In Mullingar last night, I rested limbs so weary,
Started by daylight, Next morning bright and early,
Took a drop of the pure, To keep my heart from sinking,
That's the Paddy's cure, When he's on the drinking.
See the lassies smile, Laughing all the while,
At me darling style, 'Twould set your heart a-bubbling.
Asked me was I hired, The wages I required,
Till I was almost tired, Of the rocky road to Dublin.
One two three four five
Hunt the hare and turn her down the rocky road and all the way to Dublin,
Down among the pigs played some funny rigs,
Danced some hearty jigs, The water round me bubbling,
When off to Holyhead, Wished meself was dead,
Or better far instead, On the rocky road to Dublin.
- The Rocky Road to Dublin
The mural to our right is located in the very city the Dropkick Murphys have called home for a span of ten years. From Caught In a Jar
, through the innocent-absence of Kiss Me, Iím ***faced
, to the dishonorable, obscure, but very necessary commentary of Captain Kellyís Kitchen
, this is an essentially-inspired group, thickening substance with every record, and expanding horizons with every tune thrown out. The Sing Loud, Sing Proud
mural was painted in the eastern tip of Boston prior to the bandís second release, The Gangís All Here
. The phrase/chant was supposedly a saying bassist Ken Casey used to fume up their shows in their earlier days of Do or Die
, side-by-side to old vocalist Mike McColgan. Third time really isnít the charm. Iíll spare band history this time around, as it is respectively posted in the other Dropkick reviews. All that is to be said is, this is Sing Loud, Sing Proud
, the bandís third studio album. Considered by more passionate fans as their best, the album has aged well as far as their discography goes, and holds records for having a most chaotic production, and the best lineup arranged yet.
Do or Die
introduced a band that longed to be different. Incorporating something as harsh as Black Flag influences, as well as swirls of traditional Irish folked-up fun canít be done everyday, by anyone. Their first album introduced the blend that would keep things fired up, all the way through the bandís second recording, The Gangís All Here
, which showed itís ugly end as the bandís heaviest work. Baby steps, and 152 pints later, the band released the album that simply fused together the raw components of both, while still shooting out fresh licks and lines that would please fans. Folks, Iím at a loss of words, so Iíll simply have to go with the last thing my mind has carried along. The album is the perfect measurement of the fury a punk-revival band can bring at modern times, while whispering the faint, delicate drift of humble music that can bring many back to a culture that has inspired one of the best acts awakened by Guinness and bad teeth. The album is a festive orgy of unlikely positives and fun, beautifully-arranged leads. Come-and-go proof that an electric guitar and a tin whistle can mate, and produce a raunchy, pro-cholesterol piper called Spicy McHaggis. The album is an anthem, and is the perfect blend of what fun can mean to an average listener in the 21st century.
Vocalists Al Barr and Ken Casey have the closest relationship in their albums vocally, and itís a true example that hetero-vocalists can really love each other respectively through their music. All platonic, all-American, and all very sweet sounds, to enhance the bandís music more and more. Al Barr battles with himself on every recording. He gives it all, and his throat can save the day more than once on here. Ardent day and night, on-stage and off-stage. The vocals emitted from Al can simply make stories more interesting, and dual-elements shared with bassist Ken Casey always proudly headline peaks of the piece. The Wild Rover
, is a historic Al Barr recording, speaking of being a free-loader, and being made of money, only to find out you can end up on the very down-side of the fun. Ken backs up, expands ascending lyrics, and expands the rhythm as well. Kenís vocals are raspy, with a more melodic edge against Alís work. In the end, thereís no big difference, but hand it over to Ken for working fingers and busting vocals fan adore all at once. His bass-work on the album is some of his best, and always pairs up with the intensity of the songís matter. A ballad like Forever
treads a soft-spoken bassline, while a more rocked piece like The Fortunes of War
can unwind into a thumping rhythm, with sharper notes and a always a sharper tone.
