Well, this is just perfect. Mick Moloney is out with his brand new album on Compass. Entitled, If It Wasn’t For The Irish and the Jews, it is a continuation of the albums in which Mick is the acknowledged best----turn of the 20th century Irish-American, Tin Pan Alley music. The previous album, McNally’s Row of Flats, was a hit, and won every award available in Irish music, including a couple from this venue!
As usual, with a Moloney album, the liner notes are worth the price alone. There is such an education to be had here. No one has done more than Mick and The Ward Archives of Irish Music in Milwaukee to preserve this critical part of both American and Irish culture and music. It is truly Irish-American in the broadest context. And, oh, the history! Blanche Ring? Nora Bayes? William Jerome? Jean Schwartz? George M. Cohan? All here all fab all the time. Don’t know who they are? You should. You will. The album title also gives us a real insight into one of the most important musical dynamics of the era, with the numerous collaborations between the Irish and the Jews. This magical time was enhanced by great music created by the conjunction of two cultures so full of music, history and creativity. There are detailed notes on each of the 14 songs, and a marvelous overview of the music from Mick. He is joined by so many wonderful musicians playing the original melodies and arrangements. Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks are perfect at providing the brass and other instruments so necessary in creating a ragtime elegance and sound. Perfect. Several well-known Irish musicians also join in. Collaboration. Just like back in the day.
The bar keeps getting raised higher and higher in the music, almost monthly. David Munnelly’s brand new, Tight Squeeze joins The Irish and The Jews in showing what can now be done with the music. No longer is it enough to simply record the 307th version of Pigeon at the Gate or Bucks of Orranmore. If you want to play ball at THIS level you need your “A Game”, and a fresh approach. What is that approach? Well, albums like The Irish and The Jews take a ton of prep time---no showing up at the studio, one practice, and away we go. There is another current, supposedly major album that tried this from a collection of really good Irish musicians, and it bombed. Awful. But, here’s what we know. It must be traditionally grounded. Deeply. It has to be fresh. It must have superior musicianship and arrangements. It must be finely honed. The Irish and The Jews joins the best in the business like The Brock-McGuire Band, Liz Carroll and Munnelly in being completely and truly trad, and completely new at the same time. Sound impossible? Of course, it does! This can’t be written about. It must be heard. So, go get it! This album will be around forever, as it should be. It is fun, gorgeous and moving---all at the same time.
Wow! Mick! You ARE the boyo!! http://www.mickmoloney.com/
Rating: Four Harps for this sure to be award winner