Van Morrison & The Chieftains – Irish Heartbeat (1988)

Posted by Green on June 2, 2020as


It’s not often mentioned as one of Van Morrison’s signature performances, but the highpoint of this 1988 collaboration–a heartbreaking rendition of the traditional tune “Carrickfergus”–ranks with anything the man has done. Morrison delivers the deathbed lament with a mix of fervor and penitence that’s utterly convincing as the Chieftains enshroud him in a Gaelic tapestry of sound. The remainder of this reissue of the 1988 collaboration between Ireland’s finest ain’t too shabby, either. On more upbeat selections such as “The Star of the County Down,” Morrison sounds uncharacteristically frisky, as if he’s delighted to share the burden with the Chieftains. Listeners are likely to find the alliance equally satisfying. –Steven Stolder


01 – Star of the County Down 02:42
02 – Irish Heartbeat 03:52
03 – Ta Mo Chleamhnas Deanta 03:32
04 – Raglan Road 04:56
05 – She Moved Through the Fair 04:45
06 – I’ll Tell Me Ma 02:31
07 – Carrickfergus 04:25
08 – Celtic Ray 03:42
09 – My Lagan Love 05:21
10 – Marie’s Wedding 03:15


Van Morrison – lead vocals, guitar, drums
Paddy Moloney – Uilleann pipes, tin whistle
Martin Fay – fiddle, bones
Derek Bell – harp, keyboards, tiompán
Kevin Conneff – bodhran, co-lead vocals on “Star of the County Down”, “Tá Mo Chleamhnas Déanta” and “I’ll Tell Me Ma”
Matt Molloy – flute
Seán Keane – fiddle
Ciarán Ó Braonáin – bass
Mary Black – backing vocals on “Marie’s Wedding” and “Tá Mo Chleamhnas Déanta”
Maura O’Connell – backing vocals on “Marie’s Wedding”
June Boyce – backing vocals on “Celtic Ray”, “Irish Heartbeat” and “Marie’s Wedding”

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