Christy Dignam: The Man Who Stayed Alive – A life-affirming triumph

Fri, Oct 8, 2021, 05:00

   
 

Album:
The Man Who Stayed Alive

Artist:
Christy Dignam

Label:
Sony

Genre:
Pop

Christy Dignam has fronted Aslan since 1982, an insuppressible institution in Irish music, who the late Tony Fenton affectionately called The ‘Lan. 

In between chemotherapy sessions treating a terminal illness, Dignam bravely recorded a legacy solo album with musician and producer Don Mescall, partly recorded in Quivvy Church studio, Co Cavan, which Mescall bought from Brendan Perry of Dead Can Dance, and Christy’s kitchen at home in Dublin.

Dignam, Mescall and former EMI boss Willie Kavanagh hunkered down to put together this highly poignant collection. There’s a lovely Beatlesque touch throughout, which is hardly surprising considering Mescall once assembled a supergroup comprising of Paul McCartney, Paul Brady and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd to pay tribute to Henry McCullough of Wings. 

The Man Who Stayed Alive pays tribute to Dignam. “I want to get high one last time with you,” he sings on the single High, a touching paean to the redemption of love and his unquenchable spirit. It’s always uplifting and never maudlin, with Dignam taking a swipe at politicians as “clowns” on Shame the Devil. 

Dignam breathes fresh life into Leonard Cohen’s oft-covered swan song, So Long, Marianne. A performer since 1980, it’s a little surprising that Christy has taken this long to do a solo album considering his high profile output with Aslan and Dignam & Goff, but as the old saying goes, better late than never. 

The Man Who Stayed Alive is a life-affirming triumph of human will and the immortal power of music.