THE CLOVERHEARTS NEW SINGLE ‘Thorn In My Side’

The brand new video from Aussie/ Italian Celtic-Punkers The Cloverhearts. ‘Thorn In My Side’ with a strong message against bullying. Lots of change for the Italian band. A new manager and band members but the same ol’ Cloverhearts sound at heart!

‘Thorn In My Side’ is a bagpipe-driven power anthem about staying true to yourself, and not letting the words of others get you down. In 2021, where the cowardly stalk their prey from behind computer screens, it’s important to remember the words of the weak don’t define who you are.

The Cloverhearts – Thorn in My Side

You were the thorn in my side, You were the thorn in my side.
I’m digging down, to cut you out.
You won’t break my stride.
*
Oh, the thorn in my side. Oh, the thorn in my side.
Keep diggin’ in, but you won’t win.
Oh, thorn in my side.
*
You’ve been the thorn in my side,
But you won’t get the best of me,
You won’t get the best of me, Oh no.
*
Your sticks and your stones,
Won’t break my bones, oh no.
Won’t break my bones, No they won’t.
*
Your words won’t work, No your words won’t hurt,
You won’t break this soul…
Your words won’t work, No your words won’t hurt,
I’m letting you know…
*
You’ve been the slap in my face,
But I’m ’a turn the other cheek,
I’m ’a turn the other cheek, I will.
*
Because your sad little words,
Come from insecurity,
And they won’t get the best of me, Oh no.
*
Oh, you won’t break these bones.
Oh, with your names.
Oh, you won’t break these bones.
Oh, not today.

Oh, thorn in my side.

*
Directed by Francesco Agostini Produzioni * Filmed at Spazio Webo
Music and Lyrics by Sam Cooper

The Cloverhearts are a Italian Celtic-Punk band, founded in 2019 – just months before the pandemic hit. From the start, the response towards The Cloverhearts’ music has been overwhelmingly positive! With a year of touring booked for 2020 and beyond, the future of the band was looking bright.

Then, pandemic. And then, nothing.

Now as we see glimmers of hope on the horizon, we’re looking to get back to work. We’re raising funds to pay off minor debts, and to pay for minor expenses such as merch production and travel costs to help us get back on the road in 2022. Coming soon will be an acoustic album supported on Kickstarter. To find out more watch the video where Sam explains the current goings on at Cloverhearts HQ. 

Download Thorn In My Side   Spotify  iTunes 
Contact The Cloverhearts  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram  Bandcamp

ALBUM REVIEW: SWAINN – ‘Under A Willow Tree’ (2021)

The third album from Arizona based Swainn (also known as Cockswain). Sunburnt Celtic-Rock sealed by Punk-Rock energy and desert heat.

Sitting here in a big jumper with a icy droplet hanging off the end of me nose trying to escape the bitter cold it’s hard to imagine a world where people listen to Celtic-Punk all year round in t-shirts and shorts but we Irish are a travelling race and we are everywhere! What those first Irish settlers thought when they first washed up in Arizona we can only imagine but it may have been along the lines of “phew” ! So it is that wherever you go you’re always guaranteed to find a Irish pub and more than likely a band inside it.

Swainn left to right: Mandy LubkingFiddle, Backing Vocals * Neil Ward – Vocals, Acoustic / Electric Guitar * Brian DailyDrums * Wake LubkingBanjo, Backing Vocals *

It’s not uncommon for Celtic-Punk bands to trace their origins back to St. Patrick’s Day. The lure of a bit of cash (or free drinks!) must seem appealing and many seem to enjoy it so much so that one or two offs become four or five and eventually become permanent. Well nine years on from their humble openings around the pubs of Tucson and marathon three hour sets at packed pubs throughout the wider Phoenix area it’s now time for Swainn’s third album. They have appeared on these pages before back in 2017, when known as Cockswain, with a review of their second album ‘For The Whiskey’, a follow up to their debut album ‘Seamus’ in 2014. Taking the well worn route of mixing originals and Irish standards their audiences soon grew alongside many successful festival appearances but the appeal for a musician is always to play your own material and that is where they are now with Under A Willow Tree. As Neil says “we started out as a scruffy sea shanty Irish band who wrote drinking songs, and we’ve come so far”.

The title of the album Under A Willow Tree represents for the band symbolism, myth and history. As fiddle player Mandy explains

“The Willow itself has Celtic symbolic origins, the tree really represents a lot of synchronicity for us, because Neil regular references nature in the lyrics. When we were settling on the title, I was studying mandolin techniques online one night, and the video was set to none other than ‘Bury Me Beneath Willow’ by Woody Guthrie. It was meant to be.”

The album kicks off with ‘Voices’ and for those this side of the pond it has certain resonance with English band Mick O’Toole. Fast and heavy with the banjo pushed hard into the mix and Neil’s vocals growling out at you. A grand opening and while I may have made it sound like like some sort of Celtic Napalm Death it has that undeniable accessibility that any generation could warm to. Next up is the album’s lead single ‘Bag O’ Bones’ and sometimes a press release can get a wee bit too flowery

“I was reading a bunch of Ram Dass, he was a psychedelic Buddhist teacher who moved on to another plane. ‘Bag o’ Bones’ is basically your body in a sense. Your spirit is anchored down until you pass on. That’s what the song references.”

God alone knows how I would have described it otherwise! ‘In The Morning’ began life as a straight up drinking song before becoming about mental health and depression and sadly I’m not sure anyone knows more about the sad connection between the two as the Irish and yet ones of my generation still worship the grain. Great banjo from Wake here and a real thigh slapper before ‘Take Action’ whish begins in a trad Folk style before mixing in some bluegrass style while making a simple statement without ramming it home thank Heavens. The mention of Bluegrass is quite as apt as the acoustic  ‘Home’ takes it to the next level with a song that could almost come from another era. You know after that we are due a stormer and we get it in ‘Let’s Get Loose’. A quick and jaunty trip with lots of gang shouts and a right royal rowdy Celtic Folk knees up. ‘Sink Or Float’ is a bit more on the poppier side of things but still unquestionably just as catchy while telling us of the journey of outcasts.

“I sing Danny Boy and the Rose Of Tralee cannot deny the rebel in me”

‘Fairwinds’ is more traditional Celtic-Punk sounding not so far off Flogging Molly at their best. A uplifting number with great banjo and fiddle. A “raucous fight song meant to kick everybody’s ass” according to Neil. One of the things here that makes Under A Willow Tree a cut above most Celtic-Punk albums is the quality of the songwriting and ‘Up On The Mountain’ is a perfect example. Celtic-Punk should, in common with Celtic-Folk, be about story telling. There is no other genre that could ever get you jigging about to a song about famine dying of hunger or alcoholism or despair! 

“I hope people have a good time when they listen to us or see us live, that’s always the goal for us.”

We washing up to the end and time for another slower number in ‘Brand New Day’ before the album ends with the fantastic piss taking ‘Another Drinking Song’ where the band take the mickey out of themselves in what could be described as ‘classic Celtic-Punk’.

(‘Another Drinking Song’ live at The Tucson Celtic Festival and Scottish Highland Games, Tucson, AZ in November 2018)

One thing I know is that whenever I have been anywhere hot I always get a urge to go sit somewhere cool where cold drinks are readily available so if the folks from Swainn are anything like me this is where they find their inspiration! On Under A Willow Tree we find Swainn moving away from the “scruffy sea shanty Irish drinking songs” that they began with but still staying true to the traditions they come from but trying something more sophisticated.

Buy Under A Willow Tree  Here

Contact Swainn  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

( A live stream from last St. Patrick’s Day direct from the Swainn garage for the Phoenix Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library Phoenix Virtual Concert)

NEW SINGLE ‘2 Birds’ FROM BRYAN McPHERSON

Not many folk have featured on these pages as much as Bryan McPherson has. To say we are fans is a massive understatement. Bryan’s new single landed yesterday and he celebrated after the video release with a ‘Live Stream’ show.

Been waiting for this for the last few weeks the new single from London Celtic Punks favourite Bryan McPherson. It’s two years now since fiery, Folk-playing, Irish-American blue-collar native of Boston Bryan put out the album Kings Corner and he has recently announced the release of a new album How To Draw Everything for early 2022. Produced by Ted Hutt (who makes another regular appearance on here!) and with several top-notch guest musicians including ex-Dropkick Murphys’ Marc Orrell on mandolin and a load of other instruments as well, Dustbowl Revival’s drummer Josh Heffernan, violinist Chris Murphy and Ted Hutt again on bass and percussion.

“How To Draw Everything isn’t just Bryan’s latest record; it’s a whole new beginning for him as an artist. On the meditative “2 Birds,” he muses, “There’s something about the sky that makes me grateful to be alive.” 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. Bryan defies us to admit hope was there all along.”  – Aaron Carnes

A simple search for Bryan through this site will throw up a list of reviews and other articles into the double digits. So where to start? With nearly every artist I can think of I would never dream of suggesting someone start with the new (let alone unreleased!) material but for Bryan I would. That’s about the highest compliment you could pay ant musician I think. Yeah go ahead and definitely check out his back catalogue (it’s brilliant!)  but be sure to keep a beady eye out for that new album when it comes out.

Pre-Save ‘2 Birds’ on Apple Music, Spotify, and More

Contact Bryan McPherson  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube 

How To Draw Everything – Digital Release, CD, and Double LP Coming in early 2022

ALBUM REVIEW: SPOTTED DOGS – ‘The Old Disgrace. Live’ (2021)

We don’t get many live albums to review but when we do they tend to be pretty decent. Swedish band The Spotted Dogs new album of fast Irish Folk is no different and transports you from your home direct to them and even puts a pint in your hand too!

FREE DOWNLOAD

Well you wait all year to review a new Swedish release and then you get two in the same week and not only that but both from the charming (so I’m told) old city of Gothenburg. Surprisingly there’s no overlap so some healthy competition for each other and let’s hope this is a start of a beautiful relationship!

We dig with whitening knuckles in the Irish soil and find the vein of hard swinging Celtic-Punk. Just surrender, lace up and roll up!

Like most bands the original inspiration can be traced back to a handful of bands and likely subjects The Dubliners and The Pogues figure heavily in The Spotted Dogs sound. Formed way back in 1995 by five spotty Swedish teenagers they spent their early days playing at illegal clubs in boathouses along the archipelago outside Gothenburg. As they became more well known and the popularity of Irish music grew so they progressed to the pub scene around the city. From the start the Bhoys knew they wanted to play Irish Folk but with Punk-Rock attitude and over the years their sound has developed into a more faster style though more akin to Flogging Molly than the Murphys. An early decision was to drop any slow ballads from their set and keep their set upbeat and more in keeping with the pub setting. These days The Spotted Dogs spend their time playing mostly Punk clubs in western Sweden.

The Old Disgrace kicks off with that auld London Irish favourite ‘McAlpine’s Fusiliers’, one of many here made famous by Ronnie and Luke and co. It’s fast and furious yet totally accessible. Like a band at your local Irish Centre who decide to unload for the last few songs when everyone’s a little more ‘relaxed’ (!). This is followed up by a couple of Celtic-Punk / Irish Folk standards and ‘Follow Me Up to Carlow’ and ‘Come Out Ye Black and Tans’ could well be my favourite rebel songs and their tempo has made them perfect for Celtic-Punk bands to adapt and you’ll not beat ‘Black & Tans’ for a shouty chorus. Next up is ‘Connolly Was There’ a song recently recorded by the Dropkick Murphys telling of the great role the Irish labour leader James Connolly played wherever he went. Born in Scotland he enlisted in the British Army serving in Ireland where his parents had emigrated from. He would later desert and eventually move to Ireland where he organised the Dublin workers in the Irish Citizens Army. He would fight in the 1916 Easter Rising where he was shot and captured and eventually executed. His execution would be roundly condemned for given no more than a day or two to live he was unable to stand for the firing squad and so he was tied to a chair and executed. Last rites were given by Father Aloysius Travers and asked to pray for the soldiers about to shoot him, he said

“I will say a prayer for all men who do their duty according to their lights.”

‘The Rocky Road to Dublin’ follows and it never ceases to amaze me that people can keep up with the words, especially here played at this speed. ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ written by Leon Rosselson, and made popular by Billy Bragg (remember when he was good?) took it into the charts in on the Between the Wars EP, released towards the end of the momentous miners’ strike in 1985. The song tells the story of the Diggers, a group of radicals radical group who set up what was effectively an agricultural commune at St George’s Hill near Weybridge in Surrey amid the tumult of the English revolution. These days St. Georges Hill is a collection of golf courses surrounded by the mansions of the mega wealthy and no monument to the men of 1649 stands. One thing to take notice of here is Anders vocals. Loud and clear and able to carry a tune you get the impression he could belt out a ballad if the band would let him! He almost gets the chance next and while ‘The Foggy Dew’ may be what passes the closest to a ballad here it is by no means in the true sense of the word. Another ‘rebel’ song embraced by the Celtic-Punk scene this is a great version. The last three songs whizz past in no time at all and are all famous ‘pub’ songs for want of a better word. ‘Join The British Army’, ‘Greenland Whale Fisheries’ and finally ‘Muirsheen Durkin’ give the six-piece band a complete work out and though the album may only last just over twenty-five minutes theirs more energy in it’s ten songs than many double that.

The songs on The Old Disgrace were all recorded live at a concert at Pustervik in central Gothenburg and the recording is absolutely note perfect. Shut your eyes and you could almost be there. There’s nothing original on this album to be honest and why that my sound bad don’t be put off this album is fantastic. Passion, pride and the pursuit of a bloody good time. If you’re going to perform an album of covers then my advice to you is to do it like The Spotted Dogs do.

(You can listen to The Old Disgrace on the Bandcamp player below. It’s available as a **FREE** download so follow the link below and grab yourself a copy)

Download The Old Disgrace  Bandcamp

Contact The Spotted Dogs  Facebook 

COUNTRY ROADS: THE GENTLEMEN Vs. THE CLOVERHEARTS

Two bands from completely different places and era’s pay homage to the late great John Denver with their version of his classic track ‘Country Roads’ done Celtic-Punk.

Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.
Life is old there, older than the trees, younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze.
*
Country roads, take me home to the place I belong.
West Virginia, mountain momma, take me home, country roads.

A long time ago now I came across a band on My Space (yes it was that long ago!) and even in the heyday of Celtic-Punk this really stood out. Fast, energetic, authentic Irish-American Celtic-Punk and while most bands talked up The Clash and The Pogues, The Gentlemen took their inspiration from Sham 69 and the Cockney Rejects and The Wolfe Tones! If I can be forgiven for saying they stood head and shoulders above everything the rest the scene had to offer. I think by then they had already split up but they did leave behind two fantastic records in a full length album Stick To Your Guns and an album of early recordings imaginative titled Greatest Hits.

(Both releases are compiled below on the Bandcamp player along with a couple of extra tracks for **FREE** download) 

A 9 (yes nine!) piece band from Morgantown in West Virgina it was perhaps inevitable they would turn their hand to John Denver’s classic song but it was with the video that people really sat up and took notice. Capturing the spirit of working class Irish-America they are a band that has never in the intervening years been off my stereo. Over the years we have tried to get in touch with The Gentlemen but to no avail so if anyone knows them send them over.

So it is that almost thirteen years later one of the current leading lights of the Celtic-Punk scene turns their hand to ‘Country Roads’ too. The Cloverhearts formed when Aussie Sam and Italian Chiara first met at a Rumjacks show in Manhattan, New York fresh from Chiara’s departure from fellow Italian Celtic-Punkers, The Clan. Soon joined by guitarist JJ, bassist Stefano and drummer Christian The Cloverhearts have not been slow at releasing new music onto the scene and along with some high profile support slots their rise has been meteorically and they have become one of the Celtic-Punk scenes bands to watch.

With a sound that veers off from Celtic to Ska to Punk and back to Ska again The Cloverhearts are that new breed of Celtic-Punk bands that don’t feel confined by trad Celtic / Irish Folk and just play the music that they want to. They have an new single out next week called ‘Thorn In My Side’ that you can pre-order from here: https://show.co/WHlE5cm

Ironically though the country roads in this song are set in West Virginia, John Denver had never ever set foot in West Virginia! Co-writers and married couple Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert were driving along Clopper Road in Montgomery County, Maryland when the song formed. Later that night they played with Denver and between the three of them wrote the song with Denver saying afterwards he instantly knew it was a hit. It  peaked at #2 in the Billboard US charts on release in 1971 and since has gone on to become John Denver’s most iconic song with it being adopted as one of the state anthems of West Virginia and is the theme song of West Virginia University where it has been played at every home football game since 1972.

SINGLE REVIEW: BASTARD HYENA – ‘All Hyenas Goes To Heaven’ (2021)

New Celtic-Punk band alert!!

The new single from a band less than a year old we give you Bastard Hyena.

One thing the Celtic-Punk scene has never been short of is bands with the word ‘Bastard’ in the title. Great bands like Uncle Bard And The Dirty, Mr. Irish, Bay Street, Middle Class, Smokey (no not them), Bearded Irishmen, Bunch Of, On Parade and even Aires Bastardos from Argentina! Now we can add another one this time from Gothenburg in Sweden. Bastard Hyena are pretty much the newest band in Celtic-punk having come together towards the end of 2020. With a love of both Celtic and Bluegrass music they chuck in melodic Pub-Punk and come up with ‘Trashgrass’ with songs about dopamines, loss, love and middle finger to right wing politics.

The single is a loving tribute to a beloved friend and sister that recently passed away. For someone who would’ve been disappointed to have a slow, sad song and instead got the upbeat party song they wanted and deserved! The first track is ‘All Hyenas Goes To Heaven’ a fast and furious thrashy Celtic-Punk number with the emphasis on fast. It’s only just over two minutes long and Carl’s vocals remind me of snotty American 80’s Punk bands. Played with heart and banjo heavy it’s very definitely a unpolished gem but what it’s missing in production value it more than makes up for in heart!

“I know you wouldn’t want me to write a slow sad song
So I wrote this song for you and others to shout and sing along
Through cheers and tears we raise our glass to honor who you were
A lovely friend, so confident and covered in striped fur”

The only other track is ‘Old And Golden Days’ and follows much the same path only shorter and faster! Telling of the past and the adventures we get up to and the memories we will always hold.

All Hyenas Goes To Heaven is available on Bandcamp at the link below for ‘name your price’ download. Meaning you can pay whatever you like for it. The near future will see Bastard Hyena release a split tape with acoustic songs which will be available physically and digitally on Bandcamp in the new year. It’s fair to say that the Celtic-Punk scene is heavily biased to just a handful of bands but hopefully it’s changing as new bands come along and are introduced to wider audiences. This site isn’t for the Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Mollys it’s for bands just like Bastard Hyena.

(You can stream or download All Hyenas Goes To Heaven via the Bandcamp player below)

Download All Hyenas Goes To Heaven  NameYourPrice

Contact Bastard Hyena

ALBUM REVIEW: THECRAZY ROGUES – ‘Advanced Roguery’ (2021)

The new album from Hungary’s The Crazy Rogues again stretches what we think of as Celtic-Punk while still keeping both feet firmly in the Celtic-Punk scene.

So it is that just a couple of weeks after we featured the release of their lead single we now have the pleasure of reviewing Advanced Roguery from The Crazy Rogues. This is the first full length album from the band after several EP’s, all of which have been received favourably by the Celtic/Folk- Punk press, and while the Hungarian Celtic-Punk scene has been a bit quiet of late it never too long before a high quality release hits the shops. Formed in Veszprém in mid-Hungary in 2014 they are among the earliest of the second wave of Hungarian Celtic-Punk bands after the likes of Paddy And The Rats and Firkin. It’s been a long four years since the Rebels’ Shanties EP and what a four years it has been!

The Crazy Rogues: Teo Biermann – Flute, Vocals * László Verrasztó – Lead Vocals * Dávid Csillag – Violin, Vocals * Krisztián Fellegi – Banjo, Mandolin, Vocals * Gábor Fazekas – Guitars, Vocals * Péter Németh – Bass * Ákos Nagy – Drums *

The album kicks off with ‘Bull’s Eye’ and one thing The Crazy Rogues have never been afraid of and that is to experiment and escape the basic standard Celtic-Punk formula. Eastern Europe meets Far-West Europe as the influences bounce off each other with gang shouts and mandolin and fiddle embracing László’s great vocals. Catchy as hell and some great lyrics too in a story about stealing from a gangster. Even their songs subject matter makes a nice change! Advanced Roguery includes three tracks released for St. Patrick’s Day 2019 but all re-recorded and re-mastered. The first of which is the Punky ‘Fight You’ another great story this time of a man betrayed and now out for revenge. The Crazy Rogues can’t quite escape their PaddyPunk roots and they do a utterly fantastic cover of one of the most famous and popular Irish rebel songs. ‘Black ’n’ Tans’ has become a bit of a standard now among Celtic-Punk bands with it’s rousing chorus and violent call to arms against the British army.

“Come out and fight me like a man”

As we often say the test of a truly great Celtic-Punk band is their ability to turn to a ballad or quieter moments and on ‘Brother’ they achieve it with some very moving lyrics and the tune that takes an upbeat turn half way through. ‘Man Cave’ is the second of the re-mastered tracks and one thing that the pandemic proved was that men have been pushed out of the house under the illusion of having their own space. Several friends now have these spaces in their back gardens where they can keep their football memorabilia or music without being nagged at!

“Our sacred base, A hideout for the days, When man can be what he’s meant to be”

Now for the album’s standout track and no surprise that the band chose ‘Empire Of Sand’ as the albums lead single. Blending their trademark Celtic-Punk sound with Arabic tunes making a perfect example of what they call ‘Rogue’n’Roll’ that was released back in June 2021 in a live studio session.

The video above is a slightly different from that on the album, for that you’ll have to listen to it on the  Bandcamp player below. ‘Lady With A Lily Crown’ and ‘Better Than Home’ both give a wee nod to a famous (non) Irish Folk song and rattle along at a fair pace before we are in for a real Celtic-Punk rattler with ‘King Of The Alehouse’ with some clever wordplay about unrequited love in Kilkenny. We nearing the end and ‘Too Far Away’ is a nice ballad style track before the last of the re-done songs, Stranger’s Tale’ and having not heard the 2019 versions I can’t comment on how different they are except that they are all among the best songs on Advance Roguery.

One of the things that Hungarian bands have especially embraced is the flute and while I wasn’t much of a fan It was while watching fellow Hungarians Firkin that I fell in love with its use. The curtain comes down on Advance Roguery with ‘Walk The Line’ and takes as it’s base traditional Irish and Moldovan Folk tunes with some great guitar and drum work and and a uplifting accompanying Punky tune.

Expertly recorded, mixed and mastered by Botlik Mátyás at Grenma Studios in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Botlik has captured the sound of the band perfectly. Their are twelve songs here of which eight are compositions written by the band and together they represent well the journey The Crazy Rogues have taken over the years. Advanced Roguery blends the old with the new though their sound is still underpinned by Celtic-Punk you will find a variety of styles here that all sound terrific together and they lift the band to a whole new level of roguery!

(You can stream and download Advanced Roguery on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Advanced Roguery  Bandcamp 

Contact The Crazy Rogues  Facebook  SoundCloud  YouTube  Instagram

EXCLUSIVE! FREE DOWNLOAD OF THE GOBSHITES NEW SINGLE ‘America’

The casual Celtic-Punk fan may not be aware of Boston Irish band The Gobshites but for obsessives like us they are one of the leading Celtic-Punk bands out there. Time to change that and get these Bhoys the love and respect they deserve.

FREE DOWNLOAD 

It was back in 2002 Boston Irish-American punk rocker Pete Walsh, then the lead singer and rhythm guitar player for punk band Meat Depressed, decided he wanted to start up an Irish band. Within a few weeks The Gobshites were up and running and were even supporting New York Irish legends Black 47 in their first gig. The band has seen many line up changes over the years but every now and then they manage to stick together long enough to release some of the best records in Celtic-Punk history. Debut album, When The Shite Hits The Fans, instantly struck a chord in the American-Irish community and led to them playing all over the northeastern United States as well as the renowned Shamrockfest in Washington DC. That year they even famously played on a float on the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade! Two more albums, Get Bombed and Another Round, came in quick succession then a wee gap before Songs Me Da Got Pissed To and the official live bootleg Poitin. They continued to play intermittently leading up to The Whistle Before the Snap in 2017 which featured Ritchie Ramone on drums and which, for the first time, consisted of solely Gobshites penned songs. Since then things have slowed down leading to the release of All The Best, a Gobshites greatest hits album that I never tire of recommending to anyone. The Gobshites never give up though and just recently we have seen a return to form with a cover of the House Of Pain classic ‘Jump Around’ (almost… yes almost, as good as the original!) and now a cover of the Neil Diamond classic ‘America’. Gobshites singer Pete Walsh has also turned his hand to producing and is responsible for the release earlier this year of what is planned to be a series of albums in tribute to seminal American-Irish band Black 47. The first After Hours compilation came out earlier this year and features several of the scenes best or upcoming bands. Well worth checking out.

Far
We’ve been traveling far
Without a home
But not without a star
Free
Only want to be free
We huddle close
Hang on to a dream

On the boats and on the planes
They’re coming to America
Never looking back again
They’re coming to America

Home, don’t it seem so far away
Oh, we’re traveling light today
In the eye of the storm
In the eye of the storm

Home, to a new and a shiny place
Make our bed, and we’ll say our grace
Freedom’s light burning warm
Freedom’s light burning warm

Everywhere around the world
They’re coming to America
Every time that flag’s unfurled
They’re coming to America

Got a dream to take them there
They’re coming to America
Got a dream they’ve come to share
They’re coming to America

They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
Today, today, today, today, today

My country ’tis of thee
Today
Sweet land of liberty
Today
Of thee I sing
Today
Of thee I sing
Today

‘America’ was written by Neil Diamond and first appeared in the movie musical The Jazz Singer in 1980 and tells the story of a young Jewish man played by Diamond who is torn between tradition and pursuing his dreams as a pop singer. The film ends with Diamonds character Yussel Rabinovitch now known as Jess Robin (“and they never even got so far that they could change our names”) performing ‘America’ in a spellbinding end to a rather unremarkable film. The song tells of the history of immigration to the United States and is no doubt a tribute to Brooklyn born Diamond’s own family who emigrated out of poverty and discrimination from Russia and Poland but also the untold thousands who came to America in similar circumstances to make a better life for themselves and their children.

Get your **FREE** download of America below. Only until November 18th.

