Review | Songlines

Gael Vision

Rating: ★★★

View album and artist details

Album and Artist Details

Artist/band:

Joe O’Donnell

Label:

P&Q Celtic Arts

December/2020

Violinist Joe O’Donnell was a force to be reckoned with in the Irish music scene of the 1970s, colliding traditional Irish and Celtic sounds with a driving folk-rock energy. In its pomp, the result carried itself with all the operatic grandeur of prog rock at its most ecstatic, peaking with his 1977 magnum opus concept album, Gaodhal’s Vision, featuring rock demi-gods Rory Gallagher, Atomic Rooster’s Steve Bolton and Ginger Baker keyboardist David Lennox.

Gael Vision sees O’Donnell returning to his epic retelling of a legend in which ancient Egyptians journeyed to Ireland to become the first Celts with a remastered version complete with two incendiary, previously unreleased solos by Gallagher (on ‘Poets’ and ‘Lament for Coire Sainnte’) and 18 minutes of new music. The package also includes a live DVD recording from Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre in 2017 with O’Donnell fronting his band, Shkayla. A folk-rock fusion laced with Indian and North African overtones lent grandiose orchestral punch by O’Donnell’s electric violin, effusive, long-limbed guitar solos, thumping percussion and Aidan O’Brien’s uilleann pipes, Gael Vision remains rooted in the unabashedly experimental cross-fertilisations of the early 1970s. Spruced up and polished, it remains a vibrant even if somewhat nostalgic experience.

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