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Author Topic: The High Kings  (Read 4337 times)
CWazyTom
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« on: April 03, 2020, 11:13:25 PM »

After being on my to do list for years, I finally started listening to The High Kings. Like Celtic Woman, the group operates under the Celtic Collections label. The group started in 2008 (possibly in response to rival group Celtic Thunder, associated with a different label).

Current members:
- Finbarr Clancy
- Brian Dunphy
- Darren Holden

Past members:
- Martin Furey
- George Murphy

Albums:
The High Kings (2008)
Memory Lane (2010)
Live in Ireland (2011)
Friends for Life (2013)
Four Friends Live (2015)
Grace & Glory (2016)
Decade: The Best of the High Kings (2017)

DVDs:
Live in Dublin (2008)
Four Friends Live (2015)

Thoughts on their debut album:

I listened to their first album (The High Kings) tonight. Not bad! It's definitely a more Irish sound than Celtic Thunder. The harmony was good. They had a few great fun songs. In contrast to the Celtic Woman or Celtic Thunder albums, there wasn't anything that absolutely blew me away, but it was definitely fun to listen to.

My favourites from the first album were The Black Velvet Band, The Parting Glass, The Wild Rover (Live 2007), Will Ye Go Lassie, Go. The Beggerman Jig (instrumental) and Marie's Wedding (ceili-type song) were fun!

The real shocker was The Parting Glass. I was expecting the traditional arrangement. Instead, I discovered it was basically the same arrangement that Celtic Woman used in Believe! Almost exactly the same! I've honestly never heard another group besides Celtic Woman do that arrangement. I thought Celtic Woman were the only ones that performed it that way. But given that The High Kings performed it in 2008 (years before Believe was recorded), it's possible that Celtic Woman borrowed the arrangement from their label-mates (unless CW was performing that arrangement on tour prior to 2008).

Here's a video of them performing The Parting Glass from 2008. Sound familiar? Lol.
https://youtu.be/XhJp0W0ku2w

They did The Parting Glass really well, although I felt the Celtic Woman performances had a bit more of a wow-factor with their voices of epic beauty.

Overall, it was a fun album. Nothing really sucked and there were a few really good songs on it. I'm looking forward to listening to the rest of their recorded works.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 11:22:18 PM by CWazyTom » Logged
CWazyTom
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2020, 06:19:32 PM »

Lisa Kelly said on her live Q+A tonight that David Downes indeed composed The Parting Glass arrangement (evidently for The High Kings first). I've been confronted with a frustrating lack of information about the High Kings during my research, so it's good to actually get an answer to this one.

After further digging, it does seem David Downes was the musical director of the group for at least a while:
https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-high-kings-mn0000563900/biography
« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 08:03:50 PM by CWazyTom » Logged
CWazyTom
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2020, 11:01:37 PM »

Over the weekend, I listened to The High Kings "Live In Ireland" (2011).

It was a fun one to listen to.

The following songs were my favourites, most of which were well-arranged and had good harmony:

The Black Velvet Band
Fields of Athenry
The Town That I Have Loved So Well
Leaving Of Liverpool
Rare Auld Times
Go Lassie Go / Dutchman

Those songs are probably all worth listening to if you're interested.

A lot of the other songs were fun, but I found for many of the others a bit too frantic. It made the songs more intense than I would have found ideal. Like many live albums, there are some parts where the performers turn the mic over to the audience. In most cases, unless the audience interaction is really epic, I'd rather just listen to the performers.

Overall, I liked the album, although I definitely had a set of favourite tracks and a separate set I didn't enjoy quite as much.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2020, 11:53:41 AM by CWazyTom » Logged
CWazyTom
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2020, 12:30:23 PM »

I finished listening to Friends for Life (2013) and Four Friends Live (2014).

I found Friends for Life to be the most polarizing I've listened to so far. There were a few songs I really liked:

Musicmakers
Ireland's Shore
McAlpine's Fusiliers
Oh Maggie
Come With me Now

There were also quite a few songs / arrangements on that album I really didn't care for.

Four Friends Live, which was recorded live in Derry, Northern Ireland, was a bounceback album for me in this listening experience. I enjoyed most of the songs on the album. It was fun to listen to. The crowd interaction was well-mixed into the album. It added to the energy level without being excessive or becoming distracting. I very much enjoyed 12 of the 16 songs on the album and the other 4 were still fun to listen to. My favourites (in order) were:

Ireland's Shore
Leaving of Liverpool
McAlpines Fusiliers
The Fields of Athenry
Town I Loved so Well
The Parting Glass

Yes, The Parting Glass was #6 for me. That's how good the other tracks were! I did prefer their earlier (2008) version of The Parting Glass to this one, but this one was still very good! This album's definitely going to be on my shortlist of ones to buy.
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2020, 05:15:45 PM »

It's been a productive weekend so far (productive listening to music anyways). I finished listening to Grace & Glory (2017) as well.

