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Prog Folk • Ireland

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Loudest Whisper picture
Loudest Whisper biography
A band that has consistently produced fine and passionate music over the years and captured the imagination of collectors world wide' Record Collector.Jan 1999.

Today roots music is the preferred choice of discerning listeners from New York to Newmarket. But the modern music lover requires something more than just traditional Folk. They demand a rare blend that is three parts folk, two parts country blues and two parts melodic contemporary rock, all shaken up with a dash of classic songwriting. For those connoisseurs in the know, this cocktail is known as a 'Loudest Whisper' and it is high time that this delicious brew was widely enjoyed worldwide. Of course there is nothing trendy or opportunistic about the music of Loudest Whisper. Far from it. Like a fine vintage, the Loudest Whisper sound has been fermenting since 1973, when Brian O'Reilly wrote his acclaimed Celtic musical 'The Children of Lir'. Yet it is only now that public taste has matured to the point where the richness and dept of Loudest Whisper's music may be appreciated universally. Over the years, members have come and gone, each adding his or her unique flavour to classic albums like "The Children of Lir"(1975) "Loudest Whisper"(1980), "Hard Times"(1982) and "The Collection" (1991). Little wonder, then, that rare originals of these albums command anything up to £1000 among die hard collectors. In many ways Loudest Whisper could be called the O'Reilly Brothers Band, as Brian and Paud O'Reilly have been the cornerstone on which the Loudest Whisper legacy has been built.

Always innovative the O'Reilly brothers demonstrate their creativity whether working on their Operatic scale stage productions like "The Children of Lir" and "Buskin" or the Folk/Rock/blues band, we know today as Loudest Whisper. While working primarily as a solid Folk/Rock/Blues three piece, the O'Reilly brothers have put together a very exciting and impressive concert/festival line up that is getting a tremendous reaction at their live gigs. On sax Irelands premier Jazz man, Barry Cluskey is adding a new colour to Loudest Whisper. On Harmonica, a true professor of the instrument, Steve Lockwood from Cambridge is bringing his virtuosity to the band. Add to this the wonderful vocal harmonies of Frances Foley and Melanie O'Reilly and you have a Loudest Whisper sound that has to be experienced. On double and electric bass Paul Mc.Carthy is the man holding down a solid bass beat.

As one of Irelands longest...
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Children of LirChildren of Lir
Extra tracks
Sunbeam Records 2007
$12.97 (used)
Maiden Of SorrowMaiden Of Sorrow
Kissing Spell
Blue Is the Colour of Time by LOUDEST WHISPER (2014-08-03)Blue Is the Colour of Time by LOUDEST WHISPER (2014-08-03)
Sunbeam Records
2 by Loudest Whisper2 by Loudest Whisper
Kissing Spell
Blue Is the Colour of Time by Loudest Whisper (2014-05-04)Blue Is the Colour of Time by Loudest Whisper (2014-05-04)
Sunbeam Records
Loudest Whisper 2 by Loudest WhisperLoudest Whisper 2 by Loudest Whisper
Children of Lir by Loudest Whisper (2007-04-09)Children of Lir by Loudest Whisper (2007-04-09)
Sunbeam Records
$8.04 (used)
Magic CarpetMagic Carpet
Box set · Limited Edition
Sunbeam Records 2008
$139.13 (used)
Maiden of SorrowMaiden of Sorrow
Imports 2003
$5.22 (used)
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Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

LOUDEST WHISPER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.52 | 12 ratings
The Children Of Lir
3.88 | 6 ratings
Loudest Whisper II
3.00 | 1 ratings
Hard Times
3.00 | 1 ratings
Blue... Is The Colour Of Time

LOUDEST WHISPER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Maiden of Sorrow

LOUDEST WHISPER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

LOUDEST WHISPER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Magic Carpet

LOUDEST WHISPER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
William B / False Prophets
0.00 | 0 ratings
You And I / Lord Have Mercy
0.00 | 0 ratings
Come Back Paddy Reilly To Ballyjamesduff/ Wrong or Right
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rock'n'Roll Child / Pied Piper
0.00 | 0 ratings
Magic Carpet / Tangerine
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Name of the Game (Part 1) / The Name of the Game (Part 2)
0.00 | 0 ratings
Home / Wheel Of Fortune
0.00 | 0 ratings
William B / Fiona
0.00 | 0 ratings
Loudmouth / Hemlop's Hammer
0.00 | 0 ratings
Guitar Man / In The Dark


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Children Of Lir by LOUDEST WHISPER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.52 | 12 ratings

The Children Of Lir
Loudest Whisper Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars Not quite a lost gem of the early 1970s, the debut by LOUDEST WHISPER is more like a highly skilled recap of folk rock and psych rock from the half decade or so leading up to it, with plenty of progressive credentials along the way. It's always somewhat disappointing when I hear an Irish group that doesn't sound all that Irish for the most part, but, as with FRUUPP, I think I can get over it.

