"We're only 'avin a laugh," exclaims Ricky Tomlinson before this album is 20 seconds old, and if you approach Music My Arse in this spirit it's certainly one of the best of the myriad novelty records clamouring for your attention this Christmas. A down to earth actor whose career was transformed by the role of couch potato Jim in The Royle Family, Tomlinson has now been persuaded to unleash his vocal talents on the world with these rousing, ramshackle versions of some familiar Liverpool-Irish folk songs. On the Popes cover Are You Looking at Me? he sounds like a sober Shane McGowan, while his renditions of Maggie May, Dirty Old Town and Tipperary are tailor-made for festive party sing-songs. So while some may consider the very existence of this album to be a bare-faced cheek, the rest of us will be having too much fun to care.
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