From the Ladle to the Grave

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From the Ladle to the Grave
Boiled in Lead - From the Ladle to the Grave album cover.jpg
Studio album by Boiled in Lead
Released 1989
Genre Celtic rock/Celtic punk, folk punk, gypsy punk
Label Atomic Theory/Cooking Vinyl
Producer Willie Murphy and Boiled in Lead
Boiled in Lead chronology
From the Ladle to the Grave
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[1]
Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/4 stars[2]
MusicHound Folk4.5/5 stars[3]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[4]
The Guardian(positive)[5]
Washington Post(positive)[6]
St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch4/4 stars[7]
Folk Roots(positive)[8]
Irish Voice(positive)[9]
New Musical Express8/10 stars[10]
Q4/5 stars[11]
Puncture Magazine(positive)[12]
Green Man Review(positive)[13]

From the Ladle to the Grave is the third album by Minneapolis Celtic rock band Boiled in Lead. It was the band's first recording with drummer Robin Adnan Anders, whose influence helped push the band further beyond Celtic rock into explorations of other world traditions. These included Bulgarian, Russian-Jewish, and Turkish music, as well as their version of The Hollies’ “Stop! Stop! Stop!” which interpolated a traditional Egyptian melody.[13] The song "Cuz Mapfumo" simultaneously paid tribute to Chicago-based Irish musician Cuz Teahan and Zimbabwean Thomas Mapfumo.[4]

Previous Boiled in Lead albums had consisted entirely of traditional folk and world-music songs, though the band often arranged the songs in nontraditional, harder-rocking ways. Ladle contained Boiled in Lead's first original compositions, "The Microorganism" and "Pig Dog Daddy." Both were written by lead singer Todd Menton, who cited the influence of Billy Bragg and Richard Thompson as songwriters who had successfully fused folk and rock/pop.[14] Menton began writing "The Microorganism," a mournful ballad about the devastation of AIDS, six years before its appearance on Ladle.[15]

The song "My Son John" is a variant of the traditional Irish antiwar ballad "Mrs. McGrath."[16] In an article on the history of the Napoleon-era song, Sing Out! critic Steven L. Jones singled out Boiled in Lead's rendition as a skillful modernization that also stayed true to the song's politics and "underlying rage and terror."[16] The band's version of the song is dedicated to antiwar activist S. Brian Willson, whose legs were cut off when he was struck by a munitions train during a Reagan-era protest of arms shipments to Central America.[16]

The album won a Minnesota Music Award for Album/CD of the Year in 1989.[1]

Track listing[edit]

1."The Pinch Of Snuff"4:15
2."Madman Mora Blues"3:10
3."Cuz Mapfumo"4:54
4."Step It Out Mary"3:17
5."Shopetski Kopanitsa"5:23
6."The Microorganism"3:15
8."The Spanish Lady"5:05
9."Dilley Delaney's/Cherish The Ladies"3:20
10."Bahcevanci (O Ya)"3:24
11."Stop! Stop! Stop!"2:27
12."Pig Dog Daddy"1:26
13."The Guns Of The Magnificent Seven"3:06
14."My Son John"5:07


  1. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Boiled in Lead: From the Ladle to the Grave" at AllMusic. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin, ed. (1995). "Boiled in Lead". The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 5. Middlesex, England: Guinness Publishing. pp. 727–728. 
  3. ^ Walters, Neal; Mansfield, Brian; Walters, Tim (1998). MusicHound Folk: The Essential Album Guide. Visible Ink Press. p. 75. ISBN 1-57859-037-X. 
  4. ^ a b Heim, Chris (6 July 1989), "From the Ladle to the Grave (Atomic Theory)", Chicago Tribune, retrieved 23 April 2015 
  5. ^ Denselow, Robin (17 March 1989). "Rock/Pop: Boiled in Lead: From the Ladle To The Grave". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. 
  6. ^ Himes, Geoffrey (16 August 1989). "Timeless Songs, Up to the Minute". Washington Post. Washington, D.C. 
  7. ^ Mason, Rick (26 April 1989). "Boiled in Lead seethes with molten energy". St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch. St. Paul. 
  8. ^ Jones, Simon (March 1989), "Reviews: Boiled in Lead: From the Ladle To The Grave", Folk Roots, London: Southern Rag Ltd. (69) 
  9. ^ Rohan, Brian (21 July 1990). "Boiling Over". Irish Voice. 
  10. ^ Williams, Simon (15 April 1989). "Boiled in Lead: From the Ladle To The Grave". New Musical Express. 
  11. ^ Clarke, Jeremy (May 1989). "Boiled in Lead: From the Ladle To The Grave". Q. 
  12. ^ Meyer, Bill (Spring 1991). "Molten music: Boiled in Lead". Puncture: A Magazine of Music and the Arts. 
  13. ^ a b Lipsig, Chuck (17 January 2011). "Boiled in Lead: The Not Quite Complete Recordings". Green Man Review. Archived from the original on 21 January 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2015. 
  14. ^ Jones, Simon (March 1989), "On the Boil: Simon Jones Investigates Boiled in Lead", Folk Roots, London: Southern Rag Ltd. (69): 20–22 
  15. ^ Kot, Greg (3 August 1989), "Tradition twisters: Minneapolis band brings ethnic music to a boil", Chicago Tribune 
  16. ^ a b c Jones, Steven L. (20 June 2015). "You Can't Win a Race with a Cannonball: Goya, Guernica & My Son John". SingOut!. Retrieved 21 June 2015.