Marc Gunn & the Dubliners' Tabby Cats,
Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers
(independent, 2005)

Some albums dazzle you with the depth of lyrics, brilliant instrumental arrangements or sheer diversity of music. This CD is not one of those.

Instead, Marc Gunn (a founding member of the Brobdingnagian Bards) goes with a gimmick. Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers is exactly what it claims to be. The question is, how well does the gimmick stand up?

Pretty well, actually. Let's face it, Celtic music lovers are often somewhat obsessive about the tradition. Cat lovers are notoriously obsessive about their pets. Put them together and ... well, you're going to have a lot of people obsessing over your album. Anyone out there who loves cats and Celtic music might go into apoplectic shock with this one.

The songs are pretty standard Irish fare, the sort of things you'd hear being sung drunkenly in many a pub. But Gunn, clever wordsmith that he be, has rewritten the lyrics to fit his feline theme.

"Wild Rover" becomes "Wild Kitty," "Gypsy Rover" becomes "A Cat Named Rover," "Lord of the Dance" becomes "Lord of the Pounce," and so on. You get the idea. "The Cat Came Back," sung to the familiar tune of "The Moonshiner," tells the infamous tale from the cat's perspective. Just how did he survive all those catastrophes, anyway? Gunn has your answers.

Gunn leads the way on vocals and his ubiquitous autoharp. A variety of musicians (posing as the Dubliners' Tabby Cats) join him, adding fiddles and flutes and meows where needed.

So, Celtic cat lovers, rejoice! Marc Gunn has made an album just for you.

by Tom Knapp
11 March 2006

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