40 THE TOP IRISH ALBUMS
Mmm, we were surprised too. Not only are there 40 decent Irish albums: many are even worthy of the tag “great”. Here they are, as chosen by Brian Boyd, Jim Carroll, Kevin Courtney and Tony Clayton-Lea
If you are OUTRAGED, can’t believe Enya isn’t in there, or feel otherwise moved to words, you can VENT YOUR SPLEEN on our free ON THE RECORD blog (www. ireland.com/blogs/ontherecord), where Jim Carroll will field your comments over the coming days
Where did this list come from? It was compiled by four Ticket rock writers: Brian Boyd, Jim Carroll, Tony Clayton-Lea and Kevin Courtney. Each independently submitted a list of their top 40 albums. These were then collated, with scores given to each person’s nominations. A writer’s number one was awarded 40 points, a number two was awarded 39 points and so on. We ended up with a list of 93 albums. The first 40 albums are presented here.
There are several “ties”: albums which achieved exactly the same score from all critics, and which even a second round of voting could not resolve. In these cases, we have numbered tied scores as, for example, 3a and 3b, then moved on to number 5.
Some people have asked why Planxty are in the list. Are these rock albums or not? Well, they are they 40 best Irish albums, as chosen by our rock critics. If they choose to include a trad or jazz album, then that’s their choice.
How did our correspondents find the selection process? Tony ClaytonLea enjoyed the chance to listen to some of his favourite music. “You so rarely hear your favourite albums in this job, given the volume of new stuff you have to listen to every week, so this was a real pleasure, dusting off albums that I might only listen to once a year, and playing the lot.”
Jim Carroll also enjoyed the process, up to a point. “It didn’t take me long to come up with a rough list of 30 great Irish albums, but the last 10 took a lot of head-scratching and a fair bit of spadework. It certainly made me realise how some albums which had been well reviewed at the time of release – and yes, mea culpa, well reviewed by this writer – just did not pass muster a couple of years on.”
Brian Boyd was surprised at his own choices: “I had a vague list in my head starting out, but after listening again to all the albums, that changed beyond recognition. A lot of my previous fixed ideas about certain bands and albums were changed by this exercise – and in all cases, for the better.”
Kevin Courtney found it hard to find good recent albums. “We always talk about how Irish music has never been so strong. Yet I struggled to find more recent albums that would sit among the all-time greats. The best ones seemed to be from the 1970s and the 1990s.”
So here’s the list. You may not like them. You may not agree. You may say thanks guys, I haven’t heard all these; I’m going to buy, borrow or steal the lot and listen to them this weekend. See you Monday.