Profile: Four Men and a Dog

Four Men and a Dog burst on the scene at the Belfast Folk Festival in 1990, with a high-energy approach that combines furious traditional dance tunes with irreverent new music and inimitable covers.

Their first album, Barking Mad was the founding reason for the respected Cross Border Media label, and took Folk Roots best new album award in 1991, the first Irish band to ever do so. The larger-than-life percussionist Gino Lupari is the soul of the band, who even manages a rap on Wrap It Up:

I'm a raker, I'm a shaker, I can make that white top hum, I'm the man who puts the iddery in the skiddery I de dum
The band has been touring internationally seemingly ever since. 1993 brought their second album, Shifting Gravel, which was indeed a shift. Singer Mick "The Black Dog" Daly (the Dog of the band) left, replaced by Kevin Doherty, who brought more of a mainstream folk/country/blues influence and the addition of bass (James Blennerhassit), piano (Rod McVeigh) and drums on some tracks. This has broadened their appeal, but shifted quite a bit away from their traditional sound.

Current Lineup

Cathal Hayden   Fiddle
Gino Lupari     Bodhran, Bones, Vocals, comic relief
Kevin Doherty   Guitar, vocals, composition
Gerry O'Connor  Banjo, Fiddle
Conor Keane     Accordion
Arty McGlynn    Guitar

Other members

The band has had several changes over the years. The starting lineup had Cathal Hayden, Gino Lupari, Mick Daly, Brian McGrath (banjo, mandolin) and Donal Murphy (accordion). Conor Keane replaced Donal Murphy in January of 1992 and Brian McGrath, from Enniskillen dropped out at some later date, with Gerry O' Connor taking his place. I believe he now plays with Dervish. Arty McGlynn has played on both albums, but whether as a guest or member of the band isn't clear to me. He is also the producer of Shifting Gravel.


1991   Barking Mad                 CBM 001
                                   Green Linnet 3085
1993   Shifting Gravel             CBM 005
                                   Special Delivery SPD 1047
                                   Green Linnet 3084
1995   Doctor A's Secret Remedies  Castle Communications TRA CD 106 
1996   Long Roads                  Castle Communications TRA CD 223

Solo Albums
Cathal Hayden   Handed Down        Rainbow Records, RB 166
Gerry O' Conor  Time to Time
Cathal Hayden, from Pomeroy, Co Tyrone has won reknown throught Ireland for his fiery fiddle playing. He also plays a mean banjo and managed to take All- Ireland senior titles in both instruments. He was a founder member of Arcady, and together with Mick Daly, left to start up Four Men.
Gino Lupari (Magherafelt, Derry) has been described as the 'god of the bodhran', which he wields with keen dexterity, but he is best know as the comic front-man of the band. He also does a share of singing.
Kevin Doherty (Dublin) came into the band in 1992, replacing Mick Daly as guitarist and singer. Formerly fronting the Donegal country band The Gooseberries, his gravelly voice has been hailed as a real gem for 4Men. His American and country leanings come out clearly on the second album, Shifting Gravel, in which he sings four of his own compositions.
Mick Daly (Cork) is a longtime player on the shifting Irish trad scene. He has been a member of Arcady, Any old Time (Irish trad and American folk), Mary Black band and Lee Valley String Band (bluegrass, string, country).
Gerry O'Conor is a respected banjo player on the Irish scene, and also doubles on fiddle. His solo album, Time to Time traces the history of the banjo, and he has two tracks on the compilation album Trad at Heart.

New album update (7/95) from Lyle Skinner:
I just got a copy of Four Men and A Dog's newest album. The name of the CD is "Doctor A's Secret Remedies" and contains the following tracks:

  1. Papa Gene's Tree (2:48)
  2. Bertha (3:19)
  3. First Months of Summer (4:09) - instrumental
  4. Mother of Mercy (7:45)
  5. A Punch In The Dark (3:08) - instrumental
  6. Take It On Back (2:53)
  7. Sometimes Samba (6:32)
  8. Hollow Time (4:22)
  9. The Woodstock Set (4:06) - instrumental
  10. Last Night (3:24)
  11. Heading West (4:17)
  12. Hector The Hero & Me (4:35)
Net Time: 51 mins 31 secs. Lineup is: In addition some of the tracks include the following guests:


Copyright (c) 1995-1997, Ceolas.

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