Not a new release by any shot, but I just got my hands on Whiskey Devils – A Tribute to The Mahones (cheers Finny for passing on). The tribute was put together to celebrate The Mahones 20th anniversary (they just hit 25 years last Paddy’s day). Obviously with a such a strong back catalog there were plenty of classic and seminal Celtic punk songs to choose from and 19 of The Mahones most legendary track are presented here with not a duff version amongst them. I have to call out a few of the tracks as must hears; Drunk Lazy Bastard as interpreted by The Popes (its all bad attitude), Shake Hands With The Devil a frigging incredible almost industrial/metal version by the Bloody Irish Boys, the down and out London by Paul-Ronney Angel and Aaron Chapman‘s lounge lizard sleaze of Cocktail Blue.
The Popes (England) – Drunken Lazy Bastard The Peelers (Canada) – Rise Again Brutus’ Daughters (Spain) – Take Me Back Paul-Ronney Angel (England) – London Roughneck Riot (England) – Across The USA Drink Hunters (Spain) – Take No Prisoners The Vandon Arms (U.S.A.) – Down The Boozer The Ryan Brothers (Canada) – Streets Of New York Bastards On Parade (Spain) – Paint The Town Red The Bloody Irish Boys (U.S.A.) – Shake Hands With The Devil Aaron Chapman (Canada) – Cocktail Blue Drunken Dru (Canada) – Is This Bar Open Til’ Tomorrow? Pladdohg (U.S.A.) – Whiskey Devils Black Friday (England) – There She Goes The Gobshites (U.S.A.) – A Drunken Night In Dublin Hit The Bottle Boys (U.S.A.) – Queen & Tequila Paddy McCallion (Ireland) – Back Home Cabor Toss (Canada) – Drunken Lazy Bastard (Live) Mark Gilligan (Ireland) – Girl With Galway Eyes
The Mahones are one of my favorite bands of all time. I’ve been following them since the mid-Nineties, I’ve put them on live in Boston a couple of times and wrote the sleeve notes for their tribute album. All this means that I can’t really do an unbiased review of The Hunger & The Fight. So take it from me with my totally biased opinion, The Hunger & The Fight is pure classics Mahones. The album is the first half of a double concept album (please don’t stop reading now! they have not turned in Pink Floyd or Yes or some other prog rock horror) and deals with the Irish experience – part 1 is mostly Irish / Dublin themed songs (knacker drinking, stealing piebald ponies, joyriding and rugger buggers – I jest) and part 2, due for release next year focuses on the Irish in exile. The Hunger and The Fight (part 1) in ways reminds me more of early Mahones albums, a little bit more paced then the full force albums of recent, more acoustic with touches of punk. The love of The Replacements that the Mahones collectively have really stands out on The Hunger and The Fight.
So without any further ado I give you song-by-song the The Hunger & The Fight:
Brian Boru’s Battle March is the Mahones interpretation of the battle march of Brian Boru, Ireland greatest high king. Horslips meets the Chieftains to open up the hardest Celtic arse kicking delivered since 1014
The title track, The Hunger & The Fight has that laid back Replacements meets Celtic feel, featuring a duet with Tara Slone of Canadian alt heros Joydrop
Paddy On The Railway is fast and furious with The Tossers’ Tony Duggins going to head to head with Finny
Stars (Oscar Wilde), the ballad Stars, a biographical ode to Dublin legendary writer Oscar Wilde, highlights the fact that Finny McConnell is a top notch songwriter bar-none. Simon Townshend (The Who) joins on harmony vocals and acoustic. Finny must have been beside himself to have Simon on the album
Prisoner 1082 is a fast paced punk rocker in classic Mahones style. A true story of Finny’s uncle, Donal ‘Danny’ Donnelly and his escape from Belfast’s infamous Crumlin Road jail
Pint of Plain is an Irish jig on steroids a “drinking song for those who can’t drink”.
Someone Saved Me slows down the pace just a wee bit. A classic ballad that would not be out of place on Digging The Days
The Auld Triangle is the ol’ Brendan Behan classic done in Luke Kelly style. This song never gets old.
Blood On the Streets of Dublin continues in the more laid back vain taking the listener back to Dublin 1916 and the Easter Rising.
St. Patrick’s Day Irish Punk Song is loud and ruckus and classic Mahones. In fact its the bastard offspring of Drunken Lazy Bastard.
The album also included a couple of bonus covers. Of the two I f*ckin’ love the cover of Van The Moans I Can Give You Everything, pure garage rock, true to the original 60s R’n’B sound and as powerful as the day it was written. The other track, Last One To Die, is a great Rancid cover from the forthcoming tribute album.
Twenty five years on and more tour miles driven then the rest of the entire Celtic-punk scene combined, The Mahones on The Hunger & The Fight still have the enthusiasm of a band in the studio for the first time (but thankfully the 25 years and many albums under their belt studio experience).
