Union Square Music
I have a weakness for traditional Irish songs. Therefore, it’s not too shocking this compilation, Irish Drinking Songs, has me getting a little misty-eyed a bit. There are 2 CDs worth of music here, featuring staples of the scene such as The Dublin Folk Band, The Clancy Brothers, Brian Dullagan, and more. There are quaintly absurd feel-good jigs like The Dublin Folk Band’s version of Lord of the Dance.
I danced on a Friday when the world turned black
It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back
They buried my body, they thought I was gone
But I am the dance, and the dance goes on
Some are crowd pleasers – sometimes to the point of being overexposed and overplayed, such as Davey Duffy’s Danny Boy, but that’s okay, more music to shake my head to as I get into the mood for Irish beers and company is always good. And if there’s anything this compilation has in abundance, it’s the atmosphere, the charm. The songs here are great to feel happy to, to commiserate with, or just to get drink to. The songs don’t have been all old Irish either – Fairytale of New York is present here, covered by Dingle Folk and Keira Dawn, a rather faithful replica of the original version by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. Dingle Folk goes more contemplative in Forty Shades of Green, missing all that beautiful scenery and ladies in Irish – in a non-BDSM way, of course.
The best songs here are the more emo or melancholic ones, to me. I especially love the emotional, simple, stripped-down version of The Parting Glass by The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, which is the perfect antidote to the recent cringe-inducing cover versions on YouTube and everywhere else. I blame Ed Sheeran for starting this nonsense, and that The Walking Dead show is also to be blamed. Anyway, this is a lovely song that can cut the heart if sung right, and here, it’s just right.
Irish Drinking Songs is not for everyone – if you don’t like old, stripped down traditional-sounding tunes, this one doesn’t offer enough variations in its selection to endear itself to you. But if you are in the mood of… well, what you will find here is exactly what’s written on the box, so if you like that kind of thing, drink up.