"Did you ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie?" ... says Popeye Doyle at the start of the wonderful 1971 movie 'The French Connection'. This quote forms part of the image and theme of the second album from The Prairie Dawgs.
'Halfway to Poughkeepsie' was recored in the Mourne Mountains in 2011 by the eight musicians which currently consists within the line-up of The Prairie Dawgs. The collection includes ballads, blues, stomps, and folk blues performed with characteristic flair and giving more than a tip of the hat to legends such as Dylan, Guthrie, Waits and Fitzgerald.
There are three main songwriting Dawgs in the line-up which helps to give the album much needed variety. Guitarist Martin Clancy covers the full on Country Folk side of the Dawgs while lead male vocalist Conor Farrell brings the Blues to the table and Bassist/guitarist Ruairi Galavan brings the filthy flirty Ballad side to the forefront. The magic that brings all of these qualities together are the vocals harmonies of the band especially the wonderful vocals of singer Eileen Twomey.
The standout tracks for me are the three written by Ruairi Galavan. 'It Ain't Gonna Happen' is a fun-time tune about a lustful relationship that's going nowhere. The lustful theme continues with 'Dirty Little Minds' with fabulous harmonies while the best track on the album is this song 'The Arrival'.
Other standout tracks includes the waltzing 'Lemon Ginger Tea', 'Poughkeepsie Blues' and 'Handmaiden's Song'. The whole album is full of well written tales that are inoffensive good time songs which make you smile and sway.
The Prairie Dawgs - Halfway to Poughkeepsie [10 out of 12]