Give It All You Got (Or Forget About It) sums up The Mahones in one song – All or nothing! A Great Night On The Lash: Live In Italy is a true testament to that spirit. Recorded live in front of 5,000 screaming Italian fans the album captures a band at their live peak – half way through a 12 month world tour (Canada, The US and just about every country in Europe – twice) The Mahones are a well oiled rock’n’roll machine. Legend has it Finny spotted the state of the art recording equipment just before The Mahones were to play a headlining set and persuaded the powers that be to record their set but kind of, sort of, didn’t tell the rest of the band what was going down – wouldn’t want the band to be too self-conscious of the tapes rolling. I grew up on live albums and A Great Night On The Lash is up there with the best of ‘em – If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It) or Live At Leeds – look ‘em up kids. Maybe I’ll even be so bold to call A Great Night On The Lash Celtic-punk’s Live & Dangerous.
I Just spent about 24 hours with ANGELS AND DEVILS the new album from THE MAHONES. On a first listen it’s obvious that the album continues on in the hard edged Celtic Punk direction of The Black Irish though the sound on ANGELS AND DEVILS is just huge; a reflection of time and money spent in Montreal’s best studio. The other thing I immediately noticed is the big dirty guitars with my mind immediately jumping to The Replacements and Husker Du.
The easiest way for me to do a review is a track-by-track summary, so here yah go………
Shakespeare Road – A big sounding autobiographical Celtic punk epic about Finny’s time living in a London squat and playing in a punk band back in the 80’s with his infamous cousin Rory. While the screen doors ain’t flapping in the wind on Shakespeare Road they would be if the doors hadn’t been kicked in and the windows smashed.
Angel and Devils, the title track (obviously) is an in your face Celtic punk rocker with some familiar Mahones melodies; a tribute to the scene.
Spanish Lady, a hyper kinetic cover of the Irish standard. Finny’s growling voices duels with the Murphy’s helium sucking Ken Casey. I believe this is the 1st time Ken has guested on anyone elses album.
Medley : Cruel Of Turf / The Pigeon On The Gate / The Battle Of Aughrim – a Celtic punk instrumental that sounds like The Chieftains broke into the Brixton squat on Shakespeare Road, sniffed some glue and started playing – maniac.
Angel Without Wings / Merry Christmas Baby – A big sounding ballad sort of Fairy tale Of New York meets Girl With Galway Eyes/Little Bit Of Love. Great track but not sure if it works in the album’s running order.
The Waiting picks up the pace again. A strong sing along with a SLF feel which maybe is because SLFs Jake Burns guests on guitars.
The King Of Copenhagen, now we’re sucking diesel and The Mahones are ripping up a storm up and down the Autobahns.
Past The Pint Of Now Return is fast, punkie and fokie with The Mahones re-live the high jinks – scratch that – drunk debauchery of their recent German tour and at the mention of the Dropkick Murphys a voice familiar from Spanish Lady jumps in to honor the ghost of Brendan Bean.
Medley : The Connaught Man’s Rambles / Christmas Eve Reels / Johnny’s On Fire – the fecking Chieftains ain’t moving and its 4 in the morning and they have polished off the Carlsberg Special Brew and Poitín- feckin’maniac!
Whiskey Train, a Mahones album would not be complete without a song with Whiskey in the title. This time it’s a Whiskey train they are riding it Johnny Cash on Paddy Whiskey style through Belfast – No Bushmills here, Finny is a good Catholic bhoy and wouldn’t touch any of that heathen filth.
The Revolution Starts Now, takes up the political cudgel of Blood Is On Your Hands, my favorite track on Black Irish, and starts pounding again.
Makes No Sense At All slows down the pace, just a touch and is reminiscent of the Here Comes Lucky period Mahones meets Husker Du……..just informed it is actually a Husker Du cover from 1985’s Flip Your Wig.
The album finishes with a bonus track, Tin Soldiers, a fantastic Stiff Little Fingers cover
20 plus years in the game and The Mahones sill got it, they manage to keep thing fresh yet keep the old fans happy. Is Angel and Devils the Mahones finest album? Hard to answer, that’s kind of like asking a parent who their favorite child is but let’s say this child is getting a shiny new bike this Christmas.
So, I’ve had a copy of The Black Irish a couple of weeks now, played it a shite load of times and loved every moment of it (except the cover of the Wild Rover ‘cos I’m just sick of that song in general). Today’s plan was to put pen to paper and finally review it. So, on the way to my 7 year olds hockey practice (no this is not a car commercial), I slip the disk into the car CD player and cranked it (forgetting of course that on the 1st song, A Great Night on the Lash, Finny swears twice in the intro and my seven year old is in the back.) By track 3, a voice comes from the rear, “Daddy, is this the group that sings Shipping up to Boston?”. “No that’s the Dropkick Murphys, it a different group”. “Oh, it sounds kind of like Dropkick Murphy, but louder. Who is the group?”. “The Mahones, Finny the singer is a friend of mine”. ”Well, you tell Finny he has a nice singing voice”.
