Mike,the old singer, left the band to pursue his firefighting career( although it states on the website that the rumor was not true) and Al Barr (From the Bruisers) stepped in as the new singer.
Their first album (with Al) was called "The Gangs All Here." Some fans were not pleased with the outcome of "The Gang's All Here", the first album Al barr sang on as a member of Dropkick Murphys. Some people said that Al Barr has a really strong voice; while others said that he just wasn't Mike, and can never be as good as him.
The new album "Sing Loud, Sing Proud" saw many lineup changes as well. Rick Barton has settled down with his new Swedish wife. In his place came a new guitarist; James Lynch. The Murphys finally got other permanent players to add to their family, including: bagpipe player; Spicy McHaggis, tin whistle and mandolin player; Ryan Foltz, and an accordion player and a second guitarist; Marc Orrell.
The new album is arguably the Murphys' best release to date. Although the Murphys seemed to have matured in their sound, they still have the fury of the old days, and they still show their working class pride. The new album just sounds like what you would expect from this band. More bagpipes and more tin whistle make this album worthy of the Irish-punk label the band is getting.
The album starts out with the song "For Boston" an ode to their hometown. The crowd starts chanting "Lets go, Boston!" over and over, then the bagpipes come in, and in a few seconds the song explodes into in-yer-face street punk song with bagpipes heard over the guitars. The song "Which Ride Are You On?" is a working-class song about choosing whether you want to be a blue-colored worker or a rich boss. "Forever" is one of the few acoustic songs found on this album This song sounds like it is addressed to someone close to the band who passed away. "Good Rats" features guest vocals of the legendary Shane MacGowan (of the now-defunct Pogues). The song is a good "drinking" number. "The Fortunes of War" is dedicated to Brian Deneke, a high school student who got killed in a tragic accident, which involved a jock running over him back and forth with his car. The Jock didn't get punished for his unspeakable crime. The song calls out to the Jock who did it, saying "You drove right over him and then you sped away. How does it feel to kill a person and know you didn't pay. So walk away even though the life is gone Someday you'll know the price when God repays you for your wrongs." "Caps and Bottles" is an old Murphys song from their first EP "Boys On The Docks." Al Barr shows us that he could sing the old songs just as good as the new ones. The last song on the album "The Spicy McHaggis Jig" is about their bagpipe player (Spicy) trying to get large women to sleep with him. Probably the best song on the album. Nice bagpipe work too!
Alex Rud is Contributing Columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.