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FOUR MEN AND A DOG - Wallop the Spot

FOUR MEN AND A DOG - Wallop the Spot
Hook Records Hook005

In another comeback from the band that never really went away, songsters Gino Lupari and Kevin Doherty are reunited with fiddler Cathal Hayden, early "dog" Donal Murphy on box, and banjo bon viveur Gerry O'Connor.  Other big names play cameo roles, but the sound is basically back to the unmuzzled mayhem and eclectic brilliance of Shifting Gravel or Doctor A's.  Papa G's blues is recalled by the honky-tonk doggerel of Mary Ann.  James Delaney's rockabilly piano on Turn Me Loose brings back memories of Bertha Bloomsday adds a new note of Ulster Latin to this genre-bending band. 
Song For PJ is of course not a song, as any Gerry O'Connor devotee will tell you: it's an air, played here as a fiddle duet.  The banjo duet comes later, when Gerry and Cathal take their picks to Scatter the Mud and Wissahicken Drive, one of five sets of reels and jigs.  There's a polka track too, four fine old tunes grabbed by the heels and whirled into the air to see how they fly.  Mostly they survive intact.  The Teelin Reel, The Hag's Purse, Joe Skelton's Reel and the title track are torn into with similar abandon, and quite right too.  This is what the Dogs do.  The odd slow number, but mostly Wallop the Spot is a return to that intoxicating mix of fast fiddling and funky fretwork with a side-order of accordion salsa. will put more flesh on these bones.  Lock up your flocks: the pack is back!
Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 78 of The Living Tradition magazine.