HERE

Contact The Gobshites  Facebook  Bandcamp  YouTube  Twitter  LastFM

GIG REVIEW: FEROCIOUS DOG – EDINBURGH 6/11/21

Ruff ruff! This weekend Ferocious Dog took to the stage in Edinburgh, at legendary venue La Belle Angele. They played a blinder, as if you needed telling 😉 Here’s a review o’ the gig by The Celtic Punk Author, who was there. With support from Mucky Scoundrel.

It feels bloody good to watch live gigs again after that pesky virus stopped ’em. If there’s one band that doesn’t disappoint, no matter how many lockdowns we’ve had, then Ferocious Dog is it. On Saturday 6th November the boys set up at La Belle Angele, an awesome wee venue in Scotland’s capital that brings in the finest in underground music names.

Supporting: Mucky Scoundrel

I got to the venue early, bought the obligatory pint and made a donation to the Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund (more info below). Soon after, it was time to enjoy Mucky Scoundrel, last-minute replacements for the injured Gimme Gimme Gimmes. Frontman Mark Feeney broke a string during the first song (a nightmare that all us guitarists can relate to!), but he played to an obliging audience as the club floor started to fill. Opening as a solo act can be a wee bit lonely, lemme tell ya, but Mark had an excellent accompaniment in Danny Kelly, who supplied some slick basslines and backing vocals.

The duo played 8 songs as I recall, with a mixture of humorous lyrics and more serious numbers, and some sweet vocal harmonies to bolster the music. To get a feel for what they can do, check this oot:

Mucky Scoundrel. Last-minute replacements for the injured Gimme Gimme Gimmes.

To hear more from Mucky Scoundrel, check ’em out on Facebook, or watch the well-made, if slightly sad video to “Last To Fall” on YouTube. It’s a full studio version of a song that featured in Saturday’s setlist. Click HERE to watch it.

Headlining: Ferocious Dog

The Angele was nicely filled by the time The Dog’s walk-on music “Port Isaac” chimed into view. The band were to play many songs off their newest album The Hope (UK #31), and sure enough, they kicked things off with their rendition of fisherman’s shanty “Haul Away Joe”. After that it was straight into “Pentrich Rising”, arguably the band’s finest song to date (and there are many candidates for that!) A sample of the live performance, and how it got folks up and jumpin’, can be seen below:

“Pentrich Rising” – about the armed workers’ uprising of 1817, which started in ex-mining village South Wingfield.

Next up was “Victims”, another track in E minor with a more melancholy fiddle riff. The front-row faithful, known affectionately as the band’s “hell hounds”, kept the mosh pit going and were well up for the “OK, let’s go!” shout during the song. We then moved into “Broken Soldier”, the first of a number of songs the band played about the horrors of war. For those who don’t know, Lee Bonsall (mentioned above) was lead singer Ken’s son. Lee gave the band their name when he was a boy, and went on to serve in Afghanistan at the age of 18. Sadly, he later took his own life at the age of just 24, unable to overcome what he’d seen and been through in the war. This gave rise to the Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund, and if you can spare a few quid for these guys, then get in touch with them HERE, and show your support for those still fighting the war in their hearts and minds, years later.

On the subject of charitable giving, “Sea Shepherd” is a song with a pirate-like feel to it, dedicated to the marine conservation charity of the same name. Ken was proudly sporting his Sea Shepherd T-shirt at the gig, and volunteers from Sea Shepherd themselves were at the doors with merch (I bought a beanie to replace the one I lost years ago). I first heard of these guys years ago through the Dutch band Omnia, who play[ed] pagan folk with a big dose of “fuck authority” thrown in. Sea Shepherd are more into direct action than Greenpeace, but they stay on the right side of the line. To learn more about these guys, make a donation or buy something, check ’em out HERE.

On “1914”, another track off The Hope, fiddler Dan Booth stepped up to sing lead vocals. Dan is one of two remaining members from the original 1988 line-up, with Ken being the other one. I particularly smiled at the line “there was whisky on Sundays” – if that ain’t a nod to The Pogues and “The Broad Majestic Shannon”, a fine piece of MacGowan magic, then I don’t know what it is, ye ken.

Ferocious Dog live in Edinburgh. L-R: Ryan Brooks, Dan Booth, Ken Bonsall, Alex Smith (hidden), Sam Wood and John Alexander.

Music has the right to children

After a reel or two, which broke things up nicely but kept folks dancing, the band returned to their eponymous 2013 album, and the songs “Too Late” and the reggae-tinged “Freeborn John”. After these two strong tracks, it was back to The Hope again for “Born Under Punches”, another poignant song about homelessness in London. “Punk Police”, meanwhile, was written about those who feel they can tell others what’s punk and what’s not, or what they can listen to and what they can’t. As a famous Scottish duo once pointed out, “music has the right to children”. So although a punk band must understand what punk is about and how it originated, punk does have the right to morph and grow, as do all forms of music. With a “fuck the punk police” shouted at the end of the song, Ken made this clear.

The Dog closed their set with a few more songs, but were eagerly welcomed back for an encore. They had three more songs ready to go, the strongest of which was arguably the finisher, “Slow Motion Suicide”, taken from 2015’s From Without. This closer was another sad reminder of the terrible consequences of mental health problems, if the victims don’t get the support they need. Having suffered from depression and anxiety myself, I believe there’s an answer for everyone. People react differently to different types of treatment; what’s important is that people get the help that works for them.

All in all…

All in all, this was a fine gig, with a good dose o’ speedfolk to keep out the November cold. The band tore through their set impressively, never letting up but remaining as tight as we all knew they would be. As the crowd put their hands in the air for the obligatory end-of-gig photo, I was glad I went, and I’ll keep me ear to the ground for future FD gigs in this neck of the woods. Okay, my one complaint: the band didn’t play “Crime and Punishment” 😁 But that’s jammern auf hohem Niveau, as they say in Germany (English: “nitpicking”).

We would like to thank La Belle Angele for putting the show on, and for all they do to support live music. Show ’em some love and attention by visiting their website for further info and news about upcoming events. Next time you’re up Edinburgh way, we recommend checkin’ out what’s on there 👍

Folk on!

Andy x

EP REVIEW: JOLLY ROGER – ‘Ship Or Bust’ (2021)

The missing link between The Levellers and the Dropkick Murphys!

Cornish Sea-Punk Pirate band Jolly Roger just released their latest rum-fuelled five track EP Ship Or Bust inspired by loss, lockdown, mental health and tales of piracy! 

We recently said that their was often no more than a fag paper between Celtic-Punk and it’s little offshoot Pirate-Punk. The same melodies, the same instruments and often the same songs and above all the need to have a good time and often with lashings of alcohol. There are several bands in the UK that play Pirate themed music and several more that often stray into the genre, the MIA Matilda’s Scoundrels for one and Black Water County for another. It’s no mistake that both these bands come from the South coast from areas with long histories of smuggling and rebellion both quiet and not-so-quiet! It can be said that the widespread smuggling trade in the 18th century along the South coast has led to a disrespect for the law. A disrespect that while it doesn’t see riots on the streets it manifests itself in ignoring any laws that the locals don’t agree with!

Jolly Roger hail from Penzance in Cornwall. A town world famous for pirates now for over 200 years and also as I’m sure you know one of the Celtic nations with strong links to both Brittany and Wales in both custom and language. The band like to think that they ‘fall somewhere between the sound of The Dropkick Murphys and Levellers’ but I think that’s just advertising flannel and no harm in that. We’re masters at it after all but their sound is much more laid back while being raucous at the same time. Coming from Penzance they couldn’t fail to be be inspired by the sea but these guys are not stuck in the 18th century even though they do sometimes sound like it. Nautical metaphors and pirate history and songs about serious issues like mental health but done in a light hearted vein alongside more standard fare like drinking songs and enjoying the better things in life.

Jolly Roger left to right: Jony The Plank – Drums / Flute * Samantha – Lady of the Sea – Mandolin / Guitar / Vocals * Kynan – Bosun Two Toes Smooth – Electro/Acoustic Bass / Vocals * Jae – Captain JR – Guitar / Ukulele / Vocals*

The band have just completed a successful ‘Kickstarter’ campaign where they raised the necessary readies to buy a new band van so hopefully we’ll be seeing them around the place in the coming months now that it seems gig restrictions have been lifted. This past Summer has seen them take the stage at various local festivals as well as the Plymouth Punx Picnic.

‘’Quitting our jobs to start a pirate band and live our dreams is worth it every day. If you haven’t already tried this, we thoroughly recommend’’

but they have already racked up an incredible 300+ gigs sine they formed in 2019 and this despite the lockdown! They have a few releases out there all available on their Bandcamp page and all very reasonably priced too. I think they may have been one of the busiest bands of 2020! A year that saw the release of Turns Out, We’re Swingers​.​.​. where Jolly Roger took three of their favourite songs and re-imagined them in ‘swing’ style and shortly after came yet another EP Silent Mountain and after that their self-titled debut album came after and then just six months later saw another EP Jolly For All. Phew!!! This year they have done bugger in comparison so I’m sure they happy to see new EP Ship Or Bust hit the shops yesterday and we are very happy to be one of the first to run our rule over it.

The EP begins with ‘King-Fisher’ and yep it’s super high-energy from the off. Almost all acoustic except for bass with guitars loud in the mix and flute. The opening song starts off as a bit of a mish mash before settling down into a giddy wee number not a million miles away from 70’s ‘Psych Folk’. ‘We Rise’ is the bands ‘covid’ song and as they say

“we were not all in the same boat throughout these last 2 years, but we sure were weathering the same storm”.

It’s a great song and you can hear those Celtic-Punk influences clear as a bell. I daresay a bit of Punk-Rock electric guitar would just move them over but these Pirate bands are stubborn! The next song is for me the EP’s standout track and bejaysus they don’t come any catchier than this.

 

‘Aboard!’ was the lead single of the EP and was released on Cornwall’s national day, St Piran’s Day on 5th March. Simply marvellous and sure to give your feet a good work out on hearing it. All the songs here are highly contagious and incredible catchy but it’s the simple arrangements that give it that bit extra. There’s no frills they are not needed as on ‘Michael The Menace’ where the band just seem to do their thing naturally. The EP’s ends with ‘Reach Out’ and they even went so far as to record a simple video with Lady Of The Sea chatting about the meaning of the song. Dedicated to all fellow shipmates in a gently beautiful well meaning song. They acknowledge that it’s because of their fans that they couldn’t do what they do and while it’s obviously a great thing to see that the relationship between bands and fans seems to be closing bands should always remember that we the fans get far more out this relationship then they do.

(A live performance of ‘Reach Out’ recorded in Bristol at the end of last year)

Jolly Roger formed in 2019 with absolutely zero previous experience in music but have sailed the waters of the South-West music scene admirably with their eclectic mix of shanty vibes, humour and dare I say it Celtic-Punk all done with a metal head mentality. Now with a (fairly) new van they are looking to get out and about and have big plans for a nationwide busking tour so get in touch if you want them washing up in your town. We were a bit late to the Jolly Roger party not that they noticed as they were doing pretty damn good without us but it’s time for them to cut the strings and start going national and these songs are crying out to be heard to be live.

(You can stream, download or buy the CD of Ship Or Bust from the bands Bandcamp page and don’t forget to check out their previous releases while you are there!)

Buy Ship Or Bust Bandcamp

Contact Jolly Roger  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

(Back when everyone was doing Live Streams Jolly Roger were no different and here’s their patched together live stream recorded at the Rock Bottom Bar in Plymouth. A few minor glitches but real music isn’t suppose to be perfect!)

ALBUM REVIEW: HOLD FAST – ‘Last Of The Rebels’ (2021)

No easy task keeping the tricolour flying for Pennsylvania’s large Irish community but Hold Fast do just that. Whether tales of the sea, songs of whiskey, or lessons on love and life. Back with the follow up to their debut album three years ago Hold Fast provide more rowdy Celtic-Punk and Irish Folk.

Hold Fast can get a rebellion started and keep it going long into the early morning! 

In this day and age we have easy access to music of all kinds and as you can imagine we get plenty of new music here at London Celtic Punks. So much in fact that sometimes I can find myself listening to nothing but new releases for days on end. Saying that some ‘older’ album’s do stand out and one of them has been Hold Fast’s debut album, Black Irish Sons, which I have revisited many a time in the years since it came out.

“moments of fast punk rock and slow and gentle ballads mixed together to make an album that is laid out perfectly and at a ideal pace. The bands Irish roots are stamped all over things and they may look to the past of the Tones, Clancy’s and Dub’s but are not stuck there and have added their own stamp to everything they do.”

Black Irish Sons was universally well received at the time sitting just outside the London Celtic Punks Best Album Of 2018 top ten in #12 and finishing Top Ten for both Paddyrock and Celtic Folk Punk And More. So with the winds at their back they continued doing what they do playing regularly around their home state until the Covid lockdowns and things were put on hold. The recent appearance of Last Of the Rebels signifies two things to me. The triumphant return of Hold Fast and the return also of (even if just a little) a normal life.

Founded in 2016 in the state capital of Harrisburg Hold Fast are but part of a flourishing local Celtic-Punk scene along with the mighty Kilmaine Saints, Bastard Bearded Irishmen, Punkabillys, Lucky Lad Green and The Tradesmen the best known and all of whom have featured on these pages at one time or another. The Irish make up the State’s second biggest ancestry group at just under 20% (#1 is German) but in many places that rises to over 40% and so there’s a very good reason for such a wealth of Celtic-Punk bands alongside the State’s many traditional Irish Folk acts.

So can Last Of The Rebels compete with Black Irish Sons or not is the question? The first thing I noticed is the number of tracks on their debut was a bog standard ten but here the album stretches to fourteen songs and lasts just under a hour. That’s a risky thing with peoples attention spans not being what they were and especially in Celtic-Punk where we all accept that the best place to hear the music is down the pub in the company of others rather than sitting at home. The album kicks off with ‘Silver Shamrock’ and while I was expecting a ditty based around the unforgettable theme tune from Halloween 3 it turns out to be a rocking Paddy-Punk bagpipe heavy tribute to the Silver Shamrock tattoo parlour run by a horror mad Irishman. Not the blazing opener I was hoping for but a good toe-tapper singalong and anyway ‘Three Can Keep A Secret’ supplies the rowdiness next and it’s top quality Piratey Punk. Cole’s vocals are just the right side of raspy here, strong and powerful. Not quite Tom Waits but Shane-ish compared to most. Glad also to see our auld mate Mike McNaughton has joined the cast here since the album’s release on drums too.

Title track ‘Last Of The Rebels’ was the first single from the album and came out with a rather uninspiring video but these guys don’t have time to get all artsy-farty and the video did it’s job in letting us all know that Hold Fast had lost none of their spunk in the intervening years. Hold Fast keep the covers to a minimum and concentrate on their own material like ‘Magh Meall & Tir Nan Nog’ a Punky, fast and furious (the shortest song here) modern sea-shanty. On past experience the ballad holds no fear for Hold Fast and Cole’s vocal range can more than handle it and so they show on ‘Prodigal Sun’. A outstanding song with some great writing too. They follow this up with a dark and foreboding short instrumental ‘Gentlemen And Rogues’ which more than tips it’s cap at legendary Irish act Horslips. ‘The Sails Are On Fire’ takes us on another nautical voyage which even includes some nice brass instruments. The challenge from piper Jon was to find the Tuba and if I had to guess than I’d say it was here. Of all the American sports I think it is Baseball that we over this side of the Atlantic don’t get the most. As far as I’m aware its the sport of choice for the working-class American and especially the Irish-American working class. As an aside I live about a 20 minute walk from where the first ever Baseball game was played! Still I just don’t get it but I’m happy and willing to agree that it’s more than just a American version of Rounders! ‘The Ballad Of Joe Savery’ is next and when I looked up the name I found local Philadelphia sporting idol Joe Savery but on listening to the song it has bugger all to do with him and is another superb tribute to sailors.

‘To Davey Jones’ tells of the well worn metaphor (Davy Jones Locker) for the bottom of the sea where the souls of drowned sailors dwell and shipwrecks lay consigned to the depths of the ocean. Jon puts down the pipes to concentrate on accordion duties and another great song of the sea. When the Yuppies were doing their sea-shanty impersonations a while ago on Tik-Tok I never seen one that you could even compare to this. Time for another crowd pleaser and ‘Brody’s Lament’ gives them that. A great singalong chorus and plenty of thigh slapping Country infused elements here to enjoy. One thing missing so far has been a proper overt Irish rebeller and they don’t disappoint with a great version of the famed Wolfe Tones track ‘Erin Go Bragh’. On Black Irish Sons they performed another Tones song ‘Big Strong Man’ that they absolutely owned and is well worth checking out. Here named simply ‘The Erin Go Bragh Suite’

“I’ll sing you a song of a row in the town
When the Green flag went up and the Crown flag came down
Twas the neatest and sweetest thing ever you saw
And they played the great game they call Erin Go Bragh”

The song is about the events that took place during the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin and was written by Peadar Kearney, who also wrote the Irish national anthem. At almost 10 (ten!) minutes it can definitely be described as the album’s epic and as I hinted earlier never outlives it’s welcome. Played slow and purposeful before half way through a sudden surge into life and a Punky Celtic-Punk tale of the ‘boys’ taking on the Tans in county Cork and wiping out the whole ‘f**king lot’. Well worthy of being called epic it’s the album  standout track and shows Hold Fast cramming every element that makes up Celtic-Punk into one song. We are treated to another great cover next as the album comes to an end. ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ is a Scottish Folk song that is perhaps best known as played by Irish acts like The Pogues and The Dubliners ( and indeed The Pogues And The Dubliners) and this is a perfect example of how to play a popular standard. Take it and inject it with some energy and passion and some of yourselves too. ‘Raise Your Glass’ takes us back to where we all like to be- the pub before the curtain comes down with the final track and ‘Slán’. Irish for goodbye Hold Fast say goodbye with a gang-vocal cover of ‘Raise Your Glass’ accompanied on piano before a few seconds of silence before the bonus track and I’ll say no more and leave it to you to find out.

(The Hold Fast set from the Paddyrock Live Stream fiesta from this years St. Patrick’s Day)

So an absolutely outstanding album from the Hold Fast Bhoys. To be honest I was never in any doubt, These guys have the spirit of Irish-America flowing through them and seem to know exactly what the community (and it’s friends) want. This is a great record but sadly for many of us we will never get to experience it in it’s ideal environment. Why the public house of course!

(You can stream / download Last Of The Rebels on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Last Of The Rebels  FromTheBand  Bandcamp

Contact Hold Fast  WebSite  OfficialShop  Facebook  YouTube  Bandcamp

ODDS’N’SODS. A CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP NOVEMBER 2021

Summer is over. Was it ever really here? Anyway it’s hard to get seriously Rock’n’Roll in the sunlight so time for dark nights and mischief and also for this months London Celtic Punks round-up of all the band news, record releases and videos from bands big and small from across the Celtic-Punk scene.

They only just missed last months Odds’n’Sods so pride of place to French Celtic-Punk band TOXIC FROGS. Officially the Celtic-Punk-Rock Chicks band!! The new video for ‘Bestie Life’ taken from My Lucky Own EP released earlier this year.

THE O’REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS celebrate their tenth anniversary with In Strange Waters and reaching the highly impressive target of 100,000 subscribers on You Tube. A greatest hits album with their favourite songs adapted into Pop, Metal, Ska and even Barbershop! In case you missed we were lucky to have Anto Morra review it on its release.

Nebraskan band THE KILLIGANS recently announced on their Facebook page a grand album give away!! All you need to do to receive a free download code for their album Dance On Your Grave is to send them a personal message on their Facebook page. The album made the 2018 Celtic-Punk Top Twenty and our review of the album can be found here. The Bhoys are busy working on a new album, with 3 songs already recorded. Expect a video for the first single sometime around Christmas.

A new mix, courtesy of ChuckRD, of the superb Christmas track ‘It’s In These Times’ from the sadly missed now defunct Irish/ Danish Celtic-Punkers ROVERS AHEAD. They really were one hell of a band and very high up my list of bands I wish would reform. To be honest I can’t tell any difference. I don’t have an ear for this sort of thing.

PALAZOR is a solo music project who describes himself as a “mediocre musician”. I quite liked it!

THE WILD COLONIAL BHOYS – Remote Ruaille Buaille

GREEN GUARD – Devil’s Lung

FEROCIOUS DOG – The Hope

HOLD FAST –  Last Of The Rebels

JOLLY ROGER – Ship Or Bust

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

This section is for Celtic-Punk bands that have (on the large) left us but their music is still deserving to be heard and heard for free courtesy of a free download. We tried to book the Welsh band KILNABOY several times to play in London but it never came off for several reasons. At the time they were quite the name on the Punk scene but I was pretty sure they had split up but it seems not so keep a eye out for them. Sharing their name with a tiny village on the West Coast of Ireland they played energetic catchy Irish Folk-Punk and Prison Bars And Battle Scars dates from 2014. If you like it check out the rest of their back catalogue on Bandcamp as it is all available for ‘name your price’.

Live footage from one of the trailblazers of the Celtic-Punk scene. THE CROPDUSTERS were contempories of The Pogues and The Men They Couldn’t Hang and played their brand of ‘Cow-Punk’ / Folk-Punk back in the day. I went to their rather under whelming final gig at The 100 Club a good few years back after they had an almighty falling out but things must be sorted now as they recently played the Barnstormer festival at the Cerne Abbas Brewery in Devon. Watch this space for news of other gigs. Also playing the same festival was another blast from the past with Brit band PRONGHORN announcing a new album next year.

Now it’s been a looooong time since I was a fan of Grunge pioneers THE MELVINS and there was a time this news would have really got me excited but that was then. They have just announced a 4-disc reimaging of all their favourites songs done acoustically. Five Legged Dog is out now.

Moscow based ‘Punk And Bagpipes’ band ZUNAME announced a new album, Vertigo, to be released on Christmas Day and the first single to follow shortly!

Man can’t live on Celtic-Punk alone and personally I’m rather partial to the sound of Psychobilly and one of the scenes leading lights Philip ‘Doyley’ Doyle has just written a book detailing his time growing up in Ireland and moving to London. Starting the infamous Klingonz and the wild stories of a life spent in the Psychobilly scene. A crazy but lovable journey packed with funny and interesting stories/ You can pre-order the book with optional CD’s from the Diablo Records Bandcamp site.

In case you haven’t noticed our big rival out there is the American Celtic-Punk site SHITE’N’ONIONS. I think they were the first and are still going strong now. I much prefer the site now it’s moved over to WordPress and of course we only mean a friendly rivalry as its all #onebigcelticpunkfamily as you all know. They recently had an interesting interview with Nashville based Dubliner singer-songwriter Dylan Walshe well worth checking out.

Cornish Pirates JOLLY ROGER UK have a new EP out in the next few days. Ship Or Bust is available now on a pre-save link. As we’ve said before theres barely a fag paper between Celtic-Punk and ‘Pirate’ music at times and Jolly Roger are one of the best I’ve heard in a good while. They’ve just ran a successful Kickstarter appeal to buy a new van so hopefully we might see them away from the South-West coast soon. They’ve recorded a bunch of short promos on their You Tube channel besides this one.

One of my favourite bands the American Celtic-Rock/Punkers SEVEN NATIONS have just put out a rather amazing animated video for a track from their last album Tales From The Eighth Nation.

TROLL BENDS FIR are based in Saint Petersburg, Russia and have just released a new single. ‘В плену грибов’ (or in English ‘Taken Captive By Mushrooms’) from the upcoming new album Troll Gnet Yel. Russian beer folk they call it and it has some cool bagpipes and fiddle. I also have a soft spot for dual vocals too which they pull off here very well and even fit in a bit of Metal style riffs and vocals too.

The more I see of Facebook the more and more I dislike it. It has a stranglehold on all forms of expression and any wrongdoing in it’s eyes is punishable by excommunication. This isn’t good and anything that breaks their monopoly is a great thing (except Twitter!) so if you feel the same you can now subscribe to 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 is that it is completely free from Facebook control. Join us on Telegram and don’t miss a single post! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/  

Some live music news for all you Londoners. Luton Irish band MISSING THE FERRY play The Cock Tavern, Phoenix Road, NW1 1HB  and MATT McMANAMON and THE BIBLECODE SUNDAYS play the Castle, Commercial Road, E1 1LN sadly both on Saturday November 13th. Bit of a dilemma that! DAOIRI FARRELL plays Nell’s, 3 North End Crescent, W14 8TG the following day on the Sunday. The legendary WOLFE TONES (now 50+ years strong!) play Camden IC on November 17th and 18th; and the Hare & Hounds, 325 Purley Way, Croydon CR0 4NU on November 19th. We can’t promise to print all live news but please send in anything for consideration.

Some London Celtic Punks news now and we still have a handful of Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer t-shirts available. They come in all sizes from Small right up to XXX-L and are available from our online store. Also available are 2 other shirt designs so click the link below for our full range of other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the discerning Celtic-Punk fan could ever need!  https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

Also now a wee plug for London Irish Rugby Club. After years in the wilderness out in Reading and some would say a watering down of the club’s Irish ethos they arrived back in London at the tail end of last season and a joy to behold it was too, except for the last minute defeat after being miles ahead at half time!! The club is back in the heart of the Irish community so check out the clubs merchandise and show your roots and get some mates together and get down there. Eight train and tube stations within a 20 minute walk and no shortage of decent pubs too means their is literally no excuse.

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 and join in the fun!

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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: GREEN GUARD – ‘Devil’s Lung’ (2021)

Hello and welcome to Green Guard. Pretty damn good Celtic-Folk-Punk from Moscow, Russia with bagpipes… and heart!

Russia has seen a fair few Celtic-Punk bands come and go so it’s always great to be able to report on these pages a new band. I say new but that is only to us and they’re been around since 2017 (which in this scene still makes them babies!). They released their debut album, Green Noise, in 2018 which was followed up by a couple of singles and the 10-track Ulster Girl album last year. All are available on the  band’s Bandcamp player for just a few dollars. All their previous releases like their new one are exclusively new material. This is a completely free covers zone! Devil’s Lung came out digitally last March in the run up to St. Patrick’s Day but finally saw the light of day as an actual CD just last week.

