ALBUM REVIEW: THE MOORINGS – ‘March On​!?​’ (2022)

The Moorings are an ultra-energetic quintet famous for delivering an efficient mix between Celtic folk and alternative rock.

As far as I am aware The Moorings are the only Celtic-Punk band out there endorsed by The Dubliners when Eamonn Campbell waxed lyrical about them after they shared the stage at a festival. He compared them to being “a cross between The Pogues, The Dubliners and themselves. In other words they’re unique they’ve got their own individual sound whilst incorporating other influences of an Irish/punk style”.

The Moorings: DPhil Jelly – Vocals, Guitar * Nicky Sickboy – Banjo, Guitar * Yves Beraud – Accordion * Matt Renaudet – Bass Fox – Drums

Formed in 2011 in the town of Sélestat in the north-west of France by the border with Germany The Moorings began their journey with with their debut 5-track Pints And Pins EP that same year. Shunning the typical Celtic-Punk of recording covers The Moorings have always prided themselves on writing original music. Later that year they put out a live album La Cigale Unplugged, which was followed by Nicky’s Detox EP in 2014 which really saw the Celtic-Punk media around the world sit up and take notice. The song that really raised interest in the band, ‘Shandon Bells’ features Frankie McLaughlin on guest vocals and helped the band make just about every Celtic-Punk podcast out there! Their final release was 2017’s Unbowed. Twelve superb tracks that lasted over forty minutes that made the Top 20 for that year in the London Celtic Punks best of year poll.

So five years on March On!? appears and it’s not every release I get excited about but I’ve been a big fan of The Moorings ever since I first heard them so I was looking forward to this and even better was certain I wouldn’t be disappointed. The album begins with ‘Cheers’, the first song released from the album in December last year. It’s fast paced Punky stuff combined with singer / guitarist D.Phil Jelly’s gruff vocals it reminds me of some of the harder edged Shane MacGowan And The Popes material. Simple but effective and uplifting lyrics leads onto  ‘Nothing Is Going My Way’ and a Rancid comparison is unavoidable but with added banjo and accordion. Catchy as hell and areal foot tapper. One of the great things about The Moorings is their collaborations with other bands and next song ‘Gin’s My Sin’ is one of their best yet featuring ex-Pogues member Jamie Clarke (whose band, Jamie Clarke’s Perfect themselves had an album reviewed by us recently) on vocals and unsurprisingly a Pogues influenced song about ‘mothers ruin’ and in a scene dominated by Whiskey and Stout it makes a pleasant change!

I love an album that doesn’t sound the same all the way through and ‘Streets Of Northbridge’ is a prime example. Still on the Punkier side of things it rocks along at a decent pace but it remains accessible to the more Folk orientated folk in a way that was maybe pioneered by Frankie and The Rumjacks. Probably by favourite song here if I’m honest. Title song ‘March On’ next and the accordion is pushed forward while D.Phil sounds like a combination of Shane, Joe Strummer and Tim Armstrong while ‘Ode To Sailor Jerry’ is dedicated to that brand of Rum popular in bar dives across the world. Fast and energetic leading us into an inspired cover (the album’s only one) of the Tears For Fears hit ‘Mad World’. Truly a pleasure to hear a band take a risk on a cover that is somewhat unusual. It’s a great choice and reminds me of the only other band who takes risks like this in Celtic Punk – Mr. Irish Bastard. A brilliant version. We steering up towards the end now and ‘Liffey Song’ is more standard Celtic-Punk in music and lyrics but still a blast. Anyone who knows us knows that we are all big football supporters, drawn together by a love of Celtic and Punk, so next song ‘Football’ really hits the back of the net (…groan) and features German Celtic-Punk legends Fiddler’s Green before final number ‘Treasure Of Gold’ and a beautiful slow ballad brings down the curtain.

Another cracking album from The Moorings and thirty-five minutes of highly originals (even the one cover!) Celtic-Punk that anyone who considers themselves a fan of the genre should be listening to. IT’s bands like this that keep Celtic-Punk on the move. Always innovating and inspiring and producing great music.

(You can stream and download the whole of March On!? via the Bandcamp player below)

Buy March On!​?​  Bandcamp

Contact The Moorings  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

ALBUM REVIEW: THE ROYAL SPUDS – ‘Roots Of Life’ (2022)

The second album from Dutch bhoys The Royal Spuds is a bit of Punk, a pinch of good old Rock music and whole lot of Folk and they’re pretty damn good at it!

The Royal Spuds hail from Leiden in the south Netherlands and maybe that’s the equivalent of Lincolnshire here which explain why such the odd name? Anyone who grew up in a Irish household will find it hard to dispute that the potato is king! Odd name or not The Royal Spuds have slowly been becoming one of the best bands on the continent with a steady stream of releases over the last few years including over the Covid lock downs. We came close to seeing them live on stage over here at the famous Dublin Castle in Camden but again Covid put paid to that (though we haven’t given up all hope of it being re-arranged someday) and their tour with fellow Dutch band Pyrolysis was unfortunately cancelled.

The Royal Spuds left to right: Maarten – Lead Vocals / Banjo / Mandolin * Dave – Bass * Milan – Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals * Michael – Accordion / Flute / Backing Vocals * Mark – Drums * Robin – Rhythm guitar / Backing Vocals *

It’s been four years since their full length studio album Unforgotten Lore was reviewed on these pages but a few singles, sessions and the odd track or video here and there have kept them in our thoughts so was great news to receive Roots Of Life and see what The Royal Spuds have got up to this time. The album begins with ‘Festival Grooves’ and a tight Ska is the backdrop to this lively opener. A cracking start and a mention for Maarten’s great vocals. A perfect fit for The Royal Spuds his English is perfect and he even comes across North American at times to me. A whole host of instruments all compete without drowning each other out and one guaranteed to get the party rocking. Not uncommon to hear Celtic-Punk bands embracing the Ska sound and certainly Celtic instruments seem to manage it with ease. Next up is a smash hit sea-shanty ‘Haul Away Joe’, a song that has become so popular these days that it has become synonymous with the very term sea-shanty. First commercially recorded by Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbetter in the 1940’s, it originates from the 18th century and has been performed by every Folk singer ever including many Celtic-Punk bands. Saying that though The Royal Spuds version is fantastic and played mid tempo but with some aggressive guitar and nice gang vocals. ‘Take Me Back’ kicks off with great banjo and accordion in a urgent song that takes Celtic-Punk and gives it a good twist. The musicianship is excellent throughout the album as well as the production which gives it a clean crisp sound without any hint of over doing things.

‘Where’s Your Future’ sees the Ska return and as I’ve said before on these pages I’m not the biggest Ska fan but the bhoys add in plenty of thrashing guitars and clashing drums to please me. Next up is for me the album’s standout track ‘Steelworkers Lament’ and it’s fair to say I’m a sucka for any song with a good working class theme. What a tune! Catchy as fecking hell with some high speed banjo and a great beat with the band on absolutely top form here with even the chorus amazing. Musically it takes in The Dreadnoughts and English band Mick O’Toole and the lyrics are clever and positive to boot.

“Giving up will be the last thing I do”

Only a couple of covers on this album and even though they have been extensively covered by other bands The Royal Spuds versions both stand pretty high. With ‘Back Home In Derry’ the album takes in a breather for a moment with a song written by Irish POW Bobby Sands who died on hunger-strike in 1981 and who was elected MP (member of the British parliament) just weeks before he died it’s a beautiful song with a lot of symbolism and here it is handled perfectly while the band add in some wonderful strings and wind instruments creating a calm moment on the album.

 

‘Aliens’ was originally released last year as a single during Covid and while it isn’t illegal yet to have a laugh but you never know in these strange times! Pure energetic accordion driven Punk-Rock from start to finish with a sense of humour. ‘Vultures’ sees the album out and begins with the not uncommon (on Celtic-Punk releases anyway) sound of the ocean which soon gives way to some slow flute and then some Metal-ish flourishes in a song where we hear the full range of The Royal Spuds talents with even the flute taking in some ‘ancient’ Folk influences.

Yet another great release from The Royal Spuds. A diverse and lively record that really shows their craftsmanship. The album’s artwork is absolutely stunning too and it would be a real shame if it didn’t one day adorn a vinyl release of Roots Of Life.

(You can download / stream Roots Of Life via the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Roots Of Life  FromTheBand  (CD / Download)

Contact The Royal Spuds WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Bandcamp

EP REVIEW: IN FOR A PENNY – ‘In Memory Of’ (2022)

“It’s been a great ride. Thanks for coming along. So long and thanks for all the drinks”.

Savannah Rowdy Irish Music

Back in 2016 In For A Penny rode into the Celtic-Punk scene and really left their mark. All the Celtic-Punk media went ape over them and for a couple of years they released plenty of great music before a combination of events combined that left the various members dispersed and the lead singer in lurrve but the guys are back with one last hurrah – ironically also the name of the bands last album from 2017!

Founded by Irish-American Sean McNally and aided and abetted by old friends in Henny ‘da butcha’ on drums, Jeremy Riddle on guitar (replaced here by Matt Price) and Sean’s son Bryce on bass the boys came together in 2016 only two years after Sean first picked up a mandolin which he plays so masterful here. A handful of solo shows persuaded him that their home town of Savannah, Georgia needed a Celtic-Punk band to compliment the Irish-American bar scene. Their releases thus far (all available for download via Bandcamp) have followed much the same path of equal mix of trad Irish Folk classics and Sean’s original compositions. It is, of course, those original songs that made In For A Penny so special and ensures that they will live on within the scene.

The EP begins with the title song ‘In Memory Of’ and its great to hear Sean’s raspy vocals belting out across a lovely number sung for those who are no longer with us. Just Punk enough to keep everyone happy with sounding at all wimpy and plenty of Celtic-ness injected throughout. ‘Old Man Murphy’ tells of what we call here a ‘unlucky alf’. The archetypal In For A Penny sound of fantastic and intelligent lyrics and catchy and original Celtic-Punk music.

No trad covers this time but a fantastic cover of ‘Mad World’ by Tears For Fears follows and they stamp their name on it. If you going to make an attempt at covers like this then listen to this one and do it like this. The EP comes to an end with ‘To You My Friends’ and a sung very much in the spirit of ‘The Parting Glass’. A sung you can imagine being played at anything from funerals to weddings to the end of a night when the barman is trying to rid his pub of the last few remaining drunken stragglers!

In Memory Of is a very respectful fifteen minutes – not bad for just four songs. In typical In For A Penny style the EP was recorded live in just one night, with only a couple of vocal overdubs and some little tweaks added later, at The Wingmen, Savannah Motorcycle Club by Jody White a couple of days before St. Patrick’s Day and released last month. It’s a great way to end In For A Penny – if indeed it is the end. We shall see as the promise of more hometown St. Patrick’s gigs next year is surely to come but we are grateful whatever happens and that they gave us such great music that will go down in Celtic-Punk fame and I’ll be playing them for years to come I know that.

(Stream / download In Memory Of via the Bandcamp player below)

Download In Memory Of  Bandcamp

Contact In For A Penny  Facebook  YouTube

EP REVIEW: THE GRINNING BARRETTS – ‘Hope Like Hell’ (2022)

Bagpipe strangling, vocal chord mangling, gormandizer uplifting, Riot Brew imbibing, Vancouver Island Celtic-Punk Rock.

“It’s as if their music was a horde of Irish warriors from the 1800’s running at you in black studded jackets and mohawk hair”

A new 4-track EP released for St. Patrick’s Day just gone it appears here in a rather disjointed way as the band uploaded the tracks individually to Bandcamp. Having released two well received EP’s back in 2018 that would both feature in that year’s Top Ten Celtic-Punk EP’s and they have gone on to release new music sporadically over the following few years. Formed in 2016 in the town of Ladysmith on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, an area renowned for coal mining in the early decades of the twentieth century. The area was famed for it’s militancy with many strikes and unrest as the areas miners battled the mine owners for better conditions and more pay in the most dangerous coal mines in the entire world. The mines are now gone (coal is now dug by children and modern day slaves in the 3rd world) but the communities and closely knit towns still exist.

Out of the ashes of local ska bands The Kiltlifters and Street Prophets Union, Scot and Pat decided after a decade away from playing live music that the time was ripe and the area was in need of a kick-arse Celtic-Punk band so after roping in recruits from the local Pacific Gael Pipes And Drums as well as from the local rock scene The Grinning Barretts hit the stages around Ladysmith. After going through several line up changes have finally settled upon a steady line up. The St. Padraigs EP saw the light of day on St. Patrick’s Day 2018 and a couple of months later The Riot EP.

‘Hope Like Hell’

’10 TeraOhm’

‘Star Of The County Down’

‘The Foggy Dew’

Four tracks, two originals and two covers. The EP’s title track leads things off and for the standout track of the EP catchy bagpipe heavy Punk Rock is the order of the day. Includes the word “metastasizing” and this is followed by ’10 Teraohm’ and like “metastasizing” I had to look up what it meant! Teraohm is a unit of electricity apparently. Lots more big words and then the covers, starting with a pretty decent and straight forward ‘Star Of The County Down’ and the EP’s finale the famed Irish rebel song ‘The Foggy Dew’ telling of the Dublin Easter Rising of 1916. Done fast, loud, aggressive and shouty. The EP is over in a flash… well in less than ten minutes anyway which is how The Grinning Barretts do things. All their releases are all still available with many as ‘name your price’ downloads from Bandcamp meaning you pay as much as you like (or can afford!).

Download Hope Like Hell  Bandcamp

Contact The Grinning Barretts  WebSite  Facebook  Soundcloud

ALBUM REVIEW: THE REAL McKENZIES – ‘Float Me Boat’ (2022)

It’s about time we did another Real McKenzies write-up. This time, you’re gettin’ the full whack; the kilted Canadian legends have a best-of album, the aptly titled Float Me Boat. It floats ours sure enough, and were sure youll feel the same. Lets get into it.

Float Me Boat. The very best of The Real McKenzies.

The Real McKenzies’ music could be described as waking up with a hangover, but getting up anyway to fight the day. With their short-and-fast, nae-nonsense approach, this band has always put the “punk” into Celtic punk. I first heard of them while living in Berlin, and believe me, the Germans quite like these guys too.

We kick things off with opening track “Chip”, taken from 2008’s Off The Leash. True to form, the band let their trademark sound loose on us, a bagpipe rock style fronted by Paul McKenzie’s unmistakable vocal. Paul may have founded the McKenzies in 1992, almost a decade after The Pogues came about, but he’s played a key role in popularising Celtic punk, shaping it into the genre we all know and love. It also proves again that you don’t need to be in Scotland or Ireland to feel the fervour of the music, start a band and light shit up.

“Smokin’ Bowl” and “‘Cross The Ocean” make early appearances on the record too. The former is primarily a punk track, with the bagpipe takin’ a back seat for most of it. “Ocean”, meanwhile, is that riff-led romp that’ll get ya dancin’. A foray into pirate rock with humorous verses and some singalong in the choruses. I particularly enjoy givin’ this one a spin, but then I’m an Alestorm fan, so go figure 🏴‍☠️

To put the flag up even higher for my now-home of Scotland, “Scots Wha’ Ha’e” also makes a welcome entrance in the first half of the album. The McKenzies’ take on it doesn’t quite feature the original lyrics by Rabbie Burns 😉 But having said that, it’s as rousing as ever. Another one I can recommend.

Official video to “Scots Wha’ Ha’e”. Gives ye a feel for the McKenzies’ live show.

Firm favourites

“Spinning Wheels” is one good choice for the latter half of the record. The band get the banjo out for this one, and tell us about their relentless gigging experiences around the world. The shout of “Prost!” gives the nod to Germany, my home of six years and one of THE countries for any Celtic folk/punk band to go to.

Soon after, we get to “The Big Six” – or at least that’s what I like to call ’em 😉 Here the band lines up six songs that are firm favourites, ranking among the best McKenzies anthems ever recorded. We start with “Bugger Off”, a song that leaves nothing to the imagination with its ferocity, including a delightfully un-PC use of the word “cunt” 👍🏼 “The Tempest” follows up, and I like this one because it’s longer than yer average McKenzies song. A fine example of a seaman’s shanty.

“You Wanna Know What” brings the speed back. The tin whistle leads the way here, and Paul delivers a strong vocal take to match. “Culling The Herd” is the interesting one – a clean guitar riff fighting the vocals in the verse, giving the song a mystical twist as only the McKenzies can do it. “Due West” boasts another gallant McKenzies riff in what is generally a gallant McKenzies song, and of course, we can’t leave out “Barrett’s Privateers”. This is the band’s own tribute to Mr Stan Rogers, a Canadian folk music legend. It’s a shame the band’s rousing take on “Northwest Passage” wasn’t included as well, but better one Stan song than none at all. We’ll include it below for ya.

“Northwest Passage”, as interpreted by Paul an’ the boys.
A live version of “Bugger Off”, played to an enthusiastic Amsterdam crowd.

Drink some more

Last but by no means least, we reach track #23, and “Drink Some More”. A final hurrah to an epic best-of that looks back over 30 illustrious years, and will have ye playin’ your air bagpipe for many a day to come. All in all, not a bad achievement, given that Paul once claimed he only started the band to “get revenge” on his family, who dressed him in a kilt as a youngster and made him sing and dance to Scottish music! 😉 They planted a seed, and the best results can be yours on this CD.

To get a copy and support the band, buy Float Me Boat online; various outlets have got it, one place for UK fans to get it is HERE. If ye ditched your CD player a while back in favour of streaming, then you can listen on Spotify, Apple Music or (hello French readers!) Deezer. And be sure to show the band some love by stoppin’ by their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Now…you’ll get nae more this article, so you’d better bugger off 😉

Andy xx

ALBUM REVIEW: AFTER HOURS VOLUME TWO – BLACK 47 TRIBUTE COMPILATION (2022)

Thirty years on from the release of Black 47’s eponymous first album and a year after Volume One comes the second part of a trilogy of tribute albums celebrating this popular and most controversial of Celtic-Punk bands of whom Time magazine wrote in 1993

“the proletariat passion of Black 47’s songs that make the group stand out”.

Celebrating the songs of Larry Kirwan and Black 47 with Finbar Furey, Barleyjuice, Jonee Earthquake Band, Finny McConnell, Bangers And Mash, The PoguestrA and The Muckers and once again produced by Peter Walsh of The Gobshites and Larry Kirwan himself.

While not strictly a Celtic-Punk band their influence on Celtic-Punk, especially in the States, is immeasurable. A New York band made up of Irish expatriates playing a mixture of several genres but with traditional Celtic and Irish Folk music at its very core and led by the distinctive and talented songwriting of Larry Kirwan.

Taking their name from the year 1847 which was the worst period of An Gorta Mór / The Great Hunger when blight wiped out the potato crop the staple of the Irish working class diet. This blight caused famine in the land while all the time the British army escorted Irelkand’s numerous other crops, under armed guard, to the docks and away from Ireland. A conservative estimate puts the number killed between 1845 and 1850 as way more than the official figures of one million people and another two million forced into exile with most of them washing up to North America.

THE JONEE EARTHQUAKE BAND – ‘Who Killed Bobby Fuller?’

Punk-Rock pirates hailing from the  Boston, Massachusetts playing a crazy mix of Surf, Country-Punk and Rockabilly… and whatever else they feel like playing! ‘Who Killed Bobby Fuller?’ was originally released by Black 47 on their second album, Home of the Brave, in 1994. Bobby was an American singer-songwriter best known for ‘Let Her Dance’ and his cover of the Crickets’ ‘I Fought the Law’ who was found dead in his car in Los Angeles in 1966 at only 23. One of the great unsolved Rock’n’Roll mystery songs!

Facebook  Bandcamp

FINBAR FUREY – ‘Mychal’

Finbar Furey needs no introduction except to reiterate what a true legend of Irish music he really is. His song is ‘Mychal’ perhaps the highest emotional peak Black 47 ever reached. Written as a tribute to Father Mychal Judge a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest, who served as chaplain of the New York City Fire Department. On September 11, 2001 Fr. Mychal entered the North Tower of the World Trade Centre alongside other firefighters and rescue personnel. As the South Tower collapsed, debris flew through the North Tower lobby killing many including Fr. Mychal.  Though many had perished before him, he was given the solemn honour of being designated Victim 0001 – the first recorded casualty of 9/11.

When Larry asked me if I would sing this song, I told him I  would be honoured. Mychal was a wonderful human being who did so much for the people of New York and never left their side in their darkest hour. A beautiful song for a beautiful man.

BARLEYJUICE – ‘Celtic Rocker’

Barleyjuice are a nationally-known Celtic Rock band from Philadelphia who play mainly original but also a few traditional Irish music. Their songs over seven albums have been heard in movies, TV and radio programmes for over twenty years.

Facebook  WebSite

FINNY McCONNELL- ‘I Got Laid On James Joyce’s Grave’

Another legend of Irish music Finny has been making music with premier league Canadian Celtic-Punk knock-outs The Mahones since 1990 over a dozen studio albums plus several other full players. Finny finally branched out on his own last year recording his first solo album The Dark Streets Of Love.

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BANGERS AND MASH – ‘Izzy’s Irish Rose’

Formed in 2003 in Suffolk County, New York Bangers And Mash have a personal recommendation from Larry Kirwan- “If you’re looking for a band with strong songs who can rev up the party and get punters dancing, you should have Bangers and Mash on your menu. Guaranteed to go well with Guinness and good times!”

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THE POGUESTRA – ‘Green Suede Shoes’

The PoguestrA is a group of musically diverse musicians from across the world united by a love of The Pogues playing together remotely. Tending to usually only record Pogues related material here they branch out to take in another of Black 47’s more popular and well known songs. Always on the lookout for new members feel free to contact them and join the gang.

THE MUCKERS – ‘Five Points’

After Hours 2 comes to an end with another of the Celtic-Punk scene’s favourite bands The Muckers. A five-piece Celtic-Folk-Punk band from Atlanta. With a strong emphasis on Irish music, the band also blends influences of Gypsy music, sea shanties, Country, Rockabilly, and plenty more!

WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

Another top notch production from Valley Entertainment and we await Volume Three eagerly. Their are links included for a variety of places to order from but if possible get it from the label directly instead of funding vultures who make money out of other peoples hard work and risks.

Buy After Hours  Fanlink  ValleyEntertainent  Bandcamp

Released by Valley Entertainment. Independent record label based in New York City. The label includes an eclectic repertoire with focus on singer-songwriters, modern Irish musicians and World music.

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AFTER HOURS VOLUME ONE COMPILATION

Volume 1 of the trilogy featured 7 more songs from Larry Kirwan and Black 47 by Celtic Cross, Pat McGuire, Screaming Orphans, The Gobshites, Rory K, Gary Óg and Martin Furey. 

Further Recommended Reading:

Let Ireland Remember

Irish National Famine Memorial Day

but the most extensive resource on Facebook about this period is to be found at

Irish Holocaust –Not Famine: The Push To Educate In Facts

ODDS’N’SODS. A CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP MAY 2022

As we transition from wet and cold winter to wet and cold summer it’ll soon be time to reveal your ‘covid’ body in all its glory to the watching world so to help take your mind of that here’s another Odds’n’Sods. A whole load of Celtic-Punk entertainment from all the scene’s bands big and small, established or just starting out.

Italian band UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS deserve to be bigger than the Dropkicks and the Mollys in my opinion. With some cracking albums behind them their back with a new video for a song taken from their 2020 album The Men Beyond the Glass.

PADDY AND THE RATS have a new album out this month, From Wasteland To Wonderland, out on the 29th via Napalm Records. The first single, ‘After The Rain’, is now out and is dedicated to the bands accordion player Bernát Babicsek, who went by the stage name Bernie Bellamy, who sadly passed away earlier this year. The song celebrates Bernát ensuring that he will sail forever in the Rats and their fans hearts. The album is available for pre-order from Napalm.

We’d like to dedicate the first single of the album to Bernie and to express all our emotions through the song we release first. That’s why we’ve chosen ‘After The Rain’. It’s a sad song but it also has a fully positive vibe. Sadness and desperation are there through the whole song, but meanwhile, you can feel something powerful when the pipe and the accordion come in at the drop. It conveys the feeling that you have to be strong and you have to move on. The last line in the chorus says: ‘After the rain, sunshine will never be the same’.

‘Luton Irish Folk-Rockers MISSING THE FERRY have a new single out, ‘Castlebar’ which will be the last release before their debut album coming later this year! The song is about the emigrants’ yearning to return home to Ireland. For many, they only made it in a casket. Despite such a serious subject matter, ‘Castlebar’ is an  upbeat celebration of life, of music and of London-Irish culture. The song begins with a poem inspired by Beatrice Mugan and read by three of the bands Mammy, Roseanna, both Roscommon girls who arrived in London and St Albans in the 1960’s and became nurses.

We recently reviewed the debut album from Boston band SLAINTE and the album featured ANNIE CHIVERS on a couple of tracks who has just released a new single ‘Big Kid’ from her upcoming EP.

THE RUMJACKS have a new 6-track split EP out in a few days with FLATFOOT 56. Last month we had Flatfoots song so look that up and we will have the low down on it soon so be sure to check that out but here’s their first single from it. It’s available for pre-order from https://snd.click/SplitEP.

I finally at last got to see the amazing Yorkshire banjo Punks SHANGHAI TREASON and they were every bit as good as I had imagined over the three years I’ve been waiting to see them! Blowing some much more famous bands off the stage. They just released a B-Sides EP featuring songs that never made their debut album, which in my book is the #1 Celtic-Punk album of the year. https://open.spotify.com/album/66aL6qH2yRUStU8PbfQ3W6

THE MOORINGS are back with a class new album and first single ‘Nothing Is Going My Way’ is a great opener. Looking forward to hearing this as I’ve always really enjoyed their previous releases.

THE ALT are a Irish-American supergroup consisting of the trio of Nuala Kennedy, John Doyle and Eamon O’Leary, all of who have become very much stars of Irish Folk music through their solo works and collaborations over the years. The songs here come from traditional music archives, poetry and original compositions including three songs in Gaelic. Outstanding album!

“Our ancestors rarely met, seldom mingled. Would the yearnings for one lost world speak to those who’d lost another?” AMID THE MIRK AND OVER THE IRK is an amazing and fascinating collaboration between Irish and Klezmer Folk music traditions and the children of Irish and Jewish immigrants to Manchester.

Five piece English band ONE EYED GOD just released a new album, A Land Fit For Heroes, featuring some rather nice bouncy fun Folky-Punkyness. The album includes lots of elements of Celtic Folk, Reggae, Ska, Dub and Klezmer and you will no doubt come across them this Summer playing out doors in the sun somewhere in southern England during festival season.

