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Down In Dublin

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Album Review

Michael Hurley's fans have pegged him as a musical genius, and while his praises have certainly been sung, they've never been sung by a large chorus. This is partly because of his own eccentricities, and partly because no one seems to be buying what he's selling. Hurley's albums are fairly hard to come by (at one time, he had a website where one could purchase CD-Rs of old albums, but by the beginning of 2006, the website was MIA) and have, often as not, been few and far between. Down in Dublin was a rather curious artifact, then, showing up in 2005, only two years after the release of the excellent Sweetkorn. Hurley's trademark style, lackadaisical, laid-back, and just a bit hazy, is on full display on the opener, "Goners." As usual, one might be hard-pressed to explain exactly what Hurley's getting at, but that's part of his charm. There's some nifty electric guitar (very low-key, but very nifty) on "Goners," and his comrades, Dave Reisch and Thurstan Binns, fall into a comfy hillbilly groove. The second cut, the haunting and halting "What I Have," also works well, but by the third cut, "Rough and Rocky," the cracks in the seams begin to show up. No one really expects Hurley to sing the "Slurf Song" like he did back in 1976, but his voice, especially during the choruses, proves erratic, calling more attention to his mistakes than the song. Yes, he's never been a "good singer," but his vocals are weak here and one can't help but reference earlier versions of "Slurf Song" and "Whiskey Willy." Of course, even a Hurley failure is more interesting than lots of singers' successes, but it is disappointing compared to the beautiful oddity of Sweetkorn. Still, fans will want to give Down in Dublin a spin because listening to Hurley is a lot like dropping in on an old uncle who's a real character. Even when the uncle's off his game, he's still interesting. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi


Born: 20 December 1941 in Buck's County, PA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A singer/songwriter in the subversive Greenwich Village folk scene of the late '60s and '70s, with several songs lent to the Holy Modal Rounders, Michael Hurley maintained an infrequent solo career into the '90s but was more famed for his writing credits. Born on December 20, 1941 in Pennsylvania, he migrated to Greenwich Village by the early '60s and was ready to sign a major record deal when he contracted mononucleosis; after spending several years in the hospital, Hurley returned to music and...
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Down In Dublin, Michael Hurley
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