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Release date: December 23, 2017
Running time: 43:06, 13 tracks
“Raglan Road” is a well-known song whose lyrics where written by Patrick Kavanagh. Luke Kelly (The Dubliners) set it to the music of “The Dawning of the Day”. Apart from The Dubliners, Van Morrison recorded the song together with The Chieftains for his “Irish Heartbeat” album. There was a band called Raglan Road in the USA fronted by Dominic Cromie that released an album titled “Live” in 1999. But the Raglan Road whose album I’m reviewing now is a new band from New Brunswick, Canada.
Jason Martell (vocals, acoustic guitar), Gary Gosse (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin), Jamie Craig (vocals, bass, piano, tin whistle) and Corey MacDonald released their debut album as Raglan Road at the end of 2017. There is only one original song and 11 covers, some of them familiar to any celtic rock fan, and some of them probably new to them.
The self-penned song is track no. 4, “New Orleans” and it was written by Gary Gosse. It’s an interesting blues number that sometimes reminds me of British band Status Quo. There are some Celtic/country covers on the album. “Getting Dark Again” is an amazing rendition of a song by Buddy MacDonald, and “Followed Her Around” and the upbeat “Mull River Shuffle” are Jimmy Rankin’s songs. “Can’t You See” is an awesome cover with a Guns and Roses twist of a song by country/Southern rock band The Marshall Tucker Band. And “Fox of the Run” is another great bluegrass cover of a song by Tony Hazzard.
The other half of the songs is a blend of standards and covers of Celtic rock bands. “Galway Girl” is a fantastic song, but nowadays every single band is recording their own version. “Mari Mac” gets an electric treatment based on the Great Big Sea’s arrangements. The traditional shanty “Heave Away” is a standout number together with the opening track “Drunken Sailor”. But my fave songs on the album are “Lamenter’s Lament” and “Home for a Rest”. The former is a song by The Town Pants, while the latter is the kick-ass anthem by Spirit of the West. Raglan Road deliver their own rocking version without the traditional tunes.The album is over with a respectful cover of Dropkick Murphys/Woody Guthrie classic song “Shipping up to Boston”.
Raglan Road debut album is Canadian party music at its best. Sometimes their approach reminds me of that of Derina Harvey Band, as they also covered “Drunken Sailor”, “Galway Girl” and “Mull River Shuffle”. The instrumentation may be different, but the band from the Canadian prairie and the band from the Maritimes have the same spirit. Grab a pint and sing-along
01. Drunken Sailor 03:01
02. Galway Girl 02:39
03. Getting Dark Again 02:18
04. New Orleans 03:33
05. Fox on the Run 03:03
06. Lamenter’s Lament 03:23
07. Mari Mac 02:39
08. Followed Her Around 03:45
09. Heave Away 02:46
10. Can’t You See 06:23
11. Home for a Rest 03:17
12. Mull River Shuffle 03:30
13. Shipping Up to Boston 02:37
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Review by Kinkmarkham