Behind The Velvet
Released in 1978 'The Iron Behind the Velvet' was the second solo recording from the man who went on to become a legend in Irish folk and traditional music.
Christy, a native of Co. Kildare, started in the music business in the mid-sixties, when his life as a bank clerk was interrupted by a bank strike, and he moved to England. There he became involved in the folk music scene at the time, and spent a few years playing pubs and clubs around the country.
His return to Ireland was marked by the album Prosperous, which proved to be a milestone in the rapprochement of Irish music to the popular mainstream. This album benefited from a collaboration of the leading talents of contemporary folk music, musicians such as Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny and Liam O'Flynn, and this one-off was to lead to the formation of Planxty, a band who were at the leading edge of the revival of Irish traditional music.
In addition to his work with Planxty , Christy continued to explore new ground as a solo artist. During his first period with Planxty he also managed to record his own solo albums, including The Iron Behind the Velvet and Live in Dublin.
After a short-lived Planxty revival in 1978, where they recorded two albums After the Break and The Woman I Loved So Well, they decided to call it a day and pursue their solo careers.
In the eighties Christy again teamed up with Donal Lunny to form Moving Hearts , another ambitious and innovative Irish band which sought to mix jazz into the folk-rock fusion.
Ever the wanderer, Christy was soon breaking out on his own again, and it was in the eighties that he began to establish himself as one of Ireland's leading solo artists with a string of acclaimed albums and high profile tours. In 1997 Christy decided to take a break from the music. In 2000 he made a short comeback to perform a number of Dublin concert dates but for medical reasons had to cancel after the first few shows.
A cask of a man, Christy Moore's music matures like finest barrelled malt. In the distilling, it acquires its own flavour too but never without a kick to the stomach. "The Iron Behind The Velvet"' indeed.
He's surely staked out his own parcel of acres. Neither a panderer nor
an elitist, Christy Moore may have unintentionally defined the mainstream
down which Irish folk can now flow. Of course it helps when a singer can
communicate in concert as Christy does but his gifts are such that he
can demand silence from the most boisterous of Wolfe Tone fans while always
gaining respect from the most academic of purists. Blending populism with
high musical standards, he reaches a more varied audience than perhaps
any other singer.
Veering between the humorous and the politically committed, lately -written songs and other ballads, "The Iron Behind the Velvet" covers a wide territory, the only subject left untouched, be it by policy or otherwise, that of love.
This could be called a man's album. It's certainly one for the boozer,
with two songs about St. Patrick that transform the hazily-defined cleric
into a puckish Bacchus whose exploits, besides the exiling of snakes,
make the marriage of Cana look like a sodality outing. The opener "Patrick
Was A gentleman" has the saint introducing whisky to the natives,
a family gift since "his mother kept a sheeben shop in the town of
Enniskillen" Turn it over and on "Patrick's Arrival", his
bish is a mighty quaffer, magically recycling the beer so that the flagons
of himself and his company never run dry.