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Newfoundland, Canadian Celts' 1996, third-ever release. Includes an interesting cover of Rem's 'End of the World', plus a whole LP's worth of traditional Irish-based songsmithy: 'Night Pat Murphy Died', 'Donkey Riding', 'Greenspond' and more.
Great Big Sea's third album and first to go multi-platinum, Play established this little band from Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, as one of the country's most popular groups. It's probably the best representation of their early sound, which combined East Coast folk and sea shanty traditions with a polished rock style. Play boasts an array of traditional tunes--including "The Night Pat Murphy Died," "General Taylor," and "Jakey's Gin"-- and these tales of bootlegging and donkey-riding are all given vigorous performances. The band also had hits with the Oysterband's "When I'm Up (I Can't Get Down)" and "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," which renders the R.E.M. classic as a wild jig. Band members also contribute some fine originals, like singer-guitarist Alan Doyle's ballad "How Did We Get from Saying I Love You..." and singer-bodhran player Sean McCann's equally plaintive "My Apology." Though Play does have a handful of delicate interludes, the disc's energy rarely flags. Producer Danny Greenspoon allows the band's performances to sound as fresh and live as possible, and there are excellent guest contributions by the likes of violinist Oliver Schroer, percussionist Rick Lazar, and Blue Rodeo's Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy. Only the unlisted bonus track--a pseudo-techno reel--sets a foot wrong. Otherwise, the lively Play seems tailor-made for your next drunken wedding. --Jason Anderson
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Top Customer Reviews
Their music tends to vary a lot, much like the similar band "Rawlins Cross," but they seem to take themselves a lot less seriously. There are sad songs such as "How Did We Get from Saying I Love You..." and "My Apology," which seem to fit "Sea" less well than their bouncier tunes. One of those is the hilariously irreverant "Night Pat Murphy Died," about a bunch of guys who honor their dead friend by getting sozzled, and which contains the lyrics "... we went up to the graveyard/so holy and sublime/found out when we got there/we'd left the corpse behind!" They do a cover of REM's "End of the World" which was so good that I originally thought it was their own song; also there are the delightfully danceable "Rigadoon," "Ordinary Day," or "Jolly Roving Tar." A few aren't as danceable, but still very catchy, like the mostly musicless "General Taylor" or the rhythmic "Donkey Riding."
This Celtic-rock band is probably one of the best out there; you can almost imagine these guys dancing and singing as you listen. Check out this and other albums by Great Big Sea, and don't feel ashamed to sing along. I do it whenever I listen.
The reason I recommend this CD over "Rant and Roar" which was their first U.S. release that contains many of the same songs (and is a bit cheaper) is because the songs that didn't make it on the former album are every bit a good as the ones that did. If you only have "Rant" and have enjoyed killer tunes like "Ordinary Day," "The Night Pat Murphy Died," and a cover of R.E.M.'s "End of the World," you are seriously missing gems like "Donkey Riding" and "Jolly Roaving Tar." There are ten tracks on this CD that didn't make it to the U.S. in their original form (there are a few on the live CD "Road Rage" which is also spectacular). Trust me, you must own "Play."
I cannot praise these guys enough. I wish they got the full recognition they deserved over other bands that are twice as popular and half as good. If you like rock, folk, international, traditional Irish music or anything in between, you will NOT be disappointed by this CD. You have never heard anything like these guys before. Honest!
"Play" is the most recent release of this band ("Rant and Roar" is a composition of previous releases specifically made for the U.S. market) and, as with their previous work, is comprised of traditional standards and original songs. They also do a cover version of the REM hit "It's the End of the World as We Know It".
The singing and instrumentation (comprised of fiddle, guitar, bodhran, tin whistle and accordion) on this album is great. I would strongly suggest you see them in concert for maximum enjoyment of GBS's music!
Most recent customer reviews
Needed to replace a scratched disc in my collection. It's a CD by a good band, what else is there to say?Published 16 months ago by William Haggerty
This is another great album by Great Big Sea. Music is lively, fun and there is a cover of "It's the end of the world (and I feel fine)". Read morePublished on June 25 2010 by Simon Robitaille
I picked this up at a concert in Nova Scotia. Ny two sons ages(10&12) love it as much as I. One of my most favorite CD's. Full of energy and cultural richness.Published on Nov. 2 2000 by John Groleau
This CD has a sound that is both Celtic and rock. It starts off with a bash with "Ordinary day". Read morePublished on Sept. 15 2000
I was first introduced to Great Big Sea by a very close friend about 1 1/2 years ago...I picked up this CD while I was in Vancouver BC and listened to it on the plane ride back to... Read morePublished on July 28 2000 by Lucidity
...and I instantly fell in love with the music. From the upeat, riotous traditional tunes (during which you would be crazy if you could sit still), to the moving ballads to the... Read morePublished on June 6 2000 by Japhia Smith