Blarney: (Use, assail with) cajoling talk (from Blarney, a castle near Cork with a stone conferring a cajoling tongue on whoever kisses it).
So speaks the Oxford dictionary; but it's hard, maybe quite impossible for an English work of reference to pin down such a peculiarly Irish phenomenon. To know what Blarney is you have to get the sound of it, and it's best to hear it in its natural habitat - probably the bar of a Dublin pub. But Blarney has its exponents over in Britain too - a case in point is Noel Murphy; for more than three years now he's been cajoling the ears of audiences throughout the land with his own personal blend of Irish wit, fantasy and song. More and more people have come to appreciate his music, until today he is just as likely to be heard in cabaret or in concert as in the folk-club cellars where he began his professional career.
Much of his audience-appeal is visual; it's impossible to ignore the impact of a six-foot-plus red-haired and bearded Irishman who's obviously having such a good time himself. Add to this a line in patter that will keep his listeners amused for hours on end, together with a flair for picking the songs his audiences want to hear, and you have some of the reasons for his popularity. He is not afraid to take a song from the hit parade or even from classical music and present it in his own style; and he's got little time for those who suggest that folk-singers should not be entertainers as well. The bigger his audiences are, and the more they are enjoying themselves, the more he will feel that he's succeeded as a musician.
As his professional career has expanded, so Noel Murphy has developed his talents
to take in an ever-widening range of songs and musical styles, but on this
LP, recorded shortly after his arrival in Britain, he sings some of the
best-known and most popular songs of his native land. They are by turns
lusty, ironic, patriotic, nostalgic; they're all uninhibited, and they all
have the benefit of that extra bit of Irish persuasiveness-a touch of the Blarney.