The Dubliners – A Drop Of The Hard Stuff (Seven Drunken Nights) (1967)

FrontCover1A Drop of the Hard Stuff is the debut studio album of the Irish folk group The Dubliners. It was originally released in 1967 on Major Minor Records (SMLP3 and MMLP3). When it was reissued, it was renamed Seven Drunken Nights because the first track became a hit single. The album reached number 5 in the UK album chart, and stayed in the charts for 41 weeks. The album cover provides biographical sketches of the band line-up: Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly, Barney McKenna, Ciarán Bourke and John Sheahan. Four of the songs are sympathetic to the IRA, but this was before “The Troubles” properly began in Ireland. “Limerick Rake” is sung unaccompanied. Most of the songs concern rogues and drinking. “Weila Waile” is a tragic murder ballad, sung with a certain jollity.

The album title is both an allusion to hard liquor, particularly Irish whiskey, and to the musical difficulty of the fourteen songs chosen for the album[citation needed], which emphasize the considerable depths of talent of the group, from the intricate fiddle and banjo work on “The Galway Races” and the reels, to the impressive a cappella rendition of “Limerick Rake”. (by wikipedia)

Residing somewhere between the Clancy Brothers and the Chieftains, but more raucous in their sensibilities than either of those outfits, the Dubliners have been Irish music’s most uninhibited emissaries to the world since the mid-’60s. This album lives up to its title, offering some lusty renditions of drinking songs, rebel songs, reels, and just about every other subgenre upon which this group has built its reputation across the decades. The performances are rousing and rich in sentiment, often joyous, and sometimes angry (depending on the subject). Highlights include “The Old Alarm Clock,” “The Rising of the Moon,” “Seven Drunken Nights,” “Zoological Gardens,” “The Fairmoy Lasses & Sporting Paddy” (which shows off the virtuoso side of their playing), and the haunting “Black Velvet Band”.” The whole record was worth a follow-up (More of the Hard Stuff), and is still worth hearing, more than four decades later. (by Bruce Eder)


Alternate frontcovers

Ciarán Bourke (vocals, guitar)
Ronnie Drew (vocals, guitar)
Luke Kelly (vocals, banjo)
Barney McKenna (vocals, banjo, mandoline)
John Sheahan (vocals, fiddle, tin whistle, mandoline)

01, Seven Drunken Nights 3.43
02. The Galway Races 3.17
03. The Old Alarm Clock 1.56
04. Reels: Colonel Fraser & O’Rourke’s Reel 2.36
05. The Rising Of The Moon 2.36
06. McCafferty 2.26
07. I’m A Rover 4.49
08. Weile Waile 3.25
09. The Travelling People 3.50
10. Limerick Rake 3.10
11. Zoological Gardens 2.09
12. Reels: Fermoy (misspelled as Fairmoye) Lasses & Sporting Paddy 1.55
13. The Black Velvet Band 4.26
14. Poor Paddy On The Railway  2.49

All songs: Traditionals





The Dubliners – Drinkin’ & Courtin’ (1968)

FrontCover1Drinkin’ and Courtin’ is an album by The Dubliners. It was originally released in 1968. It reached number 31 in the UK album charts in 1968.

Taken from the original liner-notes:

THE DUBLINERS restore songs to the folk sources they came from and the authenticity of their music is assured by their everyday living of informal hooleys and sing-songs, drinking and courting. What they sing about is confirmed by personal experience — they never let their individuality be taken away by success.

Perhaps the unique atmosphere created by THE DUBLINERS is helped by the wealth of history, not only behind their songs, but also attached to the instruments they play. Apart from new tin whistles which they go through at the rate of 8 a month, and mouth organs one a month, because of a high value set on anything played by THE DUBLINERS, most of their instruments arrive from anywhere but new over the shop counter.


The Dubliners, 1968

Barney, acknowledged as one of the world’s finest banjo players, now uses a 1930 Paregon which he once had to buy back from thieves who had stolen it, along with his 1890 Stradent mandolin, from the back of a car. Before that he played a 1920 timber banjo, but owns eight mandolins, four banjos, a two hundred year-old Portuguese guitar, a fiddle and a melodeon.

