The Dubliners fulfilled their contract for Transatlantic with the theatrical review Finnegan Wakes in 1966. Recorded live at Dublin's Gate Theatre, the record of the show was a thorn in the side of the church and conservatives alike, pushing the boundaries of political satire with its anti-establishment rhetoric and razor-sharp jibes at traditional Irish values. Musically, the band had honed its skills to perfection, and the full houses that frequented the year-long run of the show were a testament to that -- the whoops and bawdy laughter between and during songs make it sound like a pub on a Friday night, as opposed to a theater. Audiences fell in love with songs like "Chief O'Neill's Favourite," a celebration of a Chicago police chief whose knowledge and catalog of Irish tunes is legendary, and the blue-collar anthem "Hot Asphalt." The recording is muddy and overdriven in places, but it's so full of life that a clearer rendering would lack the sparkling energy of the original.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger