“This Machine Still Kills Fascists” – Album Review


Whether you know the line “THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS” from being the iconic print on Woody Guthrie’s guitar or from John Green’s laptop on “Crash Course,” it is one of many notable messages from Guthrie who was one of the most influential performers in folk music history.

Using previously unrecorded lyrics from Guthrie, the Dropkick Murphys released their 11th studio album, “This Machine Still Kills Fascists.” This is not the first time the Dropkick Murphys have used Guthrie lyrics for their songs, with their most well-known hit, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” also using lyrics from a Guthrie composition.

“This Machine Still Kills Fascists” does a great job at making these songs sound like Dropkick Murphys original songs, while still carrying the energy of their original songwriter. Guthrie’s songwriting is clear in this, with significant themes including anti-fascism and labor organization.

All the songs on the album are acoustic, a first for the Dropkicks Murphys. The album starts out with “Two 6’s Upside Down,” which is about a man who is unfairly in prison for 99 years. It is then followed by the high-energy “Talking Jukebox” and “Ten Times More.”

My favorite song on the album has to be “Never Git Drunk No More,” which is a duet with country singer Nikki Lane. This song was written to be done as a duet, which was very uncommon for Guthrie’s songwriting. It gives me the energy of a Johnny and June Carter Cash song that I would hear growing up, like “If I Were a Carpenter” or “Jackson.”

The final highlight of the album comes in its final track, “Dig a Hole.” The song is a duet with the Dropkick Murphys and Guthrie, utilizing previously unheard recordings of the song from the Smithsonian. The fact that a new Guthrie recording was found almost 80 years after its initial performance, and used in a new recording, is incredible to me.

The fact that a band I do not know too well put out an album as a tribute to one of my favorite artists is a very special feeling. Not only is it a fun way to see a different take on Woody Guthrie’s lyrics, but it also allows for me to find more material I like from a group who I only knew two songs of until now.