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Music Review: What's Wrong With This Picture?
Van Morrison

This is a site devoted to Irish culture, so when this CD came across the transom for review, it put us in a bit of a quandary. Yes, Van Morrison is Irish - but the music on his latest recording isn't. Normally, we'd draw the line and let this one go by, but we did find an angle that convinced us we should bring it to your attention.

Have you ever heard of David 'Foggy' Little? Sadly, the world lost this great guitarist on Christmas Day, 2003. The 59-year-old, originally from the Cregagh Road area of east Belfast, worked as a session musician - playing with a star-studded "who's who" of the rock and pop world, including Michael Jackson. There aren't many who can lay claim to accompanying Michael when he sang "Ben."

Foggy returned home to his native Ulster and continued to gig regularly - both with his own Foggy Lyttle Trio and jazz band, Giant Steps. Earlier in 2003, the father of two played with Giant Steps, at the Sunday Life-sponsored Killyleagh Festival and the Cork Jazz Festival. And, in spite of recurring heart problems, he played a key role in the recording of rock superstar, Van Morrison's new album, What's Wrong With This Picture?
It was to be his last major recording session.

So, in tribute to Foggy, we put on the CD, sat back, and listened to every cut without a break. For Van Morrison fans, this is definitely a must have. Of nearly 40 reviews on amazon, the majority of them give it four or five stars. And, we have to admit, while we're not Morrison mavens, there's a lot to like about this recording.

The title track opens with a string arrangement and dreamy, soft vocals accompanied by Foggy's brilliant guitar. The next number - "The Whinin Boy Moan" - is classic foot-tapping boogie woogie which had us tempted to get up and do a bit of jive; we didn't succumb!

Cut after cut, we found more and more to like. One special highlight was discovering Acker Bilk's sweet clarinet accompanying Morrison on "Somerset." "Stranger on The Shore" is still one of this reviewer's all-time favorite instrumentals and it was a lovely surprise to see that he's still playing - and still as good as ever!

With a nicely balanced mixture of slow-paced songs and hard-driving classics such as Stop Drinking, Morrison and his always excellent side-men have created what will most likely become one of his most popular recordings to date. And while we were pleasantly surprised at how good it is, his fans won't be. As one of them wrote in his review: There's certainly nothing wrong with the pictures Van paints in this great collection of songs

To listen to samples: What's Wrong with this Picture

 

Sun, Oct 1, 2017

Ireland's Most Haunted Castle

South-east of Birr between Kinnity and Roscrea, in Co. Offaly are the remains of Leap Castle. Originally an O'Carroll fortress, it guarded the pass from the Slieve Bloom into Munster. Said to have more than 50 ghosts, its dark and mysterious past includes the murder of a priest by his brother in the "Bloody Chapel" and the slaughter by their Irish employers of more than 50 Scots mercenaries in order to avoid payment. It has always had a reputation of being haunted and locals have described seeing the windows at the top of the castle "light up for a few seconds as if many candles were brought into the room" late at night. For more details read our article Creepy Irish Castles & Houses.
Photo Credit & More Details: H. J. Moncrieff


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Visit 30 of Ireland's most beautiful gardens. Includes a stunning collection of 200 full-color photos.

 

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