CD Review: Original Irish Tenors

Various Artists
Original Irish Tenors: The Legendary Voices of Celtic Song
By David Chiu

There was several great Irish tenors way before the recent popularity of The Irish Tenors. This compilation celebrate the popular interpreters of traditional Irish music, including Dennis Day (“St. Patrick’s Day,” “How Can You Buy Kilarney”), Phil Regan (“When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” the lovely “Come Back to Erin”), Frank Parker (the perennial staple “Danny Boy”), and Christopher Lynch (“Just a Little Bit Of Heaven”). To a new generation, it may be surprising to see the name Morton Downey as one of the singers on this collection (he was the father of the controversial talk show host), but he delivered such as in his stirring performance on “That’s How You Spell Ireland.” Naturally this would not be much of a compilation of great Irish tenors without the great John McCormack—he was to Irish music as Elvis was to rock and roll. Even the hiss and crackle of McCormack’s recordings, dating back to the ‘20s, doesn’t take away from this legend’s impassioned vocal delivery (“The Wearing of the Green,” “Mother Machree”).


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