Conceived in the bowels of Belfast THE SCUNTZ have a new single just out. An unholy trinity of Punk, Folk and Cider. It’s the first release from their new album Fall Apart Gang. For the first time in a few years theirs a few home grown bands playing Celtic-Punk’ish type music so as usual support them.

THE REAL McKENZIES – Float Me Boat (review coming!)

IN FOR A PENNY – In Memory Of

THE ROYAL SPUDS – Roots Of Life (review coming!)

THE DREADNOUGHTS – Roll And Go

PADDY AND THE RATS – From Wasteland To Wonderland

THEIGNS AND THEALLS – Theigns And Thralls

THE MOORINGS – March On ?

Remember we can’t review it if we don’t hear it

Blast from The Past is dedicated to bands, many of whom are no more, who put out great music but were never featured on these pages at the time. Usually they come with a free download link. This months band is 7-piece Irish Punk’s ST. BUSHMILLS CHOIR from Seattle. They originally came from a group of friends from other bands and before releasing this classic of American Celtic-Punk. Produced by Jack Endino of Nirvana fame the album captures the energy of a live show. “Unrelenting, Punked-out Irish jigs and expert musicianship recalls The Pogues, Stiff Little Fingers, and dare we say it, The Clash” it really is an excellent album and featured in our Best Celtic-Punk Albums Of All Time list from 2014. Available as a ‘name your price’ download so free if you like or if you’re a politician £1000!

Cancelled in the original Covid lock down we were really looking forward to the long awaited re-arranged MR. IRISH BASTARD English tour later this month. One of Europe’s ‘Premier League’ Celtic-Punk bands it was bound to be a treat but sadly the tour is kaput … off! Hopefullly to be re-arranged soon. The good news though is that London Celtic-Punk fans have a gig just up the road on May 21st with a utterly fantastic gig the same night in Guildford with some right proper stars of the English Celtic-Punk scene with EAST TOWN PIRATES, MICK O’TOOLESINFUL MAGGIE and Emergency Bitter. Check the Facebook event for more details. Gothic Americana band HEATHEN APOSTLES have their most extensive tour of Europe from the end of May till the end of June through mainly Germany. We are pleased to announce the first London Celtic Punks gig in a couple of years with Italian band DIRTY ARTICHOKES – the tidiest Celtic-Punk band in the Celtic-Punk scene – returning to town at the beginning of August and will be playing with THE LAGAN and ANTO MORRA, two artists popular on the London Irish music scene that sadly haven’t been able to play much of late. The gig will be at the Bird’s Nest in Deptford and all details are on the Facebook event.

PAIRC FESTIVAL is probably the biggest celebration of Irish culture on this island this Summer. Taking place in Birmingham over August Bank Holiday Weekend. The 26th – 28th sees a bunch of the best and brightest acts playing – FINBAR FUREY, DAMIEN DEMPSEY, HOTHOUSE FLOWERS, BEOGA, SHARON SHANNON and many more. Shame they couldn’t have found room for some 2nd /3rd generation bands but still an outstanding line up. http://paircfestival.com/

Really cool interview with Michael O’Grady from THE MAHONES from Canadian Breakfast TV. He talks about what it means to him and his favourite part’s of the day and what NOT to do at the pub. Michael came us pretty well occupied with his brilliant live streams during lockdown so look forward to seeing him up on stage again soon.

Not many of us really believed that THE MAHONES retirement from touring would last long and they recently announced new dates in Ireland plus the imminent release of new album, Jameson Street, coming soon.

If you like what we do then you can support us by checking out our online store. The Harp’n’Bones design is back in all sizes and on black or white shirts. Also we have new polo shirts, in all sizes, and some nifty wooly hats as well as the Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer shirts. Click the link below for the full range of all our other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the discerning Celtic-Punk fan could ever need! Help keep Punk Celtic!  https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

Facebook is shit. Proper shit. That the world’s most ‘popular’ social media site has only 2/5 in the play app store says it all! It’s stranglehold on all forms of expression is not good and it’s great to see people leaving in droves. Don’t despair though if you are one of them as you can keep up with London Celtic Punks posts via our wee group on the phone app Telegram. Similar in style (but better and easier to use) to What’s App but completely free from outside interference. Join us on Telegram, don’t miss a single post and even receive the odd exclusive and special offer! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/  

Even though we hate it Facebook does supply the (very) occasional ray of sunshine so a shout out to some good friends of ours over on Facebook. The Dropkick Murphys- Fan Page and the Celtic Punk, Folk And Rock Fans are two of the best music forums on FB let alone Celtic-Punk. Ran By Fans For Fans just like you and me. Like and join in the fun!

No better way to welcome in the new season than THE UNDERTONES and a piece of classic Irish Pop-Punk. Best wishes to founding member Billy Doherty on his recent illness too. Hope all is better there. Till next time Folk-Punk folks! The lads have a new compilation out called Dig What You Need out now and available all over the place.

A reminder too that we need your news so anything you would like to share with the rest of the Celtic-Punk scene send it onto us.

If you are new to the London Celtic Punks blog it is easy to subscribe / follow and never miss a post. Bands, promoters, record labels, venues send in any news to londoncelticpunks@hotmail.co.uk or via the Contact Us page.

FROM MINNESOTA TO THE AULD SOD- THE WILD COLONIAL BHOYS TOUR OF IRELAND MARCH ’22

One of the highlights of 2021 for me was the album from Minnesotan Irish-American Folk-Rockers The Wild Colonial Bhoys. My delight at hearing they were crossing the ‘broad Atlantic’ soon dissipated when I read it was to back to Ireland they would be going and not this side of the Irish sea. For those not lucky enough to have witnessed their (7th!) Irish tour Wild Bhoy Adam writes of the trip and the experience and the journey ‘home’.

Thursday, March 10

First pints of the tour!

Packed up all the gear and left for the tour, connected through Boston. Had an expensive dinner and drinks in the Boston airport before boarding the flight for Dublin, and it was brilliant to hang out with the band, since we’ve really not seen much of each other over the last couple of years!

Friday, March 11 | Dublin, Ireland

Arrived in the morning and stayed in an airport hotel, to rest and get right, before all the tour participants were due in the next day. We all got a taxi and went into the city, and had some nice lunch. We hit up Ohana Dublin, a new tiki bar. Enjoyed that, taught them a lot about tiki. Went back to the hotel, hung out in the hotel bar, watched rugby with a guy from Fermanagh, enjoyed some pints and had an early night.

Saturday, March 12

Met up with our tour group (35 participants) at the airport, and boarded the bus for the drive to Donegal, through Westmeath and Sligo. Had lunch at Feericks in Rathowen, Westmeath where the kitchen door had nothing preventing it from slamming and making a big banging noise every time it closed, which was often. It elicited huge laughs every time. BANG! BANG! Perhaps jet lag played a part… Took the N4 into Sligo town. Picked up the N15 through Bundoran and along coast through to Donegal town. Had an awesome welcome dinner for the tour at Loch Eske–the menus had our band logo on them and everything! We played an acoustic gig in the hotel bar, and I ended up chatting with a couple lads from Belfast until they kicked us out at like 2am. My room featured the best shower I’ve ever showered in. Here’s a video from the gig.

Sunday, March 13 | Slieve League Sea Cliffs Donegal

After breakfast the group headed out on the bus for Slieve League, to see the highest and finest sea cliffs in Europe, rising 1,955 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. It was really awesome, albeit very rainy. After that we traveled to Ardara, the home of Donegal Tweed, where we saw a demonstration on the art of hand looming tweed, which was pretty cool; it was amazing to see what skilled and talented people can produce! Had a nice lunch at the Nesbitt Arms Boutique Hotel. Played an awesome gig that night at McCafferty’s in Donegal town, which was well attended by lots of locals and people who had to be no more than 15-16. Stayed overnight at the castle one final time. This is our gig from McCafferty’s.

Monday, March 14 | Donegal to Sligo and Westport

After breakfast in the hotel, we traveled south through Sligo. Stopped a cairn with strewn rubble and tied rag wishes at Creevykeel Court Tomb. Stopped at Mullaghmore for a nice sea view and some Lucozade and candy from Paddy’s Place convenience store. Stopped at the grave of W.B. Yeats and then traveled into Sligo town; had lunch at the Harp Tavern right near the river, where I had my first curry of the trip. After that it was on to Castlebar and Westport for the night. Took the N4 to the N17 (sang the song) to Charlestown, picked up the N5 there to Swinford, through to Castlebar, and then on to Westport. I really enjoyed the dinner at Wyatt Hotel on the Octagon, and then afterwards got set to play a gig at the famous Matt Malloy’s–it was a GREAT night, the place was packed, and there were lots of locals in attendance, as well as other holidaymakers too. Everyone seemed to enjoy the show, so I was happy! Our awesome show at Matt Malloy’s can be seen here!

Tuesday, March 15 | Achill Island

We took a day tour out along Achill Island (well, I did anyway, as I was the only band member who made the bus that morning!) with stunning sea views on the Atlantic Drive. Stopped at Alice’s for an Irish coffee and tea just before going on the Island. Saw Gráinne Ní Mháille’s castle briefly (the famous “pirate queen”). Toured around the island. Traveled out to Keem Beach, and then had lunch at Gielty’s for a nice curry (again haha). Returned to Westport and spent the evening at leisure. After a couple of pints in the hotel bar, I went and had dinner at Apache Pizza. Then it was back for a few more pints in the hotel bar and a sing-song with a drunk guy from south Belfast who didn’t know Tell Me Ma, and went to bed early. I bought two bottles of Havana Club Cuban rum at Super Valu, as you can’t get that here in the states. I’ll bet I was the only guy traveling to Ireland who brought home rum and not whiskey! Don’t worry, I have plenty of Powers here at home.

Wednesday 16 | Westport to Waterford via Kilkenny

Following breakfast we departed Westport and journeyed south toward Galway, where we took the R330 south out of Westport, to Partry and the N84, through Ballinrobe to the R332 to Tuam, and a short jaunt on the N17 to the M17 south to the interchange with the M6 outside Athenry, to Knockadolla and the N65, all the way to Portumna, to the R489 to Birr, then south on the N62 to Roscrea, continuing east on the R445 through Sentry Hill to the R434 to Durrow to pick up the N77 south, skirting around
Kilkenny town and picked up the N10 south to the R713 into Stonyford. (I paid attention to the route!)
On the bus I hosted a pub quiz I had put together for our travelers; people seemed to have a good time and it made this long 2.5 hour leg seem like it took no time at all. In Stonyford village in Co. Kilkenny we had an absolutely fantastic experience at Malzard’s Pub and Hurling Experience. We pucked some balls around and played some hurling, got to pull our own pints, listened to an awesome seanachie and a ballad band, met an awesome Irish dancer who was in Riverdance with a friend of mine from back home. Had an awesome lunch of a chicken pot pie too; Malzard’s is highly recommended. Continued on to Waterford City from there (after a short 30 minute drive down the M9), where we checked into the Tower Hotel. Once we were all refreshed and checked into our rooms, the entire group went down to Revolution (the site of the gig the next night) for a beer tasting. They had a huge whiskey selection, with tons of expensive bottles. Met Flash Gordon the owner, a total character. Had drinks in the hotel bar until late, with Andy our bass player and his wife. Tons of fun and a massive day!

Thursday, March 17 | St. Patrick’s Day in Waterford

I enjoyed the St. Patrick’s Day parade right on the street (“The Mall”, which becomes Parnell St) outside our hotel. Wandered around the town, explored the Apple Market and a walking/shopping district just up from Revolution where we were to play later that night. The gig was AWESOME, we played our first ever gig on a lit-up disco dance floor. The locals loved us, played tons of rebel songs and really slayed it. Flash was happy, we left with some nice whiskey samplers he handed us. To see the show, join our Patreon community, we videoed the whole thing, and we have lots of other exclusive content there as well!

Friday, March 18 | Waterford to Dublin

Left Waterford in the morning and traveled north toward Dublin on the M9 into Kildare. Picked up the M7 northeast outside Newbridge, bypassing Naas and hitting the N7 into Rathcoole and the Dublin suburbs. Stopped at a huge travel plaza for bathroom and refreshment at some point, but I have no idea where we were. After a panoramic tour of the city, including sights downtown like the GPO, O’Connell Street, the Four Courts, the National Museum, etc, we toured through Phoenix Park, and then the bus dropped us off on Dame Street for a leisurely exploration of the Temple Bar area, Grafton Street, Trinity College, etc. I had lunch with Cole and band manager Macy at Fitzgeralds on Aston Quay just outside Temple Bar. After that, it was time to go to the Ashling Hotel for check-in at 4pm. Did the farewell dinner and performance at Nancy Hand’s Pub, which is always fun but a bittersweet time. Irish musical legend (one of my all-time favorites) Damien Dempsey was playing at some nearby venue (possibly the zoo?), because you could hear him outside. Backed a pair of excellent Irish dancers during the show. Had a few pints at Nancy Hands after the dinner, then went back to the hotel for a nightcap and bed. Here’s some footage of the show.

Saturday, March 19

The tour is officially over and most people headed to the airport early in the morning, but the band stayed an extra day. Enjoyed hanging out and roving around the city. Got our Covid tests, and ate at Kennedy’s, where people were getting set to watch the rugby. Headed back to the hotel and watched the game in the hotel bar. At night had an awesome doner kebab with Cole our guitarist, up the street from the hotel at Romayo’s.

Sunday, March 20

Up early for a cab to the airport and the absolute chaos of the airport. Delayed flight to Amsterdam for a five-hour layover. Hung out in the KLM lounge, and then boarded the flight for home.
What a trip!

(Check out the following video for the perfect chance to meet the Wild Colonial Bhoys and find out more about this great band)

Huge thanks to Adam for this fascinating insight into something we rarely hear about. Events like this far too often disappear down the Facebook feed but deserve a much wider audience. The Wild Colonial Bhoys certainly deserve a much wider audience so go check out their social media and sign up for further information on the Bhoys!

Wild Colonial Bhoys  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Twitter

Join the Wild Colonial Bhoys mailing list and / or their Patreon 

EP REVIEW: BOG IRON – ‘Star Of The County Down’ (2022)

California’s Bog Iron celebrate their 16th anniversary with their first studio release in years featuring a winning combination of classic Folk and hard rocking Trad!

We are ingratiated to you readers sometimes for your recommendations for that is how we came across today’s band Bog Iron. We do have writers far and wide but still need you to point us in the right direction sometimes and it really does show the wealth of bands in the USA that a gem like Bog Iron can lay undiscovered by us till they are in their 16th year!

The early days! from 2010 (left to right : Patrick Golden, Steve Lenard, John Michael, Peter Sheehan

This is in no small part due to them being a gigging band so recording hasn’t been a major priority till now it would seem with two releases in 2022 and it only being April! The first release wasn’t exactly new but a recently re-discovered recording of a gig from the Summer of 2019 at the Midsummer’s Fairytale Celtic Ren Faire in Plymouth, California and recently mixed and mastered by band guitarist Patrick R. Golden. It is a superb album that really gives you a shake. For a start their is no Celtic instruments but the music is unmistakably Irish and even at times when the music takes a harder Rock turn it could still considered totally accessible to even the most hardcore of finger-in-the-ear Folkie. Discovered in a Dropbox folder from the festival’s sound engineer in early March it took a marathon session of auditing, mixing, and mastering but 36 hours later the album was ready for Bandcamp Friday (when the vultures forego their usual massive cut!) and the album was out. It really is a mad mix of Irish Folk songs given the Hard Rock treatment with great vocals and the production is note perfect. The banter with the audience is also a treat showing a band in love with what they do. The highlight of the album is the final song ‘The NIght Pat Murphy Died’ a near nine minutes epic that drifts off into the stunning ‘Those Were People Who Died’ by f’ed up Irish-American writer Jim Carroll. Live Bog Iron ll is only available for download at the moment via Bandcamp but you can listen to it via the player below.

Formed in Monterey, California, Bog Iron have been together since early 2008 formed from the session players on Dún Laoghaire born lead singer John Michael’s solo album. John and Patrick are the remaining two founding members but are joined by Kerry native Peter Sheehan on bass and local Bhoy Keith Wieland on drums. So it was that in the search for inspiration for a new studio release that the tapes for Live Bog Iron ll were found so we can grateful they put in the work. Star Of The County Down remains, and always will, a firm favourite on the Irish music scene but also among Celtic-Punk bands too. A song like many Irish Folk classics that is perfect for adapting to something a bit harder. The EP begins with the title song and yeah it ‘s trad Irish but stripped right back and re-assembled as an aggressive gem of Hard Rock energy. Incredibly all instruments here are played by Patrick with only backing vocals on ‘Star’ provided by John Michael. He even produced it too at Blood Crow Studios. The remaining three songs are all instrumentals though all wildly different. I’m finding it hard to put into words (for the first time in nine years!) for this review as on the face of it ‘Maggie And The Priest’, ‘Kerns And The Gallowglasses’ and ‘The Jig Of Liam Fitzmurderhorse’ are all pretty similar. That hard Rock sound but that clear presence of the underlying Celtic tunes makes each a completely unique transporting Irish folk into the present—and beyond!

The band claim to “put on a fierce live show” and if our only evidence is their live album then we can completely agree. It’s a shame that even though both releases are very good they are also both quite different. I am such a fan of the live album that must admit to a bit of disappointment on first hearing the EP but several listens in and it has grown on me immensely and I’m only impressed with Patrick’s (virtually solo) work. Their may be no wild sing-along choruses as before but it is still a superb piece of work channelling rock giants of Sabbath, Quo and AC/DC but also the the Folk genius of Horslips and the sadly largely forgotten and little known English band You Slosh. With these releases the first since 2018’s Echos From The Cliffs Of Mohere, itself a re-master/re-release of their 2008 debut album, with eight previously unreleased tracks. It is hoped a reinvigorated Bog Iron is in the traps and raring to go and do some catching up on the recorded side of things!

(You can stream  / download Star Of The County Down below)

Buy Star Of The County Down  FromTheBand

Contact Bog Iron  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

EP REVIEW: THE CLOVERHEARTS – ‘Still Pissed’ (2022)

New music just keeps on coming from Australian / Italian Celtic-Punk band The Cloverhearts. One of the scene’s more prolific bands its quality over quantity though and always incredible how they transfer their catchy melodies, tin-whistle ear-worms and energetic live performances into the recording studio.

From their debut EP in 2019 The Cloverhearts have never stopped! At a time when 95% of the Celtic-Punk scene went into lock down they carried on and continued to release music throughout those horrible times. Since Covid’s somewhat miraculous disappearance (!) they have carried on in much the same way. So far 2022 has seen the band record and release an acoustic version of their debut album, The Sick And The Sacred, a couple of singles (only one of which is included here) and three professional looking videos plus a successful tour of Italy and Czech Republic over St. Patrick’s weekend.

Live in Prague – 19.03.2022 * Photo – @crishfoot

Still Pissed came out on March 31 and is five original tracks written by the band themselves. They kick proceedings off with ‘You’ve Got A Friend’ and while their Punk side may owe much to the popular ‘Pop-Punk’ sound and not just in Aussie Sam’s distinctive vocals but also in their positive message. AS you can imagine the song is a joyous bagpipe driven 4-minute romp guaranteed to fill up any dancefloor.

The second of the five track’s was also released as the first single from the EP and ‘Whatshername?’ takes us off to a chance meeting at a Dropkick Murphys show as Sam searches after a elusive women he has taken a shine to and then lost. This time they let Ska take completely over and is reminiscent of the Ska scene’s most popular band at the moment, The Interrupters. Full blown Ska ain’t really my thing but I like this it must be said. Not one for a slow song usually but the Celtic-Punk 10 Commandments does state that you should have a ballad on every release and they do it pretty damn good with ‘Go Quiet Now’. A simple song but beautiful. They turn it up again next for ‘Pennies’ about as Punk as they get and as catchy as anyone could get. Fully embracing the ‘Pop-Punk’ of bands like Green Day, NOFX, Blink 182 (all in their cocky prime of course) and while their Celtic side takes a rest it is still recognisable as The Cloverhearts.  The curtain comes down on ‘All My Friends Are Alcoholics’ and they save the best for last with a Celtic-Punk monster of a song. The celebration of booze and drinking it finishes off a great EP on a real high. We have a funny relationship with the glorification of alcohol in the scene with the criticism it receives from outside more to do with the dislike of working class culture than anything else. Drink or not, drunk or not it’s all about celebrating life and you need to escape the shite sometimes and if drinking and Celtic-Punk is your thing then I’ll have a drink with you anytime.

Always innovative and unafraid to try new things The Cloverhearts will always have at their heart that Celtic base but their sound opens up opportunities to cross over into other genres ensuring their popularity both in and out of Celtic-Punk. Never a band to take themselves totally serious they cover some interesting topics from alcoholism, fist fights and love and loss, Still Pissed has it all. Fast, loud and with what has become the trademark Cloverhearts sound it’s also highly original in a scene that for most of the time prefers uniformity to be honest.

(You can download / stream Still Pissed via the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Still Pissed  Bandcamp

Contact The Cloverhearts  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

ALBUM REVIEW: BRIGADE 77 – ‘Rebellion’ (2022)

The fight against the British Empire by the Irish has long been an inspiration for many and this time for a Celtic-Punk album from Sweden! What better time to feature this album than Easter week. The time when in 1916 a small band of patriots rose up against the full might of the most powerful Empire in history.

Any regular readers will know that the sound of Celtic-Punk is now an international one. The reasons are many but above all it’s the love of the Celts and especially the Irish internationally that has made it so. Ireland’s 700-year struggle for independence from colonial rule has been the inspiration across the world for peoples fighting for their freedom so it is that it’s not uncommon to hear the odd rebel song thrown into many Celtic-Punk bands set-list. Rebel songs in Ireland date back to the first time a Irishman picked up a stone. It’s beyond doubt that English control over Ireland has been a bloody and a despotic one leading to genocide at it’s worse and the starvation of up to two million people and well over another million leaving for other lands, taking their anger and grievances with them.

Brigade 77 is the brainchild of Micke Ström, journalist and musician in Eskilstuna, Sweden. Active in the Punk scene for over 30 years he has always had an interest in Irish music and culture and was the tin-whistle player in a band called The Barcrawlers. The Barcrawlers were one of the best Celtic-Punk bands of their generation around the 00’s and were one of the first Scandinavian Celtic-Punk bands. It was from their ashes that the present day Sir Reg have arose. Brigade 77 is a solo project and Rebellion is the debut release including songs from different eras of the Irish fight for independence.

The album begins with the brooding ‘Intro’. A slow mournful dirge taking in the ‘Star Of The County Down’ that is followed by ‘Viva La Quinta Brigada’, the amazing tribute to those Irish members of the International Brigade, called the Connolly Column, who fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1939. Written by Christy Moore it’s become a staple on the Irish pub scene and names many of the people who left to fight in solidarity with the Spanish people.  It’s sung pretty much how youd expect to hear it sung by a one-man band in any pub (well maybe not every pub!) in Belfsst or Derry or Glasgow. This is followed by  ‘Fighting Men From Crossmaglen’, a more modern song again in tribute to the area of South Armagh that was perhaps the most staunchly Republican during the ‘troubles’. Again played mainly on keyboards its missing some crunching guitar but we get that next in the humorous ‘Sam Song’, a song dedicated to the use of surface-to-air missiles. Written by Gerry Ó Glacain in the late 1980’s during a time of high activity during the war. Black And Tans’ has become one of the more famous Celtic-Punk covers from this genre. Easily switched from Folk to Punk like here it has a chorus where it is seemingly impossible not to wave your fist about. Brigade 77 give it plenty of oompf and maybe could have turned up them guitars up a bit. ‘Irish Citizen Army’ is a song recently recorded by the Dropkick Murphys and tells of the life of the great James Connolly. He spent his entire life fighting for the rights of the poor and the workers and ended it executed while sitting tied to a chair while mortally wounded after the failed 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. A recent song it was written by The Blarney Pilgrims but made internationally famous by Black 47’s recording. Only a couple left and ‘Fields Of Athenry’ has in recent years usurped all others to become the most famous of all Irish rebel songs. Sadly the writer Pete St. John passed away just before St. Patrick’s day so the song is tinged with sadness at his passing. Rebellion finished with an instrumental ‘The Lonesome Boatman’, and the second song that the Murphys have covered. It’s a truly beautiful tune and The Fureys incredible version will be never be mastered but here is done with great spirit and is a great way to bring down the curtain.

(You can hear the whole of the album below via You Tube)

You hear on Rebellion influences as varied as Shane Macgowan, Gary Og, Shebeen, The Wolfe Tones but all mixed with Punk and naturally many different Celtic-Punk bands. Micke says

“My rebel songs are a bit different compared to those artists I am influenced by, but I wanted to take another path, or… maybe it’s because I’m not that great guitarist like Gary Og and the other rebel musicians =)”
Rebellion is unsurprisingly the first rebel album from Sweden. All songs are recorded and produced by Brigade 77 and despite being recorded in his garage the sound is more than adequate. Hard copies of the album are available from Micke by email and praise to be heaped upon him for bringing these glorious songs to a wider audience.

Contact Brigade 77  E-Mail  YouTube

THE ROCKAWAY REBEL OF THE EASTER RISING – JOHN ‘THE YANK’ KILGALLON

“Of all the Irish-American towns in America, it had to be a Rockaway guy that wound up in the middle of the bloody battle at the Post Office” 

Often on these pages we have spoken of the Easter Rising. A somewhat mythical event doomed to failure when heavily outnumbered Irishmen and women rose up against the full might of the most powerful empire in the world. Even now over 100 years later it remains an event unparalleled in Irish history. The rebellion began on Easter Monday and the spark would soon ignite a nation and it’s people.

Here our friend ‘cross the broad Atlantic’ Kevin Rooney writes of the involvement in the Easter Rising of one John Kilgannon, better known as ‘The Yank’.

JOHN ‘THE YANK’ KILGALLON
The Rebel Of The Rising From Rockaway
John Aloysius Kilgallon was born in Queens, New York on September 5, 1891. His father Luke came from Coogue, Co. Mayo. His mother Nora (née) Walsh came from Knock, Co. Mayo. The family lived in Far Rockaway. His father ran a blacksmith shop, which became a successful auto repair shop on Beach 19th Street. He also owned Real Estate. John was their only son.
On 20 August, 1912 John attended a Chauffeur’s Ball in the Imperial Hotel in Far Rockaway. He took a customer’s car from his father’s garage without permission to give his friends a ride home on a rainy night. Ten young people were piled in the car when it struck a farm wagon in the Springfield Gardens neighbourhood in Queens at 2am. Seventeen year old Cecelia Wellstead was crippled after being thrown from the car. She initiated a lawsuit against John for $50,000 amid much publicity. She was awarded $20,000 by Justice Scudder of the Queens County Supreme Court. In the meantime between the accident and the judgement, John had gone to Ireland.

