Funny enough I’ve heard the phrase “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” before and if memory serves me correct the statement was aimed in my direction. In this case “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” is the 6th full length by longtime Philadelphia Celtic rock stalwarts Barleyjuice. Barleyjuice are festival favorites on the East Cost with their brand of ruckus Celtic-rock (not punk). This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things is a fine example of Barlyjuice’s stick – old skool rock’n’roll with a big nod to the 1970s mixed with the Irish folk traditions of the Dubliners and Clancy Brothers and a good old dose of American folk and county all washed down with a triple shot of Irish whiskey.
Highlights include: –
St. Patrick’s Day, a riotous adventure in NYC on Paddy’s Day.
3 Sheets To The Wind 1&2 – Good ‘ol sailing song and drinking songs
Whiskey and Weed – Set to the melody Over the Sea to Skye, much more of a love song then the title would imply
Catholic Guilt – reminsient of old Flogging Molly meets rock’a’billy
I’ve said this before have experience putting together compilation albums – it’s not easy. It isn’t a job of slapping a few ol’ track on a disk and pressing. The music and the tracks have to flow and complement each other, so hats off to Black 47’s Larry Kirwan for a fine job. The idea of this compilation is to showcase various bands that Larry has featured on his Celtic Crush show on Sirius XM radio. The comp has a nice mix of Celtic tinged acts – most more radio friendly then the stuff we do at Shite’n’Onions. We have some big mainstream names like Hothouse Flowers, Runrig and The Waterboys with a phenomenal live version of “Savage Earth”. There is Black 47 themselves with Uncle Jim, Shite’n’Onions fav’s Blaggards (no The) with an almost metal version of “The Irish Rover” and a classic blast from the past in Pat McGuire’s, “You’re So Beautiful”. The rest of the album is given to showcase some fine less established banks like Barleyjuice, Celtic Cross, Peatbog Faeries, Garrahan’s Ghost’s and Shilelagh Law.
“Bonny Prince Barley” is the 4th full-lenght release from Philly’s Barleyjuice and I’m happy to say it’s very much in the vein of their previous 3 releases – classic rock on a whiskey bender in a spit and sawdust Philly Irish bar. I’m also very glad that the band has continued to stay on the track they set on “Six Yanks” and continue to focus on originals – though I do love the Celtic twist given to their cover of “London Calling”.
I’m going to try and kill two birds with the proverbal one stone here by squishing the reviews of both Barley Juice CDs into one review. First up is 2001’s self titled ‘Barleyjuice’ a collection of traditional drinking, fighting, courtin and sailing songs which is more Dubliners then The Pogues and much more Clancy Brothers then anyone else, both in song choice and performance. 2005’s ‘Another Round’, follows on in the tradition of the debut but adds in a few originals which stand up well to tradition staple of covers. ‘Scottish Samba’ is a classic. If you haven’t made up your mind were your going to be next Paddys Day then where ever these guys are playing would be a very fine choice.