The folk instruments control much of the albumís composition, and a clean lead off Spicyís pipes or a Ryan Foltzí mandolin is always brilliantly written to upstart something as harsh as a war song, or delicately bubble up a solid ballad. Spicy McHaggis handles note-after-note contact with the music very well, and at times, his work can sound very creative, although it rarely works without another folk element from Ryan Foltz. Ryan was part of the temporary cast in the lineup, but was always fit to be the best. The lead in Rocky Road to Dublin
, and the soft-spoken Forever
is aced composure to the heart of the band, and you can hear it, even when distortion is banging as hard as ever. The Spicy McHaggis Jig
, is an ode to the bandís fat, drunk piper, and is perhaps the only track on the album that can crack out humor, as well as one of the best leads to come from the pipes. Spicy left the band after the recording of the album, to be replaced by ďScruffy" Wallace. Spicyís gone, the kilt isnít. Letís move on.
James Lynch and Marc Orrell. Are the bandís guitarists. Chords dominate the airwaves of this album, along with the rest, with the occasional catch-to-lead intro to a track, or the mimic/mirage effect they do on some of their older stuff. Some of it is interesting, some isnít, no matter. The duo seems to stand out for a large part on the heavier tracks on here, such as Heroes of Our Past
, and The Fortunes of War
. Canít say Iíd miss the members, but they do a pretty good job anyway. Coming along behind all the craze is what sometimes actually starts it to begin with. I have a Matt Kelly fetish. Itís dirty, its vile, and itíll hold a place in my heart until I die. To start off the whole mess, Matt signals the cue to eradicate on For Boston
with a hearty rudiment-based snare-roll (for the technicians). This album is what features Matt to stand out as a very traditional player, using hand-to-hand, sometimes simple snare-work, and fusing in rock beats and double-bass. Itís beautiful, really. And he writes it all himself. Its concentration, dynamics, and creativity that get these done. Good Rats
and The Legend of Finn McCumhail
are tracks of bliss evidence.
The band has never been brought closer together than Sing Loud Sing Proud
. Special guests Shane McGowan (Pogues), and Colin McFaul (Cock Sparrer) associate with some verses and musical breakdowns in the album, as well as expanding the vocal exposure. You listen to the album, and you can tell it has been arranged beautifully, with care, and hard work. Once again, its unity that chants and yells carry onto spills and thrills of the albumís big hits that make it for me sometimes. Shane can tell you a story about dirty rats, getting drunk and falling into vats of Guinness. Or humorous lies can be rapidly spewed from the bandís mouths in a very special ode, or in this case, a special closing jig. The only weak points in the album lie within volume problems. Alís vocals will get drowned at times by too many cylinders firing from distortions, or heavy transitions. As well as repetitive, afflicting choruses and riffs. Nothing a well-set EQ or a fast-forward button canít fix, but it turns out fine in the end. Sing Loud Sing Proud
is the bandís best, in a sense of truly memorable tunes, fan favorites, and value. It earns the whole five fingers because if this one didnít exist, live shows would turn arid, boring, and speechless. Also, that sweet mural would be gone.
For a while the band has had that big Red Sox craze. It gets old at times, with announcers dubbing over the music, and repetition of baseball chants that never go anywhere. As far as the famous rivalry goes, Iíll always enjoy New York a lot more, but latelyÖI donít knowÖ
Can music actually change your mind about a baseball team?
Nah, but now I have found myself shopping for a badass kilt.
Dropkick Murphys- Sing Loud, Sing Proud:
Al Barr- Lead Vocals
Ken Casey- Lead Vocals, Bass
James Lynch- Guitar, Vocals
Marc Orrell- Guitar, Accordion, Vocals
Ryan Foltz- Mandolin, Tin Whistle, Dulcimer
Matt Kelly- Drums
Spicy McHaggis- Bagpipes, Excessive Smoking, Underage Drinking, Sweet Kilt
Stand Out Tracks:
Which Side Are You On?
Rocky Road to Dublin
Heroes From Out Past
The Fortunes of War
The Wild Rover
One Two Three Four Five