Patrick Pearce

It is believed the family attended a speech given by Pádraig Pearse at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on March 2, 1914. It was attended by about 2,500 people despite being in the midst of a terrible snowstorm. Pearse was on a speaking tour to raise much needed funds for Scoil Éanna/St. Enda’s School in Rathfarnham, Dublin. It was a secondary school for boys emphasising Irish cultural identity; particularly history, mythology, poetry, and most especially the Irish language. Pearse believed passionately that the existing system of education sought to eradicate Irish identity in favour of obedience to Britain.

(‘Easter Mourn’ by In For A Penny. Beginning with the words of Patrick Pearce)

Pearse’s speech was for an annual commemoration of Robert Emmet marking his birth on 4 March, 1778. The young, courageous and eloquent Irish rebel martyr, who was hanged in 1803; holds a place in the hearts of all Irish patriots, but especially that of Pearse. In fact, St. Enda’s site in Rathfarnham, Dublin was much associated with Emmet. The school was relocated there in 1910 from Ranelagh; where it was founded in 1908. Emmet walked its grounds as he courted Sarah Curran, and sat in the same room and was inspired by the same scenery as Pearse a century later. Along with much needed funds to keep the school running, he returned to Dublin with a young Irish-American student from Brooklyn named Eugene Cronin. Pearse wrote to a friend in July, 1914:
“I have got another Irish-American for next term. His name is Kilgallon, his father owns real estate in Far Rockaway and he is quite a young man. He will rank as a university resident.”
Kilgallon is said to have been well-liked and to have thrived in this environment, which included honor and discipline of an increasingly military nature; as well as academics.

Photograph of John ‘The Yank’ Kilgallon in what looks like a Fianna Eireann uniform at St. Enda’s, Maundy Thursday, 1916.

Kilgallon appears to have belonged to Na Fianna Éireann youth organization, and the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), an oath-bound organization dedicated to establishing an Irish Republic by force. He was closely associated with many fellow students who shared this joint membership and was photographed in a Fianna uniform. He became a member of E Company, 4th Battalion, Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers. The company was called “Pearse’s Own” as it contained his former students. They made preparations for the Rising by making grenades, filling cartridges with shot, and making batons.

On Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, E Company arrived at the rebel headquarters at the General Post Office (GPO) on O’Connell Street. Kilgallon, who was nicknamed ‘The Yank’ was quoted by Desmond Ryan to have exclaimed in his American accent:
“Holy Gee! This ain’t no half-arsed revolution! This is the business. Thousands of troops and siege guns outside. The whole country is ablaze. Twenty transports are coming in when the submarines have sunk the rest of the warships. We have our own mint. Light your pipes with Treasury notes and fling all but the gold away. When we do things, we do things.”

After reading the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, Pearse ordered them to take up positions on the roof; where they fired and were fired upon by British troops, and took artillery fire from the British gunboat Helga, positioned in the Liffey. Among his comrades there was Éamonn Bulfin, who was born and raised in Argentina. It was Bulfin who raised the green “Irish Republic” flag on the roof of the GPO. Bulfin later remembered: “One of the pictures that stands out in my mind, is seeing Kilgallon running round on the roof trying to stop fires.” Kilgallon was also said to have saved Bulfin’s life by pulling him from a window in the GPO, which was under heavy fire.

(The most famous of all the many Easter Rising songs ‘The Foggy Dew’ played here by The Chieftains with Sinead O’Connor. It was written by Father (later Canon) Charles O’Neill from Portglenone, County Antrim)

Kilgallon is also remembered for a humorous event that occurred during the week. E Company members crossed Henry Street into Henry Place and Moore Lane and battered an evacuation and escape route through the houses, so that they could access all the houses while remaining sheltered indoors. Bulfin said:
“Myself, Desmond Ryan, Kilgallon, and all of the St Enda’s boys proceeded to break the divisions between the houses for about half the length of the street. The walls were quite thin, and there was no bother breaking them. We reached as far as Price’s or O’Hanlon’s which was a fish shop”.
This included the Henry St. Waxworks, where Kilgallon; who stood 6’2 returned wearing a costume looted from a wax figure of Queen Elizabeth I!
When the order to surrender was given on Saturday 29 April, E Company was huddled together to the Rotunda Gardens. Sunday, they were marched to Richmond Barracks. Kilgallon was sent first to Stafford Jail in England, then to Frongoch internment Camp in Wales with many other rebel prisoners. He gave his address at Stafford as The Heritage, Rathfarnham, Dublin; St. Enda’s. He appears in a group photograph taken at Stafford with a young Michael Collins. He had written to his parents before the Rising that he saw that trouble was coming. When they heard no news from him for a while they feared he might have been killed in the fighting. Bulfin’s sister was able to smuggle out a letter from Frongoch for him which read:
“The authorities said they would release some of us if we would sign a form promising not to take arms against His Majesty’s forces and give bonds to that effect. You know there are none of us here who could do that without betraying the cause we fought for, so I suppose we will have to stay. But it is worth it after all for if we signed these forms they would say they were justified in shooting our leaders as we were only dupes who did not know what we were fighting for. But they will never get us to do that, if they keep us here until we rot.”
The US Consul in Dublin, Edward L. Adams inquired as to the treatment of American citizens Kilgallon, Diarmuid Lynch (who became a naturalised citizen) and Éamon de Valera, who was also born in New York City. How much influence this actually carried is still a matter of debate, particularly in the case of de Valera; who had actually been sentenced to be executed. He held a position of command at Boland’s Mill. Some believe his American birth did save him, on diplomatic grounds. Others believe by the time his turn had come, they had decided the executions had become counter-productive and finished with executing the last two signatories; Seán MacDiarmada and James Connolly. Tom Clarke was a naturalised US citizen, and no issue was raised on his behalf. He and Pearse were among the first to be executed.

Part of the legacy of John ‘The Yank’ Kilgallon’s participation in the Easter Rising was a series of photographs he took at St Enda’s of comrades the day before the Rising begun.

Kilgallon was released before Christmas of 1916 and returned back to the US as part of a general amnesty. The following poem was published in The Brooklyn Eagle newspaper 28 December 1916:
“Under a spreading chestnut tree
The village blacksmith stands
The Smith a mighty man is he
With strong and sinewy hands
Yet worried Luke Kilgallon felt
And mourned since Easter Day
His son, a fine uprising Celt
Was far from Rockaway
For John had been at school with Pearse
That Dublin patriot grim
And when Pearse led his outbreak fierce
The Lion seized on him
Since then poor John, locked up in Wales
And even wails suppressed
Had shared the fare of British jails
Not quite a merry jest
‘A Merry Christmas I am free’
Flashed ‘neath the ocean foam
The smith a jolly man is he
His John is coming home.”
On his return, Kilgallon joined the US Navy and served as a machinist during World War I; though he doesn’t appear to have served overseas. He lived a quiet, apparently uneventful life afterwards managing the family business on Beach 19th Street. He died on 30 January, 1972, coincidentally an important date in Irish history known as ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Derry. The Rockaway peninsula, with its long strip of beaches on the Atlantic Ocean has often been called ‘The Irish Riviera’ and maintains a strong Irish presence to this day.
John Kilgannon Commeration, St. Mary Star of the Sea Cemetery in Cedarhurst, New York.
Online Sources:

(‘Who Fears To Speak Of Easter Week’ written and sung by famed Irish writer Brendan Behan – ‘Ireland’s laughing boy and resident working-class Dublin genius’)

 *
Our thanks go out to Kevin Rooney for this fascinating article. You can hear more from Kevin over at the Irish History 1916 through to 1923 and Everything Irish Facebook pages where he is an admin. Kevin also contributed to the Happy Birthday Mr Bob book, a celebration of Bob Dylan’s 80th Birthday, with submissions from Irish poets, writers, singers, songwriters, artists, photographers and an eclectic mix of admirers! Kevin is an excellent writer and earlier in the year we published Irish Born And Irish Americans : Separated By Common Heritage? about the sometimes troublesome relationship between the two.

EP REVIEW: THE KILLIGANS – ‘Dread Naught’ (2022)

The first new release from Lincoln Nebraska natives The Killigans since 2018’s Dance On Your Grave. A 4-track EP written by different members of the band.

 

It sometimes seems that the only way to get any success out of the Celtic-Punk scene is to tour like bloody mad. This may be true but sometimes bands get the popularity they deserve from the quality of the music they produce. One of those bands is The Killigans who on the face of it don’t seemed that bothered and I’m not aware they tour like mad but they have become pretty well known in the Celtic-Punk scene outside of their home in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Formed in 2004 many, many folk have passed through the Killigans hall of fame but their core has remained consistent through out. A combination of Foot-stomping beer-loving raucous anthemic numbers drawing from traditional Celtic and European Folk music along with Streetpunk, gritty Rock ’n’ Roll and working class ‘alternative’ Country. Dance On Your Grave took five years to complete so one thing we can be sure of is that these fella’s don’t rush things and take their merry time. The EP’s four songs here include a traditional cover, though not from any of the Celtic nations, and interestingly three songs written by different members of the band. Not something you hear of a lot. How has it worked out though?

The EP opens with ‘April ’95’ a song written by drummer Mikey Elfers and it’s a great opener. A lively Punk Rock number that has that unmistakable Killigans hooks and feel to it. Fast and catchy as hell the Celtic instruments are there but so much is going on that they get a bit overwhelmed. The song takes in the awful bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, that killed 168 people, 19 of whom were children, and injured more than 680 others. ‘Black Lung’ is written by banjo player Bob Okamoto and unsurprisingly the banjo is prominent here in a song that owes much I think to Eastern European Folk. The use of brass instruments with trumpet and trombone played by brothers Pat and Chris Nebesniak is very bloody cool and adds loads to the sound. A different style but maybe this was the idea by getting different songwriters on board. Anyhow it works a treat and still sounds unmistakably like The Killigans. The imminent release of the EP was announced with the release of the great video for ‘Who Stole The Keeshka’ a traditional Polish Polka song  about the theft of the singers keeshka or sausage (the word is Slavic in origin and means intestine). The song was written by Polish-American Władysław Daniłowski (Walter Dana)and Walter Solek in the early 1960’s.

(Directed, filmed and edited by: Jared Staab, Produced by: Jared Staab)

A bouncy, happy number that sees the boys getting the chance to dress up an go to town. The sound is of course not a million miles from the EP’s namesakes who have made a career out of Polka-ised Folk-Punk since their earlier days as a Celtic-Punk band. An interesting note here is the similarity of Polka to music from the northern part of Mexico, música norteña, which was influenced by German settlers in Texas around 1830 which gave Mexican Folk music the famous Polka ‘oom-pah-pah’. The EP ends with ‘Man Of The People’ written by guitarist Brad Hoffman. It’s a older song dating from October, 2020 and they save the best for last. A serious subject for the band about politicians of all shades using any means and saying anything to trick you into voting for them. Slow but not ballad-like and sung with conviction the music takes in a few extra unexpected instruments you don’t usually hear but a great song overall.

The EP was engineered and mixed by Jeremy Wurst at Coyote Face Studios in their home town and mastered by Don Gunn. A great EP and as already mentioned nusically diverse from beginning to end with all four songs completely different but still Killigans-ish. Go figure !

(You can stream / download Dread Naught on the Bandcamp player below)

Download Dread Naught  Bandcamp

Contact The Killigans  YouTube  Facebook  Instagram

INTRODUCING RAVENSWALK. NEW BAND FROM BUFFALO

There is nothing better than coming across a new band you instantly fall for. Ravenswalk hail from Buffalo in New York State and while they have just started out they already have out some great sounding demos.

“though the crime rate may be bad and the snowstorms may be inconvenient, the cities friendly locals and beautiful scenery make Buffalo a good place to live.”

Buffalo is a strange city. Between the old steel plant and old industrial areas, yuppie lofts, Irish south Buffalo where street signs are still in Irish Gaelic, it’s a weird mix of blue collar laborers content with “Genny” (a local beer that’s pretty awful) and up and coming twenty-something’s drinking craft beer.

Buffalo Irish Centre mural

I was able to catch up with two friends playing at a local coffee shop on the WASPier north end of the suburbs playing some interesting stuff, outside the normal spectrum Of coffee house music. Ray and Clare make up “Ravenswalk”, a somewhat Celtic, somewhat protest, I think they threw an obscure Cohen song in there once. Weird stuff to hear in the realms of “Wagon Wheel” and “Hallelujah”, respectively by great artists, but cmon. We need to hear that like I need a hole in my head. Ray, acoustic guitar, some vocals here and there, had been playing Irish music since the get-go. He carried on “The Fighting 69th” for a number of years, he said, before taking a backseat to “weirder projects”. His taste is an enigma. One day he’s going from Gaslight Anthem there to The Dubliners and back to Social D.
Clare, to be fair, is an enigma unto herself. Classically trained, jazz lounge, the works. I’ve heard about 7 people there who said “she sings like an Angel”. All truth told, she does. Killer range, gorgeous but controlled vibrato, and a repertoire different but as random as Ray’s. Not as familiar to me, but hey, I like to think of myself as an aged punk who still listens to “Spirit of 77” sort of stuff.
According to both, Ray did a set on mandolin of “London Calling” (it was weird, just roll with it) and then went into a couple jigs. Clare I didn’t catch that night, but evidently she waved him down asking where he’d learned the jigs. Apparently they had zig zagged around the same Irish session music in Buffalo for a couple years but never met. Which is weird. It’s a damn small town.
They’ve done a few demo quality recording sessions, they said, and have about a dozen tunes at that quality on their Bandcamp site.

Bands, at least in my own experience, are a matter of the stars aligning in just the right way at the right time. I can’t tell you how much in my own experiences playing it’s just a matter of the right people in the same spot at just the right point.

3/24 Sessions

3/18 Sessions

3/16 Sessions

Their demos cover some interesting spans and arrangements. Are they brilliant?  Maybe not, but I see some cool potential in these two. We will see what comes out of it, but fingers crossed there will be something new and interesting I’ll pay attention to locally. It’s refreshing, I haven’t been able to say that in a fair while.

https://ravenswalk1.bandcamp.com/

ALBUM REVIEW: THE GROGGY DOGS – ‘Still Groggin’ (2022)

Spanish pirates The Groggy Dogs are back with their second album of trad Irish melodies and sea shanties with a spicy touch of Punk, Ska and Metal.

These guys more quickly and no sooner than Grog O’Clock land on our doorstep their second album arrives too. That debut album, Grog O’Clock was a front-runner for the London Celtic Punks debut album of the year, narrowly losing out to The Outcast Crew but it did make the Top Twenty of the best Celtic-Punk album’s and was well received across the internet. It’s available for only a single Euro and it really is a great album with some great covers and a couple of absolutely killer instrumentals.

Album #2 carries on it was will become I am sure the signature Groggy Dogs way. Covers, originals and instrumentals all paying homage to songs of the sea and the poor sailors that sailed them and sang those songs many years ago.

April sees only the bands second anniversary and if Covid can be thanked for one thing then it is the forming of The Groggy Dogs and since the ending of the lock down they have sprung out of the traps playing live at every single opportunity. Mauro, already a veteran of several Seville based Celtic projects wanted to play Celtic music with a bit more forceful sound and soon joined by the rest of the band and, no doubt the ‘Sea-Shanty’craze from a couple of years back on Tic-Tok, they settled on the idea of Prate-Celtic-Folk-Punk! AS we have said before their is no more than a fag paper between Celtic-Punk and Pirate-Punk with it overlapping constantly so it was no wonder that they soon came to our attention.

Still Groggin’ begins with ‘To Sea Once More’ and the familiar sound of the ocean and tolling bell. A fiddle led lament slowly drifts along before it erupts into a cover of the seafaring classic ‘Old Maui’. The song has become a bit of a staple among the Celtic-Punk community with it often sung acapello. Traced back to the mid-19th century it tells the story of a whaling ship returning to Maui in Hawaii after a long season of whaling.

“once more we sail with a northerly gale through the ice and wind and rain”

Canadian legend Stan Rogers released the best version I have ever heard but the song was made famous in our circles by The Dreadnoughts on their early album Legends Never Die. The Groggy Dogs stick closely to the Dreadnoughts version but add a fun video where the pirate quintet bring us a funny story about a robbery attempt adds to the song’s legacy. Their are so many sea-shanties ready for The Groggy Dogs to mine I was hoping to hear some more obscure covers and ‘Leave Her Johnny’ fits that bill perfectly. In sailor folklore ‘Leave Her Johnny’ was always saved for the very last duty of voyage. It dates back well before it first appeared in print in 1917 and exists in several forms but none quite as different as this one! Knowing you would soon be home would put the crew in great cheer so I’m sure their souls would well approve of the half-Ska/ half-Punk cheerful, bouncy tune given it here.

On their debut album I was especially impressed by the couple of instrumentals and am again here, starting with ‘Grog Party’. A true measure of a decent Celtic-Punk band is the ability to turn their hand to a trad song and here you would think them a Ceili band except for the thrashy guitar and Ska breakdown. Excellent stuff that would be welcome in any Irish public house in the world! The two pre-release singles for the album were ‘Old Maui’ and ‘The Dreadnought’. Another unusual sea-shanty classic and not one I had heard before. Telling of the true story of the ship of the same name, a clipper, built in 1853 in Massachusetts that was the fastest of her time until she sank while in Cape Horn in 1869. The band sing it kinda slow and sound incredibly like the band of the same name here.

Time for another of The Groggy Dogs ace instrumentals and ‘Grog’s Reel’ is another great mash up of trad Irish/ Celtic and more modern sounds without losing any of its old charm. We almost near the end and time for a more familiar song with ‘Katie Bar The Door’. The exact origin of the phrase, meaning ‘watch out, trouble is on its way’ is unknown but it originated in the southern United States and one possible explanation is it was taken from a Scottish ballad called Get Up and Bar the Door published in 1776. The lads be big fans of The Dreadnoughts album Legends Never Die as this another from it that sadly doesn’t differentiate too much from their version. The album’s curtain comes down with their third instrumental ‘The First Grog’ and again it is bloody marvellous. Mashing up the trad Folk melody with Punk, Metal, Ska, Reggae and still leaving it sounding like the song is from the 19th century!

The Groggy Dogs left to right: The Deadman (Lucas Hidalgo) – Drums * The Voodoo Witch (Fátima Caballero) – Violin * The Cap’n (Mauro Blanco) – Vocals, Guitar * The Cook (Carlos Ghirlanda) – Bass * The Buccaneer (Seba Santa Cruz) – Accordion *

A truly talented group and another great album from them. If I did have one slight criticism it is that they need to stamp themselves much firmer on the more popular covers but even these are excellent versions that more than give the band I have mentioned a run for their money. The production for the album is top class and the many Folk and Rock instruments merge together perfectly. The Groggy Dogs are definitely one to watch especially for those who prefer the ‘folkier’ side of Celtic-Punk but still with plenty of oompf to go along with.

Download Still Groggin’

Contact The Groggy Dogs WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

THE SCRATCH FROM DUBLIN. NEW SINGLE ‘Another Round’ OUT NOW!’

The Scratch come from Dublin and have become the latest sensation on the Irish music scene with their loud and catchy as hell acoustic owing much to alternative forms of music as the auld Irish Folk legends.

The Scratch just played in London on St. Patrick’s Day and even though a couple of us noticed the advertisements for it we dismissed the gig and The Scratch as heavy metal. One reason was the name and the other was because the gig was at London’s premier metal venue the Underworld in Camden. It’s no surprise anymore to see shamrocks plastered over everything during St. Patrick’s even when the event has no Irish connection. It wasn’t until a few days later and one of the readers over on the London Celtic Punks FB page left a comment recommending them so I checked them out and bloody hell was I impressed. The band consider ‘Another Round’ as their best work to date so it’s just the perfect way to come in!. ‘Another Round’ is an energetic (soooo energetic) five minute track that builds and builds and builds in what has become their signature and unique way blurring the line between their metal roots and love of old Irish storytelling. The story tells realistically the perils and joys of a night out on the piss.

(Recorded and Engineered by Ben Wanders at Wanderland Studios, Limerick, Ireland.
Starring: The Scratch * Rob Earley * Emma Walsh * Bonnie Dean *)
*
I was down the back of another aul snug just taking the time to watch the wall paint dry
The sound of a bauld aul crowds dull chattering filling the air within an inch of its life
A man on either side of me, the bar to the right
I’d be lucky to make it outta here with me life
And isn’t that your man that barred us last time for singing ‘Ra tunes on a Tuesday night?
Crawling up the walls lookin’ like a rabid hound
Get up outta that, get up off the ground
I’ll tie ya to that chair if ya don’t simmer down
You’re the worlds worst patron saint of stout
Actually didn’t I barr yous last week and what are ya doin’ with a spliff in your mouth?
Alright then never mind what’ll it be lads? Another Round (x12)
Take the edge off the knife
Catch the rain before it all runs dry
Cure the dog of all that ails it
You’ll still be that bitter man inside
They are changing all the taps
Switching off the lights in every room
If the last call has an ending
I swear to god there’s nothing left for you
I was down the back of another aul snug just taking the time to watch the wall paint dry
The sound of a bauld aul crowds dull chattering filling the air within an inch of its life
A man on either side of me, the bar to the right
I’d be lucky to make it outta here with me life
And isn’t that your man that barred us last time for singing ‘Ra tunes on a tuesday night
For singing IRA tunes on a Tuesday night
Guitarist Jordan O’Leary writes
“The song is at its core a drinking song. I don’t think it’s necessarily for or against excessive alcohol consumption, and all that comes with it, but more of an honest portrayal of my own experience with that way of life. It was written back during the first lockdown in 2020. I was craving the warm cozy embrace of my favourite Dublin snug, Bowes bar on Fleet Street. I wrote the song while stuck sitting in a gaff in Palmerstown, Dublin dreaming of the countless nights of craic we used to have in that pub. Most of the references heard in the song are directly related to those nights. The chatter and manic atmosphere of a busy pub, the ever growing rowdiness as the night progresses and the rounds keep coming, the couple of lads in the group that are thrown out for reaching a belligerent state of patriotic pride and singing unsolicited rebel songs at the top of their lungs, and the perpetual and dizzying nature of all of these things combined. The songs structure is essentially a three and a half minute build up that grows more and more tense as it progresses, until eventually it reaches the release and payoff that repeats until its end.”

Contact The Scratch  WebSite   Facebook  YouTube

Download / Stream ‘Another Round’  https://linktr.ee/TheScratch

ODDS’N’SODS. A CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP APRIL 2022

March is over and I hope we all made up for two years of frustration by having a bloody good time but now it’s another Odds’n’Sods. A place for all the news on Celtic-Punk scene’s bands big and small, established or just starting out.

A reminder too that we need your news so anything you would like to share with the rest of the Celtic-Punk scene send it onto us.

In case you missed it Ukrainian ‘Stout Rock’ band ShamRocks from Kyiv have just put out a new single based on an auld Irish rebel song some of you may recognise! We support all countries right to self-determination, free from aggression. ShamRocks have featured here several times in the past so check out their last album, FCP Live, from 2020 and maybe chuck the lads a quid or two if you can manage it. You can show support via https://www.defendukraine.org/donate

The Nebraska based Celtic-Punk band THE KILLIGANS seem to be calling themselves a Ska-Punk band these days but they are still one helluva band and they are back after a wee hiatus with a new 4-track EP, Dread Naught, including their new single about a sausage or something!

THE SCRATTERS are fine country folk made up of various members of The Skimmity Hitchers, The Dreadnoughts, The Surfin Turnips and The Mighty Shinkickers. Expect multiple Folk-Punk-Folk songs about Scrumpy and Western Cider.

THE FEELGOOD McLOUDS had a new single out last month. ‘Head Up’ was originally planned as an encouraging anthem during the pandemic but present events have unfortunately made the track even more appropriate.

Celtic / Folk metal is not a scene we know a great deal about. It’s more a case if we like it and hear it but the new track from THEIGNS & THRALLS is utterly brilliant. The brainchild of Skyclad singer-songwriter Kevin Ridley the video features guests from across the Folk-Metal and wider scene. Their self-titled debut album is out in April on Rockshot Records and we will definitly be listening out for it. 

CALIFORNIA CELTS sound really interesting with their new single a sorta Ska-Folk-Sea Shanty hybrid it comes with a really outstanding video which if their to be believed was done by someone who has won two Emmys !!

We could start including a whole section here for THE CLOVERHEARTS each month such is their prolific output. Just in the last month they have put out two fantastic tracks. Kicking off with a brilliant cover of the Johnny Cash penned ‘Ring Of Fire’ and ‘You’ve Got A Friend’. Both available for $1 from the bands Bandcamp page.

Hungarian band PADDY AND THE RATS are certainly one of Europe’s best Celtic-Punk bands and they just announced the release of their album From Wasteland To Wonderland at the end of April. The band have released one song so far and the album is available to order below.

A new band I just found are Celtic-Rockers BOG IRON from California and I’ve had their recently released live album, recorded at the Midsummer’s Fairytale Celtic Ren Faire playing non stop at London Celtic Punks towers over the last month. Very nice recording too. A notch above most live albums I have heard. If you click on the link be sure to take a listen to the brilliant ‘The Night Pat Murphy Died’ brilliant!!!!

Scottish-born Texas-based singer/songwriter HUGH MORRISON from Murder The Stout has another solo album out this month. Lift Your Head is 14 fresh new songs with the help of New Orleans legend Beth Patterson and percussion guru Pete Sosa. The album comes out on April 8 and is available for pre-release.

BRIGADE 77 – Rebellion (review on its way)

THE GARLIC KINGS – Громко, Крепко, Честно

GREGOR BARNETT – Don’t Go Throwing Roses In My Grave

THE BRIDGE CITY SINNERS – Unholy Hymns

MOONSHINE WAGON – Self-Destruction

THE KILLIGANS – Dread Naught EP (review also on its way!)

SIR REG – Kings Of Sweet Feck All (reviewed yesterday!!)

Remember we can’t review it if we don’t hear it

Blast from The Past is dedicated to bands, many of whom are no more, who put out great music but were never featured on these pages at the time. Usually they come with a free download link. This months band is still alive and kicking up a storm in the Manchester area. PARCEL O’ROGUES doing their best to keep Irish music relevant blending the traditional sounds of the Dubliners with the band’s many influences. They released Hope The Rain Keeps Up back in 2012 and the CD has long sold out but can be downloaded as a ‘Name Your Price’ download. They did some absolutely craic-ing live streams during the pandemic and have shown what a great live band they are.

