Bogside Rogues,
Rogue Mahone
(self-produced, 2004)

The Bogside Rogues are a Philadelphia-area band that do Irish music the way it's been done for generations -- and they do it well.

There aren't a lot of surprises on Rogue Mahone -- most of the songs and tunes are familiar selections that you'll find on any number of Irish music CDs and in countless Irish pubs. The trick, of course, is finding traditional bands who keep the faith and present the music with solid vocals, good supporting instrumentation and the kind of presence that will get listeners singing along. The B.Rogues score high on all counts.

The album includes traditional songs and standard Republican numbers like "Irish Rover," "Green, White & Gold," "Fields of Athenry," "Whiskey You're the Devil," "Broad Black Brimmer" and "Rock On Rockall." Shane MacGowan's "Streams of Whiskey" is there, too. And there are a few by Dominic Behan, in case the band's politics are in doubt: "Merry Ploughboy," "Come Out You Black & Tans" and "Patriot Game."

There are also a few instrumentals, including band originals "Saint Ciaran's Reel" and "Maggie's Drawers," both of which fit in neatly among the traditional tracks.

The B.Rogues are Bob Hurst (lead vocals, accordion, tin whistle), Ed McCloskey (mandolin, banjo), Tim Murphy (acoustic guitar, backing vocals), Fran O'Connor (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Steve Scheg (drums, percussion).

Do you like the Dubliners or the Clancy Brothers? Think in that vein, but younger and much more energized. I'd love to see these guys live. No doubt, with the right kind of crowd, they fill a room with enthusiastic voices. And that's one of the best things about Irish music, after all!

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 21 August 2004

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