are one of those groups for whom the live album is more the norm than the exception, but it is notable when they return to their hometown, as they do in this two-CD set recorded at the Vicar Street venue in July 2006. The special nature of the performance is underscored early on, as the band is introduced by former member Jim McCann
, who makes mention of their 44 years of history. Typically for an institution in existence for so long, the group consists mostly of replacement members, some of them of quite long standing, with only banjoist Barney McKenna
remaining from the original lineup. McKenna
, now 66, proves as able a musician as ever, even if his singing voice, heard on "I Wish I Had Someone to Love Me" and "Fiddler's Green," has been reduced to an expressive wheeze. The audience could hardly be more enthusiastic, cheering and clapping along. They are most pleased by instrumentals like "The Three Sea Captains/The Mullingar Races," which justifies its name by racing to the finish. The Dubliners
of 2006 were, in a sense, a tribute band to the original group, playing its songs in its style. But that didn't keep this show from being a hometown celebration.