Hair of the Dog,
At the Parting Glass
(October Eve, 2001)

Talk about a joyful noise!

OK, so Hair of the Dog isn't purely Irish in its sound or style. The band, based in the Empire State, has obvious Appalachian influences, a bit of rock 'n' roll and even a hint of western swing in its music. But wow, the energy these five boys put out would fill even the truest Irish soul with joy.

At the Parting Glass is a live album recorded on two nights in October 2000 at the Parting Glass in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. There are plenty of traditional songs here, all presented with enthusiasm and clever arrangements. The album kicks into high gear with a lively rebel standard, "The Boys of the Old Brigade." There are excellent versions of "Paddy On the Railway," "Reilly's Daughter" and "The Parting Glass." "Big Strong Man," which has grown fairly tiresome after numerous mediocre renditions, is made fun again by the band's enthusiasm.

Other familiar songs include "Ghost of the Molly Maguires," "Galway Races," "Step It Out Mary," "Paddy Murphy's Wake," "Mary Mac" and "The Scotsman." And there are also a few surprises -- John Fogarty's "Lookin' Out My Backdoor," Don McLean's "American Pie" and the nicotine addict's "Smoke Smoke Smoke" -- none of which seem out of place.

Slip At the Parting Glass into your stereo and get ready. Foot tapping is infectious and singing along is hard to avoid. Enjoy yourself!

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 10 November 2001

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