April 27, 2006

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The Fenians, Every Day’s a Hooley
Mizen Head Music, 2006

In this special-interest release thrust somewhere to the rear of the forefront through the power of caffeine-gargling PR, veteran Celtic folkies Fenians prove that Glengarry Bhoys aren’t the only creatures on the planet capable of rolling up their sleeves at the barley hall and stomping out some nudge-wink bawdiness in the form of jig-rhythm melodies. Half the album consists of traditionals, such as The O’Mearas’ “Grace,” McColl’s “Go Move Shift” and a Van-Morrisonizing of the Scottish “Night Visiting Song.” The band’s original storytellers aim to match the hoariness of the standards, which works by and large, even if “Baker’s Dozen” was expressly written to induce mirthless giggling among ren-fair plebs (it involves the goodness-gracious results of a fertility pill). Out of place among all the fluting and grogging is the banjo-driven “Two Ten Train” with its generic PBS-docudrama feel, whereas the best feet forward are album opener “Traditional Whiskey Song” and the Civil War singalong “Rebel Sons of Erin.” B
— E.W.S.


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