A Winter's Tear
The songs and poems of Sigerson Clifford which constitute no less than three items on this album. A significant number but hardly surprising as Tim has been a long-time admirer of the works of Clifford. The depth of Tim's feeling for the work of this poet is encapsulated in the tribute 'Sigerson' on his last cassette A Thimbleful of Song. Add 'The Kerry Hills' and the Beautiful 'Beannacht o' Ri na hAoine' and the influence of his native county is seen even more clearly. The other song in Irish, 'A Iosa' is a simple expression of faith, part of which is found more frequently as a folk prayer than as the very melodic hymn sung here.
Even if Tim no longer lives in Kerry, the hills of that county are visible on a clear day from his home in Mullach, County Clare. In this county of his adoption he has entered fully into the musical traditions not only as a singer, but as a set-dancer of some noticeable skill. It is hardly surprising then that such a joyful pastime should colour songs written from the experience of life in Clare. What is unexpected, however, is the poignant use of such a buoyant form of physical expression as in the eponymous 'A Winter's Tear'. In the manner of many songwriters Tim finds the need to commit his thoughts into verse in an effort to clarify the chaos of the world we live in for his listeners and, I am sure, for himself.
This may take the form of the personal sense of grief as in the helpless sympathy of a 'A Winter's Tear', the philosophical musing on 'James Meere' the social commentary of 'This Week' They said' or the sense of understated outrage in 'Farewell to Pripyat'. This last song has already reached a wider audience through the cover version sung by Christy Moore on his album Voyage.
The power of song in stirring militant hearts is probably best illustrated by 'Lilliburlero', which is said to have won as many battles as any army. Similarly 'Ca Ira' and 'La Carmagnole' were anthems of hope and rebellion imported into Ireland following the French Revolution. On a much lighter note' The Bodhrán Song' looks at the world of Irish traditional music from the point of view of a goat. This effusion is from the pen of Brian O'Rourke, one of the most consistently hilarious songwriters to emerge for many years.
This collection of songs from the traditional repertoire, from his own and other pens is very representative of the songs Tim can be heard singing nowadays in folk clubs, local pubs and informal sessions. Particularly since his work on radio began he is in great demand as a performer and presenter at concerts throughout Clare and much farther afield. On this album he is surrounded by a wide array of excellent musicians providing accompaniment on many tracks.
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