“Too rock for the Folkies and too folk for the Rockies” to steal a quote from the band themselves, Uncle Bard & The Dirty Bastards have been around for about 15 years and while the band are entirely Italian in origin yet play Celtic flavoured rock with a sense of fun and pizzazz like none other around today.
Think of The Pogues or Horslips and you may have a sense of the sound of this band. They are all excellent musicians – Guido Domingo on vocals & acoustic guitar, Lorenzo Testa on tenor banjo & mandolin, Luca Crespi on tin whistle/Irish Flute/Uillean Pipes, Silvano Ancellotti on electric guitar, Roberto Orlando on bass and Luca Terlizzi on drums – and I have heard many worse playing the pubs in Dublin.
When I received the album, I expected a very technically accurate Pogues/Dubliners band with no real understanding of the relationship between the music and the audience but I was totally mistaken – these guys really do get the link and while they are technically excellent there is a certain looseness that lets the listener really engage with the playing.
Domingo is a strong vocalist with a hard edge to his voice and it fits perfectly into the ‘slam bam let’s jam’ sound of the band, every now and again slipping into an Italian accent and the sound that most emerges from the powerful soundscape is Luca Crespi’s tin whistle and pipes. Lorenzo Testa’s mandolin & banjo sit low in the mix, clucking away like demented chickens but doing as much as the drums to drive the music on.
This collection is a prelude to a live album later in the year and I can imagine just how much fun they must be live, but if this is only a prelude, then what a lead-in it is.
Superb from start to finish, what a wonderful surprise