Personnel: John Sheahan (vocals, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, tin whistle); Ronnie Drew (vocals, guitar); Randy Woolford (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Paul O'Toole (vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmonica); Barney McKenna (vocals, banjo, mandolin); Luke Kelly (vocals, banjo); Lovely Previn (vocals, violin, electric violin, viola); Jeff Bellisnti (vocals, flute, saxophone); Bren Holmes (vocals, bass guitar); Frank Patterson, Ken Casey , Liam Clancy, Matt Kelly, Patrick Clancy, Ryan Foltz, Shane MacGowan, Tom Clancy, Tommy Makem, Al Barr, James Lynch, Marc Orrell (vocals); Keith Roberts (acoustic guitar); Oonagh Keogh, Geraldine O'Grady, Eanan Patterson (violin).
Recording information: England (11/17/1961-??/??/1967).
Stemming from a long tradition of Irish storytelling, the artists featured on Whiskey in the Jar sing tales of broken hearts, finding one's fortune, and of course, drinking. Alcohol, and more specifically Guiness and whiskey, are the most frequent subjects here, and even if they're not explicitly mentioned in every song, it's clear from the rousing choruses that that's what's on everyone's mind. The compilation features 34 tracks on two discs from influential Irish folk bands like the raucous Dubliners (whose first single, "Seven Drunken Nights," was quite controversial when it was released in 1967) and the mellower Clancy Brothers. The Young Dubliners and Rogue's March, relative newcomers to the scene, bring electric guitars and drums to traditional sounds of fiddle and mandolin, and there's even punk from the Pogues and the Dropkick Murphys. Only Frank Patterson, the tenor, seems out of place with his pretty versions of classics "Danny Boy" and "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling." The songs on Whiskey in the Jar cover every emotion from regret to celebration, and they're all very singable -- an important attribute for something that is made to raise a glass to. And with 34 tracks, there's more than enough time here to open up the tap and join in. ~ Marisa Brown