Clannad are a family band made up of three siblings (the Brennans) and their two uncles (the Duggans). They grew up in Gaoth Dobhair, the Gaelteacht area of County Donegal that is also home to Altan. Enya, a sister, is also a former member - she featured on the band's 1982 release, "Fuaim".
"Legend" is the soundtrack to an old British television series called "Robin of Sherwood", and it led to a BAFTA for the group. The show, which ran for three seasons, was based on the legends of Robin Hood and was first broadcast in 1984. (The album was first released that same year). Michael Praed played Robin for the first two seasons, before moving to America to take a role in "Dynasty". (He also appeared on the album's original cover). Jason Connery, son of a well-known 007, took over the role for the third season. A fresh-faced Ray Winstone appeared as Will Scarlet, though it was Judi "Maid Marion" Trott that had me tuning in every week....
"Legend" is less traditional than much of Clannad's previous work - there's a greater use of 'modern' instruments and there are definite moves towards a more 'new age' sound. Although there isn't a great deal of singing on the album, this was the band's first release not to feature any vocals in Irish. Including a remix of "Together We", there are eleven tracks on the album. Most of them are around three minutes long - the exceptions being the remix of "Together We" and "Scarlet Inside" (both just over five minutes long) and "Battles" (which just makes it past the minute mark). Despite being so short, "Battles" is - for me - one of the better songs on the album - although the guitar features, the songs' focus is really on the percussion.
Aptly enough, given that Maid Marion was (ahem) my favourite character in the show, "Lady Marion" is my favourite track on the album. It's the closest in sound to a trad tune, a beutiful track featuring the harp and register. Two of the other tracks dedicated to individual characters also deserve special mentions. "Herne" is a great track, very gentle and relaxing. (Herne is said to have been a favoured keeper of Richard the Second, who now haunts Windsor Great Park. It is possible he is an 'updated' version of the Celtic God Cernonnos, and the character in the show seemed, to me, closer to this role). "Robin (The Hooded Man)", which served as the show's theme tune, is a little more acoustic and upbeat. Meanwhile, "Ancient Forest" and "Strange Land" both feature very enjoyable vocal performances.
The 'Cantoma Mix' of "Together We" stands apart from the rest of the album - it's entirely different to the original version of the song and it feels a little strange hearing something like this on a Clannad album. It is, however, very pleasant and relaxing (it's a gentle dance-type remix) and - of the song's two versions - this is the one I actually prefer.
I loved the album when it was first released and - although nostalgia may play a little part - I've been listening to it pretty often since I picked up this re-mastered version. Recommended.