The Dubliners

Best of the Dubliners [Epic/Legacy]

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This might be inadequate as a best-of survey, as it only covers a small sliver of their career dating wholly from the late '60s. In fact, all of the 16 tracks were taken either from the 1967 album A Drop of the Hard Stuff or the 1968 album More of the Hard Stuff. For all that, for someone who wants just one Dubliners record it would make a reasonable choice. It features their prime lineup, for one thing, and it also has their big British hit, "Seven Drunken Nights" (and "Black Velvet Band," the lesser British hit from the same era). Those cuts and others ("The Rising of the Moon" is a highlight) live up to the expectations of what many listeners want from their Irish folk: songs for hard living and hard drinking delivered with an edge and hints of snarling piss'n'vinegar in the vocals. The hard-drinkin' aspect is not a projection; song titles like "The Pub With No Beer," "Muirsheen' Drinkin'," "Whiskey in the Jar," "Drink It up Men," and "Maloney Wants a Drink" make that plain enough. At the same time, the production is crisp and disciplined enough to make this more accessible than some hardcore Irish folk is.

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