The Blue Idol

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Emily King
With The Blue Idol, Ireland's perennially popular trad ensemble Altan deliver just what we've come to expect: a delicious and well-planned repast of haunting ballads, rousing dance music, and obscure Irish folk songs served up as the latest thing. Their exquisite clarity, irresistible energy, and infinite discernment clearly owe much to the surviving member of the initial duo, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh from Gaoth Dobhar, Donegal. Her West Country roots blossom here with the help of her stalwart bandmates, her lovely voice reigning over them as a sort of Queen Mother -- one willing to share her glory in witty duet with her sister Anna on "Cuach mo Lon Dubh Bui," as well as with...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Emily King
With The Blue Idol, Ireland's perennially popular trad ensemble Altan deliver just what we've come to expect: a delicious and well-planned repast of haunting ballads, rousing dance music, and obscure Irish folk songs served up as the latest thing. Their exquisite clarity, irresistible energy, and infinite discernment clearly owe much to the surviving member of the initial duo, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh from Gaoth Dobhar, Donegal. Her West Country roots blossom here with the help of her stalwart bandmates, her lovely voice reigning over them as a sort of Queen Mother -- one willing to share her glory in witty duet with her sister Anna on "Cuach mo Lon Dubh Bui," as well as with the bell-voiced Dolly Parton on "The Pretty Young Girl." But it's Mairéad's Donegal fiddler persona that takes the lead in the pristine and infectious jigs and reels, "The Trip to Cullenstown," "The Wild Irishman Reel," "Comb Your Hair and Curl It" and all. It's charming, addictive, and -- be warned -- dangerous stuff on headphones. You may be unable to stop yourself toe-tapping in the supermarket or clog dancing while waiting for the train.
All Music Guide - Chris Nickson
Altan continue to go from strength to strength. While it seemed for a little while that the 1994 death of founder Frankie Kennedy would tear the band apart, they've ended up a strong, cohesive unit instead, one which continues to push at the boundaries of Irish music, albeit in small ways. But when you're this good -- and they deserve the tag as the best Irish band today, and certainly the most accomplished -- you don't need to make giant strides. They set out their stall with an assured version of "Daily Growing" better known as "The Trees They Do Grow High" where Maighread Ní Mhaonaigh's duet with Paul Brady recasts the song -- it retains its folk roots, but becomes a living dialogue. "The Pretty Young Girl" brings Dolly Parton into the mix. She might seem an unlikely addition, but she acquits herself very well -- and some of the roots of mountain music are in Ireland, after all. As usual, the band bounces between instrumentals and songs, with equal care given to both, and the fact that this album was largely recorded live in the studio gives it a presence that Altan hasn't managed before, with some real life in Ní Mhaonaigh's dark "Slainte Theilinn" her fiddle playing is often overlooked because of her glorious voice; with luck, this record should put paid to that and the jazzy take on "Comb Your Hair and Curl It" that explodes into the reel "Gweebarra Bridge" to close the record. It's fair to say that Altan has never made a bad record, but it's right to say this might well be their best to date, playing to their strengths, shoring up whatever few weaknesses they might have, and letting the music do the talking.
New York Times - Jon Pareles
At any tempo, Altan contemplates the essence of the music....the lingering mystery of the songs.

At any tempo, Altan contemplates the essence of the music....the lingering mystery of the songs.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/26/2002
  • Label: Narada
  • UPC: 724381195529
  • Catalog Number: 11955

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Altan Primary Artist
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Altan's Great!!!!!!!!!!

    This is their strongest and most fun album! I have all of Altan's albums and love them all.I have seen Altan preform twice.Each time was great.I have also had the chance to meet all the members of Altan they were very nice and gave me a CD of their album Island Angel {check that album out to}!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews