Release date: November 20, 2017
Running time: 40:39,11 tracks
“Red” or “The Red Album” is the brand new CD by England’s best folk-punk band Ferocious Dog. Ferocious Dog are always on tour and most of their gigs are sold out. Maybe because of this hectic schedule, some line-up changes have taken place. The core of the band is still there, Ken on guitar and lead vocals and Dan on fiddle and vocals, together with Les Carter on electric guitar and vocals and John Alexander on bass. The new members are multi-instrumentalist John Leonard (bouzouki, mandolin, banjo, acoustic guitar, tin whistle, accordion, uilleann pipes and backing vocals) and Alex Smith (drums, percussion and vocals).
The band keeps on delivering its fiddle led folk punk with a Levellers touch, but the songwriting has evolved and other influences can be noticed
“Black Gold” is a song about slavery and the role of the British Empire. Both John and Dan shine on mandolin and fiddle.
A video was shot for “American Dream”, one of the album’s top numbers. Kick-ass song that reminds me of Tricks upon Travellers. “Spin” starts off with a catchy tune where tin whistle and fiddle play the major role. There is a bass and percussion passage that is followed by a tin whistle part. One of my fave tracks on “The Red Album”.
“Black Leg Miner” is the first cover on the album. A version of this song can be found on Steeleye Span‘s debut album “Hark! The Village Wait”. As It was stated on that album sleeve notes, “It is strange that a song as powerful and as singable as this should be so rare, yet it has only once been collected from a man in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in 1949”. Ferocious Dog’s rendition is spotless.
The next track is called “Together we are Strong” and will soon become one of your faves. Fantastic upbeat number with a reggae passage. Now the big question: would Ferocious Dog be able to write another song like “Slow Motion Suicide”? The answer is track no. 6, “A&B”. IMHO, the best song on the album. Dan sings lead vocals on this song about Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Fantastic number that makes me think of the Oysterband.
“The Enemy Within” kicks off with some martial drums and then tin whistle and fiddle join in before visiting the “Brighton sound” territory. Lively song to sing along and dance. Curiously, McDermott’s 2 Hours debut album was titled “The Enemy Within” too.
Les sings lead vocals on “A Place I Want to be”. It’s an interesting number, as it has a slower beginning with fiddle and acoustic guitar but later evolves into a fast-paced song
“Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya” gets the British fiddle punk treatment. This second cover is followed by “Small Town Hero”, a song with the Ferocious Dog’s classic sound. Lots of hey shouts on a song featuring uilleann pipes. The album finishes up with “Class War” a long reggae number featuring the “Farewell to Eireann” reel.
The CD has been produced by Phill Wilbraham and comes in a digipack with a 28 page booklet. As usual, the album has been recorded in loving memory of Lee Bonsall (1987-2012).
“The Red Album” is the logical step on Ferocious Dog‘s discography: they offer exactly what the fans are expecting. But, at the same time, the songwriting is more mature without becoming mellow. Enjoy!
01 – Black Gold 3:32
02 – American Dream 3:04
03 – Spin 3:48
04 – Black Leg Miner 3:01
05 – Together We Are Strong 3:02
06 – A & B 3:32
07 – The Enemy Within 3:52
08 – A Place I Want to Be 3:02
09 – Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya 3:20
10 – Small Town Hero 3:27
11 – Class War 7:02
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Review by Kinksmarkham