Alan Stivell – Celtic Rock

Artist: Alan Stivell
Genre: Rock, Folk, World
Title: Celtic Rock
Released: 1972
Label: Vertigo
Format: Vinyl
Musicians:Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Dulcimer, Psaltery, Vocals – Gabriel Yacoub
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals – Dan Ar Bras*, Bagpipes, Bombarde, Drums [Scottish] – Bagad Bleimor, Bass, Vocals – Jean-Luc Hallereau, Drums – Michel Santangelli*, Fiddle, Vocals – René Werneer, Harp [Celtic], Lead Vocals, Bagpipes, Flute [Irish], Mellotron, Timpani, Harmonium – Alan Stivell, Organ, Piano – Pascal Stive, Spoons, Vocals – Marie Yacoub, Tabla – Michel Delaporte, Vocals – Elyane Werneer, Mireille Werneer
Producer: Franck Giboni
Engineer – Dominique Blanc Francard

Alan Stivell (born Alan Cochevelou January 6, 1944 in Riom, Auvergne, France) is a Breton and Celtic musician and singer, recording artist, and master of the Celtic harp. From the early 1970s, he revived global interest in the Celtic (specifically Breton) harp and Celtic music as part of world music. As a Bagpiper and bombard player, he modernized traditional Breton music and singing in the Breton language. He was the precursor of Celtic rock. He is inspired by the union of the Celtic cultures and is a staunch defender of the Breton culture as Eurominority. I’m not going to go into biography and history here, but you can read about that in the link below.

Celtic rock is a genre of folk rock, as well as a form of Celtic fusion which incorporates Celtic music, instrumentation and themes into a rock music context. The style of music is the hybrid of traditional Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh and Breton musical forms with rock music. This has been achieved by the playing of traditional music, particularly ballads, jigs and reels with rock instrumentation; by the addition of traditional Celtic instruments, including the Celtic harp, tin whistle, uilleann pipes (or Irish Bagpipes), fiddle, accordion, concertina, melodeon, and bagpipes (highland) to conventional rock formats; by the use of lyrics in Celtic languages and by the use of traditional rhythms and cadences in otherwise conventional rock music. So that’s my explanation, you can read more about it here:

Now to the album here. I have had this LP lying around since the mid eighties at least. I have no memory as to exactly when I bought it or where. Yeah, one of those LPs that you look at and ask yourself, where did this come from and why?
Anyway, it is a German pressing I have and a reissue judging by the bar-code on back. The original was done in the early seventies.

The LP is in pristine condition, but suffers from one major flaw, the mix. It seems that either the original recording was poorly mic’d or something went wrong in the mix for this reissue. The first track sounds properly done, but after that it sounds like either the mic went out on the guitars or more likely there was improper mixing going on to judge by a couple of subsequent tracks. You can hear examples of this starting with the second track. In that one the electric guitar sounds like it is a transistor radio and just introduces noise. All the other instruments are mixed correctly. I first thought it was just an effect (though misplaced at that), but it turns out to be a theme for the rest of the album.
On track 5 of the first side it sounds like the mix of the whole song was too hot. The first track of side two starts the process all over again with the guitar being well outside the mix sounding like the mic or amp has something wrong with it.
Most of the songs are sung in Galic.

I had to give the music 5 stars because I am not all that familiar to make a judgement and I feel it is wrong to put down the music of another culture harshly. Sound though gets two and half stars at best.


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