THE TAN AND SOBER GENTLEMEN are one of the more inventive Celtic-Punk bands out there. From the Piedmont of North Carolina traditional music is in their blood.

All of us grew up playing the traditional music of our beloved state. “Our kind of music,” as the old-timers call it, is descended in part from the music brought over by the settlers from Scotland and Ireland. Irish music and North Carolinian music are long-lost relatives, and we aim to bring them back together. Furthermore, we believe in playing this music the way it used to be played. Not as performance art, or to put the musicians on a pedestal, but as a way to bring folks together in joy, merriment and community. Not to mention having as much fun as we possibly can.

One of the beautiful things in the scene is that many bands attempt to release records themselves far away from corporate control. To this the ‘sober gentlemen’ need your help so they’ve begun a Kickstarter appeal. if you want to hear our kind of music exist in recorded form, and to keep the Bhoys and Ghirls on the road, then this is is how to do it.

We love Aussie Celtic-Punk and we love the debut single ‘Mutiny!’ from CAPTAIN O’BRIEN’S CRAIC from Launceston, Tasmania. Catchy as feck and great fiddle! A 7 piece Pop/Punk band drawing influence from traditional Irish and Celtic sounds. Try and support all new bands as best you can. All their links available through Linktree.

Can’t wait for the MR. IRISH BASTARD tour. We’ll be supporting it throughout and hopefully making a trip outside London too. Seems THE SAW DOCTORS are back on the road with a tour announced for the end of the year. News on the London Celtic Punks front is we are pleased to announce our first gig in a couple of years with Italian band DIRTY ARTICHOKES – the tidiest Celtic-Punk band in the Celtic-Punk scene – returning to London at the beginning of August and will be playing with THE LAGAN and ANTO MORRA, two artists popular on the London Irish music scene that sadly haven’t been able to play much of late. The gig will be at the Bird’s Nest in Deptford and all details are on the Facebook event.

DROPKICK MURPHYS announced their only 2022 dates for the UK. They will play the Slam Dunk festival, headlining the Dickies stage, taking part in Leeds and Hatfield over the weekend of June 3/4. Tickets are almost £100 (nearly a tenner booking fee) so good luck with that folks!

What about this for a bloody good video !! MR. IRISH BASTARD St. Patrick’s Day single dedicated to auld Marmite man Conor McGregor. Utterly superb but bejaysus Conor could do with a dacent PR man.

THE GROGGY BOYS first single from upcoming second album Still Groggin’ is another great slab of Pirate themed Celtic-Punk’n’Ska. The album out on Vampire Productions is like their debut album eight tracks loaded with Punk, Metal, Ska, Traditional Celtic Melodies and Ancient Sea Songs.

Facebook is shit. Proper shit. It’s telling that it only has 2/5 in the play app store! It’s stranglehold on all forms of expression is not good and people are leaving in droves. Don’t despair though you can still keep up with London Celtic Punks posts via our group on the new phone app Telegram. Very similar in style (but better and easier to use) than What’s App but the best thing of all is that it is completely free from outside interference. Join us on Telegram, don’t miss a single post and even receive the odd exclusive and special offer! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/  

Even though we hate it Facebook does supply the occasional ray of sunshine so a shout out to some good friends of ours over on Facebook. The Dropkick Murphys- Fan Page and the Celtic Punk, Folk And Rock Fans are two of the best music forums on FB let alone Celtic-Punk. Ran By Fans For Fans just like you and me. Like and join in the fun!

If you like what we do then you can support us by checking out the London Celtic Punks online store. The Harp’n’Bones design is back in all sizes and on either black or white shirts. We have recently in polo shirts, in all sizes, and some nifty woolly hats as well as the last few remaining Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer shirts. Click the link below for the full range of all our other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the discerning Celtic-Punk fan could ever need! Help keep Punk Celtic!  https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

We’re far more use to giving out these sort of thing than receiving them but it really did make our day to receive this from the original and best Celtic-Punk web site out there – SHITE ‘n’ ONIONS. ‘Best Celtic-Punk Zine’ for 2021. For this and also the very kind words means a lot as we would certainly not be here if not for the inspiration and support from other Celtic-Punk media. #OneBigCelticPunkFamily. They finally got around to putting out their Best Of 2021 list and unsurprisingly, like on ours, The Peelers ran away with the #1 spot. You can check out their list here.

And finally here’s another great *FREE DOWNLOAD* for you this month. Now we’re neither hippies nor are we warmongers but realists. War is sometimes a necessary evil but only after all avenues have been explored and always we must beware of politicians ready to send young men and women from our class not theirs off to fight and die. With that in mind here’s the 3-track single from CHUMBAWAMBA (remember them?) ‘Jacob’s Ladder (Not in My Name)’ that was first released in response to the illegal Iraqi war.  https://www.mediafire.com/file/xjkiayngyiwc4sa/jacladde.rar/file

If you are new to the London Celtic Punks blog it is easy to subscribe / follow and never miss a post. Bands, promoters, record labels, venues send in any news to londoncelticpunks@hotmail.co.uk or via the Contact Us page.

ALBUM REVIEW: SIR REG – ‘Kings of Sweet Feck All’ (2022)

Swedish-Irish rockers Sir Reg are back with a new album, due out on April 1st. Anyone who loved 2018’s The Underdogs won’t be disappointed, as Brendan & Co. stay true to their solid reputation. Here we get yer tastebuds wet (have a Guinness to tide you over).

Kings of Sweet Feck All. Album #6 by the formidable Sir Reg – out April 1st 2022.

Not every Celtic punk band can sing about supermarkets, COVID-19, iPhones and fake news and get it to work. But one band that can, almost effortlessly, is Sir Reg. The upcoming album, entitled Kings of Sweet Feck All, boasts the band’s slick Celtic punk sound but is relentlessly modern at the same time.

Surprisingly then, the opening track is about history. “The Kings of Sweet Feck All” takes us back to the British rule that pervaded all of Ireland for many centuries. And yet, it comes at it from an unusual perspective – compassion. The band explain in the YouTube video description (see below) that some soldiers really were “the kings of sweet fuck all”, because they didn’t want to be there in the first place, and they knew what they were doing was wrong. But as the song says, if they’d stepped out of line, they’d have been treated just like their victims.

Lyric video to “The Kings of Sweet Feck All”, the title track.

After the opening track, the album takes a giant leap into the present day with “Goodbye To All Your Freedom”. With references to the coronavirus and pandemic, it’s pretty clear what loss of freedom Brendan Sheehy’s singing about here. He’s also encouraging the listener to sift through the fake news and make up their own mind. During a health crisis that’s shaken society right up, the amount of misinformation being banded about as truth was disappointing to see. Fortunately then, it’s not all doom and gloom as the choruses to this song give the listener a lift.

Another reaction – albeit more fun – to the pandemic is track #3 “Open The Pubs”. This was the first song from the new album to be revealed. It starts off slowly, before jumping into a rhythm that reminds me of The Real McKenzies’ “Bugger Off”…which is ironic, because “Open The Pubs” is trying to get people in the pub rather than out 😁 But how many Celtic folk/punk singers can sing about Netflix and get away with it? Well frontman Brendan, armed with his unmistakable voice, can. The band made a video for this one too, with a humorous quality to it, so check it out below if ye don’t know it yet.

“Open The Pubs”, track #3 from the new album. Liking the green violin, Karin! ☘️

Let down (and hangin’ around)

The band’s humour continues to show with the strangely titled “Tosspot City”. Another thrasher in A minor, the interplay between the drums and instruments is well done here, especially in the choruses. This lends the song a rhythm and beat that reminded me of another Reg favourite, 2018’s “Giving It Up (The Drink)”. Things then quieten down a wee bit for “Thank You For Your Lies”, led by the tin whistle and Karin Ullvin’s fiddle. The line We’re killin’ time and sippin’ wine, and prayin’ for this nightmare to go away seems to be about COVID again. But the song also laments the fact that various people – from online influencers to certain government figures – have let the people down during the pandemic.

This theme of “abusing the people” continues on heavier track #6 “This Coming Regime”, and this is a song that stands out. With an interesting use of samples, and another uplift that shifts the chorus up a few semitones, this was one of my favourite listens from the album. It’s definitely one of the more experimental, interesting tracks on the new record.

Teamwork

If the album hasn’t had enough o’ the drinking songs for your taste yet, then wait no longer: “Sober Up To Drink” is next 🍺 The Celtic instruments make a welcome return here, with the tin, fiddle and mandolin combining to form a strong team. Add to that a dose of the usual humour, with lines like Singin’ a song to a big crowded room, and I don’t think I know all the words / I fall off the stage and I piss me own jocks. A nightmare for any live musician 😂

Next, we come to the other song for which a video was made on YouTube, namely “Kick Out The Scum”. This one boasts another quality Sir Reg riff, one that reminds me of “FOOL (Fight Of Our Lives)”, one of my personal favourites by the band. Filip Burgman and Karin team up again on the mandolin and fiddle, and the band invites the listener/crowd to join in on a singalong chorus. Check out the video below, which boasts too much energy for society to handle 😁

“Kick Out The Scum”, track #8 and the third song for which a video was made.

Looking out for the little man

We round the album off with a few tracks more sombre in nature. “The Stinking Mattress” discusses supermarkets and homelessness, and a man who loses his job and his life to end up out on the streets. Keeping it relentlessly modern? Yep. On the penultimate track, the band aren’t telling people to give up the drink, but to “Give Up The Drugs”. And unlike “Giving It Up (The Drink)”, this song is deadly serious, with a clear message: find the help you need. Stay away from the people who deal and supply / They don’t give a rat’s ass if you live or die. Brutal and true.

One last ballad rounds the album off, in “The Story’s Been Told”. Sheehy’s lyrics about working-class life take us back to the roots of Celtic punk – and to Dublin in the ’80s as well. Modern technology gets another swipe (no pun intended!) here on the line We didn’t have iPhones, we played in the fields, and the title “The Story’s Been Told” seems to be lamenting how formulaic life can be these days, especially on social media. People nowadays have a lot compared to what they had in the past, and there are advantages to that. But as Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath once put it, “everybody knew each other in the street [when I was young] and everybody used to help each other out.” You don’t always get that nowadays, and life isn’t much better for it. So always acknowledge the little man, and keep looking out for him.

Line ’em up: Sir Reg, photo courtesy of Johan Lundsten.

11 pieces o’ gold

With explosive riffs, clever lyrics and plenty of the usual underdog spirit, Sir Reg emerge from the pandemic with a vengeance. Watch out for Kings of Sweet Feck All when it drops on April 1st, via Despotz Records. We’re sure you’ll enjoy these 11 pieces o’ gold. To get it, head to the band’s official webpage HERE. Or you can drop ’em a message on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter if ye have any questions or just want to chat to the band.

If money’s a bit tight at the moment (thanks, energy prices), then the album will also be available on the band’s Spotify, where they’ve built themselves an impressive following since their 2009 inception.

Sláinte! 🍻 Or as they say in Sweden, släng dig i väggen 😉

Andy x

ALBUM REVIEW: ROUGHNECK RIOT – ‘Burn It To The Ground’ (2022)

UK Folk-rockers Roughneck Riot return from a 4-year break with a loud and angry new album Burn It To The Ground.

Roughneck Riot have returned from an extended pandemic induced siesta to hit us with their latest album release Burn It To The Ground. This is the first release from the Warrington based hardcore folk punk outfit since Out Of Anger was released in 2014.

The past few years have been tough on us all and here at London Celtic Punks HQ we are delighted to see the influx of new music coming from every angle. We have taken this as a sign of normality returning. Burn It To The Ground certainly marks the return of Roughneck Riot to the scene.

The band are known for their hardcore edge whilst keeping touch with the folk punk sound. The album is well balanced, and the results are impressive. The album opens with the suitably titled tune “We’re Still Here” reminding us that they haven’t gone away y’know!! With a total of 12 tracks the album has something for everyone. The stand out tracks are “Cognitive Dissonance”, “No Cure For Us” and the title track “Burn It To The Ground”.

Often when bands take a break it’s hard to gauge what will happen on the other side. Roughneck Riot have come through their four year intermission sounding as good as ever. They are back on the road and no doubt we will be hearing much more of them. Hopefully we don’t have to wait 8 years for the next release.

TRACK LISTING

1. We’re Still Here
2. Stay Awake
3. A New Day Is Dawning
4. Don’t Count Me Out

5. Lampedusa
6. Cognitive Dissonance
7. Burn It To The Ground
8. Tired Eyes
9. We’ve Already Lost
10. The Reckoning
11. No Cure For Us
12. Fucks Sake

Burn It To The Ground is available on all streaming platforms and available to order in CD and vinyl wherever you are. It has been released on SBAM Records and is also available from them.

Buy Burn It To The Ground  FromTheBand

Contact The Roughneck Riot  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube 

ALBUM REVIEW: DRUNKEN FIGHTERS – ‘Someday’ (2022)

The debut album from Catalonian Celtic-Punk band the Drunken Fighters formed out of the ashes of the Drink Hunters!

Was a few years back that Barcelona based Drink Hunters began to make waves in the Celtic-Punk scene with three absolutely stunning albums from 2013-2016. The best being Lurking Behind The Woods which gathered some excellent reviews. What became of them to become Drunken Fighters we won’t speculate on here but I’m happy to see that things have moved on and those talented musicians and songwriters have found a new home for their music.

Formed in 2018 even without the pandemic it’s taken the band a good while to get some songs down on disc but the wait has been waiting for. With the band named Drunken Fighters and beer-drinking considered a national sport in Celtic-Punk it comes as no surprise to hear the album kick off with the sound of a tin of beer being opened. Straight away in ‘Fight’ you can hear influences from fellow Spanish band Brutus Daughter and not just in that they also have a powerful female singer in Alex. The strong Punk Rock sound is accompanied by excellent flute, fiddle and mandolin giving it that unmistakable Celtic edge. On ‘Germs’, the first single from the album, the band take on the far-right and in a country that in living memory existed as a fascist dictatorship the danger is ever present.

“A disease of hate reminds of the seventies”

The songs are all sung in English and while at times it’s a little heavy going the lyrics are all available at the Bandcamp link below. One of the album highlights is ‘I’ll Be Free Someday’ a catchy fast number with some great changes in tempo that only add to the song. The fiddle here is superb and the song cracks on at a good pace. The energetic ‘Friends’ and even faster ‘Like Today’ incorporate sounds from newish bands that themselves crossover genres like Ska-Punks The Interupters. ‘Voice of the Sea’ is perhaps more trad Celtic-Punk than the rest of the album beginning with acoustic guitar and it’s ocean theme.

“When the only ones sailing my coasts were old sea wolves and all stories about me were drunk of too much rum everything was better, It’s breaking my heart As years go by humans go back”

This is followed by the albums second single ‘Je$u$’ and then ‘Be Lost To Be Found’ another great track here. The next couple of songs rattle through in much the same vein with the utopian ‘Requiem’ and ‘LRK’ (shortened from Lost Rebel Kids) continuing with fast guitars, great fiddle and flute and nice tempo changes. The album closes with ‘Monday Dawn’, the longest song here, and some great lyrics about the ‘dignity of work’ and finishing work on a Friday until ‘Monday Dawn’. If a song on Someday was crying out for a bit of humour then it was this one with it’s upbeat melodic tune the seriousness of the lyrics sit a bit awkward.

So if you are more inclined towards the more folkier side of Celtic-Punk then Someday may perhaps not be for you but even then I would hope that listeners could recognise the skill and musicianship of those involved here. Eleven songs, all written by the Drunken Fighters themselves that clocks in at a very respectful forty minutes, which for a ‘Punk’ album is on the long side. Produced by the band and recorded and mixed by Xavi Escribano at EM Estudi Someday is a great debut album and one for those that miss the early days of Celtic-Punk and like a bit more ‘oompf’ with their fiddle!

(You can stream and download Someday via the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Someday  Bandcamp

Contact Drunken Fighters  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

ST. PATRICK’S CELTIC-PUNK RELEASES : SIR REG, THE DREADNOUGHTS, THE FOGGY DUDE, MAGGIE’S FLOCK, SHANGHAI TREASON, FLATFOOT 56

St.Patrick’s is, unsurprisingly, our busiest time of year and we get inundated with albums, EPs and singles from bands left, right and centre from right across the world. Normally we try our best to get round to reviewing as many as possible and it’s not unusual for us to be still ploughing through them a couple of months later. This year we decided we will group the best of the singles together and then take our time with the bigger releases. So a week on here’s the pick of the Celtic-Punk scene single releases from St. Patrick’s week.

SIR REG – ‘Kick Out The Scum’

Our first track is from Scandinavian Irish rockers Sir Reg and once again the subject of politicians comes up for them and you can possibly guess their take on the matter from the songs title – ‘Kick Out The Scum’! Written by lead singer Brendan it is the third single from their upcoming new album of the same name and set for release in April on Despotz Records.

“When will people learn and stop voting in the same useless shower of twats year after year?!! Let’s all stand together and do something about it once and for all! “

THE DREADNOUGHTS – ‘Cider Holiday’

With over 80,000,000 streams on Spotify they like to think of themselves as “the biggest band you’ve never heard of”! Formed back in 2006, they’ve been on a cider-fuelled bender ever since bringing their furious brand of Celtic-Polka-Punk-Klezmer mayhem across the globe. They recently announced some home show dates in Vancouver for St. Patrick’s and also the release of ‘Cider Holiday’ on the big day itself. The song is the first single from their upcoming 5th album Roll And Go on Stomp Records, and hearkens back to Flogging Molly’s finest material and a Celtic-Punk tribute to real farmhouse cider.

THE FOGGY DUDE – ‘Bella Ciao’

Our favourite Czech Republican Celtic-Punk band released a special Foggy Dude version of the classic great Italian song favoured by partisans during the 2nd World War but first sang by sung in the late 19th century by workers in protest against the harsh working conditions in the paddy fields of northern Italy. The timing is impeccable!

MAGGIE’S FLOCK – ‘The Serpent (Oh St. Patrick)

Now a song from Maggie’s Flock that really got into the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day and a tale of the good man ridding Ireland of snakes. If you would like to learn more about the life and times of St. Patrick have a look at our feature from the 17th. Released on the day itself we are looking forward to another great year from these Dutch Celtic-Folk-Rockers.

SHANGHAI TREASON – ‘Failure To Launch’

A early contender for album of the year Shanghai Treason continue their rise with a track taken from their upcoming ‘B-sides’ E.P release which features 3 tracks which didn’t quite make it onto the bands debut album which goes to show f’ing good it was if this never made the cut!

FLATFOOT 56 – ‘Mud’

We end this feature with the band I’m most excited about, Chicago’s pride, the wonderful Flatfoot 56. One of the most down to earth and grounded bunch of guys you’ll ever meet in the music biz. The song itself is, of course, utterly brilliant and is the lead single for their half of a split six-track EP with The Rumjacks out at the beginning of May.

So their you go six bands with wildly different styles and approaches to Celtic-Punk. Contrary to popular belief not all bands in the scene sound like the Dropkick Murphys! While you are here a word to check out the recently updated Celtic-Punk Playlist from London Celtic Punks columnist Andy @The Celtic Punk Author.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/3tv0yD5glCt3aJdJlDIuWX

MOLLYS vs MURPHYS ST. PATRICK’S FACE OFF!

As usual it’s been impossible to keep up with the flow of new music over the St. Patrick’s day period. Not just singles but many EP’s and albums landed on our doorstep that we will get to over the following few weeks but we couldn’t let this years festivities go without a special mention for that oh-so rare occurrence a double release for both the most popular bands in Celtic-Punk – Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys. 

First off the mark on the 10th March were Flogging Molly with “These Time Have Got Me Drinking / Tripping Up The Stairs’. A solid return to form and if anything the classic FM sound of early Flogging Molly. The track is available for streaming and download.

“Morning starts with sunset
As the darkness fills my eye
It’s been so long since another soul,
Occupied this life”
This year the band have been busy with a tour leading up to a all day show at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles on the big day itself that was live streamed but was only online for 72 hours before being withdrawn ensuring I never got (and plenty of you too i suppose) to see it!
The Murphys followed this just a few days after with a tremendous cover of the auld Gospel religious song ‘We Shall Overcome’. Descended from a hymn that was first published in 1901 it has since been sung by strikers and protesters and famously civil rights activists in the United States and the north of Ireland. The song begins with the words of Bobby Kennedy as he calls for unity on the day of Martin Luther King’s assassination and they have never ever sounded so relevant. The Murphys belt it out of the ball park and their is surely no better band in the world at turning any song into a full blown anthem.

“Oh, deep in my heart
I know that I do believe
We shall overcome, someday”
The video sees footage of the band included along with historical photos and film of American protest movements – from striking workers and picket lines to the civil rights movement. No band stands up for the working class like the Dropkick Murphys do. As busy as ever too with a tour that went across the States accompanied by The Rumjacks among others that one of the gang was lucky to catch and review. They also managed a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day live stream from the House Of Blues in hometown Boston though theirs was free but in common with Flogging Mollys was also withdrawn after a couple of days. What’s that about I wonder?
Dropkick Murphys Fan Page By the fans – From the fans – Of the fans
Check back with us at the weekend for as comprehensive a round up of all the St. Patrick’s Celtic-Punk music that was released last week as possible!

LCP INTERVIEW WITH THE AWARD WINNING TED HUTT!!

We are incredibly pleased to be able to bring you a interview with a man who has given so much to music but in particular to our wonderful Celtic-Punk scene. Our fella in the States Ray Ball chatted to Ted Hutt just the other day, Grammy Award-winning record producer, musician and songwriter and original guitarist and founding member of Flogging Molly. Ted is currently part of the Walker Roaders alongside The Pogues James Fearnley and Marc Orrell of Dropkick Murphys.

So I got the chance to talk to award winning producer, Flogging Molly founding member, and Walker Roaders guitarist Ted Hutt. Ted has worked with some of the the artists we all know and love and I am so thankful he took the time to talk to me on his approach to music production and working with those groups.

(The Walker Roaders- Smokestack Lightning – 2021)

Here’s the Q&A. I asked him a little bit to introduce himself. Here’s what he had to say-

“I have always loved music.  I have always loved collaboration where the sum is bigger than the parts (at least hopefully). I have always been thankful for music as a constant companion through good time and bad, and the constant reinvention to be creative and challenge to be creative. I have always felt stuck in bands, always a bit restricting?  I like a lot of things musically and producing gives me a way to dig into different parts of my record collection, to try different things from project to project. It’s interesting as I look through a body of work, that there are common themes and threads that come from the music that we grow up with.”

(Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies – 2002)

(Couple of years after Ted left Flogging Molly he returned on the Drunken Lullabies album as producer and mixer and also as co-writer for a few songs including the title track)

I mentioned again that the last person I saw him talk to was KT Tunstall, which I think was a little outside his usual spectrum. Here are his thoughts-
“Well, interestingly KT contacted me because she was working with a guy named Chris Leonard in Dublin, they were looking for someone to produce them. I guess the long story short was the names and artists they wanted to inspired by and the common denominator was me. I also know James Fearnley (Accordion Pogues, Accordion and Vocals Walker Roaders) and Marc Orrell (guitar, piano, a slew of instruments between DKM, Wild Roses, Walker Roaders, and a slew of other projects as well). I wouldn’t work on a project I didn’t think I couldn’t add something to…but there’s this thread of Irish/Scottish music…with the obvious others like Old Crow Medicine Show for example. I was a fan and thought it would be fun to work with them. I called their manager and next thing you know I’m recording with them at the Sound Emporium in Nashville. I asked them why they agreed and the pointed out the Link between the Celtic music I had made with Flogging Molly.  Interestingly enough there’s also that story telling element with Gaslight Anthem. Bruce Springsteen loved ‘59 Sound’ and sang in a Dropkick Murphys record (Peg o’ My Heart). Once you start digging, that Celtic thread is everywhere!

(KT Tunstall and Chris Leonard – Run Rudolph Run – 2021

Produced by Ted Hutt)

I actually started working on an outline for a book or movie or something about how much of the music we love today had Celtic roots.”

I asked a little bit about that story telling aspect, it obviously plays a huge role in Celtic tradition, but also in his productions. I pointed out the link in ‘59 Sound using “Great Expectations” “Estella” and “Marley’s chains we forged in life”-pulled directly from 19th British author Charles Dickens.
“I loved that lyric”, he said. “Mary I worried and stalled every night of my life/better safe than making the party”, and so many others on that record. I felt like I unearthed another layer, which is something I’m very interested in. It’s an attempt to draw the listener in immediately, but also layers, texture and subliminal stuff that keeps revealing the more they Listen.
The story, when all told, provides a sort of companionship with the listener and artist, it reminds the listener they’re not alone!”
He concluded-“That someone else has similar experiences, that they had similar feelings!  It reminds us “we are not alone in our struggles”. It’s always been important to me as a fan. Maybe we need that more than ever”.

Email: worldsendamerica info@worldsend.com

Instagram: Ted Hutt @tedhutt •Instagram

Facebook: Ted Hutt

Twitter: Ted Hutt (@Ted Hutt)|twitter

Thanks to Ray Ball for the interview. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys covers was one of the most viewed of the year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board the London Celtic Punks team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcamp site.

BEANNACHTAÍ NA FÉILE PÁDRAIG ORAIBH 2022

It seems like ages since St. Patrick’s Day and well it kind of is. It was early March 2019 when the Covid lockdowns began and that years St. Patrick’s festivities were among the first to fall. So fast forward two years and here we are again except this time with plenty to be grateful for. 
So with our favourite day of the year just about to arrive in some parts of the world Irish-American writer Kevin Rooney takes us through the life of Ireland’s patron saint.
Much of St. Patrick’s life is still mysterious and it’s sometimes difficult to separate fact from legend. According to several sources, St. Patrick was born in Roman-occupied Britain; in what is now Wales around the end of the 4th century, and his birth name was Maewyn Succat. His father Calpurnius was a deacon. His mother Conchessa was said to have been a relative of St. Martin of Tours. His parents were both from influential Roman families among those who had brought the Christian faith to Britain. Despite his background, he was not religious or well educated in the Christian faith as a child. His first language also seems to have been a Celtic language rather than Latin.
At the age of 16, he was captured by pirates and brought to Ireland as a slave, during which time he learned the Irish language and became familiar with Irish customs. The Irish were pagans, worshipping spirits of nature and many Gods. He is said to have toiled as a shepherd on Slemish Mountain in Co. Antrim for 6 years. During this time, he prayed fervently and grew in Christian faith and understanding. One night, he was guided by a voice in a dream to escape; and was told a ship was waiting for him. He walked over 200 miles and boarded a ship. He escaped to France and studied for the priesthood. He was driven by a vision of the Irish people asking him to return, to teach them about the one God. He was ordained as a bishop and was sent to Ireland.

