The Clancy Brothers began making records in 1956, but this was their first outing with Robbie O'Connell. The material on OLDER BUT NO WISER is previously unrecorded by the group, with the exception of "When the Ship Comes In," first recorded for Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary Concert.
Songs of drink and rebellion make up the bulk of this CD. The former is best epitomized by "Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie" and the latter by "The Boys of Wexford," a song about the 1798 rebellion. Other tunes, such as "Salonika," "The Curragh of Kildare," and especially "Lily Marlene," revolve around soldiers and war. "The Life That I Have" is taken from a poem written for an Allied forces spy, Violette Szabo, who was dropped behind enemy lines in occupied Europe, captured, and executed by the Nazis. Finally, other songs, such as "Roll On the Day," and "Those Were the Days," are raucous pub tunes that celebrate life, despite the struggles of Ireland's past.