To say that the Dubliners are Entertainers is to state the obvious. I can think of no better way of underlining this simple truth than in a live album.
'The Dubliners Live" is a fairly typical Dubliners programme performed in front of an enthusiastic and appreciative audience in one of the Yorkshire Clubs These clubs have a well-earned reputation for expecting and getting the best in the entertainment field. This show is no exception It scores in other ways too Here is a completely new recording of a number of well loved Dubliners classics, alongside updated versions of numbers guaranteed to raise the roof. Then there are the first ever Dubliners recordings of "The Four Poster Bed" (a traditional Shetland wedding tune) and "The Belfast Hornpipe/Tim Maloney" medley played on tin whistle. John Sheahan then takes up his fiddle again for the "Blue Mountain Rag".
Add to this the between number talk and humour which is so much part of the Dubliners, and the atoum which has been long and eagerly awaited, is complete.
It is something of a minor miracle that five such diverse characters have remained together as a group for more than eleven years now. Maybe it is their very differences which provide the strong bond between them - that and the fact that they have never seen the need to use the slick trappings of showbusiness. To say that they have succeeded on a world stage is perhaps an over-simplification. However, it remains an irrefutable truth that by remaining themselves they have brought something very special to people the world over. Wherever they appear they engender warmth, affection, laughter and perhaps even an occasional tear.
Their unique brand of magic has assured them of a niche in the annals of popular music. Even more important perhaps is their impact on people Barney McKenna once remarked that the Dubliners were made by their audiences No matter how talented they were individually or collectively, if people lost the will to listen to them then they would be finished This precept has undoubtedly played its part in their lives but as a member of innumerable audiences over the years one can say that without the Dubliners many lives would be the poorer.