Thursday, March 14, 2013

St. Patrick's Day music primer: Pogues, Dropkick Murphys

Nothing says St. Patrick's Day party music like the 1980s and '90s catalog of The Pogues.  

With that in mind, I'd highly recommend picking up The Very Best of, the first new compilation from the influential Celtic rock band in nearly a decade, put out via Shout! Factory. 

It features 18 tracks culled from every studio album and one EP. Liner notes were penned by vocalist/tin whistle player/founding member Spider Stacy, who ruminates about "Streams of Whiskey," "Thousands Are Sailing," "Dirty Old Town," "The Irish Rover," "Body Of An American" (used in a scene on HBO drama The Wire), "If I Should Fall From Grace With God" (heard in a Subaru ad) and of course, "Fairytale Of New York" (
the holiday perennial sung with the late, great Kirsty MacColl).

In between are such Pogues favorites as "The Sunnyside Of The Street," "A Pair Of Brown Eyes," "Rainy Night In Soho" and "Tuesday Morning."

Originally together from 1982-96, the Pogues reunited in 2001, with the unpredictable Shane MacGowan back as lead singer. Over the next decade, the group played regularly in the UK and the US, garnering new generations of fans.

Another worthy addition to any St. Paddy's shindig this weekend is Signed And Sealed In Blood, the ninth studio effort by Boston's Dropkick Murphys. 

Released on Born & Bred Records and once again produced by Ted Hutt, the album is filled with one rousing anthem after another as Ken Casey adds his gravel-throated vocals.

Highlights include the chant-a-longs "End of the Night" (key line: "but we ain't goin' home"), "Rose Tattoo" (with guest banjo work from Mumford & Sons' Winston Marshall) and "Jimmy Collins' Wake." All are sure to get people to hoist their beers in salute; the lyrics to the latter actually demand it

Then there's a nearly poppy "Out on the Town" (shades of Thin Lizzy's "The Boys are Back in Town") and the sarcastic, Christmas holiday themed "The Season's Upon Us," which was a top 30 alt-rock radio charter this past December. That position was the 15-year-old Celtic punk band's highest to date.

Currently on tour, Dropkick Murphys return to SoCal on April 13 & 20 for the Coachella Festival in Indio and April 17 at LA's Club Nokia.

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