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This review is from: Drinkin' & Courtin' (Audio CD)
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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Initial post: 1 Sep 2012, 18:23:19 BST
S Bailey says:
*The Pogues also attempted this song - to great effect - on their career-best album Rum, Sodomy & the Lash.
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