THE QUIREBOYS – St. Cecilia And The Gypsy Soul [Box Set] (2015)
THE QUIREBOYS will release their 9th album, “St. Cecilia And The Gypsy Soul“, tomorrow March 30 and it comes in a 4-CD Box Set.
Inspired by the success of 2009’s critically acclaimed acoustic album “Halfpenny Dancer” (out of print), the band entered Swedish Lemon Studios fully intending to create something with that atmosphere. However, an Aladdin’s Cave of intriguing instruments and eerie samples inspired The Quireboys to push the boundaries and shift the focus.
“The plan was always to record some new acoustic songs and rework some originals,” says Spike. “But the plan changed. There was something about that place — the vibe got better and better and we just went with the flow.”
The Quireboys flew home with 10 new songs and a brand new sound. “St. Cecilia And The Gypsy Soul” the result, packaged alongside “Halfpenny Dancer” — finally available again — and two discs covering the previously unreleased 2010 “Halfpenny Dancer” live show featuring fiddles, pedal steel, mandolin, banjo and more.
“This side of the band needs to heard,” added Spike. “And we’ll be taking the new music out on the road with our most intimate tour yet.”
Well let’s start with CD 1, the main “St. Cecilia And The Gypsy Soul”. It’s exactly how a Quireboys album should be. It’s succinct. No song and indeed, the album as a whole, outstays its welcome.
The Quireboys are one of the few bands who don’t need to deviate from their blueprint of constructing a song and every time produces something that’s fresh and unmistakeably theirs.
Album opener “Gracie B” is hauntingly dark with the inimitable swagger which infuses many of their previous songs. There’s a hint of venom and anger punctuating the lyrics. However, it is the band dropped a couple of gears as opposed to their raucous selves.
Meanwhile with songs like “Land of my Father” and “St. Cecilia”, it’s the Quireboys doing what no other band quite manages: good time rock and roll. Just the introduction to the former will produce a manic grin and you’ll be moving to the melody before you realise it.
However, much of the album has a laid-back attitude with only a few upbeat numbers. While the band does stick to their rootsy, self-styled gypsy rock and roll, this brings something fresh to the table and is a welcome change. Ballads or heavier songs, the band have always flourished in both areas.
Spike’s voice, as always, is on top form. Potentially better than it was thirty years ago and aging far better than others. Growling and yelping, you can’t help but picture his infectious grin. It speaks volumes to the infectious nature of these songs and how well they’re written that just after a couple of listens, you’ll be singing with Spike, word for word.
Given the majority of the line-up hasn’t altered in years, it’s great to have Dave McCluskey and Nick Mailing return, possibly the best rhythm section the Quireboys have had. With its stripped back sound, drums and bass are less prominent than other works but the pair manage some incredible moments like “Adaline” and it’s the sound of a well oiled machine.
Guy Griffin and Paul Guerin are on fine form too, their guitars weaving around each other effortlessly, a sign of their enduring work together. Guerin also slips in moments of mandolin and lap steel, bringing more diversity and works them into the melody of the songs where they don’t feel unwelcome.
Keyboard maestro Keith Weir flexes his muscles, driving most of the songs and appearing prominently in most of the songs, fleshing them out instead of hanging in the background.
“Halfpenny Dancer” is a very nice addition to this release, a warm acoustic studio recording with lots of feeling.
Much of it will be familiar to fans, with some of their better known songs given a fresh interpretation. If you’re a fan, you may already have Halfpenny Dancer but if not, it’s a welcome addition to your collection, breathing new life into old favourites.
Also in the package is “Halfpenny Live, containing many of the songs from Halfpenny Dancer whilst adding in some of their best-known songs and deep cuts such as “Hates to Please” and performed to an audience.
“St. Cecilia and the Gypsy Soul” is The Quireboys on unmistakeable fine form.
Listening the new record, the previous acoustic CD, and the live show, you got the feeling that the band, like a fine wine – and a literary cliché – is getting better with age. Like so much on the previous album, many of these tracks are good enough to be radio hits if someone would only give them airplay.
CD1 – St. Cecilia And The Gypsy Soul:
01. Gracie B
02. Land Of My Father
03. St Cecilia
04. The Promise
05. Can’t Hide It Anymore
06. Out Of Your Mind
07. The Hurting Kind
09. The Best Are Not Forgotten
10. Why Did It Take So Long
CD2 – Halfpenny Dancer (Acoustic):
01. There She Goes Again
02. Devil Of A Man
03. Love To Love
04. Mona Lisa Smiled
05. I Can’t Stop Loving You
06. Roses & Rings
07. Baby It’s You
09. Pretty Girls
10. He’ll Have To Go
11. Long Time Comin’
12. Hates To Please
13. King Of New York
CD3 – Halfpenny Live (Part I):
01. There She Goes Again
02. Devil Of A Man
03. Mona Lisa Smiled
04. Love To Love
05. Roses & Rings
06. Pretty Girls
07. Can’t Stop Loving You
08. One For The Road
CD4 – Halfpenny Live (Part II):
01. Hates To Please
02. Long Time Comin’
03. Have A Drink With Me
04. Late Night Saturday Call
06. I Love This Dirty Town
07. 7 O clock
08. I Don t Love You Anymore
Spike – vocals
Guy Griffin – guitar
Paul Guerin – guitar
Keith Weir – keyboards
Nick Mailing – bass
Dave McCluskey – drums
BUY IT !