Devil’s Lung begins with ‘Lights Of Morning’ and the first thing to notice is the female vocals placing Green Guard in a very select group of bands within Celtic-Punk. Whether by accident or design female involvement seems on the main to be restricted to fiddle and accordion with some of the scene’s best but it’s by no means uniform with Brutus Daughter and Toxic Frogs bucking the trend. Green Guards music is best described as urgent. A sort of Gothy Punk-Rock played at breakneck speed with Valeria’s vocals both clear and powerful accompanied by highland bagpipes, flute and bouzouki giving them a very distinct Celtic sound. No attempt is made at Celtic melodies just glorious catchy as hell Punk-Rock that happens to be played with Celtic instruments. ‘Raindrops’ is a great song. Balanced between Metal, Punk and Medieval Folk it’s again a catchy number and again Valeria’s vocals stand out giving the bands sound a delicate edge. ‘Hell As Home’ sees chugging guitar and pipes before it’s time to slow it down and ‘Devil’s Lung’ does just that, but only for a bit before the guitars and drums come crashing down and soon a nice wee bagpipe solo takes over. One of the best tracks here it shows the amazing depth of this band and the multitude of influences they inject into each song. It comes as no surprise that members of Green Guard are also involved in Metal bands given the influences here and ‘Pain’ was indeed written by guitarist Anton for a metal project. Using piano and vocals to tell the tale of addiction and the high price that that addicts (and those around them let’s not forget) have to pay. The first time Green Guard performed ‘Pain’ was in the Spring of 2020 while in Covid quarantine. It became the first single from the EP in May of this year and it is a slightly undated version that appears on the album here. Valeria sings in perfect English with dramatic effect. Think of Kate Bush as a Punk-Rocker! Only a couple more songs to go and ‘Share Me So Light’ showcases Marina’s outstanding piping before the final song ‘Summer’ ends on a positive note with a song that bounces off the walls. Musically it could easily fit into the American Pop-Punk scene with it strong catchy and melodic tune and Valeria’s note perfect vocals.

Only eight songs which places it to me right on the fence between album and EP. There’s no science (or logic!) involved really but it’s the album’s length at almost thirty minutes that finally convinced me that Devil’s Lung belongs among 2021’s albums. I really enjoyed this album but it did raise a couple of questions. There doesn’t seem, to my ear anyway, to be any Celtic melodies here but the band contains more Celtic instruments than most Celtic-Punk bands do. On top of that they are proud to label themselves a “Celtic Folk Rock Punk band” so is it still Celtic-Punk or just Punk with bagpipes? Have a listen and see what you think. Whatever you decide the one thing we can agree on is that it’s pretty damn good!

(You can stream and download Devil’s Lung on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Devil’s Lung  Bandcamp

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE O’REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS – ‘In Strange Waters’ (2021)

Seems like only five minutes since their last album The O’Reillys And The Paddyhats reel off another one! This time In Strange Waters celebrates their 10th anniversary together but not as you’d expect it to do. Nine of the best Paddyhats songs played in completely new arrangements and genres and a bonus of a completely new song. There’s only one man we know that can get to grips with that. Take it away Anto Morra.

The Paddyhats have got to be one of the hardest working bands around, even managing to release the brilliant ‘Dogs On A Leash’ in 2020. How many gigs they managed from their accompanying tour is anyone’s guess! Clearly German work ethic is unfazed by the pandemic. I was delighted and privileged to be asked to review their 10th Anniversary offering ‘In Strange Waters’ not just a compilation album re-mastered and packaged with an extra song, but a brilliantly executed snapshot of their 10 years together with 9 of their best songs re-imagined, arranged and recorded and a previously unreleased song.

The album opens with their 100% party song ‘Barrels of Whiskey’. Here the drums are stripped back, a bottle-neck guitar is added together with a more refined moody vocal style. It has an almost Alabama 3 quality, and the horn section at the end is a lovely touch. Taken from their 2016 album ‘Seven Hearts One Soul’ is ‘Fair Old Lady’

The 10 year version starts with a beautifully sparse piano making it very mellow and as it continues it becomes more Celtic Mysticism than Celtic Punk, reminding me of Enya’s 1988 hit ‘Orinocco Flow’ but with a much more earthy vocal and a lot less pretentious. There is an unaccompanied section with just vocal harmonies, which works brilliantly.

‘Ferry Man’ from 2020’s ‘Dogs on a Leash’ is taken up a notch in party stakes and with a terrific horn section, almost ventures into Two Tone territory, while amazingly still maintaining an overall Irish feel.

‘Light Up’ is the only song I’ve not heard before, and is a craicin’ song in the Shanty tradition with a perfectly subtle banjo break. Ed Sheerhan’s ‘Galway Girl’ springs to mind when the funky pop rhythm of ‘Irish Way’ kicks in. It’s an age old tale of men being led a stray by the smarter sex, and a very fresh and far removed update from their 2017 album ‘Sign Of The Fighter’.

‘We’re bollocks full of Sin’ has got to be one of the best line in a song ever! So glad it’s still in this really interesting, less aggressive and more melodic version of their 2018 album title track ‘Green Blood’

Followed by another album title track 2020’s ‘Dogs On A Leash’

This time done as a wonderful sparse acoustic version,with almost barbershop vocal harmonies. Before you get too comfortable and start to think they may have lost their edginess ‘We All Know’ shows off a more Metal influence and is almost ‘Black Sabbath’ in places and Death Metal in others. ‘Beautiful Fear’ is a wonderful song and this new Shanty version with big dramatic drums gives it all the pathos the lyrics require.

2018’s ‘Yesterday’s Rebel’ closes the album and once again it’s softened with a host of synthetic pop additions reminding me of what Sinead O’Connor did with traditional songs on her album ‘Sean-Nos Nua’

This is possibly The Paddyhats easiest to listen to album. A real testament to their song writing and creative abilities, great songs can be done in lots of different ways and this proves that in so many ways. This band do not let the grass grow and I’m so glad they’ve dared to do this different. They still are and always will be one of the best Celtic Punk Bands around and their humour and versatility has never been more prevalent than on this record. Well done Paddyhats, Keep Punking about and mixing it up!

Buy In Strange Waters  FromTheBand  StreamingSites

Contact The O’Reillys And The Paddyhats

Born and raised in London by immigrant parents from Ireland Anto Morra swapped the Smoke for the Swamp in 1989 and adopted Norfolk as home but still returns often to visit his Mammy and play for London Celtic Punks. At times a pogoing, gobbing Punk, a lazy pot smoking hairy Hippy, a bopping Rock-A-Billy, a sharp dressed Mod and even a Bauhaus loving Goth he’s soaked it all in and none of it and all of it has been an influence on him.

https://www.antomorra.com/

EP REVIEW: THE RAMSHACKLE ARMY – ‘Highflyer’ (2021)

One of Australia’s finest Celtic punk exports are back with their first EP since 2016’s ‘Whitewashed Graves’. Have they still got it? Make no mistake: these guys pack a punch, and they always have.

The Ramshackle Army kicked the Celt-folk door open way back in 2010. Quickly, they proved they could deliver exciting, fast-paced performances to rival the best of ’em. While they’ve obviously been influenced by The Dropkick Murphys, and have a core sound reminiscent of 2000s-era punk rock, the band is much more than a mere Dropkicks tribute, let me tell ya that!

The Army have toured the US several times, supportin’ top names like The Tossers and The Dropkicks themselves, and sharing festival stages with Flatfoot 56 and The Mahones. The Army (as I shall refer to them from now on) have described their music as “the sounds of punk rock, with a dose of the Celtic folk”. And that, my friend, is precisely what we have here on ‘Highflyer’. And damn, it’s good to see these guys the other side of lockdown.

The Ramshackle Army. L-R: Jig (bass), Nath (guitar), Gaz (vocals), Adge (drums), Josh (banjo/mandolin) and Kat (fiddle).

To the EP itself: this 5-track record is a thrasher, from start to finish 🙂 It also showcases some of the band’s punkiest moments to date. From the minute the title track “Highflyer” kicks in, we know we’re in for another good ride. Singer Gaz Byrne treats us to the catchy, Cockney-tinged vocal melodies we’re used to from him. The sound again immediately provides that homely feeling that Celtic music always summons in the listener. With lines like “Where is the line in the sand? / Why do highflyers sink so low?”, the song takes a critical swipe at the business success but lack of moral principles embraced by some “highflyers”, wrapping it up in a hopeful and powerful chorus. A strong opener, and one that brings back memories of “Protest Songs” from the aforementioned ‘Whitewashed Graves’ EP, or indeed 2012’s classic “Rue The Day”, the video to which is currently nearing 50,000 views on YouTube.

Tracks #2 (“Bend Don’t Break”) and #3 (“Rise and Fall”) allow the band’s rock sound into the foreground, with the fiddles and mandolins taking more of a back seat. However, this takes nothing away from the musicianship of these songs, and our favourite Celtic instruments make a strong return in the interestingly-titled “The Also Rans”. If you’re looking for the band’s signature “woah-oh!” singalong moments, then await the chorus patiently 😁 For me, this is the second strongest song on the record only to title track “Highflyer”, but you might feel differently, so crank the volume 😉

You’ll want to keep the volume up for closer “Old Weapons”, too. I’m pretty familiar with The Army’s back catalogue, but they’ve hardly ever sounded heavier or faster than they do here. A desperate burst of energy to emerge from the terrible pandemic that’s wrecked people’s lives, perhaps? Maybe. Either way, this one’s sure to be a firm singalong at the band’s gigs in support of the EP, supplying 1 minute and 49 seconds of untempered energy.

Anyway, enough from me…to feast yer ears on this fine piece o’ work, click HERE or try Spotify.

To connect with the band, check ’em out on Facebook or Instagram.

After 11 years in the biz, The Ramshackle Army are still tight as fuck. If it’s good-quality, almost virtuoso-level Celtic punk that you seek, you’ll still find it right here.

THE DUNES

What happened when Shane MacGowan met Ronnie Drew back in the ’90s? Well, a few things happened, but here’s one thing ye might not know about. Let’s take a trip back through time, but not one that will bore you.

Back in the day, Ronnie Drew was makin’ a solo record called Dirty Rotten Shame. He was short of a few songs, so he contacted the ol’ legend himself, Shane MacGowan. Shane sent him a song he’d written, called The Dunes.

Like most of MacGowan’s work, it’s a beautiful piece of music, and it shines a light on the ugly side of life. On one of Ireland’s toughest times. The Famine of 1845-52.

The Potato Famine. A terrible blow to the Irish population.

The Great Hunger

I walked today on the cold grey shore
Where I watched when I was much younger
Where they built the dunes upon the sand
For the dead from The Great Hunger.

Those are the first lines Ronnie sings in the song. It sets the scene of the terrible famine of 1845 to 1852, caused by a potato blight. The Irish, especially the working class, were heavily dependent on the potato, often eating 5 kilos a day. So the Famine struck right at the heart of their livelihood.

Ultimately, a quarter of Ireland’s population was either wiped out, or left to find a home elsewhere. This is what Shane writes and Ronnie sings about in the song, almost like they were there. More to the point, Shane was, when he was 18 or 19. “I was up near Louisburgh in Co. Mayo, and I heard the story about people burying their dead on the beach, during the Famine times,” the singer said once. “The place was eerie, all these bones lying about. I’ll never forget it.”

And Shane didn’t forget. Just listen to the line, “the children kicked the sand about, and the bones they are revealed, then”, and there’s your proof.

Shane at his best

  Despite being about such a grim topic, The Dunes showcases MacGowan at his finest. While it’s hard to pick out the best lines Shane’s ever written, I particularly like the penultimate verse, which goes like this: 

A crack of lightning split the sky 
The rain on the dunes, it poured 
I left them lying where I shot them down 
The bailiff and the landlord 
Then I went for a drink in Westport. 

  He’s had his problems, but Shane is a fucking genius. And the “Westport” line is the only moment of hope in the song. The only moment where the narrator seems to hint at a normal life, like going for a drink in the pub. Sadly, it’s also a strong reminder of the part of Ireland that was hit the hardest by the great hunger. 

  It was the West, and the South, that copped the worst of it. Many of those who died were Catholics, as referenced by the “rosary” line earlier in the song. And one of the truly tragic factors about it all was the soup kitchens. These were set up to provide relief to the starving poor, and it did help. But since the kitchens were Protestant, and Catholics were sometimes reluctant to go in case they got converted, we’ll never know how many people died out of fear of losing their religion.

Shane and Ronnie. A pair o’ legends.

Busting a myth

 Most of what I know about the Famine was written in a book by Joseph Coohill. His father was an Irish-American, and Coohill is a respected academic. His book Ireland: A Short History is informative without being hard to follow. Also, to Coohill’s credit, the book is fair to the Nationalist and to the Unionist sides. It’s fair to the Irish, but portrays the British in a factual light too. 

  That brings me on to something. The myth you’ll sometimes hear is that the Famine was entirely the fault of the British. While it’s a popular myth, it’s not completely true. The Quakers, and even Queen Victoria, donated a shitload of money, to try and stem the impact of the Famine. Robert Peel was PM when the Famine started, and he genuinely tried to help, but was stabbed in the back by his own government. They didn’t want him importing cheap food from abroad, even though people in Ireland were already starving to death. Sometimes it was the rich Irish landlords and bailiffs who turfed the starving people out of their homes, and effectively “stole their grain”, like it says in The Dunes

 If you’re looking for people in Britain who cocked things right up, try the following: 

  1. Peel’s successor, PM John Russell. He believed in economics, rather than fixing an agricultural problem. 
  1. The scientists appointed by PM Peel to investigate the Famine. They disregarded a specialist’s opinion that the potato blight was caused by a fungus (which it was). 
  1. The arrogant people among the British, who believed the Famine was “sent by God to punish the Irish”. So much for love thy neighbour. Ireland was part of the UK at the time, so why didn’t more people look out for them? 
  1. Charles Trevelyan, treasurer to PM John Russell. Trevelyan was slow to give the Irish any kind of proper aid, and he also believed in the God-punishing-the-Irish crap. A poor treasurer and economist if ever there was one. 

The takeaway

  As Ronnie returns to the opening verse of The Dunes to finish, he sings about a man walking on the same shores where he witnessed the horrors of the Famine as a young boy. That implies that the Famine may have passed, but that it lives in the hearts and minds of the people connected with it. There’s a lesson to be learned in life, then. And that lesson is this: do what you can to help others. As human beings, we can’t work miracles. But we can all do something or other to make a difference. 

  It could be doing a Ferocious Dog and organising a food bank at a music venue. It could be raising money for, or donating money to the homeless, as I’ve done in the past and still do. It could even be as simple as looking out for folks during the terrible COVID-19 pandemic. In a world where ordinary people can feel powerless, let’s all do a little bit to make it a better, more humane place. 

Listen to The Dunes HERE.  Or, you can watch an old video of Ronnie singing it HERE

R.I.P. Ronnie, we love ya x

Andy

ALBUM REVIEW: BLAGGARDS – Blagmatic’ (2021)

Texas Celtic-Punk band Blaggards (there is no ‘the’) play what they call Stout Irish Rock. Traditional Irish mixed with Rock’n’Roll, informed by everything from Johnny Cash and Elvis to Thin Lizzy and Sabbath. Their new album has just hit the shops 

Unbelievably this is the fourth Celtic-Punk album out of Texas in just the last few months. The Real McCoys, The Dead Rabbits and Die Strömms have all released albums we have raved about and it will be bloody hard to separate them come the end of year best of 2021 polls. The band’s name is pronounced “bla’guards” and was a word used continuously by my Grandad back in the day.

“A scoundrel; an unprincipled contemptible person; an untrustworthy person. Usually, only used to refer to a male person.”

The band formed in July 2004 in Houston, Texas after Dublin born Patrick Devlin emigrated from Ireland in his early 20′s. Working as a jobbing musician for several years, Patrick saw the popularity of Celtic-Punk and that nobody was taking advantage of. So in 1996 he formed On The Dole who would go on to play with the likes of the Wolfe Tones and the Saw Doctors. It was in 2003 though that Patrick met Chad Smalley, a bassist and singer and veteran of the local music scene. Having just returned from New York Chad was looking for a new project they hit it off and the two of them soon began singing and performing together and a year later, Blaggards was born. Eric C. Hughes would later join on drums officially in January 2020 after several ‘unoffical’ performances. Blaggards have one of the busiest touring schedules of any band in the American Celtic-Punk scene. Playing constantly throughout Texas and nationally and also touring Ireland every year (except lockdown)  since 2010. This busy schedule has perhaps hampered their recording output as Blagmatic is only the bands third album after Standards, an album of exuberant, irreverent Irish Folk covers from 2005 and Live In Texas, recorded at the Continental Club in Houston, in June 2009.

Blagmatic begins with the first of a handful of Irish trad covers. Some may be a bit overplayed and some are not but each and every one are injected with new life, given the Blaggards original stamp and played with a good healthy dose of irreverence. ‘The Moonshiner’ begins with a bit of guitar I can only describe as Horslips-ish before slipping straight into a good bit of headbanging Irish Folk-Rock. Maybe if AC/DC were Paddies and not Jocks this may be old hat but it all sounds pretty damn fresh to me. Following this is another Irish cover and ‘Spanish Lady’ is played a lot more traditional Celtic-Punk sounding.  An old song I first heard it by the Dubliners when I was a kid but the song dates back a hundred years or so. Like a lot of Irish Folk songs it’s all a bit unclear.

‘Sweet 16’ is the first of the Blaggards compositions all written by Patrick. The Celtic instrumentation is kept at a bare minimum as they play another rocker that gets the toes tapping and the neck snapping! The irreverence continues with a fantastic cover of ‘Delilah’. Originally recorded by Welsh singing legend Tom Jones it’s great singalong chorus has for years disguised the true meaning of the song. A man discovers that Delilah has been cheating on him, so waiting outside for her lover to leave, he enters the house and stabs her to death. When the ‘cancellers’ find out they’ll be horrified!

“My, my, my, Delilah
Why, why, why, Delilah
So before they come to break down the door
Forgive me, Delilah, I just couldn’t take anymore”

A couple of Blaggards songs now beginning with ‘Rain Or Shine’ which starts off with a great hard rock guitar riff. No wonder Patrick wields a v-shaped guitar! The slips into some more Horslips style Rock before a wee Gaelic flourish and some lovely fiddle before returning to its metal origins.

‘PLFM’ is a modern sea-shanty with a nod to Alestorm. Catchy as feck as every song on Blagmatic is trust me. The Bhoys are not afraid to revisit some stone cold classic (some may say overdone!) but there’s a very good reason why people still want to hear songs like ‘The Wild Rover’. I always think of it is a real rabble rouser as at school this was one of only a small number of songs they could get the boys to sing. We loved as we could beat up the desks with our fists in the chorus! Needless to say Blaggards rip it to pieces and be sure to avert yer ears if you are a sensitive soul!

‘2nd Worse’ is a great song and a good old fashioned rocker in both style and subject matter. The 2nd worse of the title is an ex-girlfriend and the song bops along with some good laughs and a bit of mean fiddling. When I spotted the next song I must admit to cringing a little. I’m sure unbeknown to Blaggards were not to know that ‘Wagon Wheel’ has become a bit of a joke in the London Irish scene. Played so often that folk now call out for it and even one famous London Irish Celtic Punk band are known to have a go occasionally. Not that I would need to worry as the song is a total hard-rocker and f’all to do with a hitchhiker going to meet his girlfriend. We nearing the end and time for an emigration song. ‘Spancil Hill’ is without doubt one of the saddest (and let’s face it the competition is immense!) and beautiful of all Irish emigration songs. I can still clearly remember properly listening to this song for the first time. I had heard it plenty of times growing up but the first time I took care to listen to the words brought a tear to my eye the sadness of it all.

“Then the cock he crew in the morning, he crew both loud and shrill
I awoke in California, many miles from Spancil Hill”

The curtain comes down with another original ‘Lights Of El Paso’ and a touch of western Americana and tongue in cheek humour rounds the album off expertly.

Blaggards left to right: Chad Richard Smalley – Bass and Backing Vocals * Patrick Devlin – Guitars and Vocals * Eric C. Hughes – Drums and Backing Vocals *

As well as the three Blaggards they have been assisted on Blagmatic with some truly talented guest musicians. Jeff Duncan – fiddle, Patrick Brennan – keyboards, Willy T. Golden – pedal steel, Shane Farrell – mandolin and banjo and Paul Beebe on backing vocals, who also produced, engineered and mixed the album too. The album is available on CD, vinyl and download and although it’s available on all the various streaming sites we’d ask you to get it from the Blaggards themselves. There is even a option when you buy the album to ‘reforest Ireland’ by donating an extra $5 to CatchMyCarbon.ie who plant native Irish trees in new forest sites in the West of Ireland. A fantastic album and despite the hard rock at times I think it would still be totally accessible to even the folkiest of Folk fans. Not all of what is here can be described as Celtic-Punk or even Celtic-Rock but i feel I can say that everyone of you would still enjoy this great album and oh my God they must be fecking brilliant to watch live!

Buy Blagmatic  FromTheBand CD/Download  or Vinyl

Contact Blaggards  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

As well as working their arses off Blaggards also do a regular podcasts called SlapperCast: a weekly talk show where the guys share their experiences and occasionally chat with guests. The episodes passed #130 a good while ago and last anything from a few minutes to over a hour and have never failed to put a smile on me face. 

https://slappercast.fireside.fm

Full live show recorded in their mates warehouse A & A Supply Company streamed live on You Tube on Sunday, April 26, 2020. In full HD with stereo sound the set includes many songs from Blagmatic.

EP REVIEW: TARA’S FOLK – ‘Leaving’ (2021)

Celtic folk rock brewed with energy. Button accordion, Bodhràn and guitar mix with some fiddle, whistle and guitars, peppered by strong lyrics and vocals !! the perfect batch…

Tara’s Folk have been around since around 2010 that’s a long time to go under the radar but understandable when you realise the band is a Folky /Trad offshoot of the brilliantly named French Celtic-Punk band The Booze Brothers. They first came to my attention last year when they played a utterly brilliant post-St. Patrick’s Day live stream that absolutely knocked my socks off. Tar’s Folk began as basically a trad Folk covers band but began writing their own songs in 2016. Based in the south of France the band have so far toured Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Belgium but with The Booze Brothers also a touring band it leaves little time to concentrate on Tara’s Folk but they did find the time during lockdown to finally record their debut release.

Tara’s Folk left to right: Rémi Geffroy – Button Accordion * Laure de Bigorre – Bodhràn, Percussion * Big Beurky – Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Bouzouki, Tin-Whistle and other Irish stuff! *

Leaving is a five track EP of all self written songs that Tara’s Folk have been playing over the years but never got the chance to record till now. The EP begins with ‘Chant Des Ouviers’ (‘Worker’s Song’) which was also the first single released. All acoustic from the first few bars you can tell it’s been recorded ‘pub-style’. Recorded as it was. No polishing and no mixing just pure unadulterated traditional music and all the better for it.

Musically the style is definitely Irish but a French/Breton influence is there and Big Beurky’s vocals are terrific too. His old man comes from Donegal which explains the red beard and the other thing is the absolutely incredible accordion. I haven’t heard as good in years. The track is a cover of a song composed in 1846 by French musician and poet Pierre Dupont. Next up is ‘Why?’ and this time the band sing in English. Catchy as hell and where ‘Chant Des Ouviers’ had a more traditional feel to it ‘Why?’ has a more modern Folk feel. A band with feet in both the past and the present this is what will keep the music relevant. ‘Happy’ is more ballad-ish and sees them accompanied by Julien Casanova who also plays with accordionist Rémi in a pure trad band. ‘Stop Me’ is a bit more rowdy with lyrics about the despair a man sees around him. I could just rave about the accordion throughout this review it is that good. The curtain comes down on Leaving with  ‘I’m Sick’ and a more modern sound but again anchored in the past.

Only five songs is about the only thing I can find to fault this EP. Everything is superb from the sound to the music to vocals and the clever lyrics. Tara’s Folk are looking to record an album soon and any assistance with helping them find a record label is surely appreciated. Three amazing musicians at the top of their game ably assisted by some talented friends. Traditional Folk music for a modern generation I hope.

(You can stream or download Leaving on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Leaving  CD-TheBand  Download-Bandcamp

Contact Tara’s Folk  WebSite  Facebook  The Booze Brothers  WebSite  Facebook

As a special bonus here’s the last album from the aforementioned the brilliant Booze Brothers. The Lemming Experience came out a couple of years ago and check out that belter of an opening song!!! You can stream the whole album, amaximum of 3 plays and then you have to pay for it.

CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW: CALLINAN-FLYNN – Freedom’s Lament (1972)

The latest in our series of reviews of albums from the past that deserve to be aired again! Freedom’s Lament is an album from the early 1970’s from Callinan-Flynn, a Irish Folk duo that only recorded one album and one single of contemporary Irish Folk that still stands proud today almost fifty years on. 

FREE DOWNLOAD

I was after a copy of this album for quite a while after reading about it but gave up on hearing how rare it was so I was delighted to come across the album hidden away on the internet and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. Recorded between sometime between 1971 and 1972, things are a bit vague!, by the duo David Callinan and Mick Flyn and accompanied by drummer Kieran O’Connor and Romey Young on mouth harp. The album was recorded at Chalk Farm Studios , London and came out on the small micro-label Mushroom records (I wonder if this has anything to do with them not remembering when they recorded it) in 1972 and with a tiny circulation of only 200 on vinyl though it was re-issued by by Dolphin Records a couple of years later. So no surprise that it would soon become a highly sought after collectors item with original albums at well over £200 on eBay. A CD version did come out in 1991 on UFO Records with two extra songs that were released in 1972 as the ’72 With The Songs’ single.

Mick Flynn (left) David Callinan (right) perform live on stage at the Roundhouse in London in 1972. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)

The songs on the album are evenly split credit wise with only three covers, rather unusual at the time in Irish Folk music. ‘Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore’, Moon Coin Reel’ and ‘The Banks Of Newfoundland’ making up the covers. The music itself is played quite simply and is all the more memorable for it. The opening track ‘Puckarees’ is a perfect example with Mick Flynn’s strong but gentle vocal over the drone of the jew’s harp giving it a fairly typical 70’s Folk sound. Later on in the song it takes a turn into traditional Irish that at the time I’m sure would horrified the Folk snobs purists but even now sounds totally contempory. Therein lies part of the problem with the gatekeepers of Irish music. Always unwilling to change and to give those that do their full due. I have often heard trad Irish played better by Celtic-Punk bands than trad bands!

