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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Mickey Finns

Prayers and Idle Chatter

Review by Gary Hill

I suppose when people think of Celtic rock bands, The Flogging Mollys and Black 47 (like these guys, from New York City) are likely the first ones to come to mind. Comparing these guys to them is only accurate on a very basic level – yes, they are Celtic rockers. Beyond that, the comparisons are slim. These guys have a lot more of the country influence that is common in Celtic music – listen to hoe-down music and you’ll hear the Irish melodies within the country sound. In addition, they have more of a jam band vibe at times. These guys are quite cool, however you look at it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at

Track by Track Review
Return of the Prodigal Son

As this starts off it really feels like country hoe-down music. Of course, if one really pays attention, there is a lot of Celtic influence in certain types of country music. Energetic and fun, this is a good way to start the set in style.

Sweet Clare Girl

A little slower in tempo and lower in intensity, that same joint territory between country music and Celtic is occupied here. The piano and violin on this tune both deserve some special mention. This is another cool cut that works well. Somehow I’m reminded of the Grateful Dead a bit on this.

McGuinness' Mass

More ballad-like, there is still some energy to this. It’s got a very traditional Irish sound. It’s more dramatic than the two opening pieces and I really love the lyrics and the vocal delivery.

Loop Reels

Percussion opens this and there’s almost a Latin beat to it. As the other instruments join it has a bit of a fusion element to it. This is an instrumental number that’s quite tasty.

Absinthe (Makes the Heart Grow Fonder)
That hoe-down related sound is on this energetic number. It’s a lot of fun. In fact, this is a real party tune.
Tanks and Barbed Wire

A mellower tune, this is more traditional Irish in nature.

The Jester
There’s a real playful, bouncy vibe to this cut. I love the pop rock sort of section later with the non-lyrical vocals. It really has a classic, extremely familiar texture to it.
Two Jigs for Aoife

Starting on drums, it builds out from there in a classic Celtic style that’s quite tasty. This instrumental is, as the title suggests, two separate songs woven into one piece of music. The first isn’t quite as uptempo as the second, but both work extremely well together. This is classic rocking Irish music.

Dark Roll Down the Dawn
There’s definitely a lot more of that country music meets Irish sound here. The violin solo at the end really conveys that connection, but then again, the vocals even have a bit of country element to them.
The Ballad of Duffy's Cut

As the title suggests, this is a ballad. It’s sort of folk Celtic music. It’s mellow, but also lyrical powerful and emotional.

Be Minor

As this piece starts off, there’s almost a Santana vibe. Once the violin starts soloing, though, this becomes sort of a fusion meets Celtic kind of number. It’s got a couple different sections to it and this instrumental is one of the strongest pieces on show, making it a great choice for closing piece.

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