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The Chieftains

RCA Victor

On the Chieftains’ latest release, The Long Black Veil, the band takes the faddish guest-artist concept a little too far. All but two of Veil‘s cuts feature visiting pop luminaries, and its host musicians are too often little more than a supporting cast for their guests. Van Morrison punches in on “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” Mick Jagger’s countrified take on the title cut would have been a far more appropriate fit on one of his solo albums, and the same is true of Tom Jones’ amicably kitschy reading of “Tennessee Waltz.” There are, however, two wonderful exceptions. SinéadO’Connor’s turns at the mike on “He Moved Through the Fair” and “Foggy Dew” compensate for Veil‘s deficiencies. The latter song, a traditional paean to the Irish who died during the 1916 Easter uprising against England’s occupying Black and Tans, is a far more effective stirrer-upper of anti-Brit sentiment than the Cranberries’ similarly themed “Zombie.”