Wolfe Tones

Across the Broad Atlantic

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1976's Across the Broad Atlantic is one of the Wolfe Tones' most impressive albums. A concept album along the lines of Peter Bellamy's ballad operas, Across the Broad Atlantic mixes traditional songs with new material to tell a dramatic story of emigration. The forced emigration of Irish men from their native land to America is a defining story of both nations' history in the 19th century, with poverty, religious persecution, and bigotry in evidence, but there's no sense of victimhood in these songs or performances; tunes like the rueful "Paddy on the Railway" are sung with wry humor and joyful relish, along with the expected affront and outrage. No more an anti-American album than it could possibly be an anti-Irish album (this was recorded during the Bicentennial, remember), Across the Broad Atlantic is unsparing, but ultimately uplifting, and one of the Wolfe Tones' finest albums.

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