Portrait of Saint Patrick by Jim FitzPatrick

Patricius is the name he gave to himself; in Irish – Pádraig, Patrick in English. It appears to mean “noble”, but is said also to mean “father” as in patriarch. In his “Confessio” he writes of himself with great humility: “I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many.” He believed his abduction and time of slavery was a deserved punishment for his ignorance of God’s teaching and commandments. St. Patrick is credited with doing more than anyone to convert the Irish to Christianity. He is supposed to have built about 300 churches and baptized 120,000 people. He is said to have used the three-leaf shamrock to symbolize and explain the Holy Trinity; which is why that symbol is closely associated with him. He is also said to have adapted an ancient symbol of the sun into the Christian symbol now known as the Celtic cross. Perhaps his most famous legend has him driving all the snakes out of Ireland. Some scholars argue this is thought to represent his purge of the influence of the pagan ways and druids’ teaching, rather than taken literally.

Patrick also fasted for the 40 days of Lent atop the mountain in Co. Mayo known ever since as Croagh Patrick (Patrick’s stack). At the end of his fast, an angel appeared to tell him all his petitions for the Irish people would be granted; that they would retain their Christian faith until Judgement Day. On the last Sunday in July, called “Reek Sunday”; pilgrims climb Croagh Patrick (sometimes barefoot) and attend a church at the summit. Also in Co. Mayo is Downpatrick Head, which means “Patrick’s Fortress” where he built a church.
There are stories of pagan enemies wishing to harm him, particularly druids (priests of the ancient religion). His weapons were faith and prayer. He went with several monks to Slane in Co. Meath, near Tara. It was the seat of Laoghaire, the High King of Ireland. He intended to light a paschal fire to celebrate Easter. The druids are said to have made a prophecy to King Laoghaire that once lit, this fire would burn forever; symbolizing the permanence of the Christian faith in Ireland. They were determined to stop him. He and his followers chanted a recitation called St. Patrick’s Breastplate, which included:
“Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.”
His would-be assailants didn’t see St. Patrick and his followers, but instead saw a wild deer followed by fawns. This prayer is also known as “The Deer’s Cry”. Laoghaire decided to let Patrick continue to preach and convert, after being impressed with his courage and eloquence. He died on March 17 in 493, which is why his feast is celebrated on that date. He is buried in Downpatrick, Co. Down. His feast day has become not only a solemn religious observance in Ireland, but also a celebration of Irish heritage and culture all over the world.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! – St. Patrick’s Day blessing upon you

(/ban-ock-tee na fay-lah paw-rig ur-iv/)

Our thanks go out to Kevin Rooney for this fascinating article. You can hear more from Kevin over at the Irish History 1916 through to 1923 and Everything Irish Facebook pages where he is an admin. Kevin also contributed to the Happy Birthday Mr Bob book, a celebration of Bob Dylan’s 80th Birthday, with submissions from Irish poets, writers, singers, songwriters, artists, photographers and an eclectic mix of admirers! Kevin is an excellent writer and earlier in the year we published Irish Born And Irish Americans : Separated By Common Heritage? about the sometimes troublesome relationship between the two.

EASTER PEOPLE RISING

St. Paddy’s day, here we go again. 

Rising with his prayer, 
Christ is here, Christ is there 
Patrick says he’s everywhere. 
 
 Of course the day in Lent falling, 
For what is Irish laughter peeling 
Bodhran beating, fiddles reeling 
Without a Catholic nagging feeling? 
 
 We are an Easter people rising. 
If you prick us are we not bleeding?
If you jest are we not laughing? 
And in our collective memory crying? 
 
Bleeding, laughing, crying,   
Lilly wearing, martyr remembering, 
Living life afull then dying. 
We are an Easter people rising.
 
We are an Easter people rising.
Stephen Francis Bourke

ALBUM REVIEW: SLAINTE – ‘Up Down 95’ (2022)

Sláinte (slahn-chuh): Irish for cheers. 

Slainte offer a fresh take on trad Irish folk music, medlying classic ballads with modern favourites, and marrying traditional Folk instruments with Rock ‘n’ Roll electric guitar.

Boston, Boston, Boston, Boston but there’s a very good reason why its features so much on these pages. The Irish, Whitey and the Irish mob, Charlestown and South Boston, the Kennedys, the Celtics and finally our heroes of great fame the Dropkick Murphys. Sadly just like in London in recent years gentrification has all but wiped out the traditional working class Irish areas of Boston but the Boston Irish community lives on. Their are obvious reasons why yuppies prefer Irish areas of the city to others but like a virus everywhere they move they soon destroy the very reasons that made them want to move there in the first place.

One of the most important fronts in the battle against gentrification is culture. To keep alive the traditions, spirit and customs of where you come from. Of course this doesn’t just apply to the Irish but to everyone but for the Irish our biggest weapon is music. Where else could a band like the Dropkick Murphys have come from and then grown to become one of the biggest in the world?

Slainte from left to right: Andrew Rodriguez – Vocals, Electric Guitar * Mike Perillo – Vocals, Bass Guitar * Steve Smith – Vocals, Electric Guitar * Brady Conley – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar * James Harrington – Harmonica, Tin Whistle * Jon Harrington – Fiddle * Zack Bolles – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar * Ed Cardenas – Percussion * Stephen Sunshine – Vocals, Tenor Banjo, Organ, Lap Steel Guitar * Not Picured (still inside the pub perhaps?) – Pat O’Donovan – Mandolin, Accordion * Kevin Smith * Percussion *

Last year the arrival of Shadows Of Boston dominated the Celtic-Punk scene and just this week the latest album to land on our doorstep is also from Boston from the band Sláinte. Formed at Boston college in 2013 the Bhoys have been a regular fixture on the Boston and New York pub scene ever since. Featuring 11 (eleven!) members making them the largest band in Irish history! While not strictly Celtic-Punk, their music owes much to the likes of well established bands like The Pogues, The Dubliners and The Saw Doctors as well as bands of today like The BibleCode Sundays and NY’s The Narrowbacks. When their founding member and lead singer moved to New York City in 2016, the remaining members decided that rather than fold or look for a new singer from then on the band would not only let everyone sing but they would cast their net further than Boston and Providence and start to play New York as well. In the years since they have added five new band mates, spent a fortune on petrol, played some untold amount of shows and shared a ton of laughs.

Nine years to make your debut release is a long time but not overly uncommon in a scene where playing live is the priority. Up Down 95 is the name given to their album and a tribute to the last few years together while looking forward to the future. Recorded by the lads themselves in various garages, basements, parking lots and fields throughout the Northeast, Up Down 95 is a completely independent DIY release and features original Sláinte material as well as some classic and contemporary Irish and American covers.

Beginning with the title song ‘Up Down 95′. It’s a rollicking rockin’ ‘country-ish’ number with lashings of harmonica.

“when the bar man asked for Galway Girl we said nay nay never no more”

The kind of song to get those with a bit more youth in their tank up on the bar while the rest of us be slapping our thighs and tapping our feet. The title of the song and album is the highway that connects NYC, Providence Rhode Island, and Boston, the three cities they have spent all their time traveling between over the last few years.

A nod to Celtic-Punk next with a straight up cover of the Molly’s ‘Drunken Lullabies’ which only goes to show how far Celtic-Punk has permeated Irish-American life. Next up is the stunning ‘Grace’ written by Sean And Frank O’Meara in 1985 it was first popularised by The Dubliners and sings of the doomed marriage of rebel leader Joseph Plunket and Grace Gifford just mere hours before Joseph was executed by the British for his part in the 1916 Easter Uprising in Dublin. An incredibly moving song it received a major boost in popularity when it was adopted by supporters at Celtic football club. Since then it became many a bands staple and was even recorded by life long Celtic supporter Rod Stewart. The phrase, “the blood upon the rose” comes from one of Joseph’s poems. Performed beautifully by the band they follow it up with a couple of their own compositions. ‘Ember’ is some classic-Rock and shows the bands ambitions go further than just playing other people’s songs. One of the album highlights, while on ‘Irish Whiskey’ Zack Bolles is joined by special guest Annie Cheevers on vocals for a simple yet boisterous song full of banjo, mandolin, fiddle and I’m sure plenty more. By now one of the bands I’m hearing being channelled here is London’s very own BibleCode Sundays. Not so much in sound but more in that they know people and more specifically their own people and what they want. A bit of an unusual cover next of ‘Atlantic City’ from Bruce’s acclaimed acoustic album Nebraska from 1982 (40 years!). Played straight tune wise they add plenty along the way giving it the Sláinte stamp. Now any Irish pub bands can just coast by with the covers but the real sign of a good band is the ability to knock out a good trad tune and (in common with both the Bible Code’s and the Narrowbacks) Sláinte come up with the goods on the excellent ‘The Musical Priest’ where they play it far from straight and inject a bit of Horslips styled meandering into the tune. Another highlight and another to get the young guns up on the bar! The Saw Doctors ‘Joyce Country Ceili Band’ is followed by an original song ‘Boston Girl Who Fled to New York’ and no idea if it’s autobiographical or not but a cracking ballad with some beautiful meaningful lyrics and a superb tune. Up Down 95 comes to an end with a cover of ‘Streams Of Whiskey’ where Shane MacGowan sings of going on the piss with legendary Irish drinker writer Brendan Behan and while no doubt a great version I would have liked them to have thrown caution to the wind a wee bit and gone out in proper wild abandon Pogues style but still a great version and way to wrap things up.

The album was produced, recorded, edited, and mixed by Zack Bolles and Stephen Sunshine of Slainte and mastered by Ian Blanton of Empirical Dynamics in Boston while the cover artwork was done by Bot Roda. A great album but it only goes to show that the best place to hear Irish music is in the pub and while they’ve done a brilliant job of transferring that sound onto disc it’s an eternal battle that Irish bands will always fight. Sláinte are playing all over Boston for St.Patrick’s week so be sure to check them out if you lucky enough to come from Boston!
(You can stream / download Up Down 95 via the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Up Down 95  Bandcamp (also itunes, apple, spotify, amazon, youtube)

Contact Slainte  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

NEW ST. PATRICKS TUNE FROM GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS

The most Poguest of all Celtic-Punk bands Norway’s Greenland Whalefishers are back again with a new song from their upcoming new album.

Now in their 28th year Greenland Whalefishers have certainly put the work in to get where they are with tours that have took them from their home town of Bergen to just about every corner of the world. Around long before the Murphys and the Mollys they have always been compared favourably with the kings of Celtic-Punk – The Pogues. They may have an unmistakable Poguesy sound (think first three albums) but they are in no way a covers band. They may sound ‘more like The Pogues than The Pogues are’ but with their constantly developing sound every album (of which their have been many) sounds fresh and innovative. This new song from Norway’s unpolished Irish-Punk pioneers again shows their band that can do no wrong!

‘St. Patrick’s Day Drinking’ is a song that celebrates if not the holy aspect of the day but certainly the social aspect! I remember as a kid seeing the normally pretty staid adults around me really let their hair down and celebrate the day when their was no shame but pride in being Irish. Shamrock, the colour green, mass, pre-paid postcards from home, maybe Val Doonican on the telly if we were lucky but always with a drink involved. Now I’m older and barely wiser (certainly not more than those immigrant grafters who put up with so much but never let their chins drop) and it’s my turn to celebrate them and all they mean to me on March 17.

The song celebrates in particular the legendary London Irish Publican Michael ‘Butty’ Sugrue back in 1969 who in the London Irish stronghold of Kilburn gets in some practice in his pub as regulars watch him lift a two hundred weight barrel of beer above his head. Butty Sugrue was best remembered as the man behind Muhammad Ali’s bout against Al ‘Blue’ Lewis in Dublin in 1972, but he was originally known as Ireland’s Strongest Man. One of his most celebrated feats of strength included a tug of war with Butty taking on thirty men live on the BBC on the Simon Dee Show.

ST. PATRICK’S DAY DRINKING

Shovelling shit all through the winter.
March 17th seems so far away.
 
In the weekends you ́re a pro Day 
Drinker.Down at the pub singing Galway Bay
 
And before you know it it ́s March again.
Grab your Scally Cap and call up your friends.
 
Trespassing, drunk, throwing stones.
You are bad to the bones
Sink down some Whiskey and throw on some Cologne
’cause now we ́re all going St. Patrick ́s Day Drinking. 
 
Your lousy deadend job feels like jail. 
Spend your weekends down Finnegan’s way.
John at the bar has salvation for sale.
Glorious Day Drinking on a Saturday

Contact Greenland Whalefishers  WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Spotify

EP REVIEW: WHISKEY’S WAKE – ‘Wake Up, Whiskey’ (2022)

Wake up, folks! It’s nearly time for Paddy’s Day ☘️ With THE day for Irish music just around the corner, we’re proud to feature a band whose new EP drops on March 11th, just in time for the celebrations. Grab yer favourite drink, put this one on and turn the volume up.

Whiskey’s Wake from Salt Lake City, Utah return with a new EP.

Today’s band goes by the name of Whiskey’s Wake. A self-described “Celtic-leaning rock band” from Salt Lake City, Utah, these six friends play a mixture of modern drinking songs, friendship anthems, and songs about…zombies 🧟🧟‍♀️ They’ve been inspired by the Misfits, the Dubliners and Rancid to name but a few. The boys actually made their first record a long time ago, when they were in their teens. But then life and school got in the way, and the band was on and off for many years. It wasn’t until the pandemic happened that they decided to take the band more seriously again – and we’re very glad they did 👍

On the EP, entitled Wake Up, Whiskey, we get right into the action on opening track “Whiskey Back”. This energetic song welcomes the listener with the familiar romp of Celtic rock/punk. With a week to go until March 17th, lead vocalist Adam Blair sings some very appropriate lyrics about enjoyin’ yer favourite drink. The sense of community spirit in this song is palpable too, as we continue to emerge from the pandemic and enjoy some real parties again! Let’s make some fucking noise, you say? I’ll drink to that 🥃

Music we enjoy

“We like to write music we enjoy, and think is worth listening to,” the band’s guitarist Patrick Reimherr told me. “And we do try to write songs that would make for fun live shows.” The latter statement certainly shows on track #2 “He’s Alive”. This one boasts more o’ those shout-out-loud barroom moments. The band put the song out ahead of time as a single, and I like how it moves effortlessly from chord to chord, underpinned nicely by Joel Pack’s slick basslines. The doo-wop singing towards the end made me grin as well 😁 More importantly, the song is proof of how hard the band worked on the EP as a whole, achieving a clean sound where the instruments all have space to breathe. So give “He’s Alive” a spin, ye lovable fecks:

“He’s Alive”, track #2 off Wake Up, Whiskey. This one has a good Celtic rock groove to it.

Red Haired Mary

“You Don’t Have to Run” is another energy-laden one, with a slower and more experimental passage halfway through. The rhythm section of Andreas Petersen (accordion), Danny Houpt (banjo) and Derek Julio (drums) combines to good effect here, making for a generally enjoyable listen. The standout track in the latter half of the EP has to be the band’s dynamic take on “Red Haired Mary”, though. We start off slow, before the pace builds for the rest of the song. The band are especially stoked about this modern rock version of the Irish standard, so be sure to check it out when the record drops this week!

All in all, Wake Up, Whiskey is a welcome return to Celtic music for the Wake, as the band nickname themselves. It’s a well-produced record, with the instruments working nicely together, and there are signs of more to come. “We actually have lots of material ready to go,” Patrick confirmed. “And we hope to release another, longer album this year.” Bring it on. Some shows could also be on the cards, so keep yer eyes peeled, especially if you live in the Intermountain region (that’s Utah, Nevada and Idaho to anyone who doesn’t know).

So where can I hear the record?

You can get the EP when it drops tomorrow, on March 11th! Follow the band on Instagram or Facebook, they’ll tell you where it’s available. If money’s a wee bit short, there’s also the band’s Spotify or Apple Music profiles, where you can even hear the band’s early high-school material if ye like.

Bring on St. Paddy’s week!

Andy x

BOOK REVIEW: MICHAEL CROLAND – ‘Celtic Punk Superfan’ (2022)

Anyone up for the history of Celtic Punk in 42 pages? We’re not kidding 🙂 We review a lot of albums, but sometimes books come our way too. This one is for die-hard fans, by a die-hard fan. Add in a dose of Judaism and Latin America, and you’ve got a unique take on Celtic punk. Check this out!

Celtic Punk Superfan by Michael Croland.. A must-read for any Celtic punk fan!

Celtic Punk Superfan is a neatly presented little chapbook (i.e. about 40 pages), and the title describes the author accurately ☘️ Though Michael started out writing about Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys for his college newspaper, the book’s preface carries a dedication to Neck – an early sign that Michael doesn’t just discuss the big names. “Every day’s St. Patrick’s Day”, the band once said. And if you’re Irish at heart, with an understanding and respect for the music, then the door’s open for you to discover more.

Neck get a mention in the book. Here’s their cracker of a tune “Always Upsettin’ Somebody”.

Introduction: Context

Celtic Punk Superfan starts by looking at the role Celtic punk has played in representing the Irish as a group of people. Shane and the Pogues get an early mention, and we’re happy to announce that a few webzines do too – including yours truly, London Celtic Punks 🙂☘️ So thanks for that, Michael!

The author explains how and why bands like Flogging Molly and the Dropkicks originated in the US, rather than in Ireland and Scotland. Their roots in the British Isles are obvious, but then so is the Irishness of Boston, for example. We’re reminded of how Celtic people throughout the world have put their voices and feelings into music. Plus, a lot of references from other literature are included here, proof that the author has definitely done his homework 👍

Foundation: The Two Heavyweights

Back in 2002, Michael was a student at Carnegie Mellon uni. He was as keen on writing Celtic punk articles as he was on writing assignments ☘️ He interviewed Bridget from Flogging Molly, and went to see the band live. The result was two articles that make up half of chapter 1. We look at Dave King’s exile from Ireland, the impact this had on Flogging Molly’s early music, and we’re treated to a quote by the man himself:

“Anyone who has a beating heart in their chest can relate to what I’m singing.”

– Dave King

We then move on to the Dropkick Murphys. Michael sees these guys as a different beast, one fuelled by working class pride and sport, e.g. the Boston Bruins (pictured below). The author was there in 2004 when the Murphys played to a sold-out Pittsburgh crowd, one that didn’t hesitate to rush the stage, if they weren’t just invited up by the band anyway.

Ice hockey team the Boston Bruins, supported by the Dropkick Murphys.

It’s always good to read about gigs where you can feel the energy coming off the page. Chapter 1 gives us plenty of that, and it reminds me fondly of the heart and soul I poured into Folk Springs Eternal. Now we move on to chapter 2…

JewIrish: Connections as a Jew

Now we all know that a book about Celtic punk is anything but boring. But chapter 2 gives us an angle that most people wouldn’t think of. Michael is Jewish, and he talks about the holy Yom Kippur and Purim holidays. But what about Celtic punk? Michael asked himself, “is there such thing as a Jewish-Irish music connection?”

Well, klezmer punk exists, so maybe yes. Michael looks at bands who’ve tried to blend the two influences. There’s Josh Lederman y Los Diablos and the White Shabbos, to name two examples. The Shabbos only recorded one album as far as I’m aware (2004’s Shabbos Holy Shabbos), and the production quality could have been a bit better. But these bands were capable of making a noise as good as any Celtic punk band, make no mistake about that.

The White Shabbos played a blend of Jewish, bluegrass and country music. Give this a listen!

Somehow, Celtic music seems to attract Jewish people. And if there really is a common thread, then two words sum it up: tradition and persecution. The former is something that both Jews and Celtic punks carry with them. The latter, sadly, is something that both have been victims of. And if they survived, they were often displaced, longing for their homelands.

But Saints and Tzadiks are another good example of a band who tried it. So are Black ’47 actually, with their song “Izzy’s Irish Rose” (see below). These guys aimed to mix klezmer with Irish folk. While it’s not quite Celtic punk, it does sometimes feature singing in both Yiddish and Irish. And it’s mixing the old with the new, which is exactly what Celtic punk does! Finally, Jem Finer from the Pogues (Jewish on his dad’s side) gets a mention as the chapter rounds out.

“Izzy’s Irish Rose” by Black ’47 takes an interesting turn from 3:08 onwards 🙂

This is a groundbreaking chapter by Michael, and one that I feel has postgraduate potential to it. Ian Prowse did a Master’s in Irish Studies, so why not? ☘️ But now for the rest of the book…

Ethnic Punk, Celtic Punk

The remaining chapters are a wee bit shorter, as we arrive at Michael’s blog. Michael ultimately draws the conclusion that he likes Celtic punk for its own sake, although there might be an aspect of his Jewish pride to it as well. He continues to discuss the different takes on the music, whether it’s Yidcore (punk first, Jewish second) or Golem (Jewish first, punk second).

Finally, we arrive in the year 2021, in the midst of that pesky COVID-19 pandemic. St. Patrick’s week is underway, bringing us livestreams across different continents, with the Dropkicks, Flogging Molly, the Real McKenzies, Flatfoot 56 and the Fighting Jamesons all checkin’ in. There was an online Latin American festival too, with South American bands using a lot of the instruments we’re used to seeing in Celtic punk. If the music has made it around the world, then so has the dress sense, clearly 😊

The last 2022 postscript brings us right up to date. Now people are starting to go to gigs again. Alas, some shows are still getting cancelled, and some people are still hesitant to go until we get further out of the woods. But the only way is up from here! Michael has the final word with a wee poem he penned for the Celtic punk fan. It contains tributes to various Celtic punk acts, including Vanilla Ice (okay I’m joking, but he does get a mention!)

So…

All in all, it was never just about The Pogues, or Flogging Molly, or the Dropkicks. Celtic punk has reached far and wide, and the scene remains healthy with different bands and fans springing up all over the world. Michael has put his heart and soul into a book about his love of the genre, and his own personal take on it. The book is also well edited and presented; as such, we wish Michael the best of luck with it!

Get your copy of Celtic Punk Superfan by Michael Croland from the author HERE.

Sláinte and l’chaim!

Andy x

NEW SINGLE FROM NOVA SCOTIAN CELTIC ROCKERS THE STAB ROVERS

The Stab Rovers have a strong connection to the Atlantic. Born and raised in the Maritime Provinces, and now calling Nova Scotia home these maritime boys play a mix of Trad and original Celtic and Folk inspired tunes, reimagined in a high energy format.

The Irish outside Ireland outnumber those at home many many times. For instance in the mid-70’s it was estimated their were more people from Mayo in Leeds than in the capital of Mayo itself! The children of those Irish are now fathers themselves and so the Irish diaspora continues to grow and hopefully flourish.  Now some places just roll off the tongue when discussing the Irish diaspora, Boston, Liverpool, New York and London but their is nowhere as proud of their Gaelic roots as Nova Scotia is. The very name Nova Scotia translates as ‘New Scotland in both Scots and Latin and the Irish have been calling the area Talimh An Eisc (‘The Land of the Fish’) for centuries. With over 25% of residents ticking the Irish ethnicity box on recent census and many doing likewise with ‘Scottish’ it’s no surprise to find out that wherever Celtic music is you’ll also find Celtic-Punk too.

Formed as a trio in 2014, The Stab Rovers have since grown to include 5 members. The band members possess decades of experience playing in alternative rock and punk bands all over Eastern Canada. Their self titled debut album was released in 2018 and included several traditional tunes but all with original Stab Rover arrangements.

“We like to think that the songs sound much more interesting when re-imagined as if performed by rowdy pirates.”

During the pandemic, the Stab Rovers used their time in the studio to write and record and after two years without live performances The Stab Rovers are happy to be back playing before the masses! Their new single ‘Off To War’ reflects back on the strong military and naval traditions that are so important and engrained here in the Maritimes. It also paves the way for many more forthcoming releases.

The Stab Rovers left to right : Reece Baird – Mandolin, Guitar * Allan Muir – Guitar, Whistle, Vocals * Alden Huskins – Drums, Bass * Kory Wade – Bass, Guitar, Vocals * Cameron Strong – Banjo, Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals *

We like to think we have our collective finger on the pulse of Celtic-Punk but occasionally a band will slip through and we’ll wonder how on earth we hadn’t heard of them. When we first heard of The Stab Rovers we had thought they had disbanded years ago but were delighted to find out we were wrong. It  may have been a few years since their debut album but it’s not that unusual with Celtic-Punk bands who tend to concentrate more on playing live than recording. That debut album is available for download at the link below.

So absolutely great to have The Stab Rovers back in the fold and we look forward to hearing lots more by them in the near future.

Download Off To War  Bandcamp

Contact The Stab Rovers  Facebook  YouTube

ALBUM REVIEW: JAMIE CLARKE’S PERFECT – ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ (2022)

Only a mere thirteen folk can ever say they were once members of The Pogues and one of those is Jamie Clarke. Since then with his band Jamie Clarke’s Perfect he has carved out a career making, playing and recording a glorious mix of Irish Folk, Garage, Rockabilly and Punk Rock!

We are lucky to have Paul Evans from the #1 Pogues tribute band The Pogue Traders to review the new Jamie Clarke’s Perfect album hot off the press.

Jamie Clarke’s Perfect are a German based folky / rockabilly-ish outfit with nine albums to their name. Perfect were formed after The Pogues disbanded in the late 1990s. Until then, Clarke was a guitarist for late-period Pogues (he took over when Phil Chevron retired from the band in 1994) and featured on the final ‘Pogue Mahone’ LP, co-writing The Sun and the Moon with Spider Stacey.

Their latest offering, Monkey See, Monkey Do arrived in January is packed with tight, punchy hoarse tunes written for a ‘rambunctious live band’ market. It’s a play-loud set, and if you’re looking for an introspective concept album, or lounge-bar background music, this isn’t it.

It’s a wide-ranging collection. Tracks like How the Mighty and Morgane Morgenstein would fit in very nicely on those post-MacGowan Pogues LPs. Greetsiel Reel and Monkey Done gets us closer to the celtic-punk feel of The Men They Couldn’t Hang, Green Cadillac brings a welcome rockabilly-pop dimension while Time is Ticking and the excellent Madness-ish Raise Your Voice tips into ska-punk territory.

I’ll predict the standout track Lady Luck will end up at the end of their live set whenever they want to be brought back on for an encore.

Money See, Monkey Do, does a difficult job well – it’s a new album from a band who have written something to punch-up their live set. Buy the CD, or stream it, but whatever you do, catch Jamie Clarke’s Perfect next time they’re in your town because this album will sound even better live than it does in your living room.

