Just before taking my seat for Monday's concert I was speaking with someone who was worried about how young singers these days don't know how to sing old folk songs.
They could learn from Christy Moore. He doesn't sing many of the Scottish ballads in question, although I'll bet he could still deliver a killer Bogie's Bonnie Belle if we asked nicely. His relationship with songs is fascinating: he considers them carefully, examines every word, every phrase and while he'll sing them in whatever order they come into his head, he always honours their meaning.
It is possibly Moore's spontaneity in choosing songs that has kept his now decade-long touring partnership with guitarist Declan Sinnott from lapsing into routine – Sinnott doesn't seem to know what is coming next any more than we do. The general sketch, songs of serious social and political comment leavened by mad tales of carousal and love songs dedicated to lovers or horses, is a constant but there is always a freshness in the performance, with Sinnott adding deft, conceived-in-the moment slide guitar commentaries, gentle acoustic runs or some fiery kerrang where apposite.
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Through it all, Moore's clarity of diction and the essential humanity in his singing gives every impression that he is singing to us personally, which in some cases here he actually was. Just as the chap who asked for Honda 50's mirthful tale of adventure on the rural roads of Kildare will have had his night made complete, the woman who received the duo's ultra-tender Ride On, with its quietly burning guitar glissandi, for her 65th birthday must have gone home glowing.