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The Dubliners released three albums on the Transatlantic label between 1964 and 1966, but it wasn't until they moved to Philip Solomon's new Major Minor label in 1967 that they had their first real success. A Drop of the Hard Stuff was released in the spring of 1967 followed by the rather unimaginatively titled More of the Hard Stuff later that year - both albums heavily promoted by Radio Caroline. Drinkin' & Courtin' was released in 1968, the year the original Radio Caroline went off the air, so had to rely more on the BBC for airplay.

The Major Minor label released some interesting material, and the four studio albums they released by the Dubliners still sound great today. It may be surprising then that these albums have never been issued on CD before - although most of the tracks have appeared on various compilations over the years. The Major Minor label ended up as a part of EMI and was mothballed for many years (it was briefly revived for a Morrissey album in 2010!), but EMI have now finally given the Dubliner's four Major Minor studio albums the re-issue they deserve.

The Major Minor albums include this one, its predecessors -A Drop of the Hard Stuff and More of the Hard Stuff- both from 1967, and their following album from 1968 - At It Again. All have been freshly remastered in 2012 by Peter Mew at Abbey Road studios from the original MONO master tapes (some compilations use the stereo mixes). The thin accompanying booklet contains an essay by John Tobler, front and back reproductions of the original sleeve, facsimiles of the disc labels, track details and a couple of photos of the band.

The Dubliner's numerous fans will have waited many years for these re-issues and they do not disappoint. A presentation of the four discs as a collector's box set to mark the band's 50 years in the business would perhaps have been even better, but you can currently pick up the set of four from Amazon for less than twenty quid so they represent pretty good value even so. Newcomers to the band's music may be better off with a compilation album to start with - I would suggest EMI's Original Dubliners from 1993, which contains stereo tracks from the four Major Minor studio albums, the live Albert Hall album and also tracks from the band's next two albums after they had moved to EMI.

This re-issue is a straightforward version of the original album in mono with no bonus tracks and is aimed at those who remember the LP and want to have good sounding versions of these tracks in the original album order. For the target audience I give this CD five stars, although it is not quite as strong or original as its predecessors.
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on 1 September 2012
This boisterous Irish folk group have been operating for 50 years now, outliving all the band's founding members in the process of doing that. How have they endured for half-a-century? I think that they have managed to do it by making fine, spirited LP's such as this descriptively-titled, commercially successful 15-song collection from 1968.

It features some evocative drinking songs, sung in a thick Irish brogue, such as the rousing shanty 'Quare Bungle Rye', and the popular farewell lament, 'The Parting Glass'. There are also a couple of honestly-told tales of love and sex, in the shape of the hankering 'Peggy Gordon', and lovelorn 'I Know My Love'. And it incorporates a couple of political and socially aware songs into the mix as well, including an earthy rendition of Ewan McColl's social-realist 'Dirty Old Town', an affecting, fiddle-led glance at Irish emigration in 'My Little Son', and a drum-driven blast through 'Gentlemen Soldier'.* Whilst not everything else here managed to hold me quite so rapt, I only found that the novelty 'Maids, When Your Young, Never Wed An Old Man' really jarred; this jaunty, bawdy tale, with its use of "ding doo-rum-die" and "fal-dlddle-fal-days" as euphemisms, evoked, for me, the clichéd - and misguided - image of The Dubliners as little more than stout-drinking navvies portraying a twee version of Ireland to the wider world.

Generally, however, Drinkin' and Courtin' is, as evergreen journalist and broadcaster Robin Denselow notes on the back cover of the original edition of this album, part of the reason why in the late 1960s, "Whether the folk club purists like[d] it or not, the commercial success of The Dubliners has given British traditional music the biggest boost it has had for years".
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on 4 August 2015
love the dubs only bought for one track but a great comp
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on 12 May 2013
Another classic early Dubliners album re-issued, again you have to buy this album, this band made so many great records which have become standards for many artists over the years. There are 4 early albums that have been re-released and they are all good. Again this is a great price so get it snapped up and do some dancing with a jar of porter or two.
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on 18 January 2013
If your looking for what used to be termed "come all ya" songs then this is it ,theres lots of innuendos in the lyrics ,suitable for maybe a stag night ,but not my cup of tea Im afraid.
Musically its some good banjo by Barney and fiddle playing by John Sheehan and Luke belts out a few as does Ronnie ,but theres much better out there by these legends ,this doesnt really do them justice Im afraid.
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on 29 August 2014
love them
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on 15 October 2014
great ..
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