This album perhaps had the tightest harmony of The High Kings albums I've listened to. In terms of track enjoyment, I found most of the songs were bunched towards the middle of the spectrum, where even if they sounded nice or seemed like fun songs, most of them just weren't clicking with me the way some of their songs did on previous albums. Perhaps another listen later will change my mind, but for now, here are my top 3 from the album:

Grace
Follow Me Up To Carlow
Ride On

Grace was well arranged and performed. Chloë's tour version remains my favourite, but this one was good too. Ride On was well done, but it didn't have the same wow-factor that the Celtic Woman (Destiny) or Celtic Thunder versions did. Overall, an enjoyable album, but not my overall favourite from the group.
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2020, 03:32:21 PM »

Something tells me that maybe back in 2010, The High Kings "opened" a couple of shows for CW.  I think they did both shows at RCMH that year?
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2020, 04:52:46 PM »

Something tells me that maybe back in 2010, The High Kings "opened" a couple of shows for CW.  I think they did both shows at RCMH that year?
I seen a show that a guys group opened the show for the girls and i was not impressed I was there to see the girls sign not some guys they were ok just not what i was there for  and it wasn't that long ago and it was either in greenbay or appleton Wi.
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2020, 05:52:23 PM »

Something tells me that maybe back in 2010, The High Kings "opened" a couple of shows for CW.  I think they did both shows at RCMH that year?
I seen a show that a guys group opened the show for the girls and i was not impressed I was there to see the girls sign not some guys they were ok just not what i was there for  and it wasn't that long ago and it was either in greenbay or appleton Wi.

Yeah, I wouldn't want anyone to open for the girls if it meant the girls had less time on stage. There's nobody else like Celtic Woman. I only want to see other performers on days when there's no Celtic Woman show or it's not practical for me to be at the Celtic Woman show.
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2020, 04:19:19 PM »

Most major touring acts seem to have an opening act.  Granted, in most cases, I just show up late and miss them!  I noted I was at a show(s) where who I think was the High Kings, opened for CW.  Not bad, but that;s some of purpose of an opening act -- get there name out. 

There's a YouTube video floating around whith CW doing YRMU with a New York Public School Chorus.   Again, I was there.  I tended to object more to that than a totally separate opening act.
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2020, 08:56:19 PM »

If Celtic Woman has an opening act sometime, I would want it to be Glenn and Ronan! I would also want the total concert time running longer than normal so that the CW length doesn't get shortened.
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2020, 05:10:29 PM »

If Celtic Woman has an opening act sometime, I would want it to be Glenn and Ronan! I would also want the total concert time running longer than normal so that the CW length doesn't get shortened.

I love that idea!

Or CaraNua, but I think that would be a little less likely than a G+R opening act.
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2020, 11:48:48 PM »

I listened to Decade: Best of the High Kings tonight.

All the tracks on this album were studio versions.

"Best of" or compilation albums have a challenging task of pleasing fans that have a variety of tastes and favorites. This album is a good collection of their good songs. But there are certainly some omissions, at least relative to my personal list of favorites. I suppose if I want all my favorites together, that's what a playlist is for (or a "mix tape" for those of us old enough to remember what a cassette tape is).

The Parting Glass (their best version), The Fields of Athenry, The Black Velvet Band, and Rare Auld Times are among my favorites that made it onto the album.

The album also featured 4 songs I hadn't heard on their previous albums:

Homeland
Four Green Fields
The Lonesome Boatman
Irish Pub Song

Homeland was definitely my favorite of the 4 additions, although good though it is, I strongly prefer the Celtic Woman version from Ancient Land (and the Homecoming tour).

The four most notable omissions from my list of favorites were:

Musicmakers
Ireland's Shore
McAlpine's Fusiliers
Leaving Of Liverpool

There weren't many tracks I didn't like. There were several tracks with really good harmony. In contrast to Celtic Woman albums, there weren't many tracks that blew me away, even though there were a lot of tracks I enjoyed. Overall, it's a pretty good album. I'll add it to my short list of albums to consider buying.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2021, 07:38:23 PM by CWazyTom » Logged
CWazyTom
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« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2021, 07:42:56 PM »

The High Kings: Home from Home album is releasing soon (March 5, 2021)!

Track list:
1. Streets of London
2. The Dutchman
3. Wild Colonial Boy
4. Summer in Dublin
5. Farewell to Nova Scotia
6. Streets of New York
7. Caledonia
8. City of Chicago
9. Green Fields of France
10. Carrickfergus
11. Galway Races
« Last Edit: February 18, 2021, 10:49:12 PM by CWazyTom » Logged
CWazyTom
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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2023, 09:22:40 AM »

The High Kings are releasing a new album June 23, 2023 called The Road Not Taken.
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CWazyTom
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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2023, 09:29:45 PM »

The Road Not Taken released today.

There are some really good songs on this album!

Some of my favourites:

Where I Belong
Wow! Just ... WOW! This song is ridiculously good! I think it's an original song too. This is probably one of my 3 favourite High Kings song ever, along with The Parting Glass and The Black Velvet Band. This is just phenomenal and I hope it gets the massive amount of streaming and radio plays it deserves.

Paddy's Day (P.S. it's Paddy, NOT Patty)
Lots of fun to listen to!

The Road Not Taken
Loved it!

Go With the Flow
A fun mostly-instrumental track.

Song for Kelly
It's nice and it claims the title of best sad song on the album.

I enjoyed the other tracks, but not as much as the ones above.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2023, 09:39:58 PM by CWazyTom » Logged
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