by / December 9th, 2009 /

Sharon Shannon – Saints and Scoundrels

 3/5 Rating

(The Daisy Label)

Everyone’s favourite Auntie returns, showing us just how diverse her tastes and abilities are. Saints And Scoundrels is a solid collection of tunes with an upbeat feel, with a wealth of special guests joining Sharon and her band for the pleasant ride.

Included are a couple of exclusives. Imelda May’s upbeat rockabilly track -Go Tell The Devil’ was written for this collection, whilst -Saints and Angels’, amazingly, was written for The Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues sessions but was never included on the album. To make it even more worthwhile, this particular track also features a partial reunion of that classic 1989 line-up that includes Mike Scott, Steve Wickham and Anthony Thistlethwaite. The track itself sounds distinctly different from anything else here, and ultimately wouldn’t feel out of place on Fisherman’s Blues. It’s a real shame, however, that there appears to be an error on the hard copies (CDs and slip cases) of the issue wrongly stating that The Waterboys’ feature on another track as well – the jig of -Hillybilly Lilly And Buffalo Benjo’. Meanwhile, the bawdy good-time sessions with The Cartoon Thieves and even a cameo from Jerry Fish contribute to an LP that, although missing a -Galway Girl’, is full of colour and character.

There’s no denying that the purists will feel a bit aggrieved: While there are the occasional waltzes, jigs and reels, including -The Wild West Wagon Train’ and -Lady Luck’, even these are more international-sounding (and specifically American) than Sharon’s more traditional outings. The major disappointment, however, is closing track -Rake At The Gates of Hell’, featuring Shane MacGowan, a pitiful slur on this otherwise eclectic and entertaining album.

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