Among the bands referenced loud and clear are The MAMAS and the PAPAS ("Wedding Song" is the sequel to California Dreamin that M&Ps never did), BEATLES ("Children's Song"), MAGNA CARTA ("Mannanan 1"), AMAZING BLONDEL ("William B"), CREAM ("Wrong and Right"), and FAIRPORT CONVENTION ("Silent O'Moyle"), and many unnamed. While all these cuts are excellent in their own right, it is in the songs that directly convey the myth on which the album is based that they sound most unique, specifically "Children of the Dawn" and "Dawning of the Day". "Overture" is also a strong instrumental track.

Unfortunately, the story just doesn't carry much weight, and the narrative included as bonus material serves to underscore its shortcomings. It's a rather tedious fairy tale in fact, paling in comparison to contemporary works like "The Tain" by HORSLIPS. Like the tale itself, the album falters badly in the last few original tracks, adding little beyond extra grooves Luckily the bonus cuts are better than most of the album proper.

LOUDEST WHISPER need not remain a secret for those into prog folk or the influences named above. It's a good album from a band still seeking their own sound.

 Loudest Whisper II  by LOUDEST WHISPER album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.88 | 6 ratings

Loudest Whisper II
Loudest Whisper Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars No one can accuse these guys of rushing records to market. Seven years after their debut (and a decade or so after the band’s founding) comes ‘2’. Unlike the first album ‘The Children of Lir’ this record has no particular theme, consisting instead of a collection of singles from the band’s various efforts throughout the seventies, along with some new material. Geraldine Dorgan remains the main vocal presence in the group, although again the O’Reilly brothers offer accompanying harmonies, and Brian O’Reilly even manages to take the lead on occasion.

The O’Reilly brothers readily admit to the influences of North American folk rockers like the Mamas & the Papas, Neil Young, John Sebastian and the like. While the Mamas & the Papas and CSNY are much in evidence on the first album, here the vocals lean much more heavily toward America, James Taylor, and even their soft/folk/art-rock Brit counterparts the Moody Blues. “Magic Carpet” harkens to the Big-7 Moodies albums, and particularly to the John Lodge-penned tunes. This was also the first single from the O'Reilly's own studio and label in 1979.

There’s some fair range of motion musically here as well, just as there was on their first album. “Old Friend John” sounds like Maria McKee crooning a Lone Justice neo-country ballad about a friend of the band who is now engaged in pushing up daisies. “Grey Eyes” on the other hand veers into soft psych territory with some very nice fuzz guitar and unusual percussion. “Pied Piper” could have been a Peter, Paul & Mary folk ditty; and “Wheel o’ Fortune” is going to get recorded by some young Nashville country vixen like Leann Rimes or Gretchen Wilson if it hasn’t already. “Cold Winds Blow” smacks totally of a Gordon Lightfoot tune with the vocals a register higher.

Other than the very sad and charming “Old Friend John”, I think the most memorable track is the passive anti-war lament “The Name of The Game” with its emotive keyboards, light string accompaniment, and Pete Seeger-like protest lyrics (“run soldier, run – throw away your gun; the race cannot be won without your shame”).

The band would end up releasing another album a few years later, ominously titled "Hard Times". By 1985 they would exist in name only, and today only the O'Reilly brothers remain from the lineup of this album. Too bad, because these guys clearly gelled well together and could have made a lot more very engaging music if they'd held it together. Nice to hear that the O'Reillys have been touring and finding some success with the band's music even today and have enlisted new friends and even their own families to help with the music.

This album probably isn’t as good as it could be considering the moderate effort required to find it. But if you’re okay with a CD reissue this is an easy find, and a great (and rare) example of Irish folk rockers putting on the jig with a friendly nod to some popular American and Canadian folkers that provided musical backdrops to the O’Reilly’s and Dorgan’s younger years. For that I really like this album. The rating system fails once again as this is clearly a 3.5 star album, but the artist should never be forced to pay for such inequities, so four stars it is and well recommended to fans of pretty much any kind of folk.


