Writing a review of “The Peace Within” from Irish blues/rocker Barry McCabe has proven to be a difficult task. It has been difficult because I have struggled to find the proper words to adequately describe this work to you, and I only hope that this review does it justice. Like the tremendous “The Wilderness Years” CD from T.W. Henderson, this recording from McCabe stands uniquely apart from the mass of material that I review. It is neither a glorious display of some musician’s extreme manual dexterity nor an exhibition of the mass production skills of some large record industry conglomerate.

It is rather a work of art, the brainchild of McCabe in conjunction with the reknown uilleann pipe player Davy Spillane. It is a marriage of Irish folk music and blues/rock, fused into a
conceptual recording of sorts.

Though at first the partners in this marriage may appear a bit odd, their offspring is a beautiful child I have heard called “Celtic Blues”. But these two forms of music are not alien one to the other. My regular readers know that I consider blues to be a specific form of folk music and the joining of it with Irish blues is a natural union, as well as being a stroke of genius on McCabe’s part.
The material here varies from acoustic, Irish folk music punctuated by Spillane’s marvelous pipes to blistering, guitar driven blues/rock. Though the majority of the songs are Barry McCabe originals, the set does include some well chosen covers, including Peter Green’s “Oh Well”, which is one of the highlights of the recording. The CD contains a short but powerfully beautiful Rory Gallagher tribute “The Emigrant”, which is an acoustic guitar/uilleann pipe masterpiece. This great diversity of material makes this an impossible recording to categorize, but why does it matter? If you are looking for loud guitar based blues/rock to keep you awake late at night while driving along some narrow country road, look somewhere else. But, if you recall a day when recordings were made with purpose and with great love, then chances are you will enjoy this remarkable work.
My favorites here include the aforementioned “The Emigrant”, the title track which is an electric slide laced blues/rock track and some of McCabe’s finest lyrics, McCabe and company’s thunderous cover of “Oh Well”, and “One Of These Days”, another example of McCabe’s outstanding gift of song writing.
The blues/rock tunes are first rate, and the acoustic guitar/uilleann pipe tracks are absolutely a thing of beauty, as is this recording in general. You may purchase a copy of this extraordinary CD at the official Barry Mc Cabe web site at www.barrymccabe.com.

The band:
Barry McCabe-Guitars, vocals
Davy Spillane-Uilleann pipes
Sean Maguire-Bass
David Snel-Drums

1. Burrenstone Sunrise
2. One of These Days
3. Pick A Bale Of Cotton
4. Interlude
5. The Emigrant
6. The Peace Within
7. (Gotta) Let It Go
8. Kissin’ In Your Sleep
9. You Don’t Love Me
10. Istanbul Blues
11. Oh Well
12. Adam & Eve
13. Nobody’s Hero

1998 Right Records LTD

© Bluesrockers 2001


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