THE BAD SHEPHERDS – By Hook Or By Crook (Monsoon Music)

At first the idea of ‘folk’ with a punk attitude didn’t appeal to me more than likely due to my ‘traditional’ prejudices but when I heard that multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley was on board I thought perhaps I shouldn’t be too dismissive. And so it’s proved. Of course, having a front-man as famous as Ade Edmondson spitting out the words helps and third member All-Ireland champion Andy Dinan holds his own. What lies beneath the performance is an energy that many of today’s ‘folk’ artists (with the possible exception of perhaps Bellowhead) could well take note of as the Shepherd’s fight their way to the surface like drowning men struggling for breath after a trip on Titanic. Therefore tracks such as the Sex Pistols “Anarchy In The UK” and Teenage Kicks “Sound Of The Suberbs” find a fresh lease of life in an acoustic setting. Even the “Ramones Medley” with its kick-ass tune sandwich featuring Donockley’s Uillean Pipes and Dinan’s fiddle going full throttle is just the tonic the doctor ordered…and not a moment too soon if the rumours of a possible farewell tour (after only four years together?) are to be believed. Forget folk for folk’s sake and think more along the lines of folk for fun.


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