Ronnie’s Manuel Reyes guitar, bought from a Spaniard he met at Casa Pepe in London, he had to pay for twice because the first time the money was stolen from his pocket. There are countless other stories and ale has been spilt too many times to remember.

THE DUBLINERS are the undisputed leaders of the current folk music fervour. But commercial success does not mean in this case ‘commercialised’, for as their recording manager. Tommy Scott, says: These boys will NEVER need to become commercialised, in the accepted sense of the word to stay popular-they have a magic and commercialism all of their own.

Quote: Whether the folk club purists like it or not, the commercial success of The Dubliners has given British traditional music the biggest boost it has had for years. (by Robin Denselow, The Observer)

Ciarán Bourke (tin whistle, harmonica, guitar, vocals)
Ronnie Drew (vocals, guitar)
Luke Kelly (vocals, banjo)
Barney McKenna (banjo, mandolin)
John Sheahan (fiddle, tin whistle, mandolin)

01. Dirty Old Town (MacColl) 2.55
02. Quare Bungle Rye (Traditional) 2.35
03. Peggy Gordon (Traditional) 3.28
04. Rattling Roaring Willie (Traditional) 1.50
05. Carolan’s Concerto (instrumental) (Traditional) 1.33
06. The Herring (Traditional) 4.53
07. The Parting Glass (Traditional) 2.28
08. Maids When You’re Young Never Wed an Old Man (Traditional) 3.29
09. Gentleman Soldier (Traditional) 2.08
10. Hand Me Down Me Petticoat (Behan) 1.47
11. Flop Eared Mule (Donkey Reel) (instrumental) (Traditional) 1.41
12. I Know My Love (Traditional) 2.53
13. Mrs. McGrath (Traditional) 2.22
14. Maid Of The Sweet Brown Knowe (Traditional) 2.06
15. My Little Son (Traditional) 3.18


The Dubliners – Live At Montreux (1977)

FrontCover1Taken from the original liner-notes:

“THE DUBLINERS began, fifteen years ago, in a smoky back-room of a bar in Merrion Row, Dublin. At that time, the founder members of the group: Ronnie Drew, Ciaron [sic] Bourke, Luke Kelly and Barney McKenna, sang with the people in the bar and occasionally they busked for a pound or two.

They gradually started to do local radio shows, then followed an odd television appearance which made them popular throughout Dublin. Soon they started recordings and were joined by the fiddle player, John Sheahan. With their television and radio appearances becoming more frequent, their popularity took on a national dimension and even started to spill over into Britain and the Continent. It was not until 1967/1968 that their popularity reached any spectacular level – when their first international hit “Seven Drunken Nights” leaped up the British Hit Parade.

The DUBLINERS are traditionalists, but their music is drawn from the four corners of the world and covers an incredible variety of subjects. In 1974, Ciaron [sic] Bourke fell ill very seriously and the group is still awaiting his return. In the same year, Ronnie Drew decided to pursue a solo career. His place was taken by Jim McCann, who was Ireland’s leading solo folk artist.

The DUBLINERS are currently one of the biggest concert attractions on the European circuit working extensively throughout Scandinavia, Germany, Holland and Belgium. They have also been touring through Australia, Canada and the United States. In 1976 the DUBLINERS performed at the Montreux Jazz and Folk Festival, where this album has been recorded.”

The album was never released on CD, however, single tracks appeared on compilations.

This album marked the final recording of Jim McCann as a full-time member of the Dubliners.

Recorded live at the Montreux Jazz and Folk Festival 1976

Alternate frontcovers

Luke Kelly (vocals, banjo)
Jim McCann (vocals, guitar)
Barney McKenna (banjp, mandolin)
John Sheahan (fiddle, tin whistle, mandolin)


01. Fermoy Lassies And Sporting Paddy (Traditional) 2.02
02. Lark In The Morning (Traditional) 4.19
03. Four Green Fields (Makem) 5.32
04. Sheahan’s Selection (Belfast Hornpipe/Doherty’s Reel/Honeymoon Reel/Acrobat/Village Bells/Colonel Rodney) (Traditional) 11.01
05. The Town I Loved So Well (Coulter/Martin) 8.19
06. Kelly Goodbye From Killane (Traditional) 3.46
07. The Mason’s Apron (Traditional) 6.15
08. Montreux Monto (Traditional) 5.10