JOHN SPILLANE - HEY DREAMER (EMI)
The relentless indigenous hit machine that is John Spillane here takes time out from supplying the likes of Sean Keane, Sharon Shannon and George Murphy to record some of his compositions in his own inimitable style and accent.
What will probably strike the listener about Hey Dreamer is initially going to be the plaintive tone of melancholy and regret throughout. The opener 'I'm Moving On' is a song about parting, with more than a smidgen of bitterness while 'Ghosts' is an example of the "empty promises of plenty" that pervade the album.
That's not all, on the title track, a song about unrealized potential and frustration, Spillane asks "where did you hide your dream?" to declare "You are a star in the night... you have forgotten".
Spillane's trademark sweetly elegant delivery ensures the album doesn't take itself too seriously, and for all their gloominess, these tracks exhibit Spillane's remarkably prolific output of gorgeous peaceful tunes.
'Song For Rory Gallagher' is a mixture of lament and celebration, mixing in Irish and English lyrics to great effect, resulting in an uplifting and appropriate gesture to the fellow Corkman. What's most attractive about the song is that it doesn't try to emulate Gallagher's blues style, but is a heavy duty Celtic anthem of a thing.
'Dunnes Stores Girl' is more upbeat in spirit., playing with the same conceit of "walking up the aisle" with the supermarket that you might remember from Dermot Morgan's 'Queen of the Checkout'. Occasional comic moments do give way to that relentless pessimism - though that occasional irreverence, latent in Spillane's delivery, gives the LP room to breathe and is a welcome break from its morose moments. It is then fully realized in 'The Mad Woman of Cork', a sort of 'Mad Tom's Song' for an octogenarian who wouldn't be out of place among Brel's Dutch sailors. It's an impertinent ode to horses' heads near Turner's Cross and a celebration of dementia and friends escaping graves with "clay in their teeth". Great fun.
|1.||I’m Moving On||02:52|
|5.||The Dunnes Stores Girl||03:35|
|6.||The Only One for Me||03:03|
|7.||A Song for Rory Gallagher||04:22|
|8.||The Song of Lies||03:54|
|9.||The Wild Flowers||03:24|
|10.||The Mad Woman of Cork||03:40|
|11.||The Moon Going Home||03:28|