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

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -

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.

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