A wise man once said: “Making records is like making sausages — the end result is palatable but you don’t want to see how it’s done.” That man was the ultimate Irish rocker, Bono. But this definitely doesn’t apply to all records – especially the latest project from the Boston-based Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys.
“Going Out In Style: Fenway Park Bonus Edition” is an expanded version of the band’s seventh full-length studio album, “Going Out in Style.” The special edition includes a “Live from Fenway” bonus disc – a memento of two tremendous nights in September 2011, when 20,000 die-hard Dropkick Murphys fans gathered at the legendary Fenway Park to rock out to songs like “Hang Em High,” “The Irish Rover,” “Peg O’ My Heart,” and “I’m Shipping Up To Boston.” After listening to the album, I can definitely say that I wouldn’t have minded being there to see how it was done.
While much of what I heard on the album was not surprising – the choice of songs, the screaming fans, that unmistakable Dropkick Murphys hell-raising energy, there’s much more to the group and the project than might first meet the eyes and ears. There’s the really good acoustic set of songs on the album that showcases an entirely different sound that the band is capable of. There’s the genuine appreciation and love for the audience and the city of Boston that the band conveys on the album. There’s also the great writing of Michael Patrick MacDonald, the Boston-born author of the national bestseller “All Souls,” that is included in the special edition. MacDonald’s story about an Irish immigrant, the fictional Connie Larkin, tells the tale of a man who leaves his home to build a new community in America, the lessons he learns along the way and the gifts and curses he passes down to his children. MacDonald is a captivating writer, and the story of Connie Larkin gave me a true sense of both the author and the band – their interest in Irish-American history and culture, their love of Boston and their passion for entertaining both through music and writing.
The deluxe edition of “Going Out in Style” was released on St. Patrick’s Day. You can order your copy (along with limited edition 2012 Dropkick Murphys Custom converse all-star sneakers) at www.dropkickmuprhys.com.
As I thought about that lively Dropkick Murphys concert at Fenway Park, I couldn’t help but think of a recent evening I spent in New York City with another group of Irish Rockers – The Saw Doctors. The Galwya band played two nights leading up to St. Patrick’s Day at the jam-packed Irving Plaza. The group gave fans a good mix of old and new material, and the recent addition of 21-year-old drummer Rickie O’Neill added to the energy of the live show. It was so clear that the Saw Doctors love New York and we love them right back. If only they’d record an album live from Yankee stadium, then we could have a real Boston rivalry!
Spring is in the air, and so is Irish music this week with Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance” at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, N.J., on 3/29, the Prodigals at Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar in New York City on 3/30, and Boston’s Erin Og at the Local Public House in Waterbury, Conn., on 3/31.