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Tommy Fleming Tommy Fleming
Album: Stories
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 32

Tommy Fleming has been described as "the voice of Ireland" many times by others. He has sold over three million albums worldwide. This release marks twenty five years of songs. On hearing some of the songs thereon, I am not surprised he has enjoyed the success that has come his way.

Some of the songs on this double CD pack are truly inspirational (as opposed to devotional). His clarion clear and surprisingly strong voice delivers each song in such a manner that every word, syllable and nuance is heard without effort to absorb the message. Some of the songs are romantic, others distinctly no so. Tommy himself has written or arranged many of the songs, but he also takes on classic hits from the likes of Simon & Garfunkel along with contributions from Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Louis Armstrong and others.

Traditional songs also make an appearance as do some songs which relate the sadness and futility of war. In this 100th anniversary year of the end of WWI, "Christmas 1915" is particularly poignant, as is "The Town I loved So Well" which tells the story of the background to the Northern Ireland troubles throughout the 1970's and 1980's. I remember having a similar conversation with a customer I used to visit in Craigavon. Both revealed the losses suffered by the local people away from and behind the headlines. "The Fields of France" similarly powerfully laments the devastation left behind when nations collide.

Tommy turns each song into his own with his unique and powerful style touching emotions that only music can touch. It is difficult to classify, deeply emotional?, often, romantic?, yes, sincere?, certainly. Another reviewer suggested his music fell into a genre which has yet to acquire a name. I have some sympathy with that view. With the success he has achieved it seems to prove that he has an almost universal appeal to all ages and backgrounds.

Whatever it is he does to generate audiences from all over the world and other musicians, he knows exactly how to get a positive reaction from somewhat unexpected places. Eric Clapton has made praiseworthy comments about his performances and much to my surprise, I'm with Eric on this one.

This double CD contains no less than thirty-two tracks each one of them is an absolute delight, although sometimes thought provoking. No doubt his fans will have already got their orders in, I suggest that if you like good songs, beautifully sung with candour and in a genuine manner, then this CD is thoroughly recommended. It will give much pleasure for years to come.

Tony Collins