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Black 47

Trouble in the Land

Format: CD   Release Date: 06/21/2005
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Reg. Price: $17.99
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Black 47 is a band that will not die. After making a big splash with the raw Celtic reggae-rock of their self-produced (and still their best) debut album in 1992, they were picked up and dropped by one major and several independent labels, landing at Shanachie in 1999. After the glossy overproduction of the band's Capitol years, Trouble in the Land is something of a return to form. "Those Saints" starts off sounding exactly like "Rockin' the Bronx," but then veers into a reggae arrangement of "When the Saints Go Marching In," which gives you an idea of what to expect from this willfully unpredictable crew. Bandleader Larry Kirwan still can't sing and, to his credit, doesn't generally try -- instead he declaims and cackles in a weird, weedy tenor. Uilleann piper Chris Byrne chips in with the occasional rap and the odd spurt of half-patois reggae toasting. Kirwan's sense of humor is getting sharper, as evidenced by the sure-to-be-a-classic "I Got Laid on James Joyce's Grave" ("I was hopin' his genius would rub off on me"), and the wan "Bodhrans on the Brain." Byrne's toasting is as good-naturedly thuggish as always, as evidenced by the new version of "Desperate." Recommended. ~ Rick Anderson, Rovi

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