The main accompaniment to the vocals is acoustic guitar though often other instruments do appear, their appearance is often used sparingly and rather on the quiet side. Back in the day Callinan-Flynn would have been lumped together in the ‘Psych Folk’ scene despite not being particularly ‘Psych’ at all! It does have a haunting, melancholy feel at times but the music is far more standard Irish Folk than anything. The album strays away from the Celtic/Irish sound occasionally with ‘Marion’s Song’ a particular highlight but I’m sure songs like the republican ‘Ballad Of Belfast’ would also have upset the Folk music orthodoxy. While songs of 1798 were welcomed any mention of the ongoing war just a 100 odd miles north of Dublin saw the powers of the Irish state come down on performers. At the time ballad bands like the Wolfe Tones and Barleycorn were playing to packed houses both at home, and also over this side of the Irish sea, playing the ‘people’s music’ that was banned from the airwaves and television. Sometimes a simple plea for ‘1 man 1 vote’ in the north of Ireland, as in ‘We Are The People’, would be enough for a song to be banned.

Looking at Freedom’s Lament through modern eyes it’s easy to see it as a ‘rebel’ album but I think it so much more. It played a very important part in the development of Irish Folk music that would lead later onto the Celtic-Rock scene. Radical politics were common place in the 70’s and in fact put what passes for radical politics in this day and age to shame. The war in Ireland was awakening. Civil rights, equal votes and decent jobs and housing were all denied to Catholics in the north and it was inevitable that the new generation of musicians would sing about these things.
Tracks:
01. Puckaree – 5:13
02. Freedom’s Lament – 3:15
03. Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore – 4:18
04. Moon Coin Reel (Johnson’s Favourite) – 2:16
05. The Old Man And The Flower – 2:32
06. The Banks Of Newfoundland – 4:46
07. Beyond The Pale – 2:40
08. Ballad Of Belfast – 3:53
09. Marion’s Song – 3:33
10. Paddy’s Delight (Tinkers’ Polka) – 2:33
11. London N.W.2 – 2:23
12. Fortune For The Finder – 3:43
13. We Are the People (The Road to Derry Town) – 3:55
14. A Woman Is a Woman – 3:42

Vocals, Guitar [6 String], Harmonica – Dave Callinan * Vocals, Guitar [6 String], Twelve-string Guitar, Flute, Bodhrán, Bongos, Mandolin, Harmonica, Autoharp, Tin Whistle [Penny Whistle] – Mick Flynn * Drums – Kieran O’Connor * Jew’s Harp [Jaw’s Harp] – Romey Young

Design [Cover Design] – Romey Young * Producer, Engineer – Vic Keary

These days David Callinan is is better known as a writer and author with a back catalogue of books ranging from thrillers to children’s books and stories and non-fiction. He began his musical career in The Spalpeens in the boom years of the Irish ballad scene before moving to ‘Celtic Swamp Music’ with Urban Clearway, with whom he toured with the likes of Elton John, Billy Connolly, Fairport Convention and Rod Stewart. A highlight of his musical career was co-writing a Celtic-Rock opera for the Edinburgh Festival. Pucka-Ri starring Pierce Brosnan. After Urban Clearway split, Callinan joined forces with Mick Flynn in the folk-rock singer-songwriter duo Callinan-Flynn. Mick Flynn began his career playing and recording with the Tinkers and is still recording with Mick Flynn & The Rustic Rolls Royces releasing Uisce Beatha three years back.

SPOTIFY  *  DEEZER

David Callinan has said that he was shocked by the relative success of the album seeing as how it had little impact on release.

“I was quite amazed when I found out that an album I made in 1972 has become a surprise underground rare hit and been sought after by fans and collectors all over the world. They are calling it folk-psych (whatever that is). A new wave Irish chanteur, Sean Tyrrell has also recorded some songs I wrote many years ago.
Could be the start of a revival.”

DOWNLOAD FREEDOM’S LAMENT

HERE  HERE

David Callinan Web Site

ALBUM REVIEW: TORTILLA FLAT – ‘New Stuff In An Old Barrel’ (2021)

The bagpipe heavy Swiss Celtic Folk’n’Punk band Tortilla Flat celebrate both their 30th anniversary together as well as their 10th anniversary of playing with The Independent Pipers with the release of their ninth album New Stuff In An Old Barrel.

Tortilla Flat celebrate a amazing 30 (yes thirty!) years together in 2021. This makes them one of the oldest Celtic-Punk bands in the world still going and definitely one of Europe’s (if not the) oldest. Thirty years on since Chris, Ritchie and Lexu sat down together and inspired by Scots and Irish Folk music made plans for a Celtic-Folk-Punk band in their home town of Langenthal in Switzerland. Taking their name from the John Steinbeck novel and movie of the same name about a bunch of Californian outsiders who want to do nothing but get drunk, Tortilla Flat are joined regularly by the The Independent Pipers who keep up a steady supply of expert bagpipers. For many bands in the Celtic-Punk scene the priority has always been the live show, after all it is what pays the bills for many, and so don’t get round to recording as much as bands in other Rock genres would. Tortilla Flat are an exception though as since their debut In The Grip Of The Grape back in 1996 their new album New Stuff In An Old Barrel will be their ninth album alongside plenty of other singles and EP’s as well.

Tortilla Flat live at Stadtpark Aarburg last month.

This is the third time I have had the pleasure of reviewing Tortilla Flat and so I do kind of know what to expect when I hear it. Previous albums have been a mix of bagpipe heavy authentic sounding traditional Folk and ’77 style Punk rockers and no New Stuff In An Old Barrel is not much of a departure from that. The album kicks off with ‘The March Of Bill Carson’ a slow Western style instrumental dedicated to the memory of Bill Carson the character from the film The Good, The Bad And The Ugly who sets the whole shebang off when he reveals that he has buried a stash of gold in a cemetery and then he pops his clogs! This morphs straight into ‘Tobermory Bay’ the first of the Celtic-Punk rockers here inspired by a visit vocalist Chris made to the Isle Of Mull and the accompaniment from The Independent Pipers (Tom MacFly, Rob Highlander and Lord Peter Of Lochaber) is truly amazing. Some Scots inspired Ska up next with ‘Captain Bill McCoy’ with some excellent accordion from Asi MacHasi guesting for the band. The song tells the true story of Scots-American Bill McCoy who the phrase ‘The Real McCoy’ originated from. During the prohibition era (1920–33) McCoy was illegal a rum runner who was known for never watering down his imports; thus, his product was ‘The Real McCoy’.

Tortilla Flat left to right: Asi MacHasi – Accordion * Chris – Guitars and Lead Vocals * Tom MacFly – Bagpipe * Lexu – Drums * Rob Highlander – Bagpipe * Ritchie – Bass and Mandolin * Lord Peter of Lochaber – Bagpipe * Christine Sdiri – Violin and Cello *

The first trad Folk song next and the popular Irish song ‘The Parting Glass’ made famous by The Clancy Brothers and unusually for once isn’t the closing song. Done in every style imaginable now Tortilla Flat play it punky. We all have our own reasons to like this song, usually to do with someone close to us and I’m no different. ‘Stag Night Site’ returns us to some good auld bagpipe Punk and the funny antics of a night before the big day. One of the album highlights now and ‘Cut And Dried’ sees the band joined by old mate Jorgen Red Westman of the Swedish Punk band Psychotic Youth. He previously joined Tortilla Flat on their vinyl single ‘The 45rpm’ a couple of years back. Jorgen has a great voice and the song is as catchy as hell and ought to get plenty of airplay with his faux American accent helping I’m sure. The bagpipes fit right in and sounds a bit like a Celtic Social Distortion! Next we get an simple acoustic number about the Covid lockdown with ‘Baby I’m Bored’ before another Celtic-Punk number ‘Trumped Up’. The last few songs are all outstanding beginning with ‘The Girl With The Rose Tattoo Tattoo’ and hard rocking guitar meets utterly superb bagpiping in a catchy great love song that Angry Anderson would approve of I am sure. The famous ‘Loch Lomond’ returns us to trad Folk and it’s heartening to hear a band that can switch from both ends of the Celtic-Punk scale so easily. Christine Sdiri accompanies the band on cello and once again this is a song that normally closes records. You may not recognise ‘Ça Plane Pour Moi’ from it’s title but within a couple of seconds it reveals itself as the 1977 novelty Punk-Rock hit from Plastic Bertrand. An long time live favourite it’s finally been put down on disc and it’s fantastic! This leads us finally to the last song on the album and ‘The Rain Over Brodgar’ is a great way to bring down the curtain. A quiet thoughtful somber instrumental. Christine returns to play both cello and fiddle and only a couple of minutes long they could have stretched it out further I think and let it really develop.

The album’s title could have been the smallest review we have ever done. New Stuff In An Old Barrel is exactly that. Even the songs that have stayed faithful to the trad versions still have a modern air to them. The album is a limited release with just 250 copies of the CD available in a numbered box but is also available through all the usual digital channels. Another great release from Tortilla Flat and another band that deserve to be much more widely known. Here’s to 2041 and the half century!

Buy New Stuff In An Old Barrel

Contact Tortilla Flat  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube * The Independent Pipers

If all the dew were diamonds”, Pablo said, “we would be very rich. We would be drunk all our lives”. But Pilon, on whom the curse of realism lay uneasily, added: “Everybody would have too many diamonds. There would be no price for them, but wine always costs money. If only it would rain for a day, now, and we had a tank to catch it in”. “But good wine”, interjected Pablo, “not rotgut swill like the last you got”. “I didn’t pay for it”, said Pilon. “Someone hid it in the grass by the dance hall. What can you expect of wine you find ?”

from “TORTILLA FLAT” by John Steinbeck, 1935

THE CRAZY ROGUES NEW SINGLE ‘Empire Of Sand’ OUT NOW

Hungarian Celtic-Punk band The Crazy Rogues are back with a new Folk-Punk song inspired by a different part of the world than usual but still with as much crazy, rogue vibe as they could muster.

2015 and 2017 were the years that Hungarian bands dominated the Celtic-Punk scene. A whole slew of bands had releases that filled those years Best Of charts and one of the many bands was The Crazy Rogues. Founded in 2014 in the city of Veszprém their stated aim was to spread the mood and atmosphere of Irish pubs all over Hungary.
One of the things the Hungarian scene was famous for was not sticking to the standard Celtic-Punk formula and The Crazy Rogues mixed in plenty of other influences from around the world for a sound they called ‘Rogue’n’Roll’.
With things returning to normal it’s great news to see bands back on the stage and back in the studio and a brand new track, Empire Of Sand, came out last week. The video below is a slightly different version from the one released so be sure to listen to the Bandcamp one below as well. The song is the first single from The Crazy Rogues forthcoming new album, set for release soon, and blends their trademark Celtic-Punk sound with Arabic tunes. It will feature twelve songs, of which eight will be new compositions from the band, and we can’t wait to hear it.

The Sun goes high,
Crawls towards the top of the Sky…
It shines so bright
It makes you wish you could die

Masters they watch
Whipping on our backs one more notch
We work all day
We won’t live too long I’m afraid

Our name in your mouth:
stinky slave dog
You think my life or
death’s worth even less than a great slog
You refuse to rest
at our campfire
But our dirty hands
are building your empire

Chorus:
Hot sand in waves
worn-out slaves
Just keep the pace
It’s a deadly place
Pyramid’s tall
I will outlive you all
building it up
you will have to fall

The Crazy Rogues: Teo Biermann – Flute, Vocals * László Verrasztó – Lead Vocals * Dávid Csillag – Violin, Vocals * Krisztián Fellegi – Banjo, Mandolin, Vocals * Gábor Fazekas – Guitars, Vocals * Péter Németh – Bass * Ákos Nagy – Drums *

Buy Empire of Sand  Bandcamp  Deezer  Apple Music  

Contact The Crazy Rogues  Facebook  SoundCloud  YouTube  Instagram

NEW SHANGHAI TREASON SINGLE ‘Hero’s Welcome’ RELEASED TODAY

Sheffield banjo punks Shanghai Treason release the fourth single taken from their upcoming self titled debut. ‘Hero’s Welcome’ which tells the TRUE story of one of the bands great grandfathers; who escaped a P.O.W camp in WW2.

We are getting nearer and nearer to the one album release I have been dying to hear ever since it was announced a few months back on these pages. Aye up to Shanghai Treason from God’s own country (within God’s own country) who have a new single out today- ‘Hero’s Welcome’.

The song tells a tale very close to the heart of one of the band, vocalist Sam Christie. For it’s the true story of when his  great granddad escaped the European P.O.W camp he was being held captive in during WW2 and facing many dangers made it back to Blighty, even swimming the English channel.

“It’s kind of an unbelievable story. One I felt deserved to be immortalised in song, it already felt like the kind of tall tale that would be well suited for presentation in a more traditionally Folk storytelling fashion, We had been playing around with the track for a year or so before I heard our guitarist ‘Tom Jackson’ singing the lyrics that I’d written one rehearsal, it’s was a kinda light bulb moment really where it felt like it should be TJ who sings the track, everything seemed to click together from there, he’s got a great voice and will no doubt be singing more tracks in the future, it’s another string to our bow.”

Produced by Luke Wheatley (Arch Audio) Dan Booth (Ferocious Dog) Executive Produced, Mixed & Mastered by Gianluca Amendolara (Black Dingo Productions) Filmed by Giannis Kipreos (Popp Tones) Video Edited by the band

The Bhoys self-titled debut album is not due out January 2022 but from what I have already heard  it’s going to be a (very) early contender for the London Celtic Punks album of the year! Well before that you will have every chance to catch them live as they are prolific ‘giggers’ and as their name gets round so do they. As the album comes out they will embark on a 16 date UK tour supporting The Rumjacks across Scotland and England.

The album has been produced by Dan Booth of Ferocious Dog and Luke Wheatley and keen eared listeners may hear a contribution from Dan on ‘Hero’s Welcome’. So it’s now full steam ahead keep an eye out here for pre-order information.

Contact Shanghai Treason Facebook  Instagram  Twitter

ODDS’N’SODS. A CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP OCTOBER 2021

It’s time now again for this months London Celtic Punks round-up of all the band news, record releases and videos from bands big and small from across the Celtic-Punk scene.

We start with some interesting news from West Britain Dublin of a new Celtic-Punk band THE BLACK IRISH. Whistle, sax, mandolin, accordion, fiddle, bass, drums, 2 guitars, 4 vocals. Brand new, formed with experienced trad and punk musicians. Looking for gigs in the UK and US. The Bhoys have already played a stack of gigs and have more lined up. Sep 10th – IE – Dublin, Grand Social Sep 25th – FR – Montpellier, Secret Place Sep 26th – FR – Montpellier, Secret Place, acoustic sessions Nov 19th – IE – Dublin, Grand Social, with Booze and Glory Dec 10th – FR – Paris, Montreuil, la Comedia Dec 11th – BE – Ghent, Nazareth, Grand Canyon Jan 7th – NI – Belfast, voodoo. You can check them out yourselves on their Facebook page.

More from the ‘Auld Sod’ now and news of two projects to help and promote the Irish language. The idea is to make music under two different band names – PONCCC and DRAOI.MUIR. As Ponccc it will mostly concentrate on post-punk/shoegaze kind of music. As Draoi.Muir the style of music will be more droney/ambient rock. They recently recorded a King Gizzard cover for You Tube. There’s an example of their work as PONCCCC and the song ‘Mo Scriobhaí’ below. The Welsh languages strong position is due in no small measure to its success in the 80’s/90’s in various music genres from Punk legends Anhrefn to rubbish pop band Super Furry Animals! We hope to be looking into this project in more detail soon.

Even more news from home and their debut song, a hardcore ‘Drunken Sailor’, from up and coming North Sligo band the CHURCH HOUSE CREEPERS. They said to expect more of this kind of stuff to follow so keep an eye out here!

The Graveyard Johnny’s CALLUM HOUSTON has featured on these pages several times and he has just released a radically different version of ‘Gravities’ from the EP of the same name. The EP was reviewed back in 2019 if you want to check out the EP that made #5 in our Best Of list that year.

Prescription Punk Rock interviewed Tim Brennan about the new Dropkick Murphys album Turn Up The Dial. Here’s the whole interview without any editing.

THE BLAGGARDS – Blagmatic (review on it’s way!)

GERRY RAFFERTY – Rest In Blue

PHIL ODGERS – Ghosts Of Rock’n’Roll

TORTILLA FLAT – New Stuff In An Old Barrel (review on it’s way!)

THE STAB ROVERS – Beyond The Waves

CONNEMARA STONE COMPANY – For One Ireland

THE O’REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS – In Strange Waters

remember we can’t review what we don’t hear!

Top geeza FRANKIE McLAUGHLIN is keeping busy and has just done guest vocals for another band. This time Greek’s BACK PAGES on their song ‘Glory Comes’. The song features the sound of Greek bagpipes and a wicked geetar solo!

I hate the word ‘contempory’ as it conjures up an image of a table full of ex-public schoolboys stroking their beards trying to outdo each other with the latest trend but for once the word fits quite nicely when applied to GLENN HODGE BANNED. A solo artist whose previous single ‘As It Is’ we positively loved. Well he’s a new album out, The Long Run, and just released the first single ‘Jack Of All Trades’ Filmed in one shot on the iPhone 12 and recorded in a theatre in Camden Town the song speaks of the journeyman artist that continue against all the odds.

Came across this by accident not long back and really liked it. Recent release to YouTube from PINE TREE RIOT. Riot seems to be replacing ‘Bastard’ as the most popular Celtic/Folk- Punk name. I even think the Yanks call this style of music Riot Folk or something. Anyway its pretty decent.

Dutch band PLUNDER released their new album Vrijhaven last July and here have put out the second single from it. Seems to be a bit of a renaissance among Pirate themed bands of late. Absolutely brilliant video.

“LIVE MUSIC LIVE MUSIC LIVE MUSIC LIVE MUSIC”. It just sounds so good even to just say it!!! ‘Bastard’ will always be favourite band-name though (except for one!) and just to prove it here’s BASTARD FOLK from faraway Russia giving it large.

We mentioned the The Swamp Rabbit Celtic Punk Fest in South Carolina last month well it went ahead and was by all accounts a damn good laugh. Here’s our old mate TC COSTELLO who organised the whole shebang playing with THE PYRATE QUEEN.

This section is for Celtic-Punk bands that have (on the large) left us but their music is still deserving to be heard and there are still so many out there that passed us by. Today is the turn of THE SORRY LOT, a nine piece Irish Folk and ballad group from Napa, California. High-energy renditions of trad drinking songs, as well as a few modern and original tunes, while keeping the music true to it’s roots. The Beer Flood EP dates from 2015 and the band have a wealth of other music on their Bandcamp page that is also available for free download including a live album from St. Patrick’s Day 2013 recorded at Downtown Joe’s Brewery in their hometown. It’s a bit unclear if they are still playing or not but you can still contact them over on Facebook.

Don’t forget the big news of next month is the release of the new FEROCIOUS DOG album The Hope. The single ‘The Hope’ comes out on the 10th and the album is out the 15th. Reviews are already sneaking out. You can pre-order it here: https://thehope.ferociousdog.co.uk/

Forty years after breaking up in their prime. A band has returned from the ashes to give it another lash… No not Abba but VENTURA HIGHWAY from Derry. One of the cities original New Wave / Punk bands. Loads of recent live videos over on their Facebook page.

Interesting video here. Yer-man may be a bit of a prick and he could have chosen an actually Irish Folk song (facepalm!) but at least he’s honest prick! Give it a go as some Irish diaspora Hip-Hop out there is pretty good. Check out SLAINE for a start.

The more I see of Facebook the more and more I dislike it. It’s stranglehold on all forms of expression is not good so if you feel the same you can now subscribe to 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 and completely free from Facebook control. Join us on Telegram and don’t miss a single post! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/  

Some London Celtic Punks news now and we still have a handful of Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer t-shirts available. They come in all sizes from Small right up to XXX-L and are available from our online store. Also available are 2 other shirt designs so click the link below for our full range of other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the discerning Celtic-Punk fan could ever need!  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 and join in the fun!

*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.

1916’S BILL CHATS WITH LONDON CELTIC PUNKS ABOUT THE BANDS LATEST ALBUM

Upstate NY, Celtic rockers 1916 are an explosive concoction of modern Irish Folk, Punk and Psychobilly which makes 1916’s sound both highly original and at the same time traditional! A band that truly stands apart from other bands in the Celtic-Punk genre.

Our man Raymond Lloyd Ball caught up with lead singer and songwriter Bill Herring to talk about the band’s origins and their highly rated latest album Revolutions.

So here’s the story. 1916 is a band from Rochester, NY, about 45 minutes from where I am in Buffalo. We’ll touch on it, but this region of New York State was a place where, in the 1850s-1860s many Irish immigrants made their way from New York City or Boston. Obviously, the name “1916” needs no explanation. I was able to get an interview with Bill Herring, singer and guitarist in the band about the latest album “Revolutions” and the general gist of the scene as is.

Ray: First of all, we get the prominence of the name 1916, but what in the community in Rochester gave you guys both the incentive and the ability to put together the group and really make it work?

Bill: Well the “working” of 1916 is always something I consider to be a work in progress. Always evolving, changing with the times.

The name came about as a result of a healthy respect for Irish history and as a desire to get Americans interested in their own shared past. When we first started the group there were many many people who had no idea what “1916” stood for or what the significance of the name was. We always try to respect that history in our songs whenever we can-with undertones of revolution and forging your own path throughout the vibe of the music. That being said we do try to have some fun with it as well, with a songs like Ordinary Man and Khaleesi.

Rochester and most of central/western NY state is heavily steeped in a rich history of Irish culture. You’d be hard pressed to stumble through a post colonial churchyard west of Syracuse without finding Irish names on half the headstones. That rebel spirit has revealed itself in the existence of the Molly McGuires in the 1800’s and later on the Hibernians as time passed. I’m sure you even probably heard of the Fenian raids of post civil war Buffalo into British owned Canada in hopes of seizing a new Ireland. Now I’d be lying if I said we did name the band with all this in mind…but maybe it was all this history that led us to inevitably choose that name. I will say there is a quote from Dave King of Flogging Molly, where he talks on the Whiskey on a Sunday film they released several years ago. He mentions growing up in Ireland and seeing the young men of Dublin falling into a life of war with the IRA, and that there must be a higher form of communication to let people know what is happening over there. The only thought I had after hearing that was that-through intense, super fun music, you could engage people enough to get them interested in learning about this past…and how it affects the present day situation between Ireland and the USA.

Ray: Awesome answer, I’m AOH Myself.

Bill: As am I…

The Ancient Order of Hibernians is an Irish/Catholic fraternal group that does everything from charitable work to commemorations of things such, as Bill mentioned, the Fenian Raids from Buffalo to then British Canada. As a member from here, we hold an annual ceremony to the raids and to those who gave their lives for the cause of Irish independence.

Ray: So, given that history, how do you feel it’s important to incorporate modern music in a way that’s different then the traditional sessions you here at every other pub?  I know you incorporate modern instrumentation while still harkening to topics that are either old in premise, modern, or similar (I’m thinking of a man you don’t meet everyday) and make it fresh?

Bill: Yes I think it’s important, at least for 1916, to provide a bridge between Irish traditional music and American folk/rock music. Even early county music has its roots steeped in Irish and Scottish music. That’s really the sound we’re going for. An American band that pays tribute to our immigrant cultural heritage.

Ray: Lastly, in terms of Revolutions, that came out just at the end of last year if I’m not mistaken. How on earth did you cut a record, and a good one at that, during the pandemic?  How how did that effect the process 1916 has either writing or recording?  Obviously “When We Reopen” is directly about it, but did anything else about the pandemic change the record?

Bill: The record wasn’t really about the pandemic. We actually wrote all of those songs (except for When we Reopen) well before any of this craziness ever happened. If anything there was a palpable vibe that I felt during the writing of those songs that you could feel out on the streets. People were edgy…combative. It felt like something bad was about to happen. The song that most mirrors that I think is The Falling. I wanted to write a song about my observations on the devolution of humanity in the face of our own technological achievements. Then I saw how bad things really could get the following year with the plague and the riots.
We recorded that record, mostly, with Bob Schmidt – (formerly of Flogging Molly) at the engineers booth along with our trusted friend Doug White, owner of Watchmen Studios in Lockport NY.
Having missed two consecutive St Patrick’s Days now, we are still trying to save up enough money to release the album on disc. I think people don’t realize how hard the shutdowns were on bands like ours. It was a tough tough time and I hope this bullshit is over soon.

Ray: That said, “Revolutions” is a solid record. I’ve been listening to it on and off for some time now. It’s got the classic 1916 vibe, upright bass, classic (though I’m definitely biased) Gretsch guitars, and a handful of traditional instruments with a solid kit. Is it reinventing the wheel?  No. And better for it. We’ve all come a long way since The Pogues and earlier, more brash bagpipes-over-Minor Threat-style Celtic Punk. And there have been a number of bigger and smaller acts that have definitely left their mark upon the scene. They take some rockabilly, some punk, and a lot of Celt to make a fine Irish/American blend. Cheers to the guy from down the I-90.

Buy Revolutions  Amazon  Apple

Contact 1916  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  Bandcamp  YouTube

Thanks to Raymond Lloyd Ball. 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 that 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.

During the lockdown 1916 played several full concert live streams, as well as some great solo performances from Bill himself. Here’s just under two hours of 1916 from this years St. Patrick’s Day live stream performance. I can barely remember it through a fog of stouts and ales though I know I must have woke the neighbours! The music starts at nineteen minutes.

ALBUM REVIEW: KEVIN O’DRISCOLL – ‘Operation Underdog’ (2021)

A solo album from Irish Folk ballad singer Kevin O’Driscoll that steps away from his usual material. A ‘Rock’ album that dips it’s toes into several other genres but always with ‘Folk’ at its heart. 

A solo album with a big difference in that Kevin O’Driscoll actually plays every instrument on this album and seeing as how the album veers from trad Folk right up to Punk then trust me that’s a lot of instruments to be playing. Kevin is a native of Tyrone in the north of Ireland and when not recording Kevin usually puts food on the table by touring the length and breadth of Ireland (with occasional visits to Scotland) as a Irish ballad singer performing Irish Folk songs and the ‘rebs’. He’s been doing this now for well over a decade and he was one of a handful of Irish singer/songwriters that took good advantage of the Covid lockdown to carry on performing if only virtually on Facebook. It was on one of these live streams that I first came across him and looking deeper I found some material that I thought warranted further investigation on behalf of the London Celtic Punks!

Operation Underdog kicks off with ‘Enemy’ and one of the best songs on the album. Chugging guitar and Kevin spits out the bitter and angry lyrics about friends falling out and the lengths we go to after. This is followed by ‘Favourite Drug’ and some of these songs have been around on social media for a while but this is the first time they have been compiled with new stuff into one album.

