Album Review: TIR NA NOG – Strong In The Sun

a tear and smile

Esoteric Recordings

Kicking off with a rigorous, up-tempo take on Nick Drake’s ‘Free Ride’, Irish multi-instrumentalist duo, Leo O’Kelly and Sonny Condell (augmented by producer Procul Harum’s Matthew Fisher on keyboards amongst others) embark on their most ambitious work, segueing from balladry one moment to progressive fusion the next, via gentle rockers and even a spot of whimsy.

Recorded in 1973 for Chrysalis, an accomplished set comes by way of the previous year’s ‘A Tear And A Smile’ (***), produced by Terry Cox (Caravan, Family) and bolstered by Cat Stevens’ rhythm section of percussionist Barry de Souza and bassist Larry Steele, itself a step onto a more commercial footing from the campfire psych-folk of their witchy and exotic 1971 debut, ‘Tir Na Nog’ (****), both also reissued by Esoteric.

In fact, ‘Strong In The Sun’ constitutes such a jump forward within only two years it probably upset the sensibilities of folk purists even if the busy guitar and hypnotic percussive pattering already hinted at a broader canvas to come.

Compositionally their most rounded and mature outing to date, this album also benefits hugely from Fisher’s assured production and never falters in drive nor purpose, even in those moments when Tir Na Nog’s tendency to sentiment could otherwise cloy the palate.

No tricky third album for Tir Na Nog. As period folk rock goes, this is strong in any weather.


Peter Muir

The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 12 December. The session above was a Halloween Special streamed on 31 October 2021. Josh’s next session is Sunday 30 January 2022.

Check out previous videos here:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 19 December 2021 and celebrates The Best of 2021 based on the GRTR! reviewer selections and popular poll results.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 December 2021 and features show highlights from the year (Part 1).

How to Listen Live?

Click the programming image at the top of the page (top right of page if using desktop)

Listen via Windows Media Player. Click or tap here and “open file”
Listen via other media player (eg. VLC) Click or tap here and “open file”

Get Ready to ROCK! Radio is also in iTunes under Internet Radio/Classic Rock
Listen in via the Tunein app and search for “Get Ready to ROCK!” and save as favourite.

More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages:

Power Plays w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
SMOKING MARTHA Wild & Free (Xelon Entertainment)
TRUE NORTH Fix (Out Of Line Music)
COLLECTED Say When (indie)
ABOUT KINGS Heaven On Down The Highway (indie)
WHALEDOG Leave Me Alone (indie)
LED BY LANTERNS Six Feet Down (indie)
KROOKED TONGUE Freaky Love (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 BITE THE BULLET End Of The Line (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 CRYSTAL BALL Crysteria (Massacre Records)
14:00-16:00 SEAN TAYLOR The Beat Goes On (indie)

Popular (last 30 days)

This entry was posted in ALBUM REVIEWS, ALL POSTS, Reissues and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply