The Chieftains – 5 (1975)

FrontCover1The Chieftains are a traditional Irish band formed in Dublin in 1962, by Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy. Their sound, which is almost entirely instrumental and largely built around uilleann pipes, has become synonymous with traditional Irish music and they are regarded as having helped popularise Irish music across the world. They have won six Grammys during their career and they were given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2002. Some music experts. have credited The Chieftains with bringing traditional Irish music to a worldwide audience, so much so that the Irish government awarded them the honorary title of ‘Ireland’s Musical Ambassadors’ in 1989

The Chieftains 5 is an album by The Chieftains, released in 1975.[5] It was the band’s first album as a professional group. Derek Bell played the tiompan (the Irish hammered dulcimer) for the first time on the album.[6] It marked the last album appearance of Peader Mercier.

The New York Times called the album “highly innovative” and the music “quite descriptive,” praising the “wild jigs and reels, impish hornpipes and raucous slides.” (wikipedia)


The fifth album by the Chieftains was also their best, and their first one to cross over, at least in America — where it was originally issued by the Island label — to progressive rock audiences. It was also the group’s most pronouncedly lyrical album up to that time, with newest member Derek Bell’s harp providing the album’s intro and Paddy Moloney’s pipes, Michael Tubridy’s and Sean Potts’ tin whistle sharing the spotlight, percussionists Peador Mercier and Ronnie McShane, by contrast, show amazing restraint across this recording, which gives most of the material on Chieftains 5 a much more poignant, haunting tone, at least until the fourth cut, “Ceol Bhriotanach (Breton Music),” where the familiar bodhran and bones come in — and the group crosses over into territory more familiar to fans of Alan Stivell.


But even here, the addition of Bell’s harp, and its thorough integration to the group’s sound, opens up a vast, rich palette of sound not in evidence as fully on their prior work. Seán Keane’s and Martin Fay’s fiddles come to the fore on “The Robber’s Glen,” and from there the music blooms in several directions at once across the remainder of the album, ending on the bracing “Kerry Slides.” This was the Chieftains’ flash point among college-age listeners in America (beyond the ranks of those of Irish descent or majoring in Irish studies), as the album got airplay on radio stations such as WNEW-FM in New York — a live album followed, and by then, Stanley Kubrick had engaged them for the music in his movie Barry Lyndon; and while the latter film was not a huge success, as the work of the maker of Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and A Clockwork Orange, it was widely seen and heavily promoted, and the Chieftains popularity fairly exploded in its wake. (by Bruce Eder)


Derek Bell (harp, oboe, timpani)
Martin Fay (fiddle)
Seán Keane (fiddle)
Ronnie McShane (bones)
Peadar Mercier (bodhrán, bones)
Paddy Moloney -(uillean pipes, tin whistle)
Seán Potts (tin whistle)
Michael Tubridy (flute, concertina, tin whistle)


01. The Timpán Reel 3.12
02. Tabhair dom do Lámh (Give Me Your Hand) 2.38
03. Three Kerry Polkas 2.54
04. Ceol Bhriotánach (Breton Music) 5.08
05. The Chieftains’ Knock On The Door 7.16
06. The Robber’s Glen 3.52
07. An Ghé agus Grá Geal (The Goose & Bright Love) 3.23
08. The Humours Of Carolan 8.26
09. Samhradh, Samhradh (Summertime, Summertime) 4.07
10. Kerry Slides 3.45

All songs: Traditional



More from The Chieftains:

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