence on the rock scene since the '80s.
This collaboration has produced an intriguing slew of songs, which artfully and passionately celebrate the human spirit in the face of adversity. In particular, they focus on our overseas history. After the short opener 'Crow's Nest', 'Oh Hangman' parks itself somewhere between Dylan and Mark Knopfler, for a jaunty musical outing that belies the serious title.
Dowd's voice is in full flow, with The Racketeers providing an accordion-inflected folk backing. The rendition of 'Cu Chulainn's Lament' is rawer and bleaker than Horslips' version from The Táin, with Carr's bandmate Jim Lockhart contributing flute and Hammond to swell the atmosphere. The lengthy 'The Merchants Of Bordeaux' is equally sombre, with plaintive harmonica and gentle guitar.
Elsewhere, on 'The Merchants Of Bordeaux' Carr provides some typically powerful lyrics: "We were carried on a crimson tide over fields that once were green / We were ragged, we were broken, the most wretched ever seen". His provocative words often take us to the dark side, touching on hangmen, danger, misdeeds and repentance. But sometimes we need to go there, if only to come back.