The Standards – Come Out Ye Black and Tans

I thought it might be fun to compare various versions of the standards and give my view on the songs by the different bands. My pilot post is on Come Out Ye Black and Tans by Dominic Behan. My first experience with the song was at the now defunct McNulty’s Pub at Westport Plaza in St. Louis. It was played by an Irish acoustic musician from Kansas City, Eddie Delahunt.

McNulty’s was a special place for me – it was there I learned how important it is have my Guinness served on Nitrogen instead of CO2. My taste buds experienced the heaven of Middleton Irish Whiskey and the hell of potcheen (albiet a licensed and taxed version) along with getting to sample many other fine Irish Whiskeys that opened my eyes that there was more to the water of life than Jamesons and Bushmills. It was also there that I heard my first live Irish music. Eddie Delahunt would come playing every few weeks and his performances were fun and lively.

Every song has a meaning to people, be it good, bad, intentional or not. I am a true American mutt, based on the genealogical research my father has done, puts my family in the Americas prior to the Revolutionary War. The Troubles in Ireland have not affected me or my family – so the aspect of the song as a rallying cry does not sway me so much as the emotion of patriotism and belief in a cause that is worth fighting and dying for. My enjoyment of this song is not the political but the empathy that freedom from oppression is worth the fight.

The songs I pulled are from my personal library, and if I left someone’s out, it is because I do not have it. Secondly, since most of my focus is on Celtic Punk and Celtic Rock, I have excluded traditional versions of the song as well. I have always felt that song with a balance between respect for the tradition but with inspiration to expand, this would be an excellent rock song. It has a hard beat, deep emotion and great lyrics.

Here are the band’s versions I listened to, each song is great in their own respective rights so I have not ranked them, only given my personal take on the songs in no particular order:

  • Saint Bushmill’s Choir – their version is near the top of the list for me. it is well-balanced version of the song “rocked” up. The pace is quickened and the vocals well done.
  • The Kreelers – with the exception of the instrumentation, the Kreelers version leans more to the traditional version, the vocals are even and to me feels lacking the emotional power the song is capable of driving.
  • The Sandcarvers – another good “rocked” up version, The Sandcarvers capture the emotion and beat but the tempo has been slowed down for my taste.
  • The Rovers – here is my favorite version – it starts slow and builds up. The tempo is increased, the vocals drive the emotion of the song – to me it captures the anger while adding great elements of rock to it.
  • The Bleeding Irish – this is perhaps the most traditional of the versions I have listened to for this. Driven primarily by vocals, this song misses the hard percussion I feel can really drive this song forward.
  • The Muck Savages – this is one of the few versions that tip the scales more towards rock and in doing so some of the deeper emotion beyond anger is lost.
  • Between the Wars – another version more traditional than most. I enjoy the vocals and increased tempo. Between the Wars has more instrumentation than The Bleeding Irish but still missing some driving percussion to really rock.
  • Charm City Saints – another scale tipper towards rock with a lot of the deeper emotion lost in taking the surface emotion and expanding on that. The instruments tend to overpower the vocals.
  • Screw City Saints – the intro is my favorite of all the versions I listened to, but like Charm City Saints, the vocals get lost.
  • The Gentlemen – this version has great balance, up tempo and rocks. This one was near the top of my list.

Each song is fun to listen to and they each have something that makes them special. And with a lot things, everyone has a different view on what makes the songs great. The Rovers topped my list as the best balanced between the versions but The Gentleman and St Bushmills Choir are pretty close. The more traditional versions are great when I really want to get the emotional impact of the song and the Muck Savages, Charm City Saints and Screw City Saints are all great on my pissed off, “fuck you” kind of days.

I hope you enjoyed my pilot forray into the looking at the standards and I want to thank my co-worker Carol for not complaining about me listening to the same song for several days in row.

Slainte!

 

 

 

A Damn Good Time – Whiskey of the Damned

My introduction to Whiskey of the Damned, a 5 member band from Milwaukee, was swift. I woke up Thursday to a friend request from Eoin McCarthy and a message telling me they were playing at the Broadway Oyster Bar on Friday night. Without pause or thought, I told my lovely wife I had plans Friday night.

I have been struggling to find the right words to talk about this band – they are absolutely incredible! Right from the start of the show to the very end they rocked the joint. My hand is raw from clapping. The energy and enthusiasm of the band was incredible and the love of the music was clearly visible.

 

When Whiskey of the Damned comes to your town to play, DROP EVERYTHING, GRAB SOME FRIENDS AND GO! This is a must see band!

While at the concert I purchased their new CD, Moonshiners & Shoplifters and I can already tell you this will be in heavy rotation. The music is infectious, I keep finding myself tapping along.

The track listing is:

  1. Thump Keg
  2. Another Day Dead
  3. Dear World
  4. Battered Soul
  5. Enemy of the State
  6. Handsome Molly
  7. Cheap Whiskey
  8. The Wreck
  9. El Biblio Techa
  10. Wayward Waltz of a Drunken Ghost

Hands down my favorite song is Another Day Dead, the song has been stuck in my head since last night and I have been reinforcing by listening to it several times today already. My other favorite is Thump Keg, it sounds a bit like Cutthroat Shamrock which Whiskey of the Damned have played with according to Eoin when I talked to him at the show. The Wreck a slower tempo song that I see growing on me as time goes on.

Again, as if I have not given it enough emphasis, drop everything you are doing and make it their show! Buy their CD!

Slante!

www.facebook.com/WhiskeyoftheDamned

www.reverbnation.com/thewhiskeyofthedamned

 

 

The Muck Savages – My New Years Gift To You

Happy New Year! 2011 has been a great year for me as a music fan. I started my blog earlier this year to try to help bands get more exposure and to hopefully be a resource for like-minded individuals wanting to find new bands in the Celtic Punk/Rock genre.

I have worked on helping out St. Louis locals Rusty Nail by going to more shows than I can count and have talked them up here and on Facebook. I also got to see Cutthroat Shamrock and The Dropkick Murphys twice this year in addition to my almost nonstop trip to Columbus, OH and back for the Shamrock N Roll Fest where I got to see The Mahones, The Bloody Irish Boys, Street Dogs, Stiff Little Fingers, Parkington Sisters, Chuck Ragan and my second experience of DKM. I also got to see Murder the Stout along with the Street Dogs for a second time. I have also made friends outside of the States with great bands like Between The Wars, Ramshackle Army, Sir Reg and Mr. Irish Bastard. I hope 2012 continues with the great support I have gotten and given and I wish all bands the greatest success.

As my present to you, I want to introduce you to The Muck Savages. A raw, hard rocking band from Oklahoma City, OK. I hope 2012 brings me the opportunity to see these guys live. If you go their website, you can download their 4 track demo and 7 track EP Golden Molly for FREE! That is right, these have their music up for free, so grab some tracks and enjoy! Once you are on their website, just click on the Music link.

From their Demo, they have a great version of Come Out Ye Black and Tans along with my favorite We The People that starts with the preamble and quickly ramps into a great Irish inspired song with drive and energy.

From the Golden Molly EP, the stand out for me is Michael O’Malley. While not has hard-driving as some their other songs, the story of Michael O’Malley even touches my cynical heart. Fighting Man is another song that I have enjoyed – it is one of those great songs when you are in a “fuck you” mood and have the music burn your anger off after a long hard day.

But don’t take my word for it, you have nothing to lose since these guys are giving their music away. Give em a listen and enjoy! Hopefully I will be able to get myself down to OKC or they can get up to St. Louis so I can support them in person and buy some swag from them – I think the Paddy Wagon is in need of a Muck Savages sticker if I can find the room.