Ska mixed with bagpipes isn”t dead!

Paul Wong
The Rockettes get into the spirit of Christmas as playful Santas and smiling toy soldiers.<br><br>Courtesy of Olympia Entertainment

Uh yeah. And it”s not just the annoying Dropkick Murphys either.

New York-based Black 47 do an excellent job at it, infusing ska with traditional Irish immigrant sound and spirit on their live album On Fire.

Somehow they manage to combine just enough upbeat humor with a political message so they balance each other out. They describe themselves as “drinking music for thinking people.” This album is just a ridiculous amount of fun. It literally makes you happy. It makes you want to jump around and be Irish too.

Instrumentally, the band is pretty crazy. They have a killer horn section and the bagpipes add a nice element. Additionally, there is an incredible amount of energy captured. It might be appropriate to say the band almost comes off as somewhat rowdy.

A few highlight tracks include “Czechoslovakia,” in which lead singer Larry Kirwan sings about a Czech girl who “wants to come to America and be a capitalist like me!” and “Rockin” the Bronx,” where some elementary rap is attempted. Seriously, all I want to do “is be rockin” the Bronx,” too.

This album is a nice buy if you”re looking for something light and amusing, but not mindless. Long live the Irish.

Grade: B+

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