19. Altan: The Best of Altan

The Irish folk band Altan has been together in various forms since 1987. From 1997 This is a double-CD collection of their best stuff. The second CD is a quick live album.


I never listened to The Best of Atlan, or anything else by them, before last night. I’m sure, as with most best-of albums, there’s plenty of things missing, but we go with what we have. This was brought along by my wife, who went through a bit of an Irish folk phase years ago. I kind of did, too, but never got any further into it than The Levellers and Black 47 (more on them later), which is to say not far at all.

You know, whenever I hear people talking about Irish folk music, the first thing they say is “It’ll transport you to a bar on the edge of a rolling hill with sheep, a fireplace, and a pint of Guinness…” Fair enough. This CD didn’t do that for me, and I had a nice dark beer to help out. I really liked it, though. What we have here is, as far as I can tell, perfect Irish folk music done impeccably. Just like a pint of Guinness, it’s nothing exotic, but they get it just right every time.


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