Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
Has there ever been a more appropriately titled retrospective collection than this compilation, subtitled More of the Best of Dolores Keane? Its predecessor, the very innovatively named The Best of Dolores Keane, appeared in 1997, the same year as her last proper solo album, the emphatically diabolical Night Owl, demonstrated just how much her voice had deteriorated since she first sprang to prominence in the 1970s.
Like its precursor, Flowers barely touches any material from Dolores’s halcyon traditional period when her then gorgeous voice filled albums such as Claddagh’s There Was a Maid, and Mulligan’s Broken Hearted I’ll Wonder and Farewell to Eirinn, all in the company of her then partner, John Faulkner. The one exception is this collection’s stand-out track, the wonderful, Jimmy Mo Mhíle Stór, taken from Gael-Linn’s Sail Óg Rua.
Instead, Flowers scrapes together a few tracks from her 1980s stint with De Dannan (even the version of Ramblin’ Irishman on show here is a live recording taped long after she first sang the song with the band on its 1975 debut), but draws largely from the series of soft-rock crossover albums she released from 1989 onwards – Lion in a Cage, Dolores Keane and Solid Ground.
Her more recent output is represented only by the truly atrocious Táimse Im Chodladh (and its awfulness largely consists in reminding the listener just how expressively a younger Dolores might have interpreted the song) and her appearance on the title track (from the Tommy Sands/Vedran Smailovic album Sarajevo–Belfast). This astonishingly mawkish version is marred even further by Keane’s voice which sounds as though she’d just smoked twenty Capstan Full Strength before entering the studio.
Ignore this album and, instead, relish in the delights of There Was a Maid and that glorious Keane voice at the peak of its powers.
This review was originally written by Geoff Wallis for fRoots magazine – www.frootsmag.com.
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