This two-CD set starts with a real surprise. The first song is a nostalgic "Song for Ireland." The second song, "The Sun Is Burning," starts out with a sentimental ode to sunset: lovers waiting for it to get dark, little kids going to bed, etc. Then a spot appears in the sky, blossoms, and turns into a nuclear bomb blast! The rest of the song concerns the aftermath, including the darkness that follows the dust kicked up by the explosion. This is obviously not your typical Irish album full of romantic historical ballads and raucous songs about drinking. Yet the Dubliners do sound like a traditional band: guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, pennywhistle. (In fact, they helped pioneer the sound.) Their voices are raspy, accented, unpretentious, unmistakably Irish. What's a little different is that the tunes are folk songs in the best sense: They are bold, relevant even when concerning the past, and unabashedly political. You never know what you're going to get next. The song "Whack Fol di Diddle" is a parody about England as a benevolent parent to wayward Ireland. Unfortunately, the liner notes do not indicate from which albums or dates this collection is drawn, although one would guess the songs are mostly from the early '80s. Definitely recommended for lovers of Irish music or folk music.
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