The Dubliners


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The origins of the 20 songs on this CD are deliberately obscured by the too-small typesetting and obtuse information. That, along with the image of the Dubliners circa the mid-'90s, should be a dead giveaway that these are modern re-recordings. And that wouldn't be bad -- in fact, it isn't bad most of the time, especially on "Rocky Road to Dublin" and "Raglan Road," which are done as beautifully as they ever would (or will) be. The difficulty is when they try to apply what amounts to a high-energy, drum-laden rock approach to numbers such as "Whiskey in the Jar," which, despite its title, is a song of outlawry rather than a drinking song. There are also uncredited live performances intermingled with the studio work here, which makes for an uneven anthology, too full of surprises even when the concert numbers (such as "Leaving of Liverpool") happen to work. The entire CD ends up being as confusing as some of those unannotated multi-disc sets issued on this group from EMI, though perhaps a little more unified and rewarding than some of those -- apart from some of those reinterpretations.

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