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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 157 - 07/07/09

Michael J. Sheehy & the Hired Mourners
With These Hands: The Rise and fall of Francis Delaney

I was a big fan of Sheehy's previous album, Ghost On The Motorway. I accidentally stumbled upon it but was soon taken by it, not knowing anything about the man or the music. All I knew was that I had come across a musician who was not afraid of taking his songs to arrangements that would treat them harshly. It simply sounded good and bald.

That was two years ago. Now he's here with a new album, and one that touches upon the much hated term "concept album". I know, I usually back out and run like hell when confronted with such ambitions. But this is a lot more like Frank's Wild Years than it is Tommy. I believe that the difference is that any of these songs could easily stand well on their own. So, the story evolves around the fictional boxer Francis Delaney - his manager, opponents and characters around him.

I haven't quite managed to piece it all together as a whole story yet, but I know I will some day. There are leads here that will finally turn out like a movie in my mind. And that is absolutely the great thing. He's neither putting a literate weight on the story of one man, nor is he trying to make a musical out of Raging Bull.

Favourites "Nobody's Fault But Mine", "Don't Let Them Steal Your Soul" and the marvellous "Frankie, My Darling" is worth the ticket. Sheehy's sixth album could qualify for a play in a travelling road show, and I would love to see that too.

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