The Young Dubliners

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Why does it seem like every Irish jig that introduces a CD sounds like a selection from Riverdance? With its galloping drumbeat and swift fiddles and acoustic guitar "Bodhran" gets this disc off to a roaring start before the very mainstream pop/rock reveals the truer nature of this band. For a time, aside from a fiddle harmony or solo here, a flute passage there, we might forget the ethnicity of the group, whose themes run from meditations on loss ("Neverending") to wondering about having made the right decisions ("Is That Me"). The gritty "Fisherman's Blues" is a spirited jam tune which rallies the group around the traditional Irish sound, including harmonica. "Rising/Change the World" combines blistering rock and the Irish groove. That sort of spirit is balanced by brooding melancholy numbers like "Apart," creating multiple moodswings as the disc progresses. One of the catchiest rockers is the mid-tempo, Doors-like "Red," whose lyrics (penned by Bernie Taupin) are full of food and fire imagery and yet hard to decipher; simply sing along with the engaging chorus and don't ask too many questions. "Neverending" and "Red" are reprised with brief instrumental versions that are nice but somewhat superfluous.

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