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Spirit of the Nation

The Wolfe Tones

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Album Review

1964's Spirit of the Nation, in retrospect, is one of the oddest albums by the Wolfe Tones. Only the Irish quartet's second release, the album is in the spirited mold of the college folk scene that was so prevalent in the early '60s. Songs like "Protestant Men" and "Paddle Your Own Canoe" have the cheery singalong trio of the Kingston Trio, and it's not until one pays attention to the lyrics of songs like "Padraic Pearse" (a ballad about one of the Irish Republican martyrs of the early 20th century) that one notices the sharp, biting political commentary so prevalent all over this album. The dichotomy is a little odd at first, and then it seems subversively brilliant; one can imagine this album getting slipped onto the turntable during a drunken St. Paddy's Day fraternity bash at some Ivy League college in the '60s and, in the argot of the day, raising a few people's consciousness. The terribly dated sound of the album makes it much more of a relic than most of the Wolfe Tones' early albums, but Spirit of the Nation is at the very least an interesting curio.


Formed: 1963 in Kilrush, Ireland

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

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

Very few bands manage to stay together for several decades. Even fewer are able to do it when their prime focus is politics. But then again, there aren't many around like the Wolfe Tones. Taking their name from Wolfe Tone, one of the leaders of the 1798 Irish Rebellion, they've remained unabashedly loud and proud of their politics since they began in 1963, even when the Irish government was banning their records (which it did in the late '60s). Formed by Derek Warfield and his brother Brian, who...
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Spirit of the Nation, The Wolfe Tones
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