How many can you say can rock the harp? Well Alan Stivell can rock it and roll it all day long.
I have been collecting these records every time they turn up in the local thrift store, somewhere in Oregon City there is a cache of 70’s folk-rock albums that are being released into the wild occasionally. They look so enticing sitting alongside the Chicago Marty Robbins, Andy Williams and the scratched and warped classic rock. I have now snatched up three Stivell albums along with a couple of Bert Jansch and other euro-centric ( I know this is a phrase out of favor right now) albums.
So in 1974 amidst the folk-rock whirlwind came along this album, all flares and patchouli smelling hippies jigging and jiving in Dublin to some insurgent Breton folksters and their lefty politics. At times Stivell and the boys are damn funky which for a band that has the harp as it’s major solo vehicle is saying something. It’s danceable as shown by my cutting a rug throughout the house to the Breton pipes and harps until the wild fiddles and the hand clapping starts and the flutes and guitars crash in. At which point it all gets a little too much for my knackered legs. Then all of a sudden we are on Prog-folk territory all Hammond organs and odd time signatures, just as you get comfy the pipes are back and we are at it again with the crazy dancing.
It’s infectious and not a bit prissy or precious. And the poster came with it, which is somewhat amazing for an album released in 1975.
As Mr Stivell says in the song Deliverance, straight to you from Google Translate:
” From peasants and fishermen to all peoples
From the planet Earth
And we will offer our eyes to the world.
Is it pretentious to believe we are equal?
Is it too much to ask to live?”