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Album Review

A ragtag, but compelling collection of live and recorded songs from the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. With the exception of the dark, quite depressing tune "Four Green Fields," about a mother mourning her lost children and home (actually a thinly veiled metaphor about the brutal history between England and Ireland), all of the songs on this album are lively and upbeat. Just try keeping your foot from tapping to the opening track, "Home Boys Home," a bouncy marching song about the joy of returning home after a long while away. The record also includes the hilarious "Isn't It Grand Boys," in which a ghost observes his own funeral and ridicules everyone from the mourners to the preacher. Unlike the group's live recordings, where they obviously control the set list, the tracks aren't arranged very well on Luck of the Irish. It's as if the record company threw the songs down on disc at random; how else could you have "Four Green Fields" sandwiched between the hilarious ditties "Mr. Moses Ri-Tooral-I-Ay" and "The Jolly Tinker"? Perhaps they meant to give the listener a breather before and after "Four Green Fields," but a better-organized record would have built up to this powerful song, perhaps using it as the final track instead of stranding it somewhere in the middle.

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