“Now” by The Dubliners - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1975Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

During the middle of 1974, the Dubliners lost two of their five; Ciarán and Ronnie. Ciarán Bourke (tin whistler and guitarist) was having such severe headaches that one night he had to leave the stage and was rushed to hospital; it transpired he had suffered a brain haemorrhage which left him partially paralyzed. Obviously still hopeful that he might return, the Dubliners included him on the front-cover of the “Now” LP, but he never did record another album with his compadres. From 1974 until his death in 1988, he continued to be paid by the band. A fifth member of the group was not recruited until after his death. In what could be safely be described as a cataclysmic year for the Dubliners, Ronnie Drew (lead singer and guitarist) chose to leave the group, citing family concerns: “My children were growing up and I felt I was being away from home too long. We’d be away for a period of six weeks, then we’d be home for two and away for another six weeks. I didn’t want my family to be suffering for lack of contact. My children were growing up and I wanted to be there. So I decided to I’d pack it up and do something on my own. So I packed up in June or July of 1974.” 30-year-old Jim McCann (singer and guitarist), an established solo folk artist, was invited to join the group and accepted the challenge.

I for one certainly miss Ronnie’s presence on this LP; aside from the simple joy of his gruff baritone, the material is decidedly conservative. Where 1973s “Plain and Simple” had confronted the troubles head-on, this years’ “Now” buries its head in the sand, seemingly contented with tales of jolly ploughboys and dewy-eyed farewells to towns that were loved so well. I don’t wish to appear too harsh, however. Aside from low points such as “Carrickfergus” and “Lord Of The Dance”, there are many fine pieces on offer. Luke Kelly’s on good form with Tommy Makem’s “Farewell To Carlingford” and he finally gets a crack at “The Auld Triangle” which, I have to say, as fine as it is, sounds weaker on the LP than it does on certain live renditions that have been captured from around about the same timeline. “The Unquiet Grave”, an old English love song, is given the Kelly treatment to good effect towards the end of the set. Jim McCann’s debut is marked well by his rendition of “Matt Hyland”, which, as the liner notes tell us, is: “A lovely variation of the poor little rich girl theme. There is some confusion whether it is an Irish or Scottish song. But Jim thinks it is Irish for two reasons The word Island is mentioned, and the couple stayed up in her room for half an hour just talking.” Glad to hear there is still some humour in the camp.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:26] 6.9.png The Dubliners - Farewell To Carlingford (Tommy Makem) Folk
A2 [02:53] 7.3.png The Dubliners - The Auld Triangle [album version ’75] (Brendan Behan) Folk
A3 [02:01] 5.8.png The Dubliners - The Beggarman (Traditional) Folk
A4 [05:16] 6.5.png The Dubliners - Matt Hyland (Traditional) Folk
A5 [03:24] 5.5.png The Dubliners - The Downfall Of Paris (Traditional) Folk
A6 [03:57] 4.1.png The Dubliners - Carrickfergus [album version ’75] (Traditional) Folk
B1 [02:26] 5.1.png The Dubliners - Lord Of The Dance [album version ’75] (Sydney Carter, Ronan Hardiman) Folk
B2 [04:01] 6.4.png The Dubliners - The Lifeboat Mona (Peggy Seeger) Folk
B3 [02:23] 6.5.png The Dubliners - Farewell To Ireland (Traditional) Folk
B4 [05:08] 6.8.png The Dubliners - The Unquiet Grave (Traditional) Folk
B5 [04:06] 5.6.png The Dubliners - Lord Inchiquin (Turlough O'Carolan) Folk
B6 [03:06] 6.9.png The Dubliners - The Lark In The Morning (Traditional) Folk

© The Jukebox Rebel 2005-2020 All Rights Reserved