The topic of this song is unsurprisingly drugs. While Ireland does have a serious drug problem it is of course only the working class that die from overdoses. The song ties us in nicely to compare Kevin favourably with my own favourite Irish singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey. If you could imagine Damo singing for a rock band you’d not be a million miles away. Operation Underdog is undoubtedly a Rock album though ‘From Dublin To El Paso’, the most Irish song here, I’m sure is a firm fan favourite when Kev is doing the ballad sessions too. A song about the days when the Irish left Ireland for work and the places they went and what it is that defines us.

” There are two kinds of Irish. Those that are and those that wish they were”

From the earlier comparisons to Damo on ‘One Man Show’ Kev never sounds better. A great slow song about a friend who passed away. For all the differing styles here the album flows remarkably well thanks in no small part to Kevin’s fabulous vocals. Here on ‘For You I Die’  he takes a Mod-ish number that could also pass for some much bigger bands and the type of song they can only dream of writing these days. Catchy as it all is here and spilling over with emotion.

A great song and one of the best here. ‘Letting Go’ sees Kevin O’Driscoll the ballad singer coming out with a tender song that changes tempo half way through from ballad to something with more oompf and finally settles in a song that drifts along making you tap your toes and nod your chin. He follows this up with another album standout ‘Alcoholiday’ and some great guitar work in a catchy story of a man whose let the drink get the better of him and sees his life slipping away unless his does something about it.

Kevin turns up the rock again for ‘Fighting God’ and puts his voice to good use,. I could almost describe it as ‘grungey’! The mod-ish/ Monkeys/ Chiefs sound of ‘How Does It End?’, the ‘Gravity’ and ‘Watch Over Me’. The album ends with ‘Back From The Dead’ and a ballad about that other curse of the modern Irish – suicide. A long song about the horrors that such a act brings. If this album had one epic then this it.

So what to say? I’m sure to fans of Kevin’s ballad singing it will come as a bit of a surprise especially the more Punky bits! Kevin has a great voice and can certainly hit the notes whether he’s belting out one of them Punky songs or a ballad. Like I mentioned earlier some of these songs have been around a handful of years but it’s great to hear them in one place among like minded newer material. All the songs were recorded in various Dublin recording stations and it’s one hell of a thing to be able to produce a album of such quality when you’ve played every instrument. Cap off t’Kevin.

Buy Operation Underdog  Contact Kevin via Facebook

Contact Kevin O’Driscoll  Facebook  Soundcloud  Spotify

ALBUM REVIEW: FINNY McCONNELL – The Dark Streets Of Love (2021)

After 30 years of leading renowned Celtic-Punk rockers, The Mahones, Finny McConnell decided that it was time to make an album for himself. Showcasing his intimate songwriting skills, Finny also includes covers of songs with deep meaning to him. The Dark Streets of Love is a collection of his most intimate music, stripped bare.

Earlier this year Finny made an announcement over on The Mahones Facebook page that the band’s days of spending months on end touring round the world were at an end. It didn’t come as much as a shock admittedly as I don’t think it was possible to keep up that level of commitment indefinitely. I mean The Mahones not only covered more miles than any other Celtic-Punk band in a year but I daresay any band!

It must be strange being in a band where you alone are the chief songwriter as well as singer and for all and purposes the leader so where does the urge to go solo come from I wonder? In just the past couple of years The Mahones have recorded an acoustic album where much of the ground covered on The Dark Streets Of Love is covered. But this album is much more than just a Mahones album in Finny’s name you feel. The songs he has chosen, and among them are a few of his composition, are obviously very close to his heart. Finny has always been one for wearing his heart on his sleeve and it’s rare that a performer can come across so honestly especially at a time when honesty is at a premium.

Of the eleven songs presented here seven are covers the rest by Finny. To a causal observer though it would seem like they were all covers such is the quality of Finny’s songwriting. Whether writing about going on the piss in north London, basketball, Irish history, loss or love or unrequited love he put’s the same passion into everything. That with other people is sometimes their undoing though Finny seems to thrive on it. The Dark Streets Of Love kicks off with a song by everyone’s favourite Irish-German-American and The Bosses ‘Atlantic City’. From the opening few seconds even before Finny comes in you know you’re onto a winner here. When he does come in he sings with a sort of weariness that even Bruce didn’t achieve. Gentle accordion adds to the atmosphere only coming into the open during the musical sections and so taking none of the spotlight away from Finny’s voice. ‘Someone Save Me’ is from a recent Mahones album, The Hunger And The Fight Pt. 1 from 2014. Co-written with his now ex- wife Katie I thought it was a beautiful song then but now… Gina Romantini’s beautiful fiddle lends subtle support to Finny’s voice just as Kevin Hearn’s accordion did during the opening track. A magnificent tribute to love and such is the passion expressed it can sometimes feel like you’re sitting in on a private conversation.

‘Stars’ is again from the same Mahones album as ‘Someone Save Me’ and again was co-written with Katie. A loving tribute to the life of Oscar Wilde. A sad tale of the famed Irish poet and playwright convicted of “gross indecency” at a time when homosexuality was illegal. He was imprisoned and died in poverty in 1900 at the tragically early age of 46. One of The Mahones better ‘modern’ songs it has a fantastic chorus and Finny tells the story with grace. Finny has always had a bit of a Shane drawl and puts it to good use on ‘A Pair of Brown Eyes’. Even among the stone cold classics Shane MacGowan penned this song is one of a handful that tower above even them. Fellow Mahone Michael O’Grady adds haunting tin-whistle and Glenn Milchem drums as Finny sticks closely to the original. Maybe a bit too closely at the end!! On a album that is so tender ‘New York City’ seems a bit out place with its Glam-Rock bounce and chunky guitar but then why wouldn’t a solo album follow the same pattern as The Mahones. He never said it was going to be a quiet album. Loud and bombastic and taken from The Hunger And The Fight Pt. 2 from 2015 Finny channels the 1970’s for the next few songs beginning with this tribute to NYC. Maybe the cities best era as despite it’s high crime rate and poverty it wasn’t full of fucking yuppies. The introduction of piano for ‘So Far Away’ is masterful as Finny sounds like he’s chatting someone in a pub in the early hours. Again piano led ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ sees Finny’s gravelly vocal chords giving a simple but stunning rendition of Lou Reed’s original. Though the covers here are great it is Finny’s own material that shines through. On ‘We’re Miles Apart’ he talks maybe about himself and maybe he doesn’t. A sad song about lovers who become friends. I’ve always though Finny was cut from the same cloth as the legendary Tom Waits and on the Waitsy ‘Cocktail Blues’, swishing drums and jazz piano steer clear of ‘Jazz Club’ comparisons thank God. From one of the earliest Mahones albums The Hellfire Club Sessions from 1999 it drops the Gaelic touches and sticks tightly to ‘lounge lizard’ territory. The curtain comes down with a song in tribute to Gord Downie from Finny’s home town of Kingston in Ontario. Gord passed away in 2017 of cancer and is remembered as lead singer and lyricist for the The Tragically Hip’ ‘Fiddlers Green’ is a great tribute and played stripped back with just Finny and acoustic guitar.

As is the way though there’s a bonus track and it’s ‘Back Home’. One of The Mahones best ever tracks taken from Draggin’ The Days from 1994.

“Hey, it’s not long till we get home
Say, you know I hate to drink alone
Did I tell you, you send shivers through my bones
And I wish I was back home with you again”

A great way to end things buy why bother with this ‘bonus track’ hooey!

The album was produced by Finny himself and engineered by Gene Hughes and recorded as live over St. Patrick’s Day 2021, in Toronto. It’s not your typical Mahones album in fact the Irish touches here are far and few between but Finny’s Irish soul shines through. A beautiful and at times heart wrenching journey through one of Ireland’s true musical geniuses.

Buy The Dark Streets Of Love  TrueNorthRecords   OtherCorporateBullshitSites

Contact Finny McConnell  Facebook  Instagram  Twitter

As suspected you can’t keep a good man down for long and Finny will still need his suitcase and shower cap as he’s now a part of the Punk-Rock trio Ultrabomb with Greg Norton of Hüsker Dü and Jamie Oliver of the U.K. Subs. The guys will be performing a mix of all three bands songs plus material they’ve written for a new album. They have announced a handful of gigs as we to press including Ireland and one here in London at 229 The Venue in the west end. Sadly though we are going to have to wait till April 2022. You can find all the relevant details including ticket information over on the band’s Facebook event.

A CELTIC PUNK LOVE AFFAIR

Ever since Shane and The Pogues knocked our ears into gear in the ’80s, hundreds of bands have followed in their footsteps. Year after year, they bring us exciting Celtic punk songs, albums and gigs to light up a somewhat shit world. But what about Celtic punk stories? Why ain’t there many of them floatin’ aboot?

Maybe there’s more than one way to entertain people. If you’re into Guinness, St. Paddy’s Day and young people embracing the Celtic spirit worldwide, then what we have here will be right up yer alley, ye ken. They say hope springs eternal…and so does folk!

Have you ever wanted to read a short story, or even a novel, about Celtic punk? As if The Pogues, Tossers and Mahones were ready to jump off the page at ya? If that sounds cool, then meet Gus, Lin, Herman and Rash. Four characters from the far-flung reaches of Nova Scotia, Canada. They’re passionate musicians, folkin’ the Irish pubs and refusing to bend to society’s wishes. Below, I give ye four reasons why you should give a shit.

1. They have the bottle of smoke

Yes, that’s a Pogues reference! The Bottle of Smoke is the band’s aptly-named local Irish pub. We kick things off with them playin’ The Smoke mid-week to an appreciative audience; Gus on guitar and vocals, Herman on mandolin, Rash workin’ the accordion, and Gus’s cousin Lin banging the bodhrán (not in a sexual way). Gus is essentially the band’s very own Shane MacGowan; a troubled ratbag who likes a drink or six, but a songwriting genius with a fistful of dreams and a big, beating heart at the centre of it all. And speakin’ of The Pogues, if there’s one band you would automatically compare these four musicians to, then the London Irish legends are it.

As well as playin’ The Bottle of Smoke as often as the pub’ll book ’em, the band are making inroads into the rest of Atlantic Canada as well. They’ve played out west a little, they’re set to play Cape Breton Island on St. Patrick’s Day, and they’re keepin’ their well attuned ears to the ground for more. The stage is quite literally set for a Celtic punk love affair.

Sounds good so far? Read on, ya big bollocks 😉

Shane MacGowan and The Pogues. The band’s heroes and their biggest influence.

2. They have ideals

We all realised we weren’t gonna get anywhere in life unless it was through the music. Ozzy didn’t wanna do what his father did for a living, and Tony didn’t wanna do what his dad did. Neither did Bill, and neither did I.

Geezer Butler, Black Sabbath

While Kilmainen (being the band’s name) might not be working-class, backstreet kids from Aston, Birmingham, they ain’t exactly moneyheads either, to use Gus’s own word. Gus himself is a standout example of this, working just 15 hours a week in a music shop. Underpaid, no doubt, but doing something he actually cares about. Cousin Lin is similar, having snubbed the corporate world to go part-time in an artsy café. The band members take the time and energy saved, and reinvest it into the one thing that matters most to them: their music.

The plan is that writing songs together, recording albums, doing interviews, playing gigs and working with other musicians will one day become the quartet’s full-time gig, their sole source of income. That’s certainly what the Austrian-born Herman dreams of, as he spends Sunday afternoons promoting the band’s music online. The biggest dreamer, though, is once again Gus: what you’re about to read is one of the entries he pours into his diary mid-way through the story.

I don’t want to live by society’s rules. It’s boring. I don’t wanna live life with no idea what I want. Society wants you think you’re worthless, and that it’s YOUR fault if you’re unhappy. But I can see through that. I KNOW what my purpose in life is. It’s the best feeling you can get, when people say your music’s helped them. Tell me it’s just a hobby? Bollocks to that. I wanna BE someone in life, change things up.

Guthrie “Gus” Ward, Folk Springs Eternal

I once saw a great film where actress Julia Jentsch said, “I want to live young, wild and free.” Most people will tell you that’s stupid, but her co-star Daniel Brühl said, “that’s not stupid.” He was right, and so is Gus above. There’s nothing wrong with having a dream, with looking at the world and asking questions. Asking whether life can be lived differently, rather than the way it’s spoonfed to us. That’s where the hope lies, my friend. And hope – like I started out saying above – springs eternal, right?

Will folk music spring eternal in Kilmainen’s case, too? Read on, because here’s where it gets nail-biting.

3. They have to fight society

Unless you’re sheltered from the world, or just strike lucky, you won’t follow your dreams without some serious backlash along the way. Numerous examples exist: Mahatma Gandhi, Carl Brashear, Jacinda Ardern, Mark Oliver Everett, the list goes on and on. These people had to battle their way to success, and our four musical heroes are no exception to this rule. We get a glimpse of it in chapter 4, when Rash’s office colleagues disregard his ambition to become a professional musician. “There’s no money in that game,” they tell him.

If that seems quite harmless, wait a little. Lin gets on a bus five days later, and is violently attacked by three youths who don’t like women who think and dress for themselves. “Irish music ain’t cool,” they say, and apparently neither is being a lesbian. Luckily a trip to hospital is averted just in time, BUT: bring on St. Patrick’s Day, where things go from bad to worse. In less than 24 hours, the band is all but over, with their morale and reciprocal support in the gutter.

The Halifax police headquarters where Gus is held on St. Patrick’s weekend.

4. They have to win.

What will become of the band? Will the quartet survive their trial by fire? Or will they fail and self-destruct among the flames? Well that I won’t tell you 😉 I will only promise you that the Celtic punk author doesn’t make a habit of letting people down.

So you have two options, my friend. One: you’re invited to take a wee look around my website, where the story and other cool stuff is available for purchase. Click HERE to check it out. Or two: if you want chapter 1 for free first (plus a free song!), then click HERE instead. I swear by the holy iron which I hold, that I, James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser (okay, no), will not pass your email addresses on to any gobshite else.

I hope you enjoyed the read, my friend. Sláinte mhaith! 🥃

Andy x

Click HERE to learn more about the book. Want chapter 1 for free? Click HERE instead.

IT’S A NEW FLOGGING MOLLY SONG !

A band that need no introduction! 

FLOGGING MOLLY

We spotted a new song that appeared on You Tube a couple of days ago. Flogging Molly are one of the two BIG Celtic-Punk bands but do spend a lot of time in the Dropkick’s shadow due mainly to how busy the Murphys keep themselves. So it is that when we get a morsel we do tend to get over excited about it. Maybe that’s the same reason why Beth Schmit has labelled it ‘Coffee Boy’ rather than ‘Croppy Boy’! Only joking Beth thanks for uploading.

No other information on where / when it was recorded but they are currently on a co-headline tour in the States with the Violent Femmes so it must have been on one of them. Maybe someone can confirm?

The phrase ‘Croppy Boy’ dates back to the late 1700’s and the fashion at the time among the aristocracy was to wear powdered wigs (think series 3 of Blackadder) and revolutionaries in Ireland followed the lead of their friends in France by shunning these wigs. These young men cropped their hair instead and were often found to be associated with the patriotic Society of United Irishmen. Because of this they were often picked up by the British authorities for interrogation. This interrogation was more akin to torture as the use of flogging, picketing and half-hanging was commonplace . As was the horrific use of pitchcapping, or An Caip Bháis in Irish, which was the act of pouring hot tar into a paper cap which was then placed onto the suspect’s head, let cool and then ripped off taking with it skin and tissue. This was used specifically against the Croppies but they retaliated by cropping the hair of their enemies making it harder to identify people and their sympathies.

EP REVIEW: HEATHEN APOSTLES – ‘Bloodgrass Vol. 3’ (2021)

The Los Angeles-based dark roots and gothic country band Heathen Apostles release their third volume collection of songs at once as timely as they are timeless.

Imagine bands doing to Country / Bluegrass music what the bands we all love doing to Celtic music? Add on a bit of Goth and you’ve got the Heathen Apostles. A LA based band featuring ex-members of Radio Noir (Mather Louth), The Cramps (Chopper Franklin), Kings of Nuthin’ (Thomas Lorioux), and Christian Death (Stevyn Grey) in its ranks. They have been on these pages before but not for a in-depth review Mather, of course, was recently on these pages as co-vocalist on the new album from fellow ‘Doom-billy’ merchants The Phantom Of The Black Hills. An album that still holds the #1 spot in my heart of all 2021 releases. Though she had recorded with the Phantom before this time her input was a lot more than just a great voice with her assisting with writing and lyrics.

Sadly this review is going to be published after their tour of mainland Europe comes to an end so any new fans who may have had the chance will have missed them. Their tour of Europe was cancelled twice times as the music industry ground to a stop because of the Covid pandemic but it did mean the Heathen Apostles were gifted time. Time that they were not expecting due to their busy schedules and while some bands were happy to rest upon their laurels they channeled the turbulent year’s events and its complex emotions into their music. It was only last month that they released a 3-track EP as featured in Lorin Morgan-Richards Western animated series The Goodbye Family, a fictional family of undertakers based on a comic book. The show is available on You Tube and features the Heathens music throughout.

The third volume of Bloodgrass follows on from one and two released in 2017 and 2018 respectively and Bloodgrass #3 is a worthy follow up to the two previous volumes both available on the bands Bandcamp (link below).

So Volume three arrives and begins with ‘Bad Patch’ and continues their dark interpretation of Bluegrass, Country and Blues. Fiddle, banjo and mandolin accompany Mather’s beautiful voice as she sings of the tragedy of the 1930s Dust Bowl. A series of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology of mid-west American prairies during the 1930’s. Besides the great lyrics the song is musically a bit more ‘radio friendly’ Heathen Apostles while ‘Careful What You Pray For’ is more the dark Gothic-Americana they are known for. The song tells of the danger of religious dogma and cements Mather as having one of the best voices in alternative music… or just music. ‘Black Hawk’ was the lead single for the EP and I’ll not pretend to have any idea what the lyrics are about except it’s a a tale of transformation by shedding the darkness in order to welcome in the light.

Yeah that is from the press release as if you didn’t know but be sure to check out the video as along with their label-mates The Phantom Of the Black Hills their videos tell entire stories and are as far from our usual fare as you can get. Despite being closely linked in many ways to the Phantom the Heathen Apostles have a very definite and original sound. There is no one else who resembles them making it hard to review them as it’s so original. Rooted in the definition of ‘Folk’ they mangle up several genres while adding much to the final sound. ‘Demi Monde’ is a slow song dominated by all the usual elements and shrouded in occult imagery paying homage to the fires of Beltane. ‘Tall Rider’ brings down the curtain on the EP on a positive note. I mean even the Sisters of Mercy were sometimes upbeat (ish!). Catchy as hell and a reminder of the possibility to heal through love. Great fiddle throughout that does lead a lot of the time but without dominating thanks in no small part to the excellent production of master producer Chopper Franklin.

The EP may only be five songs long but it’s length at almost twenty minutes in is almost as much as some albums we hear. Their recent tour took in mainly Germany (the Germans are good at spotting American bands) but I can’t see how this band with a bit of luck and the right promotion it won’t be long before their a name on everybody’s lips and they’ll be back touring in your country too.

(You can stream or download Bloodgrass Vol. 3 on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Bloodgrass Vol. 3  Bandcamp

Contact Heathen Apostles  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

CELTIC PUNK OLD AND NEW

The Pogues. The Mahones. Flogging Molly. The Dropkicks. All bands who’ve made their mark on the Celtic-Punk genre. But we can’t forget the lesser-known bands too, the musicians working tirelessly to keep the flag up and flyin’! In his first guest post, Andy Beck (aka. The Celtic Punk Author) showcases the old and new from his small, but growing Celtic Punk playlist on Spotify.

We kick things off with Sir Reg, an energetic six-piece from Sweden with a top Irish singer in Brendan Sheehy. “Giving It Up (The Drink)” is a prime example of what these guys can do, arguably bettered only by the irresistible “FOOL (Fight Of Our Lives)”. This outstanding track appears further down the playlist, and is taken from the same album, 2018’s The Underdogs.

If Reg are still too well-known for ya, then how about the acoustic fun of Anthony Leclair? “A Prayer To Spirits” is an expletive-laden number that sits finely among the rest (before proceeding to fall drunk under the table). “Jack Daniels can just fuck right off, I’d rather drink shite beer”, is how it goes. And I can get behind that. Sorry, but you’re talking to a single malts guy who’s visited about half the distilleries in Scotland, so mine’s a Lagavulin 16.

One more fun acoustic one before we get back into the heavier shit. Check out “McGuffin” by an outfit called Gypsy Rebel Rabble, hailing from Dublin’s fair city. This song was written about a man with some sort of grudge, and an unstoppable urge for revenge, and I’ve been hooked on it since first it was recommended to me. So be sure to give that one a spin for proof that Celtic punk don’t always gotta be distorted.

Gypsy Rebel Rabble hail from Dublin. Give the uptempo “McGuffin” a spin!

Meet the Germans!

If you’re lookin’ for Celtic music beyond the Celtic countries, you’ll go a long way to find a more fertile place than Germany. There are about a dozen Irish pubs in Berlin alone, and I’m unashamed to tell you that it’s precisely this fine city that got me into Irish music properly. I lived there for 6 years, travelled around the country a bit, and came across a number of awesome acts who can hold a candle (and a Guinness) to any Irish, Scottish, American or Canadian folk punk band out there.

On the playlist, we kick shit off with The Feelgood McLouds. If “McGuffin” (see above) had me hooked from the go, so did these guys’ track “Dirty Bastards”. It’s a catchy offering by the Saarland group, with lyrics about camaraderie and a bagpipe leading the tune against a wall of distorted guitars. I challenge you to listen to it and not start nodding your head, tapping your feet or whatever the feck else one does when enjoyin’ a tune.

Another band you shouldn’t miss is the Kilkenny Knights. I had the honour of playing the same festival as these guys in 2015, when they won the Newcomer Award that my old band The Celtic Gobshites had won the previous year. And sure enough, “A Drinker’s Song” boasts a catchy accordion riff that takes me right back to them Irish pubs and mediaeval markets that I loved so well.

No reference to German Celtic punk would be complete without a nod to the kings of ’em all – Fiddler’s Green. These guys organise an entire festival every year in North Bavaria, known as the Shamrock Castle Festival, and it would have taken place this year too had it not been for that bastard virus. Still, “John Kanaka” is the band’s fine-ass reworking of an old Hawaiian sea shanty, complete with beer cup antics before the guitars and drums knock your ears into gear. “Yindy” is another one I chucked on the playlist, with fun – albeit slightly silly – lyrics to keep ye grinning.

The Kilkenny Knights, all the way from Coburg, Germany

A Few Surprises!

I’ll leave yers with a few surprise tracks that ye may not have expected on a Celtic punk playlist. Ever heard of Saor Patrol? If no, these guys are aboot as Scottish as it gets, ya wee bawbags. They’re a pipes and drums band whose proceeds go entirely to the Clanranald Trust, an educational establishment that preserves and spreads medieval Scottish culture. “Three Wee Jigs” is a perfect example o’ how these guys can rock ya socks off, so stick it on, crank the volume and go mental.

If the Germans had ya riveted earlier with their take on the music, then check out French outfit Toxic Frogs too. This all-female act knows how to sing, scream and folk with the best of ’em. The lyrics are admittedly a tad difficult to understand, but show me a punk fan who cares much about that and I’ll show ya a bad seed.

Last of all – but by nae means least – I have to cite the mighty Alestorm! Though pirate metal is these dudes’ specialty rather than Celtic punk, I believe they deserve a spot or two on the playlist. Almost all of their songs are about pirates and sailing the seven seas, so the outrageously funny “Wooden Leg” will surely not disappoint! Check it out, but be prepared to be hooked (no pun intended).

So where’s the damn playlist, then?

Thought you might ask me that Click HERE to be taken there, ye gobshites.

If ya like what you hear, the creator would sure appreciate a like. Feel free to tell someone else about it if ya think they’d like it too (in English: please share). Got any recommendations for what should be on the ol’ list? Send ’em to The Celtic Punk Author on Instagram -> @thecelticpunkauthor

Sláinte mhaith and enjoy the ceol, ya bollockses x

EP REVIEW: SHADOWS OF BOSTON – ‘Demo’ (2021)

FREE DOWNLOAD!!

Amid the ashes of the Boston music scene burns an ember. A glowing promise of the raging fires that used to burn. The keepers of the flame are SHADOWS OF BOSTON.

A new Celtic Street Punk band band formed out of ex-members of Boston Punk bands Dropkick Murphys, Toxic Narcotic and The Blue Bloods. Raymond Lloyd Ball was among the first to hear the Shadows Of Boston debut release, a 4 track EP that has already set the Celtic-Punk scene alight, and here lets us know what all the fuss is about.

Did anyone believe a band out of Boston would be playing a mix of rock, punk, folk, and Celtic music? Of course you do. We all know and love the Murphy’s. And I’ll happily buy their records, merch, etc. because they’re something I grew up loving and shaped my musical trajectory.

I read in a review of the last album that it was “dad rock”. And it’s true. We can’t all be 20-something or younger pisspots forever.

For me, it’s a bittersweet pill to swallow, but that’s for another day. Fast forward to August 2021. I caught some random post that there was a new group coming out of Boston with ex-DKM piper “Scruffy” Wallace.

Shadows Of Boston left to right: Eric – Bass * Benny – Accordion, Banjo, Harp (yes feckiing harp!!!, Bagpipes * Tim – Drums, Bagpipes * Tony – Vocals, Guitar * Al – Lead Guitar, Vocals * Herb – Mandolin, Guitar, Bagpipes *   Scruffy – Vocals, Whistles, Bagpipes *

I didn’t pay a whole ton of attention at the time. Much like the Street Dogs and the Walker Roaders, I didn’t want to think of them as a cool offshoot of DKM.

While each of said groups I love, my skepticism is always there. How can we really keep reinventing the wheel? Frankly we can’t. In the words of the McKenzies- “It’s all been done before”. But that sure as hell doesn’t mean we can’t revisit it.

Enter “Shadow of Boston”. They released a four track demo EP just days ago. Skeptic or not, the rumblings of Celtic punk out of Boston was enough to make me get a copy.

I was floored. Hard. Brash. Unrefined. In-your-face punk music with a Celtic twist. To those of us who still listen to “Sing Loud, Sing Proud” or “Do or Die”, or at least spent our youth doing so-this album is for you.

