Christy Moore: Flying Into Mystery review – a storytelling masterclass

Spanning the climate crisis, Bob Dylan and turf cutting, the Irish folk great is as commanding as ever

There is no better narrator in popular music than Christy Moore. On this latest album the veteran Irish troubadour turns in a vintage performance on a dozen songs gathered from fellow travellers and from history, alongside a handful of his own. There is instrumental accompaniment, although not much, this being a lockdown album made in an improvised studio, but Moore’s lilting brogue remains, as ever, commanding. The headline number (and single) is The Clock Winds Down, a tart comment on global warming from Jim Page – “Hey old man what did you do? We were depending on you” – but Moore can roam effortlessly across history and moods.

The traditional Van Diemen’s Land still shocks with its account of the horrors of transportation to Australia for the crime of poaching, while Mick Hanley’s All I Remember, recorded in 1981 and reprised here, evokes growing up in a repressive 1950s Ireland. Moore’s own Bord Na Móna Man is likewise a comic reminiscence of an era when turf-cutting was a feature of national life. Zozimus and Zimmerman is closer to home, a tribute to Bob Dylan topped by a version of I Pity the Poor Immigrant, with its enigmatic mix of empathy and judgment. A masterclass from a unique talent.

Watch a video for The Clock Winds Down.


Neil Spencer

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Christy Moore: Where I Come From – review
The Irish singer has re-recorded 43 songs for this epic retrospective, writes Neil Spencer

Neil Spencer

26, Oct, 2013 @11:05 PM

Article image
The Furrow Collective: Wild Hog review – a masterclass in folk tradition

Neil Spencer

30, Oct, 2016 @7:00 AM

Thurston Moore: Demolished Thought – review
Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore serves up a folk-influenced solo album, writes Ally Carnwath

Ally Carnwath

21, May, 2011 @11:05 PM

Article image
Cara Dillon: Wanderer review – gorgeous homesick blues

Neil Spencer

15, Oct, 2017 @7:00 AM

Article image
Martin Simpson: Trails & Tribulations review – exquisitely played

Neil Spencer

27, Aug, 2017 @7:00 AM

Article image
O’Hooley & Tidow: Shadows review – a stately affair
(No Masters)

Neil Spencer

24, Jul, 2016 @7:00 AM

Article image
Olivia Chaney: Shelter review – elegant, minimal folk

Neil Spencer

10, Jun, 2018 @6:59 AM

Article image
Aldous Harding: Designer review – a true original

Kitty Empire

28, Apr, 2019 @8:00 AM

Article image
Ballaké Sissoko: Djourou review – dreamy and adventurous
(No Format)
The Malian kora master finds room for classical, hip-hop and pop on this haunting, hypnotic album

Neil Spencer

27, Mar, 2021 @4:00 PM

Article image
Mari Kalkun: Ilmamõtsan review – mesmerising Estonian forest folk
(Nordic Notes)

Neil Spencer

24, Jun, 2018 @6:00 AM