Since Van Morrison’s foot-stomping version of Star of the County Down inspired my day in Banbridge and Van Morrison himself is from Northern Ireland, I can’t think of a better soundtrack to my way-to0-quick trip to the County Down. Throw in The Chieftains, and you really can’t go wrong.

1. Star of the County Down

Love this version with Van Morrison’s gruffness and the grounded sawing on the fiddle.

2. Irish Heartbeat

Most of the songs on this album are traditional folk tunes, but Morrison wrote this song (and had recorded it already on a previous album in 1983). The last minute is kind of cool with Morrison “scatting”, but I’m not a huge fan of the original recording or this version.

3. Tá Mo Chleamhnas Déanta

From 1:27-1:47, The Chieftains allude to (and eventually resolve) a famous jig melody. It’s genius. If anyone knows the name of the jig, PLEASE let me know in the comments below.

4. Raglan Road

Love how Morrison interprets this song. Especially when he tells us to “Listen” and “Shhhhh!” Those are signs of a great story-teller right there.

The Queen of Hearts still making tarts

And I not making hay.

Well I loved too much; by such and such

Is happiness thrown away.

5. She Moved Through The Fair

6. I’ll Tell Me Ma

I have never met a version of this song I didn’t like, plus I’ve heard The Chieftains perform this live, so of course, I love it.

7. Carrickfergus

Similar melody (and sometimes lyrics) to another tune The Water is Wide.

8. Celtic Ray

Van Morrison also wrote this pretty great Come Together song.

9. My Lagan Love

10. Marie’s Wedding

Step we gaily

On we go

Heel for heel and toe for toe

Arm and arm and row and row

All for Marie’s wedding

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