Buy Monkey See, Monkey Do – DackletonRecords (CD/Vinyl)

Contact Jamie Clarke’s Perfect WebSite Facebook YouTube Instagram

Paul Evans is the tin-whistle player in The Pogue Traders – a London-based Pogues tribute band formed in 2007 that even comes with a personal recommendation from one of the original band members.

“The best Pogues tribute band I’ve seen” – Andrew Ranken

It’s coming up to the busiest time of year for Irish music. A time when for many years a Pogues or Shane MacGowan concert was a must so in their prolonged absence it’s only right that a band should fill that void and The Pogue Traders fill it seamlessly. A mini tour around the country sees them take in well know Irish diaspora hot spots so be sure to check them out and if you are wondering what to do in London on St. Patrick’s Day then why not join us for a South London pub crawl ending at The Half Moon Putney for a poguetastic night celebrating the worlds greatest ever band.

THE POGUE TRADERS 2022 ST. PATRICK’S TOUR

https://www.facebook.com/events/1005352306732195/

Leeds – Brudenell Social Club Friday March 11th

Holmfirth – Picturedrome Saturday March 12th

London – Half Moon Putney, Thursday 17th March

Glasgow, – McChuills Saturday, March 19th

And finally, the Nottingham Greyfriars gig from November 2021 was postponed due to illness and is now happening on April 30th 2022 – details to follow.

The Pogue Traders  Facebook WebSite

ODDS’N’SODS. A CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP MARCH 2022

March – that most Celtic of months and time for another Odds’n’Sods. A place for all the Celtic-Punk scene’s bands big and small, established or just starting out.

A reminder too that we need your news so anything you would like to share with the rest of the Celtic-Punk scene send it onto us.

We start off this month with the new single from Scandinavian / Irish rockers SIR REG. Taken from their upcoming new album (due soon!) they are representing the whole continent at the awesome ShamRock Festival in Washington later this month. ‘The Kings Of Sweet Feck All’ tells of British soldiers raiding the home of an Irish family during the war of independence. The soldiers didn’t want to be there, but it was their job and their duty. A reminder that even enemies feel compassion for each other.

London Celtic Punks numbers went down by one when Anna upped sticks to move to Scotland to marry some Scotch fella. Theirs no evidence he’s dragged her to Celtic games yet though but she did form the marvellous GALLOWGATE MURDERS who recently played Edinburgh. We are trying to hunt down the official footage of the entire gig to bring you so watch this space.

We’ve been lucky to have been able to put THE DEAD MAGGIES a few times on their travels over from Tasmania and they are one hell of a great band. Here’s the recently uploaded ‘Billy Hunt’ from their 2015 album Well Hanged live at the HOBOFOPO2021 festival they put on back at home.

THE CLOVERHEARTS are at it again! One of the busiest bands in Celtic-Punk they have followed their recent cover of ‘Country Roads’ with a great version of the Johnny Cash belter ‘Ring Of Fire’.

Was great to hear all the way from Salt Lake City from WHISKEYS WAKE who sent us their new eight track album Wake Up Whiskey. Everyone here really loved it so expect to be reading a very positive review any day soon!!

The new album from FOLK THE SYSTEM, Tales Of Tyrants, Demons & Kings, came out at the arse end of ’21 but we were suffering ‘review fatigue’ so we’re now calling it a 2022 release! Formed in leafy Banbury in 1992 they recorded a handful of tracks, played 100’s of gigs and then split up before reforming in 2013. Their debut album Unrest In The Wolds was released in 2015 we described as ‘raw Punk Folk from the Shires’ in our review. The new album like a lot of releases was delayed by ‘you know what’ and is 11 tracks of catchy leftie British Folk played with humour and spirit.

GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS are playing their home town Bergen on St. Patrick’s day and also releasing a brand new single and video.

A cautionary tale of rats, bargains with the devil and nautical disaster ‘Chip’ was the lead single from THE REAL McKENZIES 2008 album Off The Leach but the guys just released a new re-mastered version on You Tube to announce the release of a career retrospective or as they call it Greatest Hits. The double album is available for pre-sale from Fat Wreck Records.

THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS hail from Spain (I think!) and aye we may have heard it 1000+ times but I love nothing better than a good version of ‘Drunken Sailor’ and this is one. Couldn’t find much about these guys as I think they are pretty new but they sound like fun.

DRUNKEN FIGHTERS – Someday

WHISKEYS WAKE – Wake Up Whiskey

THE KINGS PIPERS – Tradition

SLAINTE – Up Down 95

THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG – Red Kite Rising

THE ROUGHNECK RIOT – Burn It To The Ground

remember we can’t review it if we don’t hear it

A bit off our well beaten track with some Metal but he’s a great guy and the new song from MULLHOLLAND is all the work of just on fella. Written, composed, performed, recorded, mixed and produced by proud American-Irishman Colin Mulholland.

Russia has had some absolutely amazing Celtic-Punk bands in recent years the latest of which are RIOT FOLKS who put up a live concert from last year. Really, really good!

We loved the last album from KEV O’D and he’s just released this song and video in tribute to…

Sydney bhoys HANDSOME YOUNG STRANGERS are one of the leading lights in the Aussie Celtic-Punk scene and are always great to hear from. Their new single is a cover of another band from Oz the Melbourne band Sons Of Lee Marvin.

Blast from The Past is dedicated to bands, many of whom are no more, who put out great music but were never featured on these pages at the time. Usually they come with a free download link. This months band is MOTOR PERKINS who hailed from Donramiro in the Celtic nation of Galicia, currently occupied by Spain. They have split up and there’s not a lot on the internet to be found about them but they were one hell of a band. The album is sixteen tracks, mostly originals with a few local and Irish Folk covers. It was recorded live at Praia América on August 16, 2009 and then mastered and released a couple of years later. Ao Vivo can be downloaded for free simply click the link below on the Bandcamp player.

New craic-ing video from SWAINN (formerly known as Cockswain). The song comes from their fantastic recent album, Under A Willow Tree which we reviewed recently and reached #15 in the  London Celtic Punks Best Of 2021.

Highlights of this month are that the DROPKICK MURPHYS tour of the States has begun with THE RUMJACKS in tow. Early reports are that the Bhoys are still on top of their game and we must send our thoughts over to Al Barr and his family, who has had to drop out of the tour due to extremely sad personal circumstances. There’s been loads and loads of videos coming out (the quality of some is absolutely incredible!) but the BIG news is the Bhoys are live streaming their St. Patrick’s Day concert from Boston for free over on their Facebook and You Tube channels. It’s 1am here so check their page for local times. The perfect way for us to wind down! FLOGGING MOLLY just announced a gig in Dublin in August later in the year which may see an exodus of London Celtic Punks to the capital of West Britain! They are also in the midst of touring and will also be live streaming from The Hollywood Palladium for the princely sum of almost £15. Lots of things will be happening around St. Patrick’s weekend, too many to mention but we’ll do our best to feature them on the LCP events page. We will begin the day at The Cock Tavern in Euston at 2pm with MISSING THE FERRY before going on the lash around South London leading all the way to the Half Moon in Putney to watch THE POGUE TRADERS, the world’s #1 Pogues tribute. Don’t take our word for it “The Best Pogues tribute band I’ve ever seen” – Andrew Ranken. Tickets are on sale from the venue.

I didn’t watch it all and there’s a few points I would disagree with like how can you live in a country with 40,000,000 Irish-Americans and not get it that their might be a similar thing in London! Any how it’s a good watch and the music is fantastic and they are a likeable pair!

Facebook is shit. Proper shit. It’s telling that it only has 2/5 in the play app store! It’s stranglehold on all forms of expression is not good and people are leaving in droves. Don’t despair though you can still keep up with London Celtic Punks posts via our group on the new phone app Telegram. Very similar in style (but better and easier to use) than What’s App but the best thing of all is that it is completely free from outside interference. Join us on Telegram, don’t miss a single post and even receive the odd exclusive and special offer! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/  

If you like what we do then you can support us by checking out our online store. The Harp’n’Bones design is back in all sizes and on black or white shirts. Also we have new polo shirts, in all sizes, and some nifty wooly hats as well as the Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer shirts. Click the link below for the full range of all our other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the discerning Celtic-Punk fan could ever need! Help keep Punk Celtic!  https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

Even though we hate it Facebook does supply the occasional ray of sunshine so a shout out to some good friends of ours over on Facebook. The Dropkick Murphys- Fan Page and the Celtic Punk, Folk And Rock Fans are two of the best music forums on FB let alone Celtic-Punk. Ran By Fans For Fans just like you and me. Like and join in the fun!

Coming up this month we will have reviews from several of the bands mentioned in the new releases but we are particularly looking forward to @theold69th and his live review of the Dropkick Murphys and Rumjacks gig. It’s also worth mentioning that March is the month when three of our Celtic nations have their Saints feast dates. St. David of Cymru on March 1st, St. Piran of kernow on March 5th and St. Patrick of Eire on March 17th. We look forward to this month being designated as Celtic History Month in tribute to the millions of working people from the Celtic nations who did so much for and gave so much to the world.

If you are new to the London Celtic Punks blog it is easy to subscribe / follow and never miss a post. Bands, promoters, record labels, venues send in any news to londoncelticpunks@hotmail.co.uk or via the Contact Us page.

ALBUM REVIEW: OYSTERBAND – ‘Read The Sky’ (2022)

The stars-and-skies theme of 2022 continues with the 12th studio album by award-winning folk rock legends Oysterband. With Read The Sky, the band emerges from pandemic and lockdown hell with ten new songs, and proof that there’s plenty left in the tank yet, both musically and politically.

Read The Sky. The 12th studio effort by folk rock legends Oysterband. Out March 4th!

Like with Ian Prowse’s One Hand on the Starry Plough, what we have here is a collection of songs that aren’t typically Celtic punk. But while the music might not be similar to the likes of “Granite Years” or “The Road to Santiago”, you can never question the impact that John and the boys have had on the UK folk scene since their ’70s inception. Let’s kick things off with “Born Under the Same Sun”; this opener introduces the album’s slick production values, and discusses the changes that our society has seen in recent years. So is the music relevant? You bet. The song is a fine reminder of the socially aware attitude that the band have often embraced, particularly back in the ’90s, and taken into their recording sessions, which this time were done under COVID conditions.

Next up we have “The Corner of the Room”, track #2. This was released as a single just recently, and in my view it was a good choice. The song is a personal tale of hope and ambition, one sure to be popular among devoted fans of the band. The upbeat mood continues here, and I had to smile at the reference to the Isle of Skye, not too far from my now-home of Glasgow.

Reinventing the fiddle (sort of)

From the album booklet, track 3 “Roll Away” looks like it might be a tune (due to the lack of lyrics). Don’t be fooled – it’s a Back Door Slam cover, written by the hands of Davy Knowles. This is where the fiddle, that archetypal Celtic punk instrument, comes to the fore in a somewhat unorthodox way. Many Celtic punk fans are used to hearing the instrument lead the way, in the form of various jigs and reels (think Dan Booth’s work with Ferocious Dog, for instance). But here, the fiddle takes on a different role. Ian Telfer gives the strings more of a twitch on “Roll Away”, in a way that reminded me of some of Hilary Hahn’s work. Ian is one of three remaining members from Oysterband’s early recording line-up, with lead vocalist John Jones and guitarist Alan Prosser being the other two.

The interesting violin work continues during “Wonders Are Passing”. This reflective, Earth-centred track features a solo in the middle, but what struck me was that the fiddle never truly seems to take off. It sounds more restrained than freeform, though this isn’t a bad thing. In fact it would seem intentional, as if it were done to match the mood of the lyrics. “Fly or Fall” has more of the same – some excellent fiddle runs and a catchy chorus, but again, the fiddle still doesn’t steal the limelight.

“Wonders Are Passing”. Track #4 of Read The Sky, and available on YouTube with a beautiful wee video.

The fiddle finally does blossom out towards the end of track #6, “My Son”. The moral behind this track is with great power comes great responsibility, just like in the famous film 😉 In that sense, there’s no better time for Ian to step forward and showcase his skills than during the beautiful outro to this song.

The reeds and the pipes

It might not be your typical Celtic punk album, but Read The Sky doesn’t omit the other familiar folk instruments completely. “Star of the Sea” marks the welcome return of the accordion that fans will know and love from the likes of 1995’s “Put Out the Lights”. “Sea” whisks us away on a brief journey to the far-flung reaches of Hong Kong, and I did wonder if the Dolores in question is the sadly missed Dolores O’Riordan. But the Cranberries frontwoman passed away in London, though she did play in Hong Kong several times.

If “Star of the Sea” didn’t copy “Put Out the Lights” in featuring the uilleann pipes, track #9 “Streams of Innocence” makes up for this. The penultimate track boasts some o’ those piping passages, underpinned by a strong, rolling rhythm. But what about track #7, “Hungry For That Water”? This one is one of the album’s more mystic moments, especially in terms of the lyrical imagery. Add to this some intriguing acoustic soloing that brings to mind Shane MacGowan’s “Lorca’s Novena”, and you’ve got a song whose impact stays with you for longer than you’ll initially realise.

The time is now

The band close the album out in a similar vein to how they opened it; they make another clear socio-political statement with the title track. “The Time Is Now” was the first single released to radio, and fittingly the band performed it during COP26 on BBC Radio 2. The song has a catchy hook to it, underlined by bassist and producer Al Scott’s work on the four-string. John’s lyrics point to the changes we’re seeing near and far in Mother Nature. And the message rings true; in an age where we all need to do something to protect the one world we’ve got, the time really is now. Leave the car at home where possible. Avoid single-use plastic where possible. Sign a petition where possible. We the people have more power than we think on this one. And that’s exactly how it should be.

“The Time Is Now”. The band’s personal statement amid the COP26 conference of late 2021.

“The Time Is Now” puts a thoughtful finishing touch to a well-conceived and well-rounded record. When my wife asked me to describe the album as a whole, one comparison I drew was with another group of British folk-rock legends, namely Fairport Convention. We saw them in Oysterband’s native Canterbury just before the pandemic hit, and perhaps the comparison is fitting, as Oysterband have performed at Fairport’s Cropredy festival on a number of occasions. Either way, we are reminded fondly that folk music knows no barriers. Groups young and old[er] are embracing the genre and working hard, year after year, to keep the music and life’s important messages alive.

Right…where can I get it?

Read The Sky is out on Friday 4th March on Running Man Records. One way to pre-order it is HERE. Give the album a spin, and see what thoughts of your own come to mind. The lyrics are included in the booklet, along with a beautiful wee quote by Emily Dickinson, THAT famous reclusive 19th-century poet.

Alternatively, if ya ditched your CD player years ago in favour o’ streaming, then keep an eye on the band’s Spotify profile HERE or Apple Music profile HERE, where you can refresh your memory of the band’s previous material while awaiting the March 4th release date. Lastly, whatever your choice of listening format, make sure you catch the band on their UK tour commencing April 2022.

LIVE REVIEW: DROPKICK MURPHYS ST. PATRICK’S TOUR WITH THE RUMJACKS AND MORE

The power of your example is far greater than what you say!

and their ain’t no band who set a better example than the Dropkick Murphys. Love, loyalty and friendship. Ray Ball was lucky enough to catch the Murphys on only the second leg of their St. Patrick’s tour in Rochester, New York. 

So, we all know this is a DKM show. And I’ll get into that later, but I wanted to get into a couple of the other groups that played.

Jesse Ahern

First on deck was Jesse Ahern. Before walking in the doors even, I was a big fan. I got turned on to him when he was supposed to see him on a tour that got cancelled opening for DKM. Admittedly I’ve got all the records on my phone and keep them going pretty steadily on rotation in my car.

    But he’s got a classic act down. One guitar, a harmonica and his vocals when he plays live. The records have more instrumental parts but it is bare bones, solid, working-class folk music. Solid solid set, early on and probably didn’t get the attention he deserves but I was definitely right up front and center.

  Next came on The Rumjacks. First and foremost, replacing a band member is hard. I don’t care if you’re playing in a garage or were AC/DC trying to replace Bon Scott. Obviously a singer can also make or break a band. A new one-well damn. Uncharted waters. But they did it well.

The Rumjacks

The sound has changed. Personally I love the newer material-yes the ended with “Irish Pub Song” but ironically I wasn’t to familiar with the rest of the set. The overall sound and vibe is definitely headed in a direction I like. It makes me think definitely of what I wanted to sound like on record-only much, much better. No frills, crazy lighting, etc.  On, straight Celtic punk, filled with whistles, bouzouki’s and a set of highland pipes, and go.

The Bombpops

  The Bombpops are not a group I would have bought headlining tickets for. Just not in my normal spectrum. That said, they had come cool music. Even though in my mind it shouldn’t be, it’s always unique to see two girls on stage. To me, in my own work I could really care less who you are as long as we have a good vibe and make good music. But it made me think of the bonus track on “Elgin Avenue Breakdown” by the 101ers. The track is a live cover of “Gloria” in which Joe Strummer goes into talking about women in the punk scene. “I’ve seen Patti Smith do it…” he says, and in a long tangent into how the whole idea of the punk movement was to break down those walls of convention.
  Have we since 1976 when that was recorded made that headway?  I’m not certain. I think we could argue both sides. I’m not entirely familiar with Bombpops repertoire. But I want to say, girls onstage in any act-punk or no-should not be a novelty. I personally don’t care if you’re a guy, a girl, black, white, purple-if you can play solid music and mean it I will listen. And damn, their guitarist played some of the most true punk palm-muting-all-downstroke machine gun sounding guitar playing I’ve seen in a very long time.
   Ok, onwards. Dkm. I don’t need to introduce anyone here. But there were a few key points. Al Barr is out of the current tour on account of family matters. Much much much respect. The first thing I thought of when I heard that news was “Do you think Mick Jagger took time off from the Stones to help his sister take care of their mom?”  Much respect to those who made it possible for him to do that. Frankly I don’t know much about Mick Jagger’s life, but I’m thinking I’m going to err on the side of probably not.
That leaves a hefty job for Ken to hold down. And he did it like an absolute champion. I’m willing to bet that everyone reading has at least seen them live on one of the Live Streams if not once or many times over the years. You know exactly what a good show you’re in for. But the one thing I will point out-the set list. “Do or Die”, “Caught in a Jar”, Caps and Bottles” and “Curse of a Fallen Soul” (some of which are mostly Al songs) came out of the vaults. The opened with “Cadence to Arms”. I’ve seen them every chance I get since 2004 and don’t think I’ve ever heard that done like that. They also did a mean cover of AC/DC’s “ Rock n’ Roll Singer ”. Old school my friends. A lot of us there were on the older side of the spectrum. There were even a few wee ones with their parents at the front.

So overall, some music I love, some fresh sounds, some impressive unexpected artists? Yes. Some serious nostalgia? Sort of. It got a bit rowdy and we were yelled at by two street preachers waiting on doors to open. It’s a crazy world, and it’s a punk show. Expect anything.

Set-List : Hang ‘Em High / The Fighting 69th / Sunday Hardcore Matinee / Deeds Not Words / Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya / Never Alone / Time to Go / Cruel / Going Out in Style / Take ‘Em Down / Echoes on A. Street / Devil’s Brigade / Boys on the Docks / The Dirty Glass / The State of Massachusetts / The Irish Rover / The Burden / Your Spirit’s Alive / 1953 / Barroom Hero / I’m Shipping Up to Boston / Encore / Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced / Skinhead on the MBTA / T.N.T. (AC/DC cover) /

Dropkick Murphys  WebSite  Facebook  Store

Dropkick Murphys – Fan Page

Now seems the perfect time to mention the #1 Dropkick Murphys group on Facebook. Ran by fans for fans. Simply click the link and join up and join in the Murphys related fun.

Thanks to Ray Ball for the great review and all photos. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys covers was one of the most viewed of the year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board the London Celtic Punks team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcamp site .

THE LUCKY TROLLS ARE BACK. NEW SINGLE ‘CITY OF IRON’

Formed in 2017 it wasn’t till 2019 that they released their debut EP. We loved it and would later award them Best Celtic-Punk EP Of 2019 but they’ve kept us waiting for the follow up and finally this week it has arrived. City Of God the first single of the upcoming album Raised Fist And Rebel Songs.

The Lucky Trolls are an Celtic-Punk band founded in Liège, Belgium, in 2017. The five members are all well respected in the Belgian alternative and Punk-Rock scene (Radio 911, Chump, We Are Minutes, Young Enough, …). With 50+ shows played within two years, the band released their debut self titled 4 track EP in March 2019. The EP was well received and also proved popular with fans at festivals and clubs around Belgium. This led to them opening for everyone from fellow renowned Celtic-Punkers The Real McKenzies to Folk-Rock artists like Jethro Tull.

The Lucky Trolls left to right: Anne Sophie Sauvage (Ms S) : Violin / Vocals * Nicolas Fréson (Mr F) : Guitars / Vocals * Romain André (Mr A) : Guitars / Bouzouki / Vocals * Fabrice Van Bever (Mr V) : Bass / Vocals * Gilles Bruneau (Mr B) : Drums *

Since then, The Lucky Trolls have kept on rocking Irish pubs and fests around Belgium, France and Switzerland. They also entered the studio at the end of last year to record their first full length album. The album’s first single is ‘City Of Iron’ and talks about corruption, political bribes and payoff’s and how this system can be oppressive even in a small town like the one we live in, Seraing, which is also known as the “City Of Iron”.

Released February 21, 2022 * Music and lyrics by The Lucky Trolls
Produced and mixed by Tim Van Doorn at Big Dog Recordings
Video directed by Terry at JNMRT Media

Come in liar, I’ve seen you around
Gimme some reasons to stay in this town
This anxiety is bringing me down
Listen to the story of the city of iron
One more scam in the city of iron
This is the end of the city of iron
*
It happened without a sound
I was caught upside down
By a red hand, a hand that grabbed my soul
And for a century I fuckin fell asleep
With no smile, no smile but a gun
*
Man are you oppressed?
Full of distress?
No one can leave this mess
*
Don’t ask me who, where, when and why
The nightmare has come to life
Hardworking men you feel it in your bones
When today’s friends, yeah today’s friends
Are tomorrow’s killers
Your future is to buy under the table
*
And big brother must die under a fire sky
The city is dead, long live all the lies
And hope will sing along, raised fist and rebel songs
The city is dead, long live all the lies

(You can stream and download City Of Iron by The Lucky Trolls for just a solitary Euro via the Bandcamp player below)

Download City Of Iron  Bandcamp

Contact The Lucky Trolls  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram Spotify

EP REVIEW: THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG – ‘Red Kite Rising’ (2022)

A year after the tragic death of founder member Cush The Men They Couldn’t Hang show they intend to troop on with their first release since May, 2020’s album Cock-A-Hoop.

The shock of the sudden death of Cush was widely felt and his presence, songwriting skills and voice will be forever sorely missed. The Men They Couldn’t Hang began their days back in 1984 when Cush, then a roadie for The Pogues, formed the group with songwriter Paul Simmonds, Cush’s fellow vocalist Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers and his brother Jon and Shane MacGowan ex and member of The Nips Shanne Bradley. They were lucky to count the late John Peel as a fan and it was his championing of the band on his Radio show that led to their debut single, Eric Bogle’s ‘Green Fields of France’ (sung brilliantly by Cush) becoming a big top hit in the UK Indie charts and inclusion in Peel’s festive top 50. With their fame growing it was around this time that I first heard them on the radio while on a caravan holiday in Withernsea. It was 1984, my Dad was on strike, rebellion and revolution was in the air and in the charts and Janice Long had also took to playing the hit on her radio show, ensuring that as soon as I got home I searched all the local stores till I found it and soon later their debut album Night Of A Thousand Candles. Around the same time The Pogues were going from strength to strength and while often put down as Pogues copyists nothing could be further from the truth. It had more to do with the fact this music was so unusual that they were grouped together. The Men were eventually labelled ‘cowpunk’ with their mainly acoustic-electric-Folk owing much to the energy of Punk while oftentimes they crossed over completely.

Success led to them signing to MCA Records and several more outstanding albums including How Green Is the Valley the following year and in 1988 Waiting for Bonaparte. Their fame and popularity was beginning to rise though that never quite transferred into the record sales their label demanded and so they moved on to Magnet Records recording a trio of brilliant albums Waiting For Bonaparte, Silvertown and 1990’s Domino Club before they called it a day.

Retirement didn’t last very long and within a few years The Men were back and even recording again. Not a band to rest on past glories a bunch of albums followed with original material that fans eagerly lapped up. With 20+ releases (and far too many to number side projects) a collection of studio, live and compilations it’s hard to navigate for the new fan but those first five albums are without doubt among the finest Celtic-Folk-Punk albums of all time. So it was with great shock we heard the news of the death of Stefan Cush on February 8th last year after suffering a heart attack. We were privileged to be able to publish a touching tribute to his memory written by his friend and photographer Marvey Mills.

Stefan Cush

The Men and the various members of the band when releasing their own material have always utilised crowd funding as a way to keep control and releases independent and Red Kite Rising has been no different. The 4-track EP came out last week, on St. Valentines Day, and is hoped that it will help fund their next album which they be working on this through the spring/summer/autumn. The EP begins with the title track ‘Red Kite Rising’ penned by Paul Simmonds and a celebration of the life of Stefan Cush. Loved and respected by all it’s typical The Men. Catchy. jaunty and folky it’s a great tribute as is the songs title with the Red Hawk being his favourite bird. The next couple of songs were first recorded during the sessions for their last album Cock-A-Hoop in 2020. First up is ‘Reeling And Railing’ and again typical men with a nod back to their ‘cowpunk’ days. Imagine a bunch of young men in tartan work shirts swinging each other round and it could be the 80’s again. The Men could always bash out a dramatic ballad, in fact my favourite songs are ballads like Scarlet Ribbons, Green Fields and the amazing (and packed with so much meaning for me personally) ‘Company Town’ and while it’s maybe not quite ballad territory ‘Hanging On’ is the slowest here. The EP ends with ‘The Rose Of England’, a cover of a song by Nick Lowe that first appeared on the album of the same name in 1985.

“For her feckless boy
She did weep and wail
Saying, Lord have mercy where did I fail?
Out my belly, then pick up a gun
And fall for the Rose of England”

A fantastic song sung with such passion and firmly made into a Men song. Their are no videos to accompany this release but you can hear the whole EP at the link below and we are already looking forward to that forthcoming album.

R.I.P. Cush but The Men They Couldn’t Hang live on…

(You can stream / download Red Kite Rising on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Red Kite Rising Bandcamp

Contact The Men They Couldn’t Hang WebSite Facebook YouTube Instagram

ALBUM REVIEW: BRYAN McPHERSON – ‘How To Draw Everything’ (2022)

Fiery, Folk-playing, Irish-American blue-collar Boston native Bryan McPherson is back aided by a ‘Molly’ and a ‘Murphy’ among others with a new album and bejaysus if it’s not one of his best ones yet!

