Boiled in Lead

Boiled Alive

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AllMusic Review by

The last Boiled in Lead release from Todd Menton's tenure with the band is a lo-fi wonder, a faithful and unpolished recording of a pair of shows in California and Minneapolis in early 1992. The band plays with extraordinarily energy here; indeed, this is the one recording in which Boiled in Lead actually sometimes sounds like a punk band playing folk music rather than a folk-influenced band with punkish energy. Menton was a charismatic and engaging figure in concert, but was occasionally inclined to shout the lyrics rather than sing them, and on a few of these tunes he is far out of time with the rest of the band. The excruciating screech-and-thrash version of "Gypsy Rover" may be funny in concert, but the average listener will fast-forward through it on every listening but the first. Menton does turn in some heartfelt and effective vocals as well as a berserk kazoo solo on the jug band classic "Bring It With You When You Come." The rest of the band is in good form too, and this recording gives a good idea of just how tight they can sound while racing through intricate Balkan folk melodies. Not everything is at breakneck speed; original (and future) member David Stenshoel rejoins the band for a reprise of "Jamie Across the Water," the delicate fiddle duet that was one of the highlights of the band's first album. Vocalist Jane Dauphin also briefly rejoins the band for a delicate version of "Wild Rover," a delightful reading which would be worth the price of the album by itself. Cassettes of Boiled Alive were sold at BIL shows for years and are worth finding; though a few of these performances were re-released on the Alloy compilation, true fans will want to hear the whole thing.

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