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Live Alive-Oh

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Album Review

The key to the Wolfe Tones is that while their music is explicitly political, they're not the po-faced polemicists that so many of their political folk brethren can be. This 1986 live set, recorded in front of a loudly appreciative crowd at the National Ballroom in Kilburn, Ireland, has the lusty spirit and lighthearted humor of the best Irish folk music, which gives the biting edge of songs like "Sean South of Garryowen," "The Boys of the Old Brigade," and "Come Out Ye Black and Tans" a stirring, life-affirming quality missing from some. Wisely, the Wolfe Tones also lard this two-album set with a generous dose of non-political entertainments, focusing on sly, witty tunes like "Travelling Doctor's Shop" and the hilarious spoken-word shaggy dog story "Paddy's Dream," and a few well-played traditional instrumentals like "Princess Royal." One of the Wolfe Tones' better albums, Live Alive-Oh is a fine introduction to an often-intriguing band.


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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Live Alive-Oh, The Wolfe Tones
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