Part of the beauty of it is it’s format. It’s not squeaky-clean overproduced. It’s rough around the edges. I would love to delve into lyrics and styles but I can’t. And that is awesome. Other than the titles, I can’t make most of it out. And unless you google them, I can’t make a damn word out of a DKM record until “The Gangs all Here”. We’re not reinventing the wheel here. But to old, curmudgeonly bastards who have heard not only the Murphy’s, but important bands from the late-90s / early-00s Celtic punk-download a copy of this. It’s a diamond in the rough of a million bands playing the same thing. Not to knock anyone-and I’ve already talked about that other Boston Celtic band more than I wanted. But for those who remember Far From Finished or Righteous Jams – older Boston punk bands that didn’t make it past an album or two. This record is for you. Forget the connection with that other band. Yeah, ex members, great. But for everyone who’s complained over the groups of this era losing their edge – shut up and download the record. It’s truly a breath of fresh air you didn’t even realize you needed.

(Download or stream the Shadows Of Boston EP from the Bandcamp player below) 

SOB Demo  on all platforms!! ..Spotify, itunes Tidal…etc.etc but free on Bandcamp

Contact Shadows Of Boston  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

Scruffy and Benny sat down with Mistress Carrie and did The Mistress Carrie Podcast at the end of 2020. Scruffy spoke of his time in The Dropkick Murphys, touring the world, learning the bagpipes and Punk-Rock, while they both talked about their time deployed in combat (would love to hear what they think of the current situation!), what makes Boston the city that it is and all things Shadows Of Boston.
*
Thanks to Raymond Lloyd Ball for the great review. 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 .

REMEMBERING MATT REN EX OF THE BABES 1978 – 2021

Matthew Raymond Renicks

16th April 1978 – 17th August 2021

What a year 2021 has been. Already several well known figures from the Celtic-Punk scene have sadly passed long before their time and to that number we can now add Matt from the London band The Babes.

We are grateful here to his bandmate Mao for writing a few words in tribute to him. 

Matt Ren EX and I met at sound engineering school. I was tired of not being able to record my music, so was he. The only break we had that day was enough to know we were connected. Of course, music was our first connection, he was a bass player and I was a bagpiper, and both of us were thinking about the same: we should play something like the Pogues, even though, we never played like the Pogues or any other band, but it was enough to start our friendship. We saw each other after a few months, I got a hold of his phone number. I used to play bagpipes in a garage when the neighbors were not around and just for a few minutes a week or so…

(A tribute video to Matt and also one of his last recordings)

I called him one day, and asked him if he wanted to start a band with me; what I didn’t know is that it was not just starting a band called The Babes: we began a wonderful relationship, indeed it was the beginning of meeting a man who influenced me in so many aspects of my life. we had too many things in common, He was a dreamer, he was a doer, he was a talented musician, writer, actor, great sense of humor, and if he cooked for you his tortilla soup, then dude, that was the real deal! Cat bless Texas!

I continued studying and began my recording engineering company, he wanted to be the “Booking agent and promoter” of Life of Strife. He wanted me to call it like that because it used to be the name of his own record label back in the USA. I added the “productions” so let’s say that it was teamwork. Along with that, and thanks to him, I also met my partner in crime, my other half, the woman I am in love with, after calling Raskass to see if he knew about booking a last-minute gig for our first tour, even though, Matt and Diala knew each other while he was touring with Total Chaos.

We toured many countries, wrote many songs together, I have heard all of his touring stories, lifetime stories, and the list goes on. We cried, we argued, albeit for a few minutes because he always had an ace up his sleeve so he used to make a joke and laugh so hard, and buddy, there’s no way you couldn’t laugh just hearing him laughing, no matter how upset you were with him.

We made our dreams together, we got high and we got low, he covered my back and I covered his, he used to listen to me for hours over the phone and I used to do the same for him. We used to support each other and even though he was a good friend of his friends, he was a good brother and I did tell him that not once, not twice, but many times.

I am happy I told him everything: “good and bad” because yes, he was not perfect, neither I am, but we were honest with each other, we could admit our mistakes, say I am sorry and carry on. He was a loyal man, and I never got a no for an answer. Thanks to Matt I also met wonderful people, and I will always be thankful to him for that.

I never saw a man suffering the way he did suffer, for so long. Life was cruel, and I am just happy he is not in pain anymore. besides that, fuck it, it hurts and it’s not easy to digest what happened.

The Babes in Dublin while touring Ireland 2019

As I never saw a man suffering the way he did suffer, I never saw anyone fighting his own body so he could achieve what he wanted. He had chemo or was extremely ill and there he was, asking me to go and record him, he just wanted to play his bass, that was the Only Life He Knew, and I am sharing it with all of you. He played like if nothing else matters at that moment, but just doing a perfect recording. What a talent, what a poet, what a fuckin’ punk rocker.

You can laugh if you want to, you guys can talk about Sid Vicious a billion times, I met the Sid Vicious of my generation, lived our dreams together, and nothing in this life will take that wonderful experience away. His name is Matt Ren EX, and I say “is” even though he passed away, he is here, and no matter where I go, his spirit and teaching will last forever in my heart. He lived his life his own way, and his legacy will last forever.

My love and condolences to Anita, David, Katia, and the rest of his family.
Life gave me a brother from another mother, and I couldn’t expect anyone better but you, Matt.
Rest In Power, Babe.
I love you, brother, and I will see you.  XXX

Matt’s family ask that those who wish to make a donation to St. Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, London. https://www.stjh.org.uk/support-us/make-a-donation/#give-in-mem
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The Babes  Website  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram 

ODDS’N’SODS. A CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP SEPTEMBER 2021

Summer holidays are almost over which in time honoured tradition means its time for the good weather to really kick in. It’s also time again for this months London Celtic Punks round-up of all the band news, record releases and videos from bands big and small from across the Celtic-Punk scene. 

Where better to start than with another bloody brilliant music video from the DROPKICK MURPHYS. This time for ‘H.B.D.M.F.’ taken Turn Up That Dial. While not one of the album’s strongest songs the video more than makes up for it!!!

Sheffield band THE SILK ROAD are the first (I think) of the English Celtic-Punk bands to really start gigging and they already have quite a few under their belts. Here’s them giving it large at a Dronfest ’21 last week. Loads more live videos on their Facebook page.

Regular readers will have seen how we gushed over the new recent Phantom Of The Black Hills album (It’s brilliant!!!) well Mather Louth of the HEATHEN APOSTLES played a huge part in the album success and with the Heathen’s set to tour Europe next month their new release is a 3-track EP as featured in the first Gothic Western animated series The Goodbye Family, by author Lorin Morgan-Richards from his comic book series. The instrumental ‘Lake Of Fire’ is out of this world!

Another band in much the same vein are THE BRIDGE CITY SINNERS from Portland who just released their debut album Unholy Hymns last week

FINNY McCONNELL of The Mahones released ‘Someone Save Me’ from his upcoming new solo album The Dark Streets Of Love. Out on True North records on September 4th.

We missed the release of the debut album from SLOPPY BUT LUCKY from Topeka, Kansas. It came out back in January 2020 and seems an awfully long time ago now. Glad I caught up in the end though as its pretty damn good. The guys call it all ‘Celtic Folk-Punk Camping Music’ and aye that’s about right. Hobo Rich is 6 songs of intense acoustic music with all proceeds donated to animal rescues and animal charities. An issue the band are passionate about and good to them.

GREEN DIESEL – After Comes the Dark

VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Electric Muse Revisited: The Story Of Folk Into Rock And Beyond (4CD compilation)

BELLOWHEAD – Reassembled

This section is for Celtic-Punk bands that have (on the large) left us but their music is still deserving to be heard. Anyone who knows us knows how much we love our Aussie Celtic-Punk. With all the ranting and raving we do about it is no wonder. Here’s JACK FLASH a band from Toowoomba in Queensland. Having long departed the scene they left some pretty damn good music behind and where better to start then their last release a recording of their final show, recorded live at The Irish Club Toowoomba on 4th June 2016. The album is available for ‘name your price’ download and there’s a whole host of other releases on their Bandcamp page available the same way dating right back to their debut EP Take Notice from 2007.

Ken from FEROCIOUS DOG recorded this heartfelt music video at Harlech in North West Wales while carrying out a beach clean with Sea Shepherd volunteers to support Sea Shepherd UK, a marine conservation charity. The song will feature as a bonus track on our upcoming album The Hope on the deluxe CD version.

MATT HARTLESS AND THE MAVERICK 7 got an interesting new album out. The Manchester band cover plenty of bases but I thought it may be of interest to you as I know how good the musical taste is of people who read this web-zine.

Some great live gigs coming up if you live here in the belly of the beast. It’s been a long, dark year and a half for the live music industry, both here and beyond, but the resurgence of live music has begun and is returning to London once again. For lovers of Celtic-Metal you in for a treat with a rare London appearance from extreme metal masters PRIMORDIAL over from Ireland supported by one of my genre favourites SAOR down from Scotland as well as Hellripper and Fen. It’s all at The Electric Ballroom in Camden, north London August 29th. Tickets £25 from the Electric Ballroom.

Some London Celtic Punks news now and we still have a handful of Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer t-shirts available. They come in all sizes from Small right up to XXX-L and are available from our online store. Also check out our full range of other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the discerning Celtic-Punk fan would ever need!  https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

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The more I see of Facebook the more and more I dislike it. It’s stranglehold on all forms of expression is not good so if you feel the same you can now subscribe to 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 and completely free from Facebook control. Join us on Telegram and don’t miss a single post! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/  

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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 and join in the fun!

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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.

LUTON IRISH BAND MISSING THE FERRY HERE TO SAVE THE SUMMER!

Four second-generation Irish lads, three brothers and their best friend from school write songs about identity and belonging. With influences as diverse as Brendan Shine, The Pogues and The Stone Roses their mission is to get people dancing and thinking.
Anyone who has ever missed, or nearly missed, the ferry from Holyhead will get the name.
Don’t be Missing The Ferry yourselves!

Duty Free evokes the reckless abandon of a drinking session on the Dublin-bound ferry where bars on boats become a place apart from reality drifting between England and Ireland; a place to reminisce, escape and confront paths not taken, romances not fulfilled and promises not met before staggering drunkenly to the ‘Duty Free’ shop to pick up the sherry you promised Aunty Nora and the fags for Uncle Gerry.
A swig of Powers, a drag on a Players’ as the first glimpse of Ireland slides blearily into view…

We all want, need, please never stop Duty Free
And we’ll take it home to GerryGlasses clink and it got me thinking
Of a long lost girl that I used to know
Two large powers and I give her flowers
and I keep on hoping, she will walk right in
Waves are crashing, I keep re-hashing
hopes and dreams of a yester year
If I keep on drinking, I’ll just keep thinking
So I’ll take a little walk down to Duty Free…

We all want, need, please never stop Duty Free
And we’ll take it home to Gerry

Crazed all dayers, and a box of players
We smoked them all ‘fore the boat came in
Nuns are spewing, and mind is stewing
What a fallen man that I’ve become
(Is that Ireland?)
Well it looks like Ireland,
Ah Easy Roe – sure I’ve just drunk too much
Stroll on the deck – and don’t give a feck
So I made a little walk down to Duty Free…

We all want, need, please never stop Duty Free
And we’ll take it home to Gerry

And we’re last upon the ferry
All our problems dead and buried

We all want, need, please never stop Duty Free
And we’ll take it home to Gerry

And we’re last upon the ferry
Forget it let’s get merry…

(Take a little walk down to Duty Free now)

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With thanks to Joe Ray for the squeezebox and help with the video. Special thanks to Fred Stokes for his Classic Cortin. Also thanks to John, Roseanne, Ciara and Ella Anderson for help with the video. Recorded pre and during lockdowns between bedrooms in Luton, Deptford and Leipzig (mixed and mastered by Luise London https://www.facebook.com/LuiseLondonAudio/ )
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Another great song from these Luton Irish lads evoking some fantastic memories. Anyone over a certain age (basically before flying became so cheap) will remember the cattle ships that passed for ferry’s back in the day between Ireland and England. Crammed on and crammed together you counted yourself lucky if you got a seat as if not you’d confined to the floor. Once settled in you were left to your own devices to run round exploring the ship with new mates from around England. Your family would bump into people they knew from home but had settled elsewhere they probably hadn’t seen since the last ferry crossing. A trip to the Duty Free shop was a necessity as whiskey and cigarettes were always welcome in both direction. If you had the night ferry (my favourite) there would be a point you’d fall asleep only to find all the adults had disappeared and a short walk to the bar would find them talking of home with old and new friends. Going was always a great experience. The start of 6 weeks holidays from school and a trip back ‘home’.  The ferry back to England meant school soon and the adults barely concealing their sadness at having to go back to England. These Irish were the best in the world and are the reason we still find pride in our roots.  I always wondered what the ‘authorities’ must have thought at the 11 year old me ‘clanking’ away through customs with a bag full of fags and whiskey!

Download Duty Free  Bandcamp

Contact Missing The Ferry  Facebook  YouTube  Bandcamp  Instagram

F** K CANCER

Barely a week after the news of the very sad passing of ‘Celtic Warrior’ Danny Sheehan we are again left shaken by the news from Germany from Sven, a well respected member of the MacSlons team, of his terminal cancer.

Fuck Cancer! So, how to tell you about this? Sven Kanitz has been with the MacSlon’s Team for years. He supplied us with all the news about our folk-punk scene, always hard-working and with an almost inexhaustible energy. No matter if it was about new videos, the latest album etc. He compiled a huge stock of information and made everything accessible, so we got all the news we could ask for. Many of you probably know him or consider him a friend. For some time now we haven’t heard anything about him. And so it’s been a real shock when Sven sent this around:

Hey guys, it’s hard to say goodbye!
Thank you for your birthday wishes.
I have long thought about posting this, but since I neglected many people and was only sporadically there for you and the groups as well as for MacSlon’s, I decided to write this, sorry for that.
Unfortunately I am suffering from cancer severely and incurable, now I live in a hospice and don’t know how much time I have left. 🥺
The time with you was just beautiful. 😊
I’ll stay with you for as long as I can, but eventually I’ll leave.
Even after a few days’ time we are still stunned and can’t find the right words to express our sorrow, compassion and all our thoughts about it. Sven has no idea how much time there’s left. There is no cure. Our deepest compassion is with Sven and his family. We thought to start a donation campaign for him and his family. We are absolutely aware that this won’t heal him. But we do know that such a situation isn’t only catastrophic for us but even more so for him and his family. To support Sven and his family we would like to ask you (with Sven’s consent) to help:

www.paypal.me/kanitzsven

If each of you could donate just one euro, that would be great and add up to quite a considerable amount. However every penny or cent is helping and it would be also really great if you could just share this to let even more people know about it. The money goes straight to Sven and his family. No fees, no nothing and 100% safe and secure! And to say it loud and clear: Sven – you are one of the best guys of our scene. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your work, your eagerness and most of all for being a friend. You will, once you found your peace, leave a big gap. We only hope this will help you and your family in this horrible time. We spare empty words like “stay strong” or “get well soon” and just want to say that we’ll meet again over there one day!

ALBUM REVIEW: DIE STROMMS – ‘Vinum, Et Domina Canticum’ (2021)

There’s a new sound rumbling out of the ‘red dirt’ countryside on the third album from North Texans Die Strömms. A winning combination of Celtic-Folk, Western, Bluegrass, Punk with loud guitars, mandolins, banjos and fiddles they have created a sound they call ‘Southern Celtic Cow Punk’.

The Ramones meets Willie Nelson by way of Celtic-Folk!

Amazingly this is the third Celtic-Punk album we have reviewed from the state of Texas in just the last few months. Both The Real McCoys and The Dead Rabbits released albums around St. Patrick’s Day to great acclaim and now Die Strömms join them as another contender for album of the year. The north Texan outfit with the least Celtic-Punk name in Celtic-Punk celebrate the release of their third album of what they call ‘Southern Celtic Cow Punk’. Cowpunk to those who don’t know is to Country music what Celtic-Punk is to traditional Celtic Folk. Their was instant crossover with many of the bands labelled ‘cowpunk’ playing with The Pogues and The Men They Couldn’t Hang in the London clubs back in the earliest days of Celtic-Punk. These bands rubbed off each other and incorporated each others sound to a great degree. There’s a brilliant article on the history of the genre, ‘A Brief Y’Alternative History’ , on Pop Matters written by a fan.

Formed in Dallas, Texas in 2015 by Kane Kelly using the alias ‘Killian Strömm’ Die Strömms {pronounced die stromz) have independently released two albums (Der Aufstig von Texas Keltishes Kuhpunk / Rise of Crazy Southern Cowpunk in 2017 and Viva el Dia de los Muertos in 2018. Like most active bands plans were waylaid with the arrival of the pandemic and so it was that Vinum, Et Domina Canticum / Southern Summer Anthem was somewhat delayed after it’s initial launch on Soundcloud.

The album kicks off with ‘Bleeding Hearts’ and not a million miles away from recent favourites Phantom Of The Black Hills. Chugging guitar and Tex-Mex melodies along with clear yet forceful vocals give the album a craicing start. ‘Whiskey Ship Down’ continues in the same vein but with much more a Celtic Hoedown going on. ‘Drunkard’s Progress’ is one of the most memorable songs here with a simple yet effective tune and tongue in cheek lyrics celebrating the likes of heroes like nurses, teachers and bar-tenders. The music again floats the line between Celtic and Country and is incredibly catchy and doesn’t take itself too seriously but the drinking songs here are definitely a notch above the drink, fight, fall over kind we usually hear. The production is perfect and it helps that the vocals of lead singer Killian Strömm are absolutely perfect too. Clear and distinctive their is no need for a lyric sheet for this album as even on the more raucous songs its all very easy to understand and as I’ve hinted this is intelligent Celtic-Punk with a good dose of black humour. ‘Absinthe & Gin’ is a album highlight with banjo and mandolin put to extremely good use. ‘Makes Them Money’ takes aim at the wealthy but again done with great humour and a great song that drops the folkier influences and still works well and doesn’t sound out of place either, before the album title track next and the first song to be released from the album  ‘Southern Summer Anthem’. The fiddle is back and pure Rock’n’Roll Celt style.

‘Glass Of Beer’ is pure country. Simple and again effective despite lasting only ninety odd seconds before we go dashing headfirst into the albums most Celtic number the brilliant ‘Swagger’s Tale Jam’ based on the famous ‘Swallowtail Jig’ dating back it is thought to the mid-nineteenth century. One of the most distinctive and well known Irish instrumental tunes guest fiddler Koi Anunta does a incredible job with a nice rockin’ backing. There’s certainly plenty of talent here and originality too as they follow this with another trio of ‘southern-rock’ number type numbers ‘Where Are The Songs’ (with a utterly brilliant intro), ‘Greater Life Academy’ and ‘Speak No Lies’. Another famous Irish trad tune is utilised for ‘The Alchemist’ and almost sees the album out in great style with another high class drinking song before the whole thing comes to an end with the standout track ‘A.O.T.’. Catchy is just not the word trust me!!!!

I’m a sucker for a bit of trad Country (even the embarrasing stuff!) so this album is right up my street and even when the songs lean more towards rock or country you still hear the Celtic influences. Seriously not a single weak tune on this album and I have to admit that on face value I wasn’t really expecting anything much but what we got instead is one of 2021’s best albums.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/artist/6By6FMJQjTrSJJNMgJ6Wwk

Buy Vinum, Et Domina Canticum  Vinyl/CD FromTheBand  Download Here

Contact Die Strömms  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

FEROCIOUS DOG NEW SINGLE ‘BROKEN SOLDIER’ / ‘PENTRICH RISING’

English Celtic-Folk-Punk band with the ability to wow any audience you put them in front of. Not many bands you can say would appeal to both Grandparents and Grandchildren but Ferocious Dog are one. With a new album out soon here’s a couple of tasters of what’s in store for us.

Ferocious Dog look forward to the release of their sixth album The Hope later in the year with two songs released in quick succession onto You Tube. Beginning in June with ‘Pentrich Rising’ and a cracking video set and filmed in Derby gaol and following it up with the release this week of a song very close to the band’s heart, ‘Broken Soldier’, in partnership with the charity Combat Stress.

The band continue their rise with these two songs which despite their growing popularity lose none of the righteous anger and seething love they have become famous for. Likewise their sound has not been watered down. A band always determined to do it on their own merit it’s heartening to see a band that treats its fans as family and goes about it’s good deeds quietly and without fanfare. Their down to earth approach and old school labour movement politics along with years of solid touring and goodwill have built up a level of loyal support that many better known bands could only dream about.

Production: Justin Griffiths Creative * Director: Justin Griffiths

Lyrics: Andrew Hawkins

It’s not an original thought that it’s the working class that fights the wars for the rich and powerful. Some of these wars are remembered with pride and some are not. Sometimes these soldiers have performed heroics and can remember their service with pride and sometimes not. It’s important when we talk about ‘friends and foe’ during a war that we never lose sight that there is always an individual inside that uniform. ‘Broken Soldier’ has been released in support of Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans mental health dealing with issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. The band have donated £5000 from the Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund and ask their fans to donate where they can to www.combatstress.org.uk.

Pivotal to the ethos and drive of Ferocious Dog is the sad fate of Ken’s son Lee. Lee served in Afghanistan from the age of 18, and upon rejoining civilian life took his own life in 2012 at the age of just 24, unable to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from seeing one of his friends being shot dead by a sniper. Lee is commemorated in the Ferocious Dog songs ‘The Glass’, ‘Lee’s Tune’ and ‘A Verse For Lee’. This gave rise to The Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund which raises money and awareness for causes close to the bands heart. Lee’s story was featured in a BBC documentary Broken By Battle. It was Lee that actually named the band as a child.

The other song to be released was titled ‘Pentrich Rising’ and like a lot of what Ferocious Dog sing about is based on some stone cold hard history. Not the history you are likely to learn in school (more’s the pity!) but the story of the people. Working class history that survived through word of mouth. An armed rebellion that took place in the very area where Ferocious Dog call home around the village of Pentrich in Derbyshire in northern England on the night of 9th June 1817. Mass unemployment, industrialisation, the Corn Laws, war debt were among many factors that led to a massive recession. The poor of course were always the ones to suffer the most and so well over 400 brave souls assembled aiming to join with forces from further north to march on London in support of a bill for parliamentary reform. Sadly this belief was all based on a pack of lies from a paid informer under the Government’s instruction. This led them to be intercepted on route and they were no match for professional soldiers and yeomanry. Many were captured without a shot being fired and though the leaders did originally escape they were rounded up in the subsequent weeks and taken to Derby gaol. Twenty-three were sentenced, three to transportation to Australia for fourteen years and eleven for life. As for the ringleaders, the government was determined to make an example of them, hoping that

“they could silence the demand for reform by executions for high treason”.

The rebellion’s three leaders, Jeremiah Brandreth, Isaac Ludlam and William Turner were all publicly hanged and beheaded at Nuns Green in front of Friar Gate Gaol in Derby on the 7th November, their heads taken to St Werburgh’s church for burial. It was England’s last armed rebellion

a half-hearted but passionate attempt to give the working-class man a voice, was snubbed out and with it ended the lives of three men who campaigned for a fairer society”.

Outside of Derbyshire the Pentrich Rising is largely forgotten but not by Ferocious Dog. Their albums are packed with songs telling the tales of the working men and women of days gone by. Just as in the olden days these tales were passed on by word of mouth and song. Well they still are.

Production : Justin Griffiths Creative * Director: Justin Griffiths

Oh my name is William Turner and my tale i’ll tell to thee
about the revolution in 1817
With Brandreth and Ludlam and a band of fifty strong
With hundreds more to meet us on the road as we march on
 A night for revolution, a night to fight
A call to arms in England All workers must unite
Tonight we march on Pentrich with London in our sights
A night for revolution
All workers must unite
And then we fight
Little did we know there was a traitorous government spy
William J. Oliver a man I now despise
The Pentrich revolution was always doomed to fail
For high treason, I was sentenced and hung in Derby gaol
 
A night for revolution a night to fight
A call to arms in England
All workers must unite
Tonight we march on Pentrich with London in our sights
A night for revolution All workers must unite And then we fight

Buy Broken Soldier  Here

Contact Ferocious Dog  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

PRE-ORDER THE HOPE HERE

Lee Bonsall Memorial Fund  Facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: THE SKIDS – ‘Songs From A Haunted Ballroom’ (2021)

Their third album since Fife’s most explosive band reformed is a collection of covers mostly from the era that saw The Skids labelled as one of the most influential original Punk bands. Long time fan Gerry Mellon gives us the rundown on Songs From A Haunted Ballroom that pays tribute to the band’s that played their hometown venue, the great Kinema Ballroom in Dunfermline!

Now I’ll be the first to admit that albums made up of cover versions are not a particular favourite of mine to listen to. Admittedly every band has their favourite song or two that they like to play and many produce top quality versions of other people’s creations, but it’s usually one track on the album or a couple of songs at a gig. The Skids don’t do things like other bands though, do they! Their last album, Peaceful Times was a collection of acoustic versions of some of their older tracks and was a more than decent offering from them. So, it looks like this incarnation of the band are ready to push the limits just as much as the originals did. It seems to be working well for them if the reviews of their ‘comeback’ tour are anything to go by, a headline appearance at next year’s Rebellion Festival should be well worth catching. Their back catalogue and newer stuff, including some from the magnificent Burning Cities album, should make for a thrilling show. Anyway, after all the, well deserved, praise that I’ve heaped upon them I have to say, The Skids have released a covers album!! What’s more important though, is that it’s pretty good!!

The new album is called Songs from a Haunted Ballroom, a link to a track on the Yankee Dollar ep called Hymns from a Haunted Ballroom, and is an eclectic collection of songs that were popular when the band were originally performing. The Haunted Ballroom refers to the Kinema in Dunfermline, the main place in the town for touring (and local) bands to play. Perhaps this is the place where they heard some of these tracks for the first time. The pandemic will probably have played its part in the band releasing a covers album, getting together to work on new material must have been a nightmare for so many bands over the past couple of years. There may well have been a lot of looking back over good times and large doses of nostalgia for the band members, the main contributors on this release are Richard Jobson, of course and Bruce and Jamie Watson, father and son from Big Country. It’s produced by Watson and Liam Saunders and is comprised of 14 tracks. The last three tracks are originals from the band, the superb Into the Valley which announced them to the world back in 79 and had a whole generation of schoolkids (me included) trying to translate it!!! The excellent Saints are Coming released before Into the Valley, but was only really made famous by the U2 and Green Day version. The third song is Christmas in Fife and it seems to be a bit of a piss take of Christmas songs!