I’ve often wondered at the word ‘fan’. As a longtime Leyton Orient supporter we don’t get many ‘fans’ down Brisbane Road. Over the years when we have had the odd moment of success some have drifted by before decamping to follow more media friendly teams that they can brag about on Facebook. See I think of ‘fan’ as opposed to ‘supporter’ as a rather trivial term for someone who isn’t really invested in what they follow. In that sense I don’t like to think of myself as a Bryan McPherson fan I think I’m more of a Bryan McPherson supporter! So with that in mind I’m a keen supporter of whatever he gets up. It’s been two years since Kings Corner was released and for Bryan believe me that’s quite a gap. A simple search for Bryan on this site will throw up reviews and articles reaching into double figures, a number reserved only for the likes of scene stalwarts like The Pogues or the Dropkick Murphys.

It doesn’t seem like two years that must be said as Bryan is one of those performers who keeps his audience, his supporters, close by him. Throughout the lockdowns Bryan was a regular face on our screens with his live streams and videos so it never seems he’s too far away and always there ready to connect with us. Perhaps it’s his Working Class background that keeps him so grounded, especially when all I ever see is huge amounts of praise and adulation for him! His ability to sing everything with passion imbued with a raw sense of emotion is second to none. An interesting anecdote here is (she’ll not be happy I told anyone) on hearing this album for the first time alone in the car my Mrs cried. She couldn’t put her finger on why but just a few snatched lines of lyrics and the mere sound of his voice seemed to be enough for the tears to flow.

Unusually for Bryan he has roped in some friends to aid on the recording of How To Draw Everything. Use to just voice, harmonica, acoustic guitar this album feels more fleshed out compared to much of his previous work with the ex- Dropkicks and current Walker Roader Marc Orrell on mandolin, Dustbowl Revival’s drummer Josh Heffernan, violinist Chris Murphy, who has worked with everyone from the Waterboys to Mike Watt, and Grammy Award-winning record producer and original guitarist for Flogging Molly, and also a Walker Roader, Ted Hutt on bass and percussion. Quite the roll call I’m sure readers, here especially, will agree. The album opens with ‘2 Birds’ which was also the first single/video released. With a rare opportunity to film outside his Mam and Dads house it’s a great video. Simple and effective and fits the song perfectly. I always get the impression that Bryan prefers the ‘home’ setting to set ups like this but he throws himself into and even manages to not look uncomfortable!

(Director of Photography: Eric Wagner * Production Assistant: Joe Bennett)

“There’s something about the sky that makes me grateful to be alive.”

A beautiful song with an unbelievably catchy chorus Bryan wraps so much round a simple tune. Lyrically there’s plenty to unwrap with Bryan triumphing over the demons in his life and coming out the other side. ‘Alameda St’ keeps it upbeat and tells of his move from Boston to Los Angeles and trying to figure out what to do with your life, and what lies deep in your heart. ‘Sweet Kari’ is more trad McPherson with a soft whisper cracking over a gentle folk song telling of moving on from lost love. The video here is from one of Bryan’s many live streams and is included here just for reference as like the video for ‘American Dream’ below many aspects of the song changed from these recordings to what eventually would appear on the album.

The harmonica is one of my favourite instruments and I think it’s a shame it doesn’t get used more in Celtic-Punk. It’s most definitely a folk instrument as you don’t need a music lesson to learn, making it the most working-class of all musical instruments! Here it gets an airing for both the upbeat and the gentler songs with ‘Hello, So Long And Goodbye’ a perfect example of the former. Catchy and tuneful but then the whole album is. How To Draw Everything has several anthems and ‘Lightning Lullaby’ is one such with several lines jumping out at you. “A bridge in England where everyone falls” and “going on tour with my depressing songs just like my Grandma use to sing to me” are just two as Bryan sings of the power of music in bringing people together. These are divided times and while each side thinks it’s because of the other their is always hope they are both wrong to think so. All the tracks here are written by Bryan except for ‘Shooting Star’ next up, where he was joined by Josiah Mazzaschi. A gentle beautiful song followed by another in ‘Troubled Times’. Bryan McPherson isn’t scared of an epic. My favourite of his songs is ‘I see A Flag’ check out the video from London where he performed to a small but adoring crowd back in 2015. Who would open their set with a eight minute song? Bryan McPherson that’s who. ‘American Dream’ is more than double that and it’s telling that it was several plays before I realised it’s length so gripping was it. Written in 2020 as tensions across the USA were greater than many even ever remember their was a need to remind ourselves that

“good outweighs the bad no matter how imperfect the country is, and there is power in recognizing our similarities.”

Chronicling his years on the road, playing and visiting every corner of the USA, meeting good and kind people everywhere he went. People with many differing views and experiences but still with the time to bond with this travelling musician living out of his car. A song full of optimism and a song I hope that looks to the future.

We are heading towards the end and ‘Home’ and on an album so strong while it is hard to pick this is my standout track. The word ‘beautiful’ has been overused in this review I’m sure you get my drift. ‘Bedroom Eyes’ is an optimistic love song and it’s just like Bryan to make some beautiful (groan..) out of something that on the face of is tragic.

“where I come from we grow up too tough”

After the first few plays I had insisted this was one of Bryan’s best albums but now while all the eleven songs are sitting at the top of my phones ‘most played’ list I would go so far as to say this is his best work to date. Each song is crafted with so much love and attention. This is what writing ‘musician’ on your passport really means. The album ends with the title song ‘How To Draw Everything’ and another standout track among the many. An amazing end to an amazing album.

How To Draw Everything was recorded at Kingsize Soundlabs in Los Angeles, California and produced expertly by Ted Hutt and engineered by Ryan Mall. Bryan’s journey from his raw debut Fourteen Stories, released in 2007 (I recommend checking out his back catalogue at the Bandcamp link below) has been a roller coaster of emotions with us being allowed into every aspect of his life and his thoughts. With age does come understanding, As he puts it

“From the perspective of age comes a spiritual death of what was, and in its place, a re-discovering of peace, country, and self are found. Hope finally outweighs despair and can be reclaimed, like a child wondering at the seeds of a dandelion. Hope was there all along.”

It may be a peculiar to put it but I support Bryan McPherson.

(Stream/ download Buy How To Draw Everything on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy How To Draw Everything Stream/Download/Vinyl/CD

Contact Bryan McPherson WebSite Facebook Instagram YouTube

All Bryan’s previous studio releases are available via Bandcamp plus many interesting live concerts and tracks, many available for free download and all available to stream. You can also support Bryan by buying some merchandise including a brand new How To Draw Everything t-shirt.

ALBUM REVIEW: BURBRIDGE AND BOOTH – ‘Icons’ (2021)

Make way for a Celtic punk superduo! When the highly respected and prolific Nick Burbridge contacted Ferocious Dog’s Dan Booth, he suggested making an album together. Dan quickly agreed, and the project was on. The result is Icons, an unorthodox folk-punk album that showcases more fine work from these two men. Check it out!

Icons by Nick Burbridge (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Dan Booth (fiddle).

As we all know, Celtic punk often boasts the crunch of an electric guitar and the crack of a drum head. That’s why Icons is not your typical Celtic punk record. The album is entirely acoustic, a stripped-back undertaking that sounds like it could be played at a spontaneous pub session. But don’t be fooled: Nick Burbridge has lost none of his musical competence from the days of McDermott’s Two Hours. His wit is as sharp as ever too, with an onslaught of clever, poetic and politically aware lyrics. The album launches us straight into the action with the title track. “Icons” points the finger at imperialist figures of the past, and the human rights atrocities that wouldn’t be tolerated today. If we all pull together, we can tear these figures down, begins the chorus. Together with the line We stand as one and take the knee, this song makes a clear statement for the current times. The use of the word “icons” is meant in a disdainful, rather than respectful manner.

“Icons” is the title track, and sets the tone for the record.

Nick has struggled with depression over the years, and as such, he uses his work to call attention to people who feel (or simply are) rejected by mainstream society. This theme continues on “Soldier’s Heart”, a song that provides a grim insight into the day-to-day horrors of war, and its ugly brother, war crimes. This creates an atmosphere that only lets up during the mid-section, where a drop in pitch makes way for the warmer tones of Nick’s voice. Another track that provides a temporary break from the hard-hitting lyrics is “Judgement Day”. I had to smile at lyrics like My friend Flynn’s on the last train in, and the line about a sex worker who describes her male customer as “awful small”, to which he replies: I’m gettin’ old now, you’re lucky there’s anythin’ there at all.

Dan Booth, Ferocious Dog and The Levellers

So far, we’ve praised Nick’s contributions highly. But the other half of this record is Dan Booth, fiddler and founding member of Ferocious Dog, no strangers to the Celtic punk fan. Dan takes over the proceedings towards the end of “Cover Me”, which the Dog themselves recorded on 2019’s Fake News and Propaganda. It’s got working down the pit, it’s got prostitution, it’s got fighting. And it’s got wounded souls, who are longing for some protection from the world. As I listened to Dan’s jig, I was transported straight to a pub in Ireland, watching an evening session in an intimate setting. Dan regales us with more slick, fast-paced interludes in “Living on Thin Air”, another Dog number, and if ye’ve never seen the version where Dan, Ken and the lads were joined by Nick on stage, take a look ‘ere, ye ken:

Living on Thin Air, played live by Ferocious Dog featuring Nick Burbridge.

“Dirty Davey” is another title you might recognise. None other than The Levellers covered this one way back in ’93, on their self-titled effort that went all the way to #2 in the UK. The band have cited Nick and McDermott’s Two Hours as a key influence, and the opening piss-take of English Country Garden here is sure to make you smirk. The song then continues in its verbal abuse of political corruption, and the associated treatment of suspects and prisoners.

Nick on guitar and vocals, Dan folkin’ the fiddle, and a collaborative album to match.

Corruption and oppression

When Nick released War Without Honour, a collaborative non-fiction book from 1989, it kicked up a storm. This album might achieve the same, if the intended political targets were to listen to it (it’d be good music for a party). Sadly, it’s doubtful that they will, but the twelve tracks here are still fine examples of Nick’s poetic prowess and Dan’s signature fiddle runs. Icons is a protest album that relentlessly goes for the bollocks, but is sensitive at the same time, looking out for the oppressed and lamenting the corruption of the masters, whatever their various guises may be.

It’s clear that the main goal of the Nick’n’Dan project is not commercial success, but to remind people that corruption and greed are always present. And that it’s up to us individuals to keep them in check. In that sense, congratulations to Nick and Dan on conceiving this unique album, and an additional “thank you” goes to Sarah Huson-Whyte and Tim Cotterell, two more greatly skilled musicians who supplied additional instrumentation to the record.

You can get your copy of “Icons” by going HERE. You’ll also find A3 prints of the artwork that Jez from the Levellers produced for the album! Alternatively, if ye need to support the artists for free, the album is also available for streaming on YouTube, Spotify and the like.

Stay folky,

Andy x

ALBUM REVIEW: SYR- ‘Sentinel’ (2022)

Syr is a Celtic Folk Rock band from Columbia, South Carolina. Music inspired by Celtic history, mythology, and folklore… like what you would listen to just before smashing a Roman legion!

Our first ‘proper’ review of 2022 and it falls to Syr a Celtic-Rock band from South Carolina. Sentinel is the bands third studio album and comes after a series of predictable pandemic-related delays. Two years of canceled and postponed live shows, live streams and uncertainty about the future only seems to have amplified Syr (pronounced Sire) and their stories of Celtic history, stories and myths taking in themes like battle, love, and victory. Lead singer and founder Kyle MacCallum says

“The idea is to write about Celtic history, legends, and stories finding themes that would resonate with a modern audience.”

Taking the well trod route of humble beginnings of pubs and local venues, the band’s high-energy live performance has since received a welcome at regular performances at some of north America’s biggest Celtic events and festivals. Sentinel is their third album after the self-titled Syr in 2015 and The Winter King in 2017. These have been accompanied by a couple of singles all available via the band.

Syr is Kyle MacCallum – Lead Vocals, Guitar * Laurel MacCallum – Vocals, Percussion * Kelly and Greg Vance – Bass and Drums * Ben Campbell – Guitar * Worth Lewallen – Fiddle

Not a band I’m familiar with so fresh ground to be trod for the site and while Syr think of themselves as more a Celtic-Rock band

“While I wouldn’t characterize the band as “punk” you’ll definitely pick up on the metal influence, and the defiant tone that has always been a feature of us Celts!”

I couldn’t agree more! Sentinel begins with Isolation’ a short atmospheric intro that sounds like it could come from a movie that soon bursts into ‘Revenant’, a track that spans everywhere from trad Irish Folk to New Model Army to Euro Folk-Metal. This is the kind of Celtic music that is accessible to all. Tuneful, catchy, light hearted (in a serious way!) and 100% genuine. ‘Tir N’aill’ was the albums first single and here Laurel takes over from her brother Kyle on lead vocals. Kyle has more the ‘rock’ style vocals while Laurel is more folk orientated reminding me of the lovely Aoife O’Donovan.

Like the music the video is also atmospheric and features the lyrics above sweeping landscapes from the Celtic nations. The tribal sound of the drums is used to great effect in ‘Specters’ despite its slightly poppy sound (though that’s probably just by our standard!). Title track ‘Sentinel’ stands out with it’s unrestrained power even though it’s played little more than a ballad.

The music itself is played simply but effective with only Worth Lewallen’s constant fiddle (alongside the occasional whistle and mandolin) embracing Celtic instrumentation but then the voice is as powerful as any instrument especially in Folk music and in Kyle and Laurel both have the most expressive voices that seem to cross both ancient and modern. Of course the drumming adds a dimension to the music lost in the more ‘traditional’ style Celtic-Punk and nowhere on the album is this expressed better than on the instrumental ‘The Painted Ones’. ‘Baobhan Sith’ has shades of great trad crossover band Planxty. Slow, gentle and beautiful. ‘Lay of the Ashes’ kicks it up a notch with a lively song led into with some great fiddle. ‘Idistaviso’ gives us a positive slice of Celtic-Americana that wouldn’t be out of place being ruined by many a star (BS anyone?). It may sound funny that as editor of a Celtic-Punk site it is the slower more Folky Syr offerings I prefer especially this. ‘Oran Na Gaillinn’ is upbeat and catchy and also the longestvtrack here at almost six minutes. Known in the Celtic-Punk as either a head-nodder or a thigh-slapper. Kyle sings in Irish next on ‘Albion II’ and understand the meaning of that. Of a Irish-American who has taken the time to learn the language of his ancestors. It’s a shame more Irish musicians don’t follow him. A great rocking song with some super fiddle. We are almost at the end and ‘Legacy’ starts with what sounds like the feet of marching men off to wage war and fight to defend their homes. Stirring stuff alright. The curtain comes down on Sentinel with ‘To Avalon’ and an instrumental fit to see out the album. Great in scope and style and a rousing way to say goodbye.

Thirteen tracks that come in at just under a hour and absolutely note perfect production. Syr play the sort of music that bridges not just the gap between Celtic-Punk and the Trad/Folk scene but also the sounds of the 70’s and 80s Irish Folk scene and now while also embracing the better bits of the Folk-Metal scene too. This is a grand record and it’s easy to see why they are becoming so well known on the American Celtic circle. Music played with a passion but also a belief in it.

(You can listen to / steam/ download Sentinel from the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Sentinel  From The Band-CD  Download

Contact Syr  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

INTERVIEW: IAN PROWSE – ‘One Hand on the Starry Plough’

In part 2 of our Ian Prowse special, we’ve interviewed the man himself. Ian’s fourth solo record One Hand on the Starry Plough comes out on February 11th, which is mere days away! If you’re familiar with Ian’s back catalogue, or ya wanna know more about him and his contributions to Celtic music, then check the interview further down ☘️

One Hand on the Starry Plough. The fourth solo effort from Ian Prowse, out February 11th.

If ya missed our very recent review of Ian’s upcoming album One Hand on the Starry Plough, be sure to check that out HERE. Other than that, let’s get into the interview, and see what Ian himself has to say about the new record! Here it is…

London Celtic Punks sit down with Ian Prowse on the eve of his fourth studio album.

We would like to congratulate Ian on a job well done, especially during the terrible lockdowns that have affected so many musicians’ lives. One Hand on the Starry Plough is available now on Kitchen Disco Records, you can get it HERE. You can also get a taster of what the album has to offer, by checking out the official YouTube video to track #1 “Battle” below:

“Battle”, track #1 from One Hand on the Starry Plough by Ian Prowse.

Sláinte mhaith! 🥃 And enjoy the music ☘️

ALBUM TEASER: IAN PROWSE – ‘One Hand on the Starry Plough’ (2022)

One album we’ve been looking forward to in 2022 is the new offering by Ian Prowse. The seasoned singer-songwriter is known for his work in rock genres. But his contributions to Celtic music can’t be underestimated, and he hasn’t forgotten those influences on his upcoming record.

One Hand on the Starry Plough by Ian Prowse. Out 11th February 2022.
One Hand on the Starry Plough by Ian Prowse. Out 11th February 2022.

Released off the back of a tough time for musicians and artists, One Hand on the Starry Plough will be Ian’s fourth solo record. We’ve been granted an early listen, and the album has all the right people behind it. Long-time pal and bandmate Tony Kiley was chosen as producer, and a wide range of guest musicians lend their instruments and voices to the record. The result is a diverse and exciting album, where bluesy rock, choir singalongs and – of course – folk music all turn up for it.

Now…Ian is perhaps best known for his work with Liverpool-based band Amsterdam, whose single “The Journey” hit #32 in the UK charts back in 2005. But he’s no stranger to the Celtic music that we all know and love. Ian has participated in the Irish Sea Sessions, and he holds an MA in Irish Studies from the University of Liverpool. While at uni, he concentrated his work on the role of Christy Moore in Irish folk music, which I bet was an interesting and rewarding write-up ☘️ Both Moore and Elvis Costello have given Prowse their seal of approval, and Ian’s first band Pele supported The Pogues back in the day too.

So while Starry Plough ain’t your typical Celtic punk record, it’s well worthy of a closer look. We’re gonna keep things Celtic by focusing in on some of the album’s folky moments.

Holy, Holy River

It’s not long before the album makes its mark in terms of the Celtic influences. Track #2 “Holy, Holy River” is arguably the strongest song on the album. The fiddles and tin whistles that burst into view remind us of the warm, romantic feeling that Irish music brings to every heart. The song then grows into a stomping rock track, with some tin whistle soloing in the middle and the eponymous one hand on the starry plough lyric repeating during the outro.

Ian has said that the album, as a whole, is about hope. It’s about looking up at The Plough in the starry night sky, and realising that we DO have one hand on it. As long as there is hope in life, we’re not lost 🙂 So “Holy, Holy River” is a worthy centrepiece to the album, and is reminiscent in places of another popular Prowse piece, “Does This Train Stop On Merseyside?“, which was covered by none other than Christy Moore on his successful album Listen.

Ian Prowse. A seasoned singer-songwriter with a lot of support behind him.

Dan

Another song to stomp around to is track 8, entitled “Dan”. The catchy, attention-grabbing lyrics here are bolstered by the fiddles in the background, and again the tin whistle is along for the ride. These familiar instruments come to the fore in another folky interlude, and they stick around for the second half of the song.

Interestingly, this song also mentions Cork City and Michael Collins at one point. Now Collins wasn’t born in Cork City (though he was born in Co. Cork), but he did go to the city to speak, and he was there during the Irish Civil War. The “Dan” in question doesn’t appear to be Dan Breen, though – it seems to refer to a musician, not a politician. Maybe it’s the singer-songwriter Dan Donnelly? Ian himself can surely tell us more next week. So in other words, watch this space…😉

My Old Black Tie

The final song to highlight is “My Old Black Tie”, a beautiful, melancholy ballad found in the middle of the record. The fiddle gels well with the electric guitar here, but perhaps it’s the lovely wee flute solo at the end that steals the show. Proof – as if we needed it – that Irish music can be quiet or loud, and still powerful in both cases. Drawing the listener back to the album’s main theme is always a good way to round off the first half of a record, and Ian does that as he sings: Do you remember the starry sky? / Do you remember all our lives?

Bring on the release!

“Diego” and “Big Feelings” have Celtic elements to them too. But give the album a spin yourself when it comes out on February 11th – which ain’t all that far away now! 😉 With an imaginative new record on offer, Ian’s back, and he’s taking on the world once again. If ye really can’t wait until Feb 11th and you need a sneak peek of the album right now, then check out the official video to track #1 “Battle”. Here it is:

“Battle”, track #1 from One Hand on the Starry Plough by Ian Prowse.

One Hand on the Starry Plough is available for pre-order HERE. To check out Ian’s previous work via the streaming platforms, look him up on Spotify or Apple Music. Or catch up with him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram too.

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS 2021 READERS CHOICE WINNER ANNOUNCED

We finally wave goodbye to 2021 with the announcement of who you the beloved readers of this site have chosen as the best of ’21.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018 – KRAKIN’ KELLYS 169 votes  (524 total)

2019 – MICKEY RICKSHAW 94 Votes  (476 total)

2020 –  THE GO-SET 281 votes  (1105 total)

The response to the poll has been terrific with once again the number of votes increasing, this time by almost 500! Last years runaway winners The Go-Set would have only trailed in in third place this year. From the off it was Ferocious Dog who swept into a massive lead, at one point they even had 75% of all the votes cast. We thought they had it in the bag especially as the Blaggards challenge soon petered out but that was before fellow Texans Die Strömms mobilised their fan base. Steaming in out of nowhere and in the last few days they even looked set to sweep past and take the title before just running out of steam and time. Cheers and beers to all who voted!

So an amazing 1576 votes cast altogether with Ferocious Dog deservedly winning in my opinion but congratulations must go to The Jollies from Mobile, Alabama in the States who despite not having their album reviewed (!) still managed to get Good Whiskey And Bad Decisions into third place just ahead of Blaggards! Remember bands if we don’t hear it we can’t review it!

  1. FEROCIOUS DOG – The Hope
  2. DIE STROMMS – Vinem, Et Domina Canticum
  3. THE JOLLIES – Good Whiskey And Bad Decisions
  4. BLAGGARDS – Blagmatic
  5. THE CRAZY ROGUES – Advanced Roguery

Ferocious Dog’s The Hope came in second in the official London Celtic Punks Presents The Best Of 2021 and has been widely acclaimed as their best album in recent years. It even marched confidently into the UK Top 30 the first time Celtic-Punk has appeared there for decades! Good things are continuing to happen for these guys and they thoroughly deserve it.

Not so many votes cast for EP’s this year but a runaway winner far ahead of anyone else.

  1. SHADOWS OF BOSTON – Demo
  2. BLACK MATILDA – Black Matilda
  3. FOGGY DUDE – More Ain’t Less

Brand new Celtic-Punk supergroup Shadows Of Boston from the coolest place in Celtic Punk – Dorchester, MA triumph! Their self-titled debut EP was by far the most widely read review on the site last year and I haven’t met anyone who wasn’t blown away by it and it’s still available as a free download.

Cheers for taking part in our poll and congratulations to Ferocious Dog and Shadows Of Boston. It does now seem like the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train but a return to normal existence so hopefully 2022 will bring these bands the recognition and success they richly deserve. Thanks to you for supporting London Celtic Punks and we ended ’21 in the best shape we have ever been so expect good things from us too! Why not consider subscribing and never miss a post (the box is on the left when viewed on your lap top) or send us your email through the Contact Us page. We promise not to bombard you too much!

READERS 2018 * READERS 2019 * READERS 2020

ODDS’N’SODS. A CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP FEBRUARY 2022

A new year and the first Odds’n’Sods of 2022 and the biggest and best one yet.

A reminder too that we need your news so anything you would like to share with the rest of the Celtic-Punk scene send it onto us.

We start off with hearty congratulations, tipping of hats and raising of beers to Rémi Geffroy accordion player of TARA’S FOLK and THE BOOZE BROTHERS who has just been made world champion for diatonic accordion with 3 button rank. An amazing achievement and literal proof that Celtic-Punk does have some of the best musicians in the world!

We like to champion new music. After all you can’t just sit at home listening to Rum, Sodomy And The Lash for the rest of your days so delighted to hear the debut single from SALTY SPITOONS all the way from that Celtic-Punk paradise Indonesia.

Just like buses along came another amazing Indonesian band PANGLIMA KUMBANG and their new single. I hate Spotify but if you would like to hear more from this fantastic scene check out the Indonesia Celtic Punk/ Irish Connection playlist.

French band THE MOORINGS have a new album out on St. Patrick’s Day and have released one song ‘Cheers’ and put the album up for pre-release sale on Bandcamp.

Irish label ROTATOR VINYL RECORDS are set to officially release the debut album from Dublin based Punk band THE DUBTONES in April but it’s already up on Bandcamp.

Ace American band THE KILLIGANS release a new EP on March 1st featuring a collection of darker songs written during the pandemic. Highlighting three different songwriters and a Killigans rendition of a Eastern European sausage ballad.

Premier league Aussie Celtic-Punk band THE GO-SET are working on a new EP. 4-5 songs that will hopefully be released around April and they will ne touring very soon.

American-Irish Folk band THE ALT release Day Is Come this week. The Alt are John Doyle, Nuala Kennedy and Eamon O’ Leary and each are at the top of their game when it comes to Folk and Roots music. Seven years on from their superb debut album they are back!

One of the first bands we featured on this site was IRISH MOUTARDE from Quebec. At the time they had amassed quite the following but things have been a little quiet over the last few years so we were delighted to hear their new single ‘Vive Le Vent’. Sadly it came too late for our 2021 Christmas songs round-up so apologies but “we can’t review it if we don’t hear it”. 

Basque band McONAK are a band we have been aware of but never got the chance to review so here’s their recent single ‘Kontrolatzen’ featuring Fermin Muguruza.

The song is taken from their 10th anniversary album Bitakora from December last year available from Bandcamp.

Irish Folk-Rock pioneers Tír na nÓg have a new album out, Live 1970-71, featuring live tracks from their earliest days. Some of which have lay hidden away in the vaults since they were first recorded.

THE ALT – Day Is Come

JAMIE CLARKE’S PERFECT – Monkey See, Monkey Do

TIR NA nOG – Live 1970-71

SYR – Sentinel

THE CLOVERHEARTS – The Sick And The Sacred Acoustic

remember we can’t review it if we don’t hear it

Over two decades, Michael Croland has been a Celtic punk superfan and wondered whether he was Irish in another life. He has just published a new book, CELTIC PUNK SUPERFAN! and it’s available from Amazon in paperback ($4.99) and eBook ($2.99). This anthology celebrates the full glory of the Celtic punk rainbow, from the progenitor Pogues to Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys to second-tier old faithful’s and obscure Latin American artists.