 The Children Of Lir by LOUDEST WHISPER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.52 | 12 ratings

The Children Of Lir
Loudest Whisper Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars Both of the records I’ve heard from Loudest Whisper are quite interesting and enjoyable, but for very different reasons. The second of their three albums (self-titled or just referred to as “II”) is more melodic and mainstream, but this one shows very heavy influences of North American folk rockers like CSNY, the Mamas & the Papas, and Neil Young. If you’re looking for Meic Stevens-like folk, this ain’t it.

Like Horslips famous ‘The Tain’, ‘The Children of Lir’ tells an old and traditional Irish folk tale, but within the trappings of electric and sometimes fuzzed guitar; harmonic sixties-like vocals very much in the mold of Mama Cass Elliott; and often anthematic drums. Folk to be sure, but with a touch of psych and dripping with earthy sincerity.

The story is apparently symbolic, the tale of mythological Irish gods of the Tuatha Dé Dannan. In fact, the four children in the tale represent the last of this generation, who are turned into swans by their stepmother in a 900 year curse. After finally being lifted from the spell they are baptized as Christians before aging rapidly and dying. The symbolic part is a bit lost on me but probably makes sense to someone familiar with Irish history, although I read that it symbolizes the resurrection and conversion to Christianity of the Irish people following centuries of struggle against the English. Works for me.

Musically this sounds more like North American folk than it does Irish. You won’t hear layers of uillean pipes, flutes, fiddles and the like here. Instead there is a strong presence of both electric and acoustic guitar, what sounds like a plain upright piano, and drums for the most part. But most of all you’ll hear plenty of vocals. Pretty straightforward folk singing from guitarist/vocalist Geraldine Dorgan, as well as her Mama Cass harmonies beside brothers Brian and Paul O’Reilly. And a little bit of organ (or some sort of electric keyboard).

The album starts off with an overture of sorts, more like a church-like intro but that quickly introduces electric guitar to place the sound closer to the 20th century than to the 18th. The chamber-like male vocals and piano on “Lir's Lament” sound like something out of a fifties American country album, and “Good Day my Friend” is one of those CSNY-sounding tunes. But by the time “Wedding song” rolls around the band has made it clear that there will not be any specific pattern to their music, with Ms. Dorgan shelving the folk crooning in favor of something closer to a Leslie Gore ballad. Something new on every track it seems.

“Children’s Song” and “Mannanan I” are more of that Haight-Asbury harmonizing, and so is “Mannanan II” really but on that one Mama Dorgan is back behind the mike. The next two (“Children of the Dawn” and :Children of the Day”) have enough of a lilt to the vocals to convince me these guys really are Irish, “Septimus” has some sort of keyboard making strong-like sounds (another nod to the Irish roots), and the last few tracks are quite mellow and bring the story to its sad but strangely resigned ending.

I know very little about these guys except that they’ve been around since the sixties and they toured the U.S. for the first time a couple years ago. The original release of this album is super-rare and falls into the same category as original Spring or Yezda Urfa records. But it has been reissued a number of times in the 30+ years since its first release by Polydor. Kissing Spell put out their own vinyl version (and later a CD from the same source); English Garden has what may be the rarest cut with a 500 copy vinyl version; and Sunbeam Records reissued this on both vinyl and CD a year or so ago. The easiest to find is from Si-Wan, and that one includes some bonus tracks including an alternate version of “Silent O'Moyle”. I have the Kissing Spell one with is basically a digitized copy of their vinyl master from the seventies. The quality isn’t great, but there aren’t a bunch of pops and hisses either, so it’ll do. I hear both the Sunbeam and Si-Wan version have better artwork and notes though, and I know there are at least three different covers for this album as well. Brian O’Reilly has also recorded this album as a separate offering featuring narration by Donovan.

I’m almost tempted to give this three stars just because it doesn’t really take my breath away of anything, and lyrically I’ve never thought of converting a folk tale to a musical tale to be any kind of monumental artistic effort. Heck, some writer did half the work already.

That said, the musicianship here is solid, the vocal harmonies are superb, and this was clearly a labor of love on the part of the band. So for those reasons fours stars sounds good, and so does the record.


Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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