These guys' version of shamrock music might well be called 'Irish rollick 'n roll', as even when they're grim and edgy, as in Weile Waile:
There was an old woman and she lived by the woods
…there's quite often a satirically chuckling grimace to The Prodigals' style and presentation. Then comes a take on Ghost Riders in the Sky, here titled Spancil Hill and its dreamlike lyrics of Irish immigrants and countrymen at a crossroads. Lusty and barking, it nonetheless has an air of "Aw hell, let's throw a little piss-take in there as well, lads!" to it. The group rocks its collective ass off, evoking bands like the Pogues but putting the wind up their kilts and making 'em sweat like dockworkers on a summer's height. Instrumentals are included, and Austin Tunes jigs, reels, and dances as if the whole world were just a corner pub and we but blokes with naught save the good life before us, something everyone could use more of, especially now.
The Prodigals don't lack for the contemplative spirit either, as the title cut, "Whiskey Asylum", demonstrates:
Do you laugh as you pass, do you just hurry by
…a ballad and a wistful wish for people to just be people as we pass through this vale filled to the brim with bloody-handed lunatics, insatiable greedheads, and mindless gibbering rapacious conservatives. Gregory Grene possesses an unquenchable brogue in his voice while plying 'cordine keys, and his compeers are invariably lickety-split precise and whirlwind on their instruments as well, indexing one another.
Whiskey Asylum is a generous anthology of 18 cuts, a look back across ten years and three previous releases with a trio of re-recordings of past tracks, now gone acoustic. The mainstream media has just discovered The Prodigals, presently including two of their songs in the forthcoming New Line / Warners flick, Pride and Glory. With this gatherum, it's past time that the rest of the country found why the Hollywood boys have become so enamored of this music. Put The Prodigals on the shelf with your best, as all but five of the cuts were written by Grene, this is his band, and the guy must now be seen for the monster talent he is.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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