Today we present a band from God’s Own country! FOXES FAUX a seven piece acoustic country / folk / punk rock band from Keighley in West Yorkshire. The band have a couple of studio albums behind them but today’s offering Lost Fox is a collection of stand alone recordings, B-sides, EP tracks and four unreleased songs and is available as a ‘name your price’ download. Not a band I know much about except i do recall them playing London at least once and I was delighted to see on their Facebook page that they are still treading the boards round their local town. Upbeat, Folk-Rock of the Lev’s variety and no doubt brilliant fun to watch live.

THE MYSTERIOUS WHEELS have been playing tight, authentic Blues and R&B for over 40 years but for thirty-five of them lead singer Andrew Ranken was a bit busy playing drums for another band (!). Same Shoes New Blues is only their second album in all that time and showcases the band on top form, featuring all original material. The band look forward to playing live again and as we have had several failed attempts at booking them well you never know!

We start with the sad news that THE RUMJACKS extensive UK tour with ‘banjo punx’ SHANGHAI TREASON has now been postponed. No details as yet of re-arranged dates. A couple of gigs to pre-book now. THE WOLFE TONES postponed dates are back on at the London Irish Centre on Feb 23/24. GLENN HODGE BANNED and DYLAN WALSHE are both favourites of the site so even better their both together on the same bill at The Green Note in Camden on April 5th. This will sell out so be sure to get your tickets soon as possible. MR. IRISH BASTARD had their original tour cancelled right back at the beginning of the first lockdown but they are back and set to tour again hitting London at the New Cross Inn on 21st May. BELLOWHEAD are on tour in November. Relevant future dates are all included over on the LCP events page on FB for Social Distortion, The Dreadnoughts, Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys and more.

RUSS RANKIN was also the lead singer in Punk bands GOOD RIDDANCE and ONLY CRIME and has only just followed up his 2012 debut solo album with it’s follow up Come Together Fall Apart of which ‘Statutes Of Kilkenny’ is featured.

Canadians SUMMER OF ’92 have just released a cover of the Bruce song ‘Lucky Town’ and made it available for ‘name your price’ download. Their excellent 2012 album Long Kesh is still available too.

Facebook is shit. Proper shit. It’s telling that it only has 2/5 in the play app store! It’s stranglehold on all forms of expression is not good and people are leaving in droves. Don’t despair though you can still keep up with London Celtic Punks posts via our group on the new phone app Telegram. Very similar in style (but better and easier to use) than What’s App but the best thing of all is that it is completely free from outside interference. Join us on Telegram, don’t miss a single post and even receive the odd exclusive and special offer! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/  

If you like what we do then you can support us by checking out our online store. Just in this month are Polo shirts, in all sizes, and some nifty wooly hats as well as the Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer shirts. Sizes for some of the older designs are limited so check carefully. Click the link below for the full range of all our other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the discerning Celtic-Punk fan could ever need! Help keep Punk Celtic!  https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

A plug for some good friends of ours over on Facebook. The Dropkick Murphys- Fan Page and the Celtic Punk, Folk And Rock Fans are two of the best music forums on FB let alone Celtic-Punk. Ran By Fans For Fans just like you and me. Like and join in the fun!

Be sure to check back this Thursday for quite the feather in the site’s cap. We are unbelievably proud / chuffed to bits to have been able to preview the new album from the legendary IAN PROWSE. Not only that but next Sunday we have a exclusive LCP interview with TheCelticPunkAuthor and Ian. Raised on protest songs and influenced by the Celtic sounds that make Liverpool so unique, Ian has cemented his cult following over twenty five years with indie bands Pele, a five piece alternative rock ‘n’ pop band with an infusion of Celtic sounds, and Amsterdam and now as a solo artist renowned for his incendiary live shows. NOT TO BE MISSED!!!! 

If you are new to the London Celtic Punks blog it is easy to subscribe / follow and never miss a post. Bands, promoters, record labels, venues send in any news to londoncelticpunks@hotmail.co.uk or via the Contact Us page.

NEW SINGLE FROM SPAIN’S THE GROGGY DOGS ‘OLD MAUI’

Grog-fuelled, rum-thievin’ Punk Metal Pirate Band with a drop o’ Celtic on top!

Fresh from making the top 20 Celtic-Punk albums of 2021 Spain’s The Groggy Dogs have already sprung into action for 2022. Their new single is a cover of the seafaring classic ‘Old Maui’. The song has become a bit of a staple among the Celtic-Punk community with it often sung acapello. Traced back to the mid-19th century it tells the story of a whaling ship returning to Maui in Hawaii after a long season of whaling.

“once more we sail with a northerly gale through the ice and wind and rain”

Canadian legend Stan Rogers released a excellent version but the song was made famous in out circles by The Dreadnoughts on their 2007 album Legends Never Die. The Groggy Dogs stick closely to the Dreadnoughts version but add a fun video where the pirate quintet bring us a funny story about a robbery attempt adds to the song’s legacy.

Just under a year after the release of their acclaimed first album Grog o’Clock the Seville based pirate crew are back on board with the first single from their forthcoming new album Still Groggin. With a good measure o’ Punk, dash o’ light-hearted Ska, hard-hittin’ melodies and lyrics that chronicle the hard life of ship life. Release date for Still Groggin is March 2022, an 8-track album loaded with Punk, Ska and Irish melodies and sea-shantys.

It’s a damn tough life full of toil and strife
We whaler men undergo
And we won’t give a damn when the gale is done
How hard the winds do blow
*
For We’re homeward bound from the Arctic Gound
With a good ship taut and free
And we don’t give a damn when we drink our rum
With the girls of Old Maui
*
(chorus)
Rolling down to Old Maui, me boys
Rolling down to Old Maui
We’re homeward bound from the Arctic Ground
Rolling down to Old Maui
*
Once more we sail with a Northerly gale
Through the ice, and wind, and rain
Them coconut fronds, them tropical shores
We soon shall see again
*
For Six hellish months we passed away
On the cold Kamchatka sea
But now we’re bound from the Arctic ground
Rolling down to Old Maui
*
(chorus)
*
Once more we sail the Northerly gale
Towards our Island home
Our whaling done, out mainmast sprung
And we ain’t got far to roam
*
Our stans’l booms is carried away
What care we for that sound
A living gale is after us
Thank God we’re homeward bound
*
(Chorus)
*
How soft the breeze through the island trees
Now the ice is far astern
Them native maids, them tropical glades
Is awaiting our return
*
Even now their big, brown eyes look out
Hoping some fine day to see
Our baggy sails running ‘fore the gales
*
Rolling down to Old Maui
Rolling down to Old Maui, me boys
Rolling down to Old Maui
We’re homeward bound from the Arctic Ground
Rolling down to Old Maui
Rolling down to Old Maui, me boys
Rolling down to Old Maui
We’re homeward bound from the Arctic Ground
Rolling down to Old Maui…

Contact The Groggy Dogs  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

SIR REG NEW SINGLE ‘OPEN THE PUBS’ OUT NOW

With impeccable timing the new single from Sir Reg just beat the Irish government to ‘Open The Pubs’. A sentiment we can all agree with!

In a world of uncertainty, there’s few things that will lift your spirits like a raucous, rollicking slice of Celtic-Folk-Punk, and Swedish/Irish band Sir Reg are happy to oblige! Formed by Irishman Brendan Sheehy, who left his home-town of Dublin and headed to Sweden with a guitar and a dream.Boasting songs that bring together everything from the issues of modern day society to finding the right bar on a Saturday night, powered by strong melodies and irresistible energy. Add to the mix an explosive live show and it’s easy to see why, Sir Reg have a formidable reputation in the Celtic-Punk scene. Since 2009 they have released five critically acclaimed albums and 2022 will shortly see them return with album #6 ‘Kings of Sweet Feck All’. First new single from the album is called ‘Open The Pubs’ on Despotz Records.

“If anyone told you a few years ago that pubs would be closed for months on end, you’d think they were having a laugh! Was no laughing matter indeed! That delicious pint of Guinness your favourite bartender pulled for you was suddenly taken away and you could only dream about it midst the ongoing nightmare!”

Lyrics: Brendan Sheehy, Chris Inoue

Directed by: Johan Lundsten

It’s 3 in the morning, I’m lying in bed
I stare the ceiling, shit thoughts in my head
I’m sick of the Netflix, it fills me with dread
Would rather a beer with my buddies instead
*
The pubs they are closed and we can’t buy a beer
I’ve been fucked during lockdown, this lousy year
Me liver is screaming to feed him a sup
So come on you bastards and open the pubs
*
The sound of the postman, highlight of my day
Whistling his song through the echoed hallway
Would rather be drinking a round at the Dub
So come on you bastards and open the pubs
*
Drinking at home, no it isn’t the same
I’m scratching me balls here just watching a game
But nobody’s cheering when they score a goal
Ah just open the pubs, I’ve a pain in me hole

(you can listen/ stream/ download the track on the Bandcamp player below)

Contact Sir Reg  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

ALBUM REVIEW: SHANGHAI TREASON – ‘Shanghai Treason’ (2022)

2 years ago, Sheffield-based Shanghai Treason played their first gig. Now the wait is over…January ’21 sees the release of their self-titled debut album! If you’re partial to a bit o’ Dropkicks, Flogging and Roughneck Riot (and if you’re reading this, you probably are), then these “Yorkshire banjo punks” should be to yer liking. This record sounds like a band working hard, having fun, and determined to make a difference.

Shanghai Treason. From Sheffield, and keen to keep the local music scene going.

As we all know, the banjo is a firm favourite in any Celtic punk line-up. And on this record, the instrument makes its mark immediately. “Emerald Causeway” is a cracking tune to start things off, an energetic number where banjoist Tom Hardy leads the way.

This is a sign of a band that shows promise, and we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed. The boys have been picked up by none other than The Rumjacks, who’ve taken them out on their current UK tour. Sadly, some shows have been cancelled – including Glasgow, dammit – but it’s a great early opportunity for the band in any case.

Now, the music might make an impression on the listener, but so too do the lyrics. In next track “Gatling Gun”, which has been released as a single, we hear clever lines from singer Sam Christie such as The city sucked me in, and moved the goalposts. A better one is Would you sew my eyes shut? I got a needle – you got any thread? That one’s from “The Fiendish Blue”, and I had to grin when I heard it. It’s always good to see a band using words in an intriguing way, right down to their band name.

Dynamic music

Shanghai Treason stays true to the Celtic punk tradition, by boasting its fair share of speedy, 2/4-time songs. Listen to “On The Ropes”, where the accordion takes over and gives the banjo a wee rest. “Wildfire” sounds like it’ll be another thrasher, but a break in the middle saves it, before we’re plunged back into the fast-paced fun. Importantly, “Wildfire” also features Dan Booth, well known for his work with Ferocious Dog. Dan played fiddle on the track, and also co-handled production of the album. For Shanghai’s take on FD’s “Crime And Punishment”,

Despite the faster numbers, the band is apt at writing slower tunes too. “Uphill Battle” is a good example, with a steady jig rhythm commencing halfway through, making the song one of my favourites on the album. A much sadder example is “Hero’s Welcome”, a song about a POW returning home from war, only to be suspected of being a spy and tragically killed. Closing track “Boatman” is the other acoustic-led one, where the eponymous boatman could be literal, or maybe a metaphor, leaving it up to interpretation.

Where can I hear the album?

The best way to show these lads some support is to head to their Bandcamp page. There, you’ll find not only the album but some kick-ass merch. If ye fancy a listen first, there’s a wealth of videos on the band’s YouTube page for you to try, and be sure to subscribe!

If streaming’s your thing, and ye wanna contribute some royalties to the band, you can also give them a listen on Spotify or Apple Music. Last of all, be sure to drop ’em a message and stay in touch on either Facebook or Instagram. Their Facebook page lists lots of upcoming shows as the world slowly gets back to gigging ways.

Thanks for readin’! Or as they say in Scotland…slàn leat agus pòg mo thòin 😁☘️

Andy x

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS THE BEST OF 2021!

We finally wave goodbye to 2021 with our annual Best Of list. Is it really twelve months since Norwegians Ogras waltzed away with the top spot? Once again it’s been a bit quieter than usual due to ‘you know what’ but we are bracing ourselves for a resurgent 2022! While it may not have been a plentiful year for Celtic-Punk albums the quality was, as ever, superb.

Remember this is only our opinion so feel free to backchat, commend, slag off or dissect our lists. We would love to read your thoughts in the comment section. The Readers Poll is back again this year so you can even vote on your favourite release of 2021.

We don’t pretend to be the final word as that my friends is for you…

(for more information on the release click on the title in bold green)

No doubt here for #1 and we are in agreement with Shite’n’Onions across the broad Atlantic there on the #1 Celtic-Punk album of the year. The Peelers may not be the most prolific of bands but when they do get a record out they pull out all the stops. Second place went to LCP favourites Ferocious Dog who took Celtic-Punk back into the English music charts for the first time in decades. The Rumjacks bounced back with an album that managed to please both fans and music critics in the wider ‘pop’ world. Was quite the year for Texan Celtic-Punk with four albums in the top 25 with Blaggards the highest placed while The Dropkicks new album seemed to be universally loved by all but they suffer, like a lot of established bands, from their new material never being given a fair chance to compete with the auld favourites.

1. THE PEELERS – Down And Out In The City Of Saints

2. FEROCIOUS DOG – The Hope

3. THE RUMJACKS – Hestia

4. BLAGGARDS – Blagmatic

5. DROPKICK MURPHYS – Turn Up The Dial
6. HOLD FAST –  Last Of The Rebels
7. THE DEAD RABBITS – 7 Ol’ Jerks
8. . TORTILLA FLAT – New Stuff In An Old Barrel

9. DIE STROMMS – Vinem, Et Domina Canticum

10. THE CRAZY ROGUES – Advanced Roguery

11. THE OUTCAST CREW – Myths & Yarns

12. WILD COLONIAL BHOYS – Remote Ruaille Buaille

13. THE BLACK TARTAN CLAN – A New Beginning

14. GREEN GUARD – Devil’s Lung

15. SWAINN – Under A Willow Tree

16. THE RUMPLED – The Perfect Match 

17. TIR NAN OG – Sing Ye Bastards!

18. THE POKES – Another Toast

19. HAWTHORN – All The Light We Cannot See

20. THE GROGGY DOGS – Grog O’Clock

21. THE REAL McCOYS – Outlive Death

22. BUGUL NOZ – Chat In The Freezer

23. JIMMY & RATS – Só Há Um Caminho a Seguir

24. THE SURFIN’ TURNIPS – Down The Allotment

25. EBRI KNIGHT – Carrer

Their were several albums that deserve another mention that didn’t qualify for the chart for various reasons. Raise Your Pints was the 6th in the series of Celtic-Punk compilations put out by MacSlons Irish Pub Radio. 20 songs from 20 artists. A few live albums the best of the bunch being The Spotted Dogs The Old Disgrace, Peat & Diesel live at the Barrowlands and the fantastic Bodh’aktan’s De part et d’autre de l’Atlantique (Live From Both Sides Of The Atlantic). Pete Walsh from The Gobshites put out a pretty amazing tribute compilation to Black 47, After Hours, while Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards released an acoustic album but the oddest album of the year had to be The O’Reillys And The Paddyhats 10th anniversary album In Strange Waters where they re-recorded some of their favourite tracks in a variety of styles including heavy metal and barber-shop!

If their was one release this year that was guaranteed #1 spot (even more so than The Peelers) it was Boston based Celtic-Punk supergroup Shadows Of Boston. By far the most widely read review for 2020 I haven’t met anyone who wasn’t blown away by it. It’s still available as a free download by the way, just follow the link! A very international top ten this with Boston (!), Czech Republic, Indonesia, Australia, France, USA, Nova Scotia, Belgium and Germany. 10 places – 8 countries. A lot of bands released single songs this year rather than official releases so I suspect that 2022 will see us rushed off our feet!

1. SHADOWS OF BOSTON – Demo

2. FOGGY DUDE – More Ain’t Less

3. THE WORKING CLASS SYMPHONY – Mulat Sarira Angrasa Wani

4. THE RAMSHACKLE ARMY – Highflyer

5. TOXIC FROGS – My Lucky Own

6. SEAN TOBIN AND THE BOARDWALK FIRE – St. Patrick’s Forever

7. THE FEELGOOD McLOUDS – Saints And Sinners

8. NEVERMIND NESSIE – Another Six Pack Of Drinking Songs

9. THE BLACK CLOVER – Just Another Pub

10. BLACK MATILDA – Black Matilda

This was a toss up between two completely different bands. The Spanish Pirates The Groggy Dogs eight track mini album Grog O’Clock was a brilliant mix of Folk covers, sea-shanties and trad based instrumentals but the award had to go to the recently formed Irish band THE OUTCAST CREW and Myths & Yarns. Ten outstanding original roaring Trad Punk songs full of tales of folklore, myths, sea voyages, singalong sea shanties and of course the odd session ! These guys don’t have much of a social media presence as yet but you can find them on Facebook.

Always the hardest #1 to decide as this covers so much ground but a well deserved #1 spot for Italian band Bards Of Yesterday who can certainly knock out a trad Irish tune or two. Tara’s Folk from France are another band who play as if their from the auld emerald isle itself while Dan Walsh plays just about the best banjo I’ve ever heard. Some very famous faces released solo albums like Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers from The Men They Couldn’t Hang’s, The Mahones Finny, Jim Lindberg from Pennywise and Justin Sullivan from the New Model Army who all put out great Folky albums.

1. BARDS FROM YESTERDAY – (EP)demia

2. TARA’S FOLK – Leaving

3. DAN WALSH – The Floodgate

4. PHIL ODGERS – Ghosts Of Rock’n’Roll 

5. FINNY McCONNELL – Dark Streets Of Love

6. JIM LINDBERG – Songs From The Elkhorn Trail

7. SETH MARTIN – Through Dark Valleys

8. JUSTIN SULLIVAN – Surrounded

9. DARRAGH O’DEA – Tilly And The Postmaster

10. CHRISTY MOORE – Flying Into Mystery

Sadly this award use to be fiercely fought over but the years have not been kind to Celtic-Punk media and lethargy has sunk in for most and others have thrown in the towel but the champion this year is the original Celtic-Punk web-site Shite’n’Onions. Named after a fans favourite track from London Irish band Neck the site has been around for donkey’s and while it had it’s quiet periods it’s great to see it back. They’ve been busy over the last couple of years transferring the site over to WordPress and once finished began a return to regular reviews and articles. One of the best being it’s recent interview with Dave Barton of The Peelers.

This is the ninth year we’ve been doing these Best Of lists. It seems incredible looking back at some of the previous winners and also-rans just how many bands are still with us from Year 1. Have a look for yourselves just click on the year below to redirect.

2013  *  2014  *  2015  *  2016  *  2017  *  2018  *  2019  *  2020  *

THE LONDON CELTIC PUNKS SHOP

If you like what we do then why not visit our  shop where you can buy all manner of Celtic-Punk tatt including t-shirts, badges, stickers, CD’s, fridge magnets, patches, Celtic nations flags and we just got in new for ’22 some bobble hats and polo shirts.

https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

Alongside the Best Of polls we also run a special Readers Choice poll where you get to pick your favourite release of the year. This will be the fourth year it’s been running with Krakin’ Kellys, Mickey Rickshaw and The Go-Set our previously champions! Last year we had well over 1000 votes so remember the auld Irish adage ‘Vote Early – Vote Often’. There is only room to list the Top Ten albums but there is an option for YOU to write in your favourite release of the 2021.

The Poll will close at midnight on Sunday 31st January with the result announced soon after.

 Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Bhoys – January, 2022

We lost some wonderful souls in the last twelve months and we dedicate this to them.

codladh sámh

EP REVIEW: BLACK MATILDA – ‘Black Matilda’ (2021)

Finally the last of the 2021 releases to review. Black Matilda’s debut release came out just before Christmas and shows their Gaelic / sea-faring roots. Hardly surprising for a band from Nova Scotia.   

While many places across the world are rightly proud of their Irish connections. Places like Boston, Liverpool and New York are synonymous with Ireland and it’s even thought up to 1 in 10 Londoners has a Irish grand-parent but their is nowhere outside the Celtic nations that has a Gaelic culture comparable to Nova Scotia in Canada. Well over 25% of the territories residents trace their roots back to Ireland and Scotland and the Scottish language is still spoken regularly across the province though it’s decline in use in use over the generations is perhaps to be expected but their are still speakers in Pictou County, Antigonish County, and Cape Breton Island, and the language is taught in a number of secondary schools throughout the province. The very name Nova Scotia translates as ‘New Scotland in both Scots and Latin and the Irish have been calling the area Talimh An Eisc (‘The Land of the Fish’) for centuries.

So no surprise then that Nova Scotia has thrown up a wealth of Celtic influenced bands over the years and you can add some pretty amazing Celtic-Punk to that list. The Stanfields, The Stab Rovers, East River Rats are all bands that have featured on these pages and the latest to arrive are Black Matilda and they released their self-titled debut EP in the middle of December. Founded in 2019 in Lunenburg, a port town on the South Shore of Nova Scotia it is still reliant on the fishing industry and is home to Canada’s largest secondary fish-processing plant. Back in 1995 the town was designated a World Heritage Site and is considered today the best example of British colonial settlement in the whole of North America as it retains its original appearance from the 1800’s.

So with such a background and wealth of history no wonder Black Matilda have joined the Nova Scotian Celtic-Punk crew! The EP kicks off with ‘Intro’ and the not uncommon start to many releases the sound of the ocean accompanied by a bell ringing in the wind and the mournful sound of an accordion its an atmospheric start that slips gently into the EP’s lead single ‘I Must Sail Away’.

Accompanied by an outstanding stop motion animation video the song is a piece of pure Celtic-Punk joy with the  refrain “if heaven is a place it’s a ocean” leaving you with no doubt where they are from. The song leads with some excellent accordion before the rest of the gang join in. ‘Life Of The Party’ reminds me of Hold Fast with tongue placed firmly in cheek and a catchy hard nosed Celtic-rocker. It’s all acoustic but with the sound turned up loud. I’ve seen many a wee Punk rocker get his cobwebs blown away by bands like Black Matilda assuming the sight of acoustic guitars and mandolins means finger in the ear music! ‘Batten Down The Hatches’ is a perfect example, purely acoustic except for a small guitar solo in the middle. Their are only five songs here but plenty of promise too. Their social media is a bit sparce so hopefully they are squirreled away busy writing and recording as I write this. The final song ‘Lost At Sea’ sees the band rock out completely with great spoken/ shouty vocals and a heaviness that eclipses the previous songs and sees the EP going out in real style.

“We are beyond thrilled to share our music we wrote during the pandemic. While in lockdown, we knew people were looking for an escape. This is what we came up with!”

One thing we must all know by now is that the Irish are everywhere but today with globalisation their obvious presence is waning somewhat. No so in Nova Scotia wherever you look you will find the traditions and customs of the people who washed up there over the years and they are honoured today by bands like Black Matilda.

https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_lFs2s0hSzsitwoD30J2hzzq73wWORs0Hc

Download Black Matilda  Spotify 

Contact Black Matilda  Facebook  Instagram

Tune in on Sunday for the unveiling of our annual Best Of awards for the best Celtic-Punk (and more!) music of the last twelve months. For any Celtic-Punk fans its not to be missed!

ALBUM REVIEW: THE BLACK TARTAN CLAN – ‘A New Beginning’ (2021)

The Black Tartan Clan are back! Having re-located from Belgium to Spain one of Celtic-Punk’s greatest ever bands return with a fantastic new album.

It was a dark day back in 2017 when The Black Tartan Clan sadly called it a day. With five releases and a Greatest Hits behind them the bands founder and joint songwriter MacTouche had decided to up sticks and re-locate to Spain. This did cause a bit of upset among other members of the band and they have re-grouped as the Black Tartans and have also recently started to record new music too. MacTouche still had an interest in making great Celtic music so the band has re-started with new members but the task was made many times harder by the Covid lockdown. Last March though the band were finally able to get together to rehearse and then to finally play live. The original version of The Black Tartan Clan were famous for their amazing bagpipe sound. I’d go so far as to say they were even the best band in Celtic-Punk for their piping. Here though the pipes are gone and all the pipe parts are replaced by guitar. The Black Tartan Clan keep their Celtic-Punk sound but in a much harder way.

Black Tartan Clan left to right: MacKurr – Guitar * MacTouche – Vocals (founding member) * MacRivery – Drums * MacChaud – Guitar * MacFrank – Bass * MacPië – Silent partner (founding member) *

A New Beginning is not quite a new album as all the songs have previously appeared but the bands new style gives them a lift and while it would be hard to improve on them they certainly give it one hell of a go. The opening track is the band’s anthem ‘We Are The Clan’ from the 2014 album Scotland In Our Hearts and its a hard rocking affair and the guitar sound not a million miles away from The Skids. You can still hear the pipes through the guitar and MacTouche’s gravelly vocals haven’t changed much, thank Heavens, as he sings in both English and French. ‘Don’t Walk Alone’ comes from the album of the same name from 2013 and again it’s straight down the line hard rocking but catchy with it. ‘Ye Jacobites’ is an (very) old Robbie Burns poem put to music countless times but usually with a distinctly Folky influence but not here!

 

Three songs in a row now from the 2014 Scotland In Our Hearts album. ‘Scotland In Our Hearts’ is the first and you can imagine exactly where the pipes would be and you know what it works. I wasn’t too sure before I played it but aye. It must be incredibly hard to perform minus the thing you’re band is famous for but the guys have pulled it off even if their sound is now a bit more towards hard rock it still has all it’s roots in Celtic-Punk. ‘Piper Bill’ was always one of my favourite BTC songs and they do it justice here.

The last couple of songs start with a great ‘Friends Until The End’ and then the album ends with the appropriate ‘Toora Loora’ from Don’t Walk Alone. Only a handful of songs and hopefully it will serve it’s purpose to let the Celtic-Punk scene know they are back and though different they are still great. It’s absolutely brilliant to see these guys back and proving they’ve plenty left to give as well. Listening to this had me pulling out all my old Black Tartan Clan albums. It’s a hard rocking album but I needed an album like this as I been listening to too much Ewan MacColl of late!

Download A New Beginning  Apple  Deezer   

Contact The Black Tartan Clan  Facebook  ReverbNation  YouTube

The Black Tartan Clan back catalogue is all available on Spotify