As I said the cover versions are fairly eclectic in styles, but they all come from the same era of Glam rock and Punk in the 70s. It kicks off with Young Savage, an early track from Ultravox in the pre–Midge Ure days, to be honest I’m not too familiar with the original, but Jobson does an excellent job with the vocals on this upbeat, hight tempo opener. Next up is the superb Complete Control from The Clash, they make a very good go of it indeed and I would love to hear a live version. It’s never going to be better than the original, but I doubt that’s what they were trying, more a case of them putting their own stamp on a punk rock classic. The Adverts Gary Gilmore’s Eyes is next, another early punk classic. For those new to the track, it tells the story of an American murderer who has donated his eyes to be used after he is executed. The lyrics are the guy in the hospital waking up after an operation and discovering he has received Gary Gilmore’s eyes! It caused a storm when the adverts appeared on Top of the Pops playing it back in the day! I remember it well and it was bloody fantastic!! This version sounds as if it’s being played at a tiny bit slower tempo, or it could just be the way that Jobson delivers the lyrics in a sometimes-staccato way, it still sounds great though.

Heart of the City comes next, the original is by Nik Lowe, it’s another track I’m not overly familiar with, but I’ll check it out soon. All of these tracks have outstanding guitar-work on them and this one is a real beauty, with rhythm and lead both pushing it on at an electric pace. Magazine’s The Light Pours Out of Me is up next and, surprise surprise, it’s another cracking track. You could actually believe that this one was a Skids original, it has the beautiful guitar build-ups and then an almost chant-like chorus, very reminiscent of early Skids numbers. An unusual selection comes up next with David Essex’s Rock On and the band put their own stamp on this glam rock-pop favourite. Essex’s version is slower and thinner and doesn’t have the menace that Jobson puts into this one; The Skids have roughened it up a bit with thrashing guitars and an aggressive vocal from Jobson. He goes on to tell how it was one gang’s favourite song back when he was going to the Kinema in Dunfermline, apparently once you heard the gang members start to sing this song it was time to scarper or as Iron Maiden would have it Run to the Hills!! I clearly remember and love the original and can honestly recommend this version to anyone.

Who remembers Mott the Hoople then? In the early 70s they were this weirdo hippy looking bunch who came out with some actually quite good music, All the Young Dudes would probably be their best-known number. Violence is their track that comes up next and the Skids put their own stamp on it to make it sound much punkier than the original, it’s a good track without being a real banger (as the kids would say!) The next track is from Garland Jeffreys (nope, I’ve never heard of him or it either!). 35mm Dreams is the name of it and it appears to be a homage to old movie stars from the b&w era. I’ve never heard the original and to be honest didn’t even seek it out, this track is goodish, but not a patch on the band’s other televisual homage TV Stars. When I hear Jobson singing about Greta Garbo and Bette Davis (among many more) my heart is screaming out Albert Tatlock!!! Track 9 comes from none other than the kings of UK punk, The Sex Pistols, and its Submission. Much like with the earlier Complete Control, trying to just copy the original would be pointless and who could copy our Johnny’s vocals anyway! Well we have Richard Jobson who has his own inimitable style and he performs this track with aplomb. The guitar is crisp and clean and sounds relentless in this excellent cover. Back in the New York groove is the next track and if you’re anything like me, hearing it will put a smile on your face. It was originally from a band called Hello (nope, me neither!), but has been covered by a few groups. It’s a track that used to get them on the dance floor in the 70s and has another Skids-esque chanting chorus, great fun. Next up is the stone-cold classic I Wanna Be Your Dog, by Iggy and the Stooges. It really is hard to believe that it was first released in 68, over 50 years ago. When you hear this cover, it sounds like it could have been written last week! Anyway, they make an excellent job of it with no frills just a great punchy punk rock song.

The final three tracks are, as previously mentioned, Skids originals that have been re-recorded. The two singles sound great, and the Christmas one is what it is! I think it’s fair to say that the guitar work, whilst being brilliant in its own right, can never reach the highs that Stuart Adamson brought to the sound and I can’t help but imagine what these covers would’ve been like if he was still around to have contributed. He is sorely missed, when you hear albums like Undercover by Big Country, you can see he was equally as impressed/enamoured by other bands music and adept at performing it. Funnily enough, that’s probably the last time I was as impressed with a covers album as I am with this one! It would be worth checking out the originals of these tracks to see just how good a job of interpreting them into a Skids sound the band has done. Well worth the price and hopefully the entrance fee if we ever get back to gigging again.

Buy Songs From A Haunted Ballroom

Download  Here  Cleopatra Records  CD   or  Vinyl

Contact The Skids  WebSite  Facebook 

Lucky for Gerry The Skids are on tour at the end of this month from the 28th August taking in the length and breadth of England and Scotland. Tickets are available from the usual outlets and links on venue websites.

UKRANIAN BAND SHAMrocks NEW TRACK FROM FORTHCOMING NEW ALBUM

Celtic-Punk is a worldwide phenomenon these days and a perfect example is band ShamRocks. The first band of Ukraine’s Celtic-Punk scene and originators of ‘Stout Rock’ – a blend of Irish, Scottish, Breton, Finnish and Folk music with Punk, rock and metal.

Here they have released the first song from their forthcoming new album Bring It On!

ShamRocks were born in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev in 2009 so in a slow moving scene they are still  relatively newcomers. With a mutual love of traditional Irish and Scottish music, Finnish polkas, ancient sea shanties and good old fashioned Punk-Rock and Metal ShamRocks have released three albums with some of the best modern adaptations of classic Folk songs put to record. Traditional melodies played on fiddle, mandolin, flute and accordion and mixed up with head-banging riffs that are still heavy and danceable but with their roots intact.

ShamRocks – (top) Andrew Neretin – Guitar, Vocals * Alexey Sletkov – Drums (bottom) Sergiy Khudoliy – Keytar, Vocals * Anatoliy Khomenko – Violin, Mandolin, Vocals * Serge Vdovychenko – Bass, Vocals *

Their album’s Captain’s Log (2016) and Ye Olde Chariot (2017) both had that ‘crowded pub’ feel to them and more charted high in the end of year London Celtic Punks Best Of polls, with Captain’s Log reaching the heights of #4 that year. So it was with Covid coming along and spoiling everyone’s plans Bring It On! had to be delayed but buoyed by the massive success of the Dropkick Murphys Paddy’s Day live stream a couple of days later ShamRocks played a fantastic set broadcast across Facebook to every corner of the globe. The (almost) full set would become their third album FCP Live and with no ‘post-production magic’ it’s the pure ShamRocks experience. Original songs, Folk tunes, sea-shanties, Celtic-Punk classics and pub songs, ShamRocks can take any tune and turn it into a crazy and unique sounding experience!

No question as tired and old
“How much value does freedom hold
As bodies pile up in the morgues?”
We’re paying the ultimate price
The blank stare in dead soldiers’ eyes
There is no return; if we struggle and fall
There won’t be a flag left to mourn
You thought you could test our will
That centuries dulled our steel
You tried to go in for the kill
It’s time to stand proud
(We rise with our kin!)
It’s time to stand free
(We fight and we win!)
The aging empire can go and get bent
We’re drawing the line in the sand
Till our last breath we’ll
Stand fast
Another day passed
It won’t be our last
You know we can’t afford to fail now
We’ll reap what we’ve sown
Protect what we’ve grown
We’ll hold the line with pure anger
All our frustration
Determination
We are the ultimate punk nation
We need no masters
Now could you bastards
Fuck off to kingdom come
You know we won’t succumb
Whoa! Who-oa! Who-oa! Who-oa-oa-oa!
Who-oa! Who-oa! Who-o-oa!
Whoa! Who-oa! Who-oa! Who-oa-oa-oa!
Who-oa! Who-oa! Who-o-oa!
Whoa! Who-oa! Who-oa! Who-oa-oa-oa!
Who-oa! Who-oa!
YAAAR!
Stand fast
Another day passed
It won’t be our last
You know we can’t afford to fail now
We’ll reap what we’ve sown
Protect what we’ve grown
We’ll hold the line with pure anger
All our frustration
Determination
We are the
Ultimate
Punk
Nation
We need no masters
Now would you bastards
Just Fuck!
OFF!
The struggle shall go on!

Video shot by Aleksey Khoroshko and Iryna Piatanchuk. Edited by Sergiy Khudoliy

Mixed and mastered @Komora Studio, 2021

ShamRocks have just come back from playing their first live festival in two years and are finally looking forward to getting back to normal starting with the release of their next studio album. The plan is to release a few more singles along the way as they work on recording the rest of the album. Understandably they are reluctant to give a release date but stay in touch with us here at London Celtic Punks as we can’t wait to hear it and we will be among the first to break the news!!

(‘Punk Nation’ can be streamed and/or downloaded from Bandcamp for just $1)

Contact ShamRocks  WebSite  Facebook   YouTube   Bandcamp   VK.Com

ODDS’N’SODS. A CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP AUGUST 2021

The football season is about to kick off over here so all is well with the world!

Time again for the London Celtic Punks monthly round-up of all the band news, record releases and videos from bands big and small from across the Celtic-Punk scene. 

We start this month with one of my favourite band’s return to the fore. Seeing as August 1st is Yorkshire Day where better to begin than with BLACKBEARDS TEA PARTY who hail from God’s Own Country who give up a Folky/ Funky cover of American Folk classic ‘John’s Gone To Hilo’. Great stuff!

The Swamp Rabbit Accordion Festival in South Carolina at the end of the month has had to be re-branded as The Swamp Rabbit Celtic-Punk Festival after several cancellations forced the hand of TC COSTELLO. Currently whooping it up in Madrid TC will be back home soon so if you are anywhere nearby be sure to spread the news.

LIVE MUSIC IS BACK!! With more and more gigs being announced all the time we’d like to invite promoters and bands to send in your gig and tour dates. Remember though the Odds’n’Sods feature only goes to press at the end of each month and so we may not be able to fit them in. In which case we need plenty of notice.

All the FLOGGING MOLLY dates set for this month have now been re-arranged for next year. Yes 2022 I’m afraid so book your tickets now for Manchester, Birmingham and London.

POGUES fans in London might be interested to know that Richard Balls will be discussing his authorised biography of SHANE MacGOWAN at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Book Club at Dublin Castle, Camden on the 6th October. The book, written with the co-operation of Shane, Victoria, Siobhan and Maurice, is published by Omnibus Press on 7 October, so it’s an opportunity to get a signed early copy! If you can’t make it, the book is available for pre-order via various online sites.

London bagpipes’n’punk band and all round good guys THE BABES are recording a follow up album to their debut Greetings From London. No release date yet so watch this space.

The wonderful KILMAINE SAINTS are back with a fecking bang and here’s some video from their recent set at the Celtic Fling 2021 in Manheim, Pennsylvania. Here they are playing one of my own personal favourites ‘Whiskey Blues And Faded Tattoos’.

THE O’REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS had a great Live Stream recently to celebrate their 10th anniversary and here they play a acoustic version of the lead single from their last album.

Another cracking German Celtic-Punk band BEGBIES PINT had a few songs up on You Tube from a recent gig in one hell of a lovely setting!

A bit of international Celtic-Punk now from Argentinian band MALA SUERTE. I don’t know a lot about them but here they do one hell of a decent cover of The Ramones. Word is that the boys (Bad Luck in English) have a new album out very soon.

THE CAPTAIN’S BEARD a Pirate Punk/ Celtic-Punk band from B-right-on down there on the southern coast of England are looking for a drummer. Contact on FB if you’re interested.

“We’re looking for someone of a professional skill level and who likes traditional folk music and or modern Celtic rock. Also someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously (we sing songs about beards)”
News from BRYAN McPHERSON that he’s pretty much finished the recording of his new album. Produced by the famed Ted Hutt of the Walker Roaders and aided by Marc Orell, Chris Murphy and Josh Heffernan among others it’s set to be one of his best yet. Can’t wait to hear it Bryan.

DIE STROMMS – Vinum, Et Domina Canticum (review on it’s way!)

TECOR SOCIETARIO – Caça Maior

THE McGUNKS – Going Out Early

THE GREEN HOUSE BAND – Ocotillo

TECOR SOCIETARIO – Caça Maior

THE POKES – Another Toast

This month we step back in time for a band that are still around and going from strength to strength. BLOOD OR WHISKEY come from Leixlip, County Kildare in Ireland and formed in September 1993 taking strong influence from Shane MacGowan, as well as The Pogues and The Clash. For the unitiated and have for almost 30 years now been one of the best bands in Celtic-Punk. How they are not more famous is beyond me! This recording comes from 14 years ago and arguably at their peak and is the live set from their 2007 European tour at the Arena Kleine Halle in Vienna, Austria. The free download is available in 2 parts.

DOWNLOAD1 DOWNLOAD2

New album from THE MCGUNKS. A 4-piece hi-energy Punk’n’Roll band from the Providence area that formed in 2003. Their music reflects Rockabilly, Punk, Celtic and even a bit of country. Available as a name ypur price download. 

Don’t know anything about THE CIDER FECKS except The Surfin’ Turnips said the other day on their Facebook page that they may be returning. I will do my best to find out more. Here’s their class song ‘The Dropkick Murphys Took My Baby Away’.

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Russian musicians playing Irish music for Russian set-dancers is not something you see every day! POLCA AN Rí hail from Moscow, Russia. Get the download or the CD which comes with a 4-page booklet on how the band came together. 

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Some London Celtic Punks news now and we still have a handful of Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer t-shirts available. They come in all sizes from Small right up to XXX-L and are available from our online store. Also check out our full range of other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the discerning Celtic-Punk fan would ever need!  https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

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The more I see of Facebook the more and more I dislike it. It’s stranglehold on all forms of expression is not good so if you feel the same you can now subscribe to 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 and completely free from Facebook control. Join us on Telegram and don’t miss a single post! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/  

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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 and join in the fun!

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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.

DYLAN WALSHE INTERVIEWS STEVE IGNORANT

Irish singer-songwriter Dylan Walshe may now be living it up in Nashville, Tennessee (a long way from South Dublin!) but has not forgotten his roots and here on his Stirring Foot radio show he interviews the legendary Steve Ignorant, co-founder of the Anarcho-Punk band Crass. Since then he has performed with several bands and at the moment is frontman of Steve Ignorant’s Slice Of Life.

Back in May, earlier this year I had a zoom call with Steve Ignorant. Steve is now based out of Sea Palling, Norfolk on the coast of England. A few days after our chat, I found out that a throat infection had kept Steve awake the night before. Steve didn’t postpone or cancel the zoom call, because that’s the kind of person Steve is. He never even mentioned it. Steve’s journey with life and art has truly been unique. Possibly best known as the founder and frontman of the culture changing band Crass, over the years, Steve has worked with many musical artists and groups. For me, Steve is a working class folk hero, not that he would accept that title. A wood carver, a Punch And Judy professor (using the name Professor Ignorant), a volunteer on the Sea Palling Independent Lifeboat and has recently published his autobiography ‘All The Rest Is Propaganda’. Steve’s creativity and spirit has gone from strength to strength, as he continues to explore the journey of life, head on, with his most recent group Slice Of Life. In this episode, Steve talks about his earliest influences, his arrival at the renowned Dial House, his relationship with Penny Rimbaud, the formation of Crass and the other groups who were around during that time. Steve goes on to talk about how Crass challenged male dominant Punk scenes, his passion for animals, his many other music and art projects and how film has often shaped his work. With the Crass art collective having been pioneers of D.I.Y. multimedia presentation, Steve also discusses how this led to the KGB, MI6 & CIA “sniffin’ around” the Crass camp.

In recent years, Steve has recorded and performed with Irish group Paranoid Visions, as well as occasionally touring Crass songs. He now performs with his new band Slice Of Life. A far cry from the aggression of Crass, nevertheless compelling, with powerful songs delivered in an acoustic style.

“Impossible to categorise, Slice Of Life’s music is up-front and soul-baringly personal. It’s a mixture of songs and spoken word that draws you in and stays with you long after the final note has been played.”

click on the link below to go direct to the episode

https://www.buzzsprout.com/1760652/8880180

More of sound a collage than a conversation, The Stirring Foot sets out to stir the waters. Their are no sign ups, subscriptions, fees or sponsors, just a free audio series with a single button to press. Search it out on your preferred streaming platform or visit www.StirringFoot.com

Support the show https://www.paypal.me/dylanwalshe

Music and merch available directly from Steve Ignorant at www.steveignorant.com

Donation link for the Sea Palling Independent Lifeboat www.seapallinglifeboat.co.uk

ALBUM REVIEW: SETH MARTIN – ‘Through Dark Valleys’ (2021)

Hear the new album from Seth Martin, Oregon born singer/songwriter from Oregon living in South Korea. T.C. Costello reviews his latest album, Through Dark Valleys, and discovers his music has deep roots in the American Folk tradition as well as strong political convictions.

During these unprecedented new-normal and blah blah blah times, artists across the globe have been forced to adapt, improvise, and learn to create in new ways. While I’ve dealt with said times by entering a period of unprecedented unproductivity, other artists have embraced the new normal and have turned to the internet. Live streams have been ubiquitous across social media these last 12 months, often times with stylish masks and links to fundraisers.

But Seoul-based folklorist and singer-songwriter Seth Martin, with his reputation for collaborative efforts bringing together various artists and traditions from around the world, was faced with a unique challenge. How was he to collaborate at a time when social interaction was to be kept, by law, to a minimum? In the end, despite his fairly pronounced luddite sensibilities and approaches to performing and recording, turned to the internet. The result was an album that never would have happened, had it not been such an unprecedented, blah blah blah, nightmare of a year.

“Through Dark Valleys,” says Seth, “is both part of a half-decade long project and a fairly sudden decision to finish an album, however unconventionally, that resulted in an unusual and explosive collaborative final recording process.”

A part of this “Mountain Trilogy,” ¨Through Dark Valleys” is built around a set of studio performances from 2015-2016 in Portland, Oregon, with Seth and his longtime producer and collaborator David Fuller, “as well as “a handful of live, lo-fi phone or camera recordings I had made in recent years here in Korea,” Seth adds.

Different versions of the album had been in the works for years, but circumstances kept getting in the way of its completion. Finally the needed spark came unexpectedly last winter. The album would not have happened without the sudden chance to perform with and get inspired by well-known Korean folk rocker Hahn Dae Soo, one of Seth’s musical heroes. Hahn was not part of the album, but his influence is largely what made its completion possible.

Hahn Dae Soo was so kind, hilarious, and fun to work with, and the experience of joining him for a recording session, a show, and several meals and times of sharing stories deeply inspired me. He only had a few weeks to make a full album, and his main concert in Korea to support the album–which he claims, sadly, is his “last”–had to be switched from in-person to online due to Corona regulations.

But instead of disappointment, writes Seth, Hahn Dae Soo “used his influence to simultaneously include and encourage a large group of musicians in his project,” and to preach “caution, cooperation and solidarity in efforts to respect mask and group regulations, to keep one another safe during this pandemic.”

Seth remembers his time with Hahn as “fresh water to my pandemic-depressed soul,” and after the collaboration, he suddenly felt that it was not only possible, but that winter 2020, with all its isolation and limits for artists, was the perfect time to finish the album. In early December, he contacted violinist Zoe Youngmi Blank, producer David Fuller, and his younger brother and fellow artist Joel Martin, with hopes of finishing the process by Christmas.

All agreed to take a shot at building and completing the album together, with plans of a final project ready to share by Christmas. Zoe, who contributed backing vocals and violin from her home in Seoul, called it the “most fulfilling remote collaboration (she’s) been a part of”:

Due to the Corona music hiatus, it was a relief to finally play music together, though it being remote. Actually it being remote lead to a unique synergy between Seth, David Fuller and Joel Martin that surprised me. The project existed somewhere beyond space and time. We, all spread across the planet, could meet in this nonphysical recording space… online. In folk tradition, we echoed past generations’ struggles and strengths, yet grounded ourselves to modern day relevance present in Seth’s lyrics.”

Joel, who added guitar and vocals mostly from his homemade studio in the hills of small-town Toledo, Washington–his and Seth’s hometown–where he had been spending the fall and winter in isolation with his parents, said he is “awestruck at how spectacular a job… David Fuller did with the messy pile of tracks he got from all of us.”

Seth describes the process as “a flurry of experimentation and track sharing between myself, David, Joel, and Zoe–two of us in Korea, two in the US, all isolated from each other.”

This rag-tag and somewhat intentionally haphazard, free-flowing collaboration resulted in a low-fi, psychedelic album with atmospheric and at times disconcerting arrangements, and the choice of songs were frankly a perfect reflection for such a year.

Heavy themes aside, the album starts with a simple fiddle-and-banjo tune with that one can easily whistle or hum along to, and indeed, the cast of the album joins in with humming and whistle along.
Next comes one of the highlights of the album, the stream-of-consciousness “April 1st (Rusty Roads)”.

The base track was Martin performing the ten-minute song for the first time ever into his phone, “So parts of it were inspired and kind of made up on the spot, as I read the paper in front of me in my room and also improvised as felt right in the moment.” Martin adds, “we embraced rather than cleaned up the messiness, and real grief and wobbliness in the recording.”

Seth follows this with an interpretation of Mother, Sister, a poem by Kim So-Wol, a Korean poet under Japanese colonisation. Providing lead vocals on Mother, Sister is Gwon Jaehyoung, a Korean folk musician and leader of SMB mountain school. Martin joins him, and Seoul singer-songwriter eeho adds some wonderful background vocals. Next comes “Don’t Forget It,” which Seth wrote in 2014 when he was hiking in Korea, falling in love with Lee Nan Young, now his wife, and decided to move to Korea. The track begins with a familiar refrain from a classic children’s song about a bear that went over a mountain, but these lines are soaked in a current and heavy feeling of loneliness fitting the times we are in, and carry added significance given the mountain symbolism and themes that run through the project. There is also the Korean symbolism of bears and mountains being referenced here, adding to the beauty and intertwined, heavy history in the song, personally, and with Korea-US relations generally. As the song winds and rambles down its path, it features some truly impressive violin work from Zoe that really adds unexpected rhythms and several climaxes to the song.

Then, after nearly ten minutes of singing about the importance of walking the long and hard roads together and promising not to let go of love when life is at its loneliest and hardest, we are suddenly brought to another scene of grief and pain. Track 6 features the traditional American spiritual ¨Climbing High Mountains,¨ which is quite the pertinent hymn for 2020.

“I’ve been climbing high mountains trying to get home.
I’ve been wading deep waters trying to get home.
I’ve been burying my loved ones trying to get home.
I’ve been climbing high mountains trying to get home.”

Musically, this a slow build featuring multilayered violin tracks by Zoe, and a chorus of background singers from either side of the Pacific Ocean, that is too time consuming, if not impossible to identify by name.
In Korea, Seth recruited Yamagata Tweakster, Eeeho, Choi Sung-Hee, and No Soon Cheon, about half of whom I know, and on the US’ West Coast, David recruited close family and friends, Nicholas Von Pless, Sarah Fuller, Maya Fuller, Jonathan Behr, and Elizabeth Hadley -“All from his Corona “pod,” Seth adds.” Further, students from SMB mountain school as well as friends at an ant-gentrification vigil added background vocals throughout the album, if not this song specifically.
Next stop is America in the 1860s with Civil War ballad “Going Across the Mountain,” popularised by Frank Proffitt, who claimed it was written by a family member from South who crossed the mountains “to give (President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis’) men a little of my rifle ball.”

Another, slow build, it starts with a spacey intro of the well known Korean folk song, Doraji, and ends up with a bit of a disco rhythm courtesy of Joel Martin and David Fuller on bass and percussion. The effect is a more than a bit disconcerting, particularly with the different backup vocalists chiming in and cutting out seemingly at random. Even more disconcerting is that the song descends into another controlled-chaos remix of field recording of a Korean grandmother’s singing a protest tune called “Little Giant”

It is a mixture of David’s experimental mixing, and banjo chiming alongside a field recording of a Korean grandmother singing a satirical tune in protest of a gentrification project in (A Seoul neighbourhood), in which a group of newtown apartment folks pressured the local government to bulldoze her small diner along with many other streetside shops, to “improve” and “widen” and make more safe a street between an outdoor market and a school. The grandmother is calling out the apartment collective defiantly. Her shop had been a popular stop for locals for around 3 decades, and was called “Little Giant.”

Next is the only track on the album that Seth had absolutely no part in. It’s a sound collage put together almost entirely by David Fuller in his Portland studio–the central headquarters and final destination of everyone’s individual recordings done in isolation across Korea and the States. Using passages from the dark and often caustic verses of “45 Voices: Overheard in an American Graveyard,” Seth’s book of poems reflecting on the first 100 days of the Trump regime, written as a sort of continuation or companion piece to the first Mountain album-t proves very zeitgestiy with delivery of lines like:

“Of course not all immigrants are rapists and drug dealers, but don’t you think the stereotypes for a reason?¨Seth adds, “Fuller’s own voice is featured but in a deeply distorted fashion, and he also included several other voices of album collaborators, each taking on various disturbing Americana “characters” as they were depicted in the book. In creating this sound collage, Fuller creatively included the poetry book follow-up to This Mountain into Through Dark Valleys, not only linking it to both albums, but also endowing sections of it with its own sound, and thus cleverly recasting it as a musical work itself.” Regarding the experimental sounds in the background, Martin adds, “I couldn’t tell you all the technical weird stuff David did in that track exactly, but I love it, and I am glad it is there.”

Next, the crew of the album plays Martin’s “The Ballad of Eric Garner,” Set to the tune of the American work song “900 Miles,” the song is a tribute to Eric Garner,” famously murdered by police in New York City, but also serves as a statement on the realities of current systemic racism and police brutality across the States.

“Out in famous New York City
Famous for its lack of pity
That’s where a man named Eric Garner used to live
He was big and Black and proud
Had friends and family all around
And despite so many hassles with police
Garner’s neighbors knew him as a man of peace“

A very raw recording, you can hear Martin’s chair squeaking as he sings of Garner’s last day on earth, and his ensemble delivers some particularly psychedelic instrumentation with producer David fuller adding keyboards, trumpet and clarinet.

Another experimental track, “Ferry Boat and Passenger & smoke break during an air raid drill” follows.

