The Dubliners with Luke Kelly

The Dubliners / Luke Kelly

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The Dubliners with Luke Kelly Review

by James Christopher Monger

Recorded in 1963, the Dubliners' eponymous debut record helped to bring Irish folk music to the masses, and launched a prolific career that continues to excite, influence, and inform audiences and musicians worldwide. Iconic producer Bill Leader -- he engineered nearly every landmark U.K. folk record throughout the '60s and '70s -- invited a live audience to London's Livingston Studios in an effort to capture the group's raucous pub sound and musical versatility. Those efforts paid off, as The Dubliners still resonates with youthful enthusiasm and a warm, wonderful intimacy sadly missing from the genre's current live recordings. Castle Music's 2003 reissue features the original 14-track recording, which includes the definitive versions of Celtic standards like "The Wild Rover" and "The Rocky Road to Dublin." It also features the entire 1965 Transatlantic Dubliners in Person EP, including the song "Rare Old Mountain Dew," later re-recorded in 1987 with the Pogues. The final six tunes are previously unreleased gems like "Roddy McCorley" and "Chief O'Neill's/Cork Hornpipe," the latter of which would appear on their follow-up, Finnegan Wakes, and go on to become a live staple and fan favorite. The improved sound quality and informative liner notes by John O'Regan are reason enough to pick up this classic recording, but in the end it's the music that speaks the loudest, offering a peek into the creation of one of folk music's best-loved and most enduring ensembles.

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