The Dubliners

30 Years A-Greying

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By 1992, the Dubliners seemed to be making new albums only on an occasional basis, and treated each as an event. Their 1987 album, 25 Years of Celebration, marked their quarter-century as a group, for instance, while 1988's The Dubliner's Dublin commemorated the millennium of the city for which they were named. Its follow-up, four years later, was 30 Years A-Greying, which as its title suggested, marked the 30th anniversary of the band's founding. As they had on 25 Years of Celebration, the Dubliners invited various friends to join them on selected tracks, starting with the Hothouse Flowers, who pitched in on the opening track "The Rose." That's right, it was the Bette Midler hit from the movie of the same name, and that gave some indication that an eclectic collection was in store. Over the course of two CDs, the group also played some old songs and introduced some new ones on a range of subject matter that stretched from the fall of the Soviet Union ("The Death of the Bear"), the need to ease poverty in Africa ("Sands of Sudan"), and environmentalism ("What Will We Tell the Children") to the peculiarly Dubliners-like issue of the deleterious impact of the introduction of pool tables into pubs in Ireland ("The Pool Song"). Participating in the fun were Rory Gallagher ("Barley and Grape Rag"), Billy Connolly (the anti-military "I'm Asking You Sergeant, Where's Mine"), the Pogues ("Whiskey in the Jar"), Phil Colclough ("The Call and the Answer"), and De Dannan ("Boots of Spanish Leather"). That last was, of course, the Bob Dylan song, and the Dubliners also covered Woody Guthrie ("Deportees"), and turned to American country music with a version of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." Of course, there was also room for a bunch of lively instrumentals and songs by such Dubliners favorites as Dominic Behan and his brother, Brendan Behan. All Dubliners albums tend to be grab-bags of disparate material gathered together under the mantle of Irish folk, and with its length, 30 Years A-Greying was just like other Dubliners albums, only more so.