The lyrics come from Buddhist Korean Independence activist Manhae’s famous poem, and Martin’s wife, Lee Nan Young, reads the poem in Korean:

“I am the boat that carried you
across the river…
You pressed your dirty feet
against my sides,
while I kept you safe and dry.
When you reached the other side
and began to walk away,
you did not look back.
Every day,
every day,
I am still here
waiting for you to return…”

Martin’s original, “Grown up Soul (These Dark Valleys)” proves to be a perfect ending to the album, once again with a raw, but multilayered psychedelic sound, Seth sings:

“I’ve been walking these dark valleys
trying to find a place called home
And everywhere I laid my head
I felt so cold and all alone”

(You can stream or download Through Dark Valleys at the Bandcamp link below)

Buy Through Dark Valleys  Bandcamp

Contact Seth Martin  Facebook  Bandcamp  YouTube

Thanks to TC for the review. TC is currently shacked up in Barcelona and playing the odd gig or two there so give him a nudge over at his FB page to find out where and check out our review of his last album The Blackbird to hear more from him.

MUIRSHEEN DURKIN RELEASE NEW SINGLE. COVER OF THE UK SUBS ‘RIOT’

German Celtic rockers Muirsheen Durkin release ‘Riot’ as a tribute to old school indestructible Punk-Rock legend Charlie Harper of the UK Subs.

“Closing down our club for no good reason” A wake-up call after the forced Corona break!

Having known each other for some thirty years it was only a few years back in 2009 that the idea to start something new came up. Wanting a band with its feet based firmly in traditional Irish music and with an emphasis on emigration songs Muirsheen Durkin & Friends was born. Their feet may be in trad music with mandolin, banjo, tin whistle, accordion and two pipers but the addition of classic rock and Punk sees Muirsheen Durkin as one of the leading lights in the German Celtic-punk scene.

Their latest single is a pretty damn good cover of the UK Subs ‘Riot’. Released in 1997 on the album of the same name which was the first in decades to re-unite original members Nicky Garrett and Alvin Gibbs back together with the Peter Pan of Punk Charlie Harper. Formed in 1976 the UK Subs were one of the original bands in the first wave of Punk in the UK. Famous outside of Punk for their album releases starting with consecutive letters of the alphabet from Another Kind Of Blues in 1979 to Ziezo in 2016. Since then this most prolific of bands have added another two albums and a EP. Born in Hackney and now aged an incredible 77 years old Charlie Harper has been the mainstay of the band throughout the years. Still energetically performing at up to 200 UK Subs gigs a year he is an inspiration to us all.

Inner City life
Is getting me down
Police and gang wars
All over town
Closing down our clubs
For no good reason
Hassle us on the street
Take away our freedoms
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Oh, oh, we want a riot
Oh, oh, so sick and tired
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Here come the riot squad
They’re closing in
Guns and riot shields
And gas grenades
They see us standing there
All in a line
Black and white unite
Confrontations high
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Oh, oh, we want a riot
Oh, oh, we’re sick and tired
*
Oh, oh, leave us alone
They have a justice bill
That’s what they say
Now, they have the power now
To put us away
There were four of us
Minding our own
We’re a riotous assembly
Walking down the road
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Oh, oh, we want a riot
Oh, oh, so sick and tired
Oh, oh, we wanna riot
Oh, oh, leave us alone
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The song is available on the MacSlon’s Irish Pub Radio compilation album Raise Your Pints #6 – Coronoa Sessions which features twenty bands from eleven countries celebrating (might be the wrong word- editor) the virus lockdowns in Celtic-Folk-Punk style. Every variation of Celtic-Punk is covered from trad to Hardcore and is available from the link below.

RAISE YOUR PINTS #6

Contact Muirsheen Durkin  WebSite  Facebook  ReverbNation  Spotify  YouTube

ALBUM REVIEW: THE RUMPLED – ‘The Perfect Match’ (2021)

Another release from prolific Italian Celtic-Punkers The Rumpled. With a sound influenced by traditional Irish Folk they are already one of the best bands in the scene and a band to expect big things from in the near future.

The last few years have been quite a time for fans of Celtic-Punk in Italy. While the genre has always been popular due in no small part to to the friendly relations between Italy and the Celtic nations never before has Italy had quite so many great bands, among them some of the best in Europe. I won’t go into the names as I’m afraid to miss one of them but a simple search among the posts here will give you the opportunity to give your ears a real treat. The Rumpled are one such band and in their relatively short existence they have been as prolific as any band in Celtic-Punk. Formed in Trento in the north in 2013 it was five years before they got some songs down on record and the result was Ashes & Wishes, recorded and produced by Gianluca of Black Dingo Productions, who have supported The Rumpled ever since. A sixty date tour of Switzerland, France and Italy in 2119 promoting the Grace O’Malley EP was followed by another EP, Toss The Coin, and tour the following year. Of course Covid soon arrived and any plans the band had were shelved while the world came to terms with what was going on.  Despite this the band ploughed on and did manage to release both Home Sessions, a EP of covers with the help of some pretty well known faces in Firkin and Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards, and an acoustic EP Rumplugged.

The Rumpled from left to right: Michele Mazzurana- Drums, Backing Vocals * Davide Butturini- Guitars * Patrizia Vaccari- Fiddle * Marco Andrea Micheli- Lead Vocals * Luca Tasin- Bassman, Backing Vocals * Tommaso Zamboni- Accordion *

The new album is called The Perfect Match and was released late last month again for Black Dingo and while new material is thin on the ground, with it being basically a re-recorded and re-vamped compilation of The Rumpled’s last two studio releases it is still an outstanding release and the perfect place to enter if you are new to the band. The Perfect Match kicks off with ‘Time To Go’, the album’s only new song and which was also the lead single for the album. The song is dedicated to Italian para-olympian athlete Giuliana Chiara Filippi and her story of fortitude and resilience, despite her many obstacles to overcome, and her dream to represent Italy in the Paralympics. Inspired they choose her to be featured as the main character in the video. A truly Perfect Match.

A great rocking start and a lovely tribute. We wish her well. Talking about the single The Rumpled said

“The song is an invitation to return to life with energy and enthusiasm and move into the future, throwing the difficult situation of last year behind us. After this long break, our desire to restart, to get back on stage and perform for a crowd is uncontainable, that’s why we all sing the in chorus: “hey ho, it’s time to go, we’re gonna raise hell tonight – So let’s go to another show and everything’s gonna be alright”!”

Musically The Rumpled play an energetic and lively style of Celtic-Punk. While The Rumjacks influence casts a shadow over much of the Italian Celtic-Punk scene The Rumpled have always done their own thing with a sound influenced by traditional Irish Folk music as much as anything. ‘Stand Up’ was the opening track on the Toss The Coin and sees the band accompanied by the Bold Rumjacker himself Frankie McLaughlin. Accordion led and with one hell of a catchy chorus it’s fist in the air time here as you swing your mates round and round. The energy is unrelenting and continues throughout the albums forty minutes with only a handful of pauses for breathe.

The following six songs also come from the Toss The Coin with ‘Take A Drop’ and ‘The Gipsy Dancer’, a lead single from Toss The Coin and you will see where the EP gets its title from in the excellent accompanying video. ‘The Road’ is less ‘traditional’ and more modern sounding Celtic-Punk combining elements of Ska with some great ‘Woah-Woah-Woahh’ gang vocals. ‘One Love’ is the first of two songs to feature guests from fellow Italian Celtic-Folk-Rockers Folkamiseria from western Piedmont. More Folk orientated but still with that harder edge while ‘Broken Romances’ has a more harder edge.

‘Patty’s Jig’ was the final song on the EP but here marks half way. Accompanied again by Folkamiseria on bouzouki The Rumpled show they can go full on traditional with a self penned Irish Folk tune that could have been written a hundred years ago!! Song #9 here is the song that began the Grace O’Malley EP ‘Song of Ill Repute’, a speedy accordion and fiddle led whirling dervish of a song which is followed by the EP’s title track, a extended version, ‘Grace O’Malley’. With over 1,000,000 plays on Spotify and a place in the Top Ten Celtic-Punk EP’s Of 2019 on this here web-zine. Grace O’Malley was known as ‘The Pirate Queen’ and until recently was largely known only to Irish communities around the world with tales of her exploits being told and re-told through the generations. A fearless leader over land and sea, a politician and tactician, rebel and pirate, and the ’most notorious woman in all the coasts of Ireland’.

‘Fearless And Brave’ sees the band accompanied by Paddy O’Reilly from the awesome Celtic-Punk band Paddy And The Rats. Utterly brilliant the dual vocals work to great effect while the Celtic-Punk crosses into Ska and back. ‘Feelin’ Fine’ keeps up the pace going and finally ‘The Maiden’ brings down the curtain.

So while it’s a shame for us long time fans of the band not to have an album of brand new music its perfectly understandable that The Rumpled want to get their music out to as wider audience as possible and this is a great opportunity for them to do so. So if you’re a fan pass this on to someone who isn’t (yet!) and make their day. The album is available on both download and physical release and also why not read up on Grace O’Malley it really is a fascinating story.

Buy The Perfect Match  Here  Contact The Rumpled  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

Black Dingo Productions  WebSite  Facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: NO MURDER NO MOUSTACHE – ‘The Odds Are Stacked Against’ (2021)

Pync Roc efo dylanwadau Celtaidd. Weithiau acwstig, weithiau ddim, wastad pync.

One man Welsh Punk Rock with Celtic influences. Sometimes acoustic, sometimes not, always Punk

The Odds Are Stacked Against is the second release from Welsh one man band Owen Crawford in the guise of No Murder No Moustache. It seems to be the trend these days that any wishy-washy drip of a student armed with an acoustic guitar gives themselves a grandiose name with a bit of edge (to make up for the music having none I suppose) and a place at a local NHS benefit gig is assured! No Murder No Moustache hail from the Welsh capital Cardiff and don’t play wishy-washy music. This is what I think generally passes ‘Folk-Punk’ these days. Go to any Ferocious Dog gig and they will have something not a million miles away as support. The lyrics are nearly all politically driven with not even a single drinking song. Though their is one sung in Welsh so maybe that’s it? It’s not all po-faced and serious though and the music is upbeat and dare I even say jolly.

Their debut release came out in the Summer of last year and ‘Hold My Beer’ was a welcome release at a time when the Celtic-Punk scene had become a near desert! The title track would eventually go on to win 2020 track of the year on the HRH radio Punk show. Since then a bunch of singles have followed, including a couple of Christmas themed ones that are available for free download on the No Murder No Moustache Bandcamp site. (link below) all in much the same vein. The Odds Are Stacked Against is a collection of seven songs of ‘punkishness’ played on fiddle, ukulele, accordion and banjo but with a strong Folk influence. While the ‘Celtic’ touches here are not quite as prevalent as on Hold My Beer their are several moments where it does come to the fore.

The EP kicks off with the title track ‘The Odds Are Stacked Against’ and starts with some nicely placed news dialogue before speeding off into Celtic-Pop-Punk territory. Upbeat, fist in the air music to jig around to as Owen sings about the dispossessed. If I had one criticism it would be that it lacks a bit of oomph. The mix is a wee bit quiet and while Owen’s voice is as powerful and as clear as a bell (no need for a lyric sheet here) the guitar could have done with beefing up a bit. ‘Sing! Fight! Run! Survive!’ is pure Celtic-Punk. Fast and fun (think Black Water County) and with a bit to skank along to too or even “beat up the floor” as BWC call it. This is the only song where Owen is accompanied by anyone else with Chris Hopkins stepping in on bass. ‘Since The War Started’ is a slow ballad. The sort that you might hear from the New Model Army or Alarm. The song does get louder later on as Owen delivers an anti-war ballad either of those mentioned would be proud of. ‘A Million Whispers’ takes us back to fast’n’fun and they manage to pack quite a punch in just forty-four seconds. The last three tracks here are my favourite beginning with ‘Let The Anger Into Your Heart’, one of the more Celtic sounding numbers with great use of the ukulele, a much much maligned and under-rated instrument, especially in Celtic-Punk. My favourite song here is ‘Sut Tyfodd Y Gath Mor Dew?’ which according to the translate button is ‘How Did The Cat Grow So Fat?’ in Owen’s native Welsh language. I never tire of hearing Punk sing in Welsh. A love that first began when I heard Punk-Rock legends Anhrefn on Snub TV back in the late 80’s. Accompanied by a bunch of mates on backing vocals it does sound remarkably like Black Water County which is to Owen’s credit rather than any criticism. The EP comes to an end with ‘Feels Like Home’ and a mish-mash of influences soon comes together in a call to arms but done in that style of No Murder No Moustache with Owen sounding an awful lot like Justin Keenan of Aussie Celt-rockers The Go Set. 

The EP is released on Smash Mouse Records, a collective based DIY label based in Cardiff, Wales. The seven songs run in at just under seventeen minutes so as you can imagine things rattle along at a fine auld speed with most songs around the two minute mark and Owen is certainly a very talented musician. A great release with my only quibble being that it lacks a little in the mix. With words and music like this it needs to have a big background and sometimes that is lacking. Music like this is best heard in the pub and it is notoriously hard to transfer that sound or feeling onto disc and with No Murder No Moustache being a one man band I can imagine it’s even harder. Still this shows Owen’s sound developing and I look forward to hearing more from him soon. 

Download The Odds Are Stacked Against SmashMouseRecords (CD/ Download)
Contact No Murder No Moustache  WebSite  Facebook  Spotify  YouTube  Bandcamp

THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED. THE MASSACRE OF THE MIAMI SHOWBAND

In 1975 The Miami Showband were riding high in the Irish music scene, known as The Irish Beatles and credited with being Ireland’s #1 band. The showband scene had enjoyed huge popularity from the late 1950’s, through the 60’s and on into 70’s… until one fateful night in July 1975. Here we discuss the background and the devastating aftermath of what became known as The Miami Showband Massacre. 

Led by singer Dickie Rock and later by Fran O’Toole the Miami Showband had thirteen Top 10 singles, including seven number one records in the Irish singles chart. From their debut #1 in 1963 a cover of Elvis’ ‘There’s Always Me’ until that fateful day in 1975 The Miami Showband reigned as Ireland’s premier ‘showband’. In the 1950’s the Irish music scene was dominated by Ceili bands, orchestras and ballad singers and it was from all those influences that the ‘showband’ in the 60’s/70’s took their sound. There’s an excellent history of the progression of the Irish Showbands on the aptly named Irish Showbands site. The term would come to be used to cover many different bands and styles but in its very early days, in the 1950’s it was used to describe a show where a band would play two sets with another act in the middle, more than likely a comedian. Success didn’t come easy for the Miami Showband travelling the length and breadth of Ireland every night to play anywhere from village halls to large city venues. The hard work paid off with several high points for the band like representing Ireland in the 1966 Eurovision Song Contest and appearing on British TV on Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Band members came and went and by 1975 all the original members had left and the new line up of the now bell-bottomed, wide-collared Miami Showband comprised of Des Lee, Brian McCoy, Tony Geraghty, Fran O’Toole, Steve Travers and Ray Millar.

Steve Travers joined the band at 24. Six weeks later half the band would be murdered.

From left: Stephen Travers, Tony Geraghty, Ray Millar, Brian McCoy, Fran O’Toole, Des Lee

The band were a ‘mixed’ band meaning they had members who were both Catholic and Protestant and from both sides of the border. Politics was not on the agenda for them. All they cared about was the music and bringing joy and excitement into peoples lives. It is estimated at the height of the showband scene there were over 650 fully professional groups operating across the island. At the time violence in the north and censorship in the south were rife and folk longed for a escape and they found it through music. Later Punk would fulfill the same role in bringing people together. As Stephen Travers explains

“There was no sectarianism at these dances, people left their religion at the door.”

So popular were they that they breezed through Police and Army checkpoints on the border often being recognised and asked for autographs. No stranger to the London Irish scene either performing regularly at famed London venues The Galtymore and The National to packed houses. There really was no one to touch them at the time. London Celtic Punker Gerard recalls

“I was only 12 and I knew very little about them, but I could realise something terrible had happened, the sombre mood about the place, people involved in the entertainment business (like my relatives in Galway) were shocked and very scared. Bomb scares were a regular part of a night out to our pub. They were seriously worried that these murders would escalate things. They were scared that the places the Showbands played in would become a target, like Seapoint ballroom in Salthill.”

It’s hard to fathom how popular a band they were and the Showband scene was. Ireland was littered with these places at the time and they were absolutely central to rural nightlife as well as cities.

(the BBC documentary The Day The Music Died)

On the 31st July 1975 the band had played another successful gig in the northern town of Banbridge. After loading their gear drummer Ray Millar bid farewell and headed off on his own back to nearby Antrim. The bands manager Brian Maguire got in the van containing the groups equipment and set off just a few minutes ahead of the remaining five band members on the trip back home to Dublin.

Sometime after 2.30am they were stopped in the townland of Buskill outside Newry by what they thought was a routine military checkpoint. The Ulster Defence Regiment (a local part time regiment of the British Army) regularly patrolled the border and random stop and searches and harassment of nationalists was common. They were directed into a lay-by and ordered to exit the van while their van was searched. They were questioned at gunpoint and told to give their names and other details. While the search continued, another member of the gang appeared on the scene and according to Stephen Travers and Des McAlea began barking orders at  the others in what was described as a “crisp English accent”. Naturally concerned that the UDR men who were searching the van would damage their instruments Stephen Travers attempted to go towards the van to ask them to be careful but was pushed back into line and it was at that moment an massive explosion ripped through the van throwing band and gang members in all directions.
The bogus checkpoint had in fact been set up the Ulster Volunteer Force (an illegal Protestant paramilitary force involved in the indiscriminate murder and intimidation of innocent Catholics and Republicans) dressed in UDR uniforms. A bomb with a timer had been placed on the van that had gone off. Intended to explode after they has crossed the border into the Irish Republic killing the Showband and giving a convenient excuse for sealing the border completely. Two of gang, Wesley Somerville and Harris Boyle, died instantly. Besides being members of the UDR they were also senior members of the UVF who gave them a full paramilitary funeral. 

None of the band members were killed in the bomb blast. Des McAlea was thrown over a ditch by the force of the explosion, suffering minor injuries and managing to make good his escape across fields. Fellow band members Fran O’Toole, Tony Geraghty and  Brian McCoy were not so lucky. They survived the blast but the gang were intent on killing and opened fire. Stephen Travers was hit and was seriously wounded, the bullet that struck him breaking into sixteen pieces. Tony and Fran had tried to help him off to safety but were unable and as Stephen lay there pretending to be dead he could hear the men chase down his friends in the neighboring fields and despite their pleas for mercy murder them in cold blood. Brian McCoy, hit by machine gun fire, was the first to die. Tony Geraghty was shot four times laying helpless on the ground. Frontman Fran O’Toole died after being shot twenty two times. The gang walked around the aftermath of the explosion kicking at bodies to ensure that they were all dead. Seriously wounded, traumatised and terrified, Stephen decided to lie still as he was approached. Luckily for Stephen, just as he came near, one of the other soldiers shouted that

“those bastards are dead.  I got them with dum-dums”.

The soldiers then departed the scene, and despite suffering horrific injuries Stephen survived the attack.

A leaflet distributed in Catholic areas during the war.

The 6-man gang involved in the massacre included Wesley Somerville’s brother and alongside other UDR men were all part of the ‘Glenane gang’, a notorious UVF unit responsible for countless sectarian atrocities. This unit led by Robin Jackson were suspected of killing up to 50 Catholics, and who organised the bomb attacks in Dundalk in 1975 that killed two and the worse atrocity of the War the 1974 bombings in Dublin and Monaghan that killed 33 and a unborn child and injured almost 300. The weapon used to kill Brian McCoy was traced back to other murders in the Mid-Ulster area and fingerprints found on a silencer would link Robin Jackson to the massacre, but charges were mysteriously dropped with allegations he was protected from prosecution by British special branch. Only three members of the gang would be convicted, with two members and one former member of the UDR, sentenced to life in prison. Former British army Intelligence operatives have gone on record since to confirm that undercover British Military intelligence were collaborating with the Glenane Gang and heavily involved in the planning and carrying out of the Miami Showband massacre.

The involvement of the British state in the murders of the Miami Showband and other atrocities have been dismissed as the actions of ‘rogue’ soldiers, RUC (Northern Irish Police force) or Intelligence operatives but the evidence shows otherwise. The refusal of the British government to co-operate with the inquiry into the Dublin/Monaghan attacks and the record of shady British military engagement shows they have something to hide. The history of the army in Ireland has been a bloody one, directly, and indirectly through collusion with their allies in groups like the UVF. Catholics and nationalists throughout the north of Ireland at the time lived with the British state actively assisting Loyalist death squads to terrorise whole communities through intimation and murder. Any attempt to get to the truth of what happened on 31st July 1975 has been hampered and blocked by the British state. Back in 2017 the Ministry of Defence was ordered to release documents relating to the murders. It was also revealed that a substantial amount of documents were destroyed in 2005 with no explanation as to why, or how, this happened. Despite this, the families and surviving members of the band continue to campaign tirelessly for the truth and justice that for too long has been denied to them.

Further Information

For those of you with Netflix the Miamia Showband were featured as part of eight ReMastered music documentaries. ReMastered claims to “investigate high-profile events affecting some of the most legendary names in music” such as Bob Marley, Johnny Cash and Sam Cooke. March 2019 saw The Miami Showband Massacre come under the spotlight and Stephen Travers’ search for the truth of what happened on 31st July 1975.

The Miami Showband Massacre: A Survivor’s Search for the Truth – by Stephen Travers and journalist Neil Fetherstonhaugh, was published in 2007.

The Miami Showband web-site.

ALBUM REVIEW: PHANTOM OF THE BLACK HILLS – ‘That Witch’ (2021)

One of the best bands to wield a banjo IN THE WORLD Phantom Of The Black Hills  soak in influences as varied as Country, Punk, Goth, Folk, Bluegrass with distorted vocals and mysterious mystique and a dark (very dark) western ethos. 

That Witch is their 6th studio album and they are accompanied by Mather Louth from renowned ‘Gothic Americana’ band Heathen Apostles.

To put it simply Phantom Of The Black Hills are fantastic!!

When I saw that their was a new Phantom Of The Black Hills album on the way I can admit to being pretty bloody excited. Even though I love music we receive so much here at London Celtic Punks Towers that it is hard sometimes to rally up enthusiasm for new releases but for That Witch I was even willing to pay (those that know me will know how incredible that is!). Luckily for my Scots /Yorkshire sensibilities I was incredibly lucky to receive a free download from Ratchet Blade Records and it’s not left my lugholes ever since!

The Phantom and Mather Louth

That Witch had originally been planned for release in 2020 but with all the shit going on was delayed almost a year. For those wishing to pigeonhole the label’s most bandied about for the Phantom Of The Black Hills are ‘hellbilly’, ‘frontier-core’ or ‘doom country’ and all capture them pretty fairly squarely and imaginatively. Taking elements of Country, Folk, Punk, Psychobilly, Bluegrass and mixing traditional instruments like mandolin, banjo and fiddle but combining them with fiercely dark and angry polemic, crunching guitars, snarling distorted vocals, intense sound effects and cleverly used movie dialog this is one ‘country’ band you won’t see at the Grand Ole Opry! Shrouded in secrecy hiding themselves away from the glare of publicity the bandana’s they wear in their videos and photos are very careful not to give away any clue as to their identities so it’s kind of hard to tell you anymore about the band themselves! That Witch is their sixth album, the last being Scalped in 2017. That album was to first to feature guest vocals from the lovely Mather Louth on ‘Wild Witch Of The West’ (be sure to check out the brilliant video). She also doubles up as the lead singer of excellent fellow ‘Gothic Americana’ band Heathen Apostles and she guest vocals on pretty much the whole of That Witch giving the album that little extra special range.

The Black Hills of the bands name are in the American state of South Dakota and are most famous for the Mount Rushmore memorial of the four presidential heads of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln, each measuring over forty feet high,  carved into the granite by Gutzon Borglum from 1927 to 1947. It’s also an area where huge numbers of Scots and Scots-Irish settled. This may explain the propensity for moonshine in the area! Production of illegal alcohol that is still widespread today. Another possible by-product of the Celt on the local population is widespread mistrust of all government institutions and even today in a age where yuppies and hipsters seem to have overtaken everywhere you are unlikely to find a Vegan coffee shop or a demand for stricter gun control laws in the Black Hills. Having been forced out of their homes over here they brought that mistrust with them and it still permeates through the local populace.

That Witch begins in superb form with ‘Rising Son’ and The Phantom snarling his way through a song that takes the point of view of Native American’s and their resistance to the early settlers who sought to steal their land and force them onto special reservations.

“This ain’t Oklahoma
And I was here long before ya
Mistress Darkness has come
And when the night is done
I’m the rising son”

The song is a slow burner. A dark foreboding of what is to come building to a climax in the lyrics rather than the tune. Excellent fiddle throughout from El Gato is matched by Popeye on guitar, banjo and bass and Deacon on drums.

‘That Witch’ sees The Phantom and Mather dueling it out on vocals and it’s another dark slower song and I think it’s fair to say that while their albums have progressively darker the sound has mellowed somewhat though the heaviness of the music does mitigate that. You often think you’re listening to a much faster song than you actually are. We get a fast one next with the album’s lead single ‘Buck Knife’ and the tragic tale of a veteran of the Civil War suffering from PTSD. On returning to his home town he is shunned and the story climaxes in a orgy of deadly violence before ending with the kind of twist to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

Heathen Apostles are one hell of a band in their own right and it is absolute genius to team her up with the Phantom Of the Black Hills. The perfect foil to The Phantom’s vocals her beautiful voice on ‘Lady Judas’ belies the story while we do see a lot less of the electric guitar like on next track ‘Moon Killer’ with vocals now dominating but it works a treat and the distorted vocals are still clear enough to understand every word and the various tales of  violence, drunkenness, debauchery and revenge.

“Time to take a vow and consecrate

Using skin and motion as my bait

The cauldron is a-bubblin’
Got to go and show him sin

Lucifer just don’t want to wait…”

‘Hunger’ is co-written by Mather Louth and the band and she leads here her voice soaring above the bands train-like rumble and that majestic fiddle.  The Phantom takes the rein back for ‘Road To Bleeding’. This is the kind of song that previously they would have slung hard and heavy electric guitar all over but now they treat more gently. ‘Sin & Sanctify’ is as close (still not that close really) as they come to a traditional Country song while the album continues to its violent conclusion with two of the album’s best songs ‘Wicked Storm’ and the storming ‘Attack’.