There ain’t much more I can add to that except on top of the rockers there are a couple of beautiful slow(ish) ones – Girl With The Galway Eyes and Whiskey Under The bridge – that really showcase Finny’s song writing talent and Black Irish is a very fine release, maybe even…..scratch that….this is The Mahones finest.
The Mahones: Irish Punk Collection For existing Mahones fans the “Irish Punk Collection” contains every single bloody elusive Mahones track you’ve been trying to get your hands on, but some bastard keeps out bidding you on eBay or you don’t feel justified paying $30.00 for an import through Amazon when all they are doing is mailing a bloody CD down from Canada.
Haven’t heard The Mahones? This is the perfect opportunity to get your hands on 20 tracks (18 really, they snuck in 2 ballads) of the band at their loudest most rockin. Like Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys? Need another fix? You won’t go wrong with The Mahones. They are the musical equivalent of a punch in the face on St. Patrick’s Day from the opening smack to the head of “Queen & Tequila” to the final kick in the balls of “Drunken Lazy Bastard (Live)”. The Mahones will sonically beat the shit out of you.
I’ve a bone to pick with Finny McConnell and The Mahones. 5 years!!! Yeah, 5 years. It took 5 bloody years to get a new release out. Who do they think they are? Def Leppard? When they swing through Boston on their support tour for “Take No Prisoners” one of ‘em at least must be missing a limb.
“Take No Prisoners” is a grand release, more punk rock then previous and especially on the opener and title track and on “Out of Control”. Trad., covers “Nancy Whiskey” and the very trashy “Whiskey in the Jar” are destined to be live favorites and “The Amsterdam Song” is classic Mahones very much in the vein of “Drunken Dirty Bastard” or “Drunken Night in Dublin” (it’s a drinking and debauchery song to boot!) Also check out the “A Little Bit of Love” a beautiful alt-country duet with Damhnait Doyle.
First of all hats off to Paddy Rock Radio’s John Bowels for putting this comp together. As someone who has put together a similar project I know what’s involved in pulling everything together and believe me it can be a major pain in the ass. Chicago based Paddy Rock Radio is a peer Shite’n’Onions and a long time supporter of the Celtic/Punk scene. Paddy Rock Volume 1 is a celebration of the shows 5th anniversary and is a collection of both classic and new Paddy Rock. Some of the the music on offer here will be very familiar (The Peelers, The Prodigals, Greenland Whalefishers and The Mahones) and some stuff is new even to me. The new bands to me that I loved and now want to check out further are Flatfoot 56 (bagpipes and hardcore), The Killigans (Flogging Molly like with feeling and great vocals), Switchback (Reggae’n’Irish).
Full band list: Flatfoot 56, The Peelers, The Bloody Irish Boys, The Killigans, Jackdaw, The Go Set, The Mahones, Switchback, The Prodigals, Greenland Whalefishers, IceWagon Flu, The Scuttlers, The Broken Shillelaghs
It’s a big year in Mahoneland. The Mahones have just released “Paint The Town Red” a collection of greatest hits, and a live album “Live At The Horseshoe” What more do you need to know? If you don’t have these recordings, you damn well should! In my opinion, The Mahones are one of the top bands in my entire CD collection. If you’re familiar with The Mahones, I’m sure they are one of the top bands in your collection as well.
I’ll admit, I have not seen them live. Trust me, I can’t wait until they head this way again, beacause I will be the first one there! Since I haven’t seen them live, the next best thing for me to do is hear a recording of them live. That’s what I have in front of me right now. The Mahones “Live At The Horseshoe”. It was recorded on September 15th, & 16th, 2000, in the mighty town of Toronto, Canada. It’s a good mix of early stuff from 1994’s “Draggin’ The Days”, 1996’s “Rise Again”, and from 2001’s underrated album, “Here Comes Lucky”. I think only one song from the “Hellfire Club Sessions” is on it, but I could be wrong. The music is tight, the lyrics are right on, and the recording itself is clear as a bell. Nice one!
Track listing: 1. Paint The Town Red 2. Rise Again 3. Drunken Night In Dublin 4. Rose & Crown 5. Shake Hands With The Devil 6. Across The USA 7. Going Back To Dublin 8. Whiskey Devils 9. 100 Bucks 10. Drunken Lazy Bastards 11. Is This Bar Open
I fuckin love this CD, I’ve had it over a year, reviewed it once already and just can’t stop playing it. I’ve about 500 CD’s at home and this bastard keep screaming at me from the pile “PLAY ME” and like a crack whore I’m back for one more score. Fuck, I left my copy of “Drunken Lullabies” beside this bastard and it melted it. This is everything “Drunken Lullabies” should have been and don’t get me wrong, “Drunken Lullabies” is great CD. This is just greater, much greater. The perfect combination of the Pogues and the Replacements, every song an absolute classic.
Read no further, turn off your computer, go down to the local record store and buy this CD, and if they don’t have it slap the clerk about the head (hard) and order it. October 2002