This is the 4th CD in the “It Came From The Barn” serious from Germanys, One Million Dollar Records – the world’s only specialist Irish-Folk-Punk, Cow-Punk, Polka-Trash and Bluegrass-Punk (!!!) record label. Volume IV features five bands and 17 tracks.
First up are England’s (the North of…) The Whisky Priests, a band I’d heard ’bout but had never bothered to check out. For some reason I figured they were more on the folkie side of things but man was I wrong. They are as tough as nails and as hard as a kick in the nuts by a coal miner’s steel capped boots. Think of a North of England version of the Pogues fronted by Billy Bragg at a Coal Miners riot in the 80’s.
We’ve never tasted whisky
Just lager and red wine
But by Christ we can’t half knock ’em back
When it comes to judgement time
We’ll take you on at drinking
And if you lose we’ll skin your hide
Then you’ll say we’re the hardest gang in town
And we’ll go home drunk with pride
The Hard Men (Gary Miller)
Pronghorn (4 tracks) sound like (insert the name of your favorite band here) on major drugs. “Lady-Boy of the Night”, sounds like The Charlie Daniels Band on major drugs. “Jewish Thing”, sounds like your local Jewish folk group on major drugs. “Roobarb and Kurdish” is Suggs from Madness with the circus band on major drugs. You get my drift. Strange stuff indeed.
Greenland Whalefishers (4 tracks) should need no introduction from me and you should already own each of the four tracks here on your copies of Loboville and Main Street Sword.
The Revelling Crooks (4 tracks) play what they describe as Irish-Klezmer-Country-Balkan-Folk. Interesting, but didn’t really strike my fancy.
Finally we have Katkalta (1 track) with “Last Order”, who from their photograph look Japanese and play some manic Celtic-Punk with some extra manic Japanese (I think) vocals.
Debauchery can be a beautiful thing, even more so when it comes with the Pronghorn stamp all over it. Those familiar with the work of Pronghorn – of which there must be many, given the bands almost god like status on the south-coast (of England) festival circuit, not to mention their one band assault on the near continent (Belgium, Holland and Germany) – will need no introduction to any of the tracks on the bands forth studio c.d., “Faster than a speeding Mullet”. A collection of tunes that contains more hits and misses than a drunken Granny out on her first possum shoot.
From the opening bars of “Lady-boy of the Night”, “Irish Thing” and “Don’t Get On My Banjo Case” the band are in to their trademark 100mph banjo led chaos curtsey of Lamma, complemented by a fiddle sounding not unlike a fly-past of particularly ticked off hornets, brought to our ears by Ffi – don’t ask it’s a Welsh thing! When all seven members kick in with “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” the C.D. fairly screams in pain at what its being asked to do. Ah boys and girls this is a masterpiece of Hillbilly mayhem. If the burgers hadn’t have made Elvis leave the building; this would have had him running for his life – glorious.
Pronghorn may never win prizes for subtlety – previous c.d.’s include titles as “Still Inbred With Me Doner”, “Ten Gallon Nads” and “Fat of The Band” – but this is a group that could get the Pope whooping like Naomi Campbell on acid, they truly are Johnny Cash’s bastard son’s. Banging out a brand of Country- Punk that is all their own with a hard-edged attitude that would spit out the likes of the Dropkick’s at first glance and capable of turning any dance floor into the most dangerous mosh pit in Christendom within seconds.
Where this c.d. differs from the earlier stuff, is on the tracks “Roobarb and Kurdish”, “Jewish Thing” and the guaranteed attention grabber “Euro 2000, Disco Hell Mix” worthy enough tunes, together an anarchic trio of Klezmer/Ska influenced numbers that leaves for dead the bands detractors who are usually to be found screaming “one trick pony” and “play a song…they couldn’t play a fruit machine!” into their lonely sherry glass. Which may augur well for the bands musical creditability but well. It just ain’t what Pronghorn are about.
They fill venues with the promise of reckless partying and raising Cain like no other band of the genre. Oh and how it’s needed, gloriously low down and dirty, blatantly irreverent and terrifying to non-believers of good old working class stomp music. In Pronghorns callused hands the squeezebox, harmonica, banjo and fiddle are not so much instruments, more offensive weapons that take no prisoners and long may it continue! If the dalliance with all things musical gathers apace the arts centers will start to circle like hungry vultures waiting to carry the corpse of a once great band in the dreary mediocrity of the middle classes. Oi! Pronghorn stay with cider guzzling Glastonbury and stay away from wine sipping Womad. You know it makes sense.