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From the Ladle to the Grave

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Album Review

The group's first album with Anders on drums proved to be the catalyst for turning what was already a strong, multifaceted group into a flat-out amazing one. Bringing not merely good skills but an encyclopedic knowledge of many world music traditions to the group, he helps fire the quartet up on a series of brilliant performances. The opening track "The Pinch of Snuff" might initially have raised warning signals, with a steady hard rock punch seemingly the furthest thing from BiL's folk roots. However, the electric mandolin soon changes that impression, and by the time everything speeds up, tin whistle and fiddle played like the devil, it's clear BiL are in full effect and out to slay the house once again. Menton's lightly but not stereotypically Celtic-inflected vocals add to the show, but Ladle's many instrumental performances do the business just fine. Perhaps the most striking thing about BiL is how its many fusions never feel forced, a quality shown in spades throughout the album. Combinations range from "Cuz Mapfumo," at once a tribute to East African musician Thomas Mapfumo and Celtic-American performer Cuz Teahen, to "Stop! Stop! Stop!," a giddily entertaining romp through the old Hollies hit mixed with a traditional Egyptian song. Perhaps appropriately, the band weaves its political and social commentary roots as skillfully into its songs as its musical inspirations, never sounding preachy at the expense of entertainment. "My Son John" makes for a fierce ending, dedicated to an anti-military protestor horrifically injured in the course of his work, while "The Microorganism" is a catchy yet still affecting caution regarding AIDS.


Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Arbiters of a style that's been variously called Celtopunk and rock & reel, Boiled in Lead originally consisted of bassist Drew Miller, guitarist/vocalist Jane Dauphin, fiddler Brian Fox, and a drum machine known as Amos Box. This lineup played a handful of gigs around the Minneapolis area. As of St. Patrick's Day 1983, the band had expanded to include drummer Mitch Griffin and fiddler Dave Stenshoel. This lineup recorded the 1985 BOiLeD iN lEaD, an energetic self-produced, self-released LP that...
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From the Ladle to the Grave, Boiled In Lead
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