The Hogs,
Another Drop o' the Hard Stuff
(Hog, 2005)

The Hogs have brought Irish music from Renvyle in County Galway, Ireland, to China, Russia, Thailand, the United States and the world. Now you can experience the group without traveling.

Here on Another Drop o' the Hard Stuff are versions of the traditional -- or almost traditional -- alongside some new compositions that stay close to the roots of the group.

The CD opens with a composition from the pen and voice of Michael Casey, the front man of The Hogs. This track bodes well for the longevity of the band in a genre that needs new music to augment the better-known pieces. The jaunty "Rambles of Spring" leads us onward through "Donegal Danny," "Nancy Whiskey" and "The Mermaid," among others. The list of older songs here will delight the heart and ear of anyone who loves good old sing-along Irish folk.

Casey has a knack for taking well-known tunes and adding new lyrics that will either delight or infuriate you, but there is no denying the talent for playing and love of the music.

"Mrs McDrink" and "Nillo" are tracks in question. The latter is a take on "Monto."

The album plays like an excellent pub session and, like all good sessions, it ends with a tune seldom included on albums, "Amhrain na Fian" (sic) or the Irish National Anthem.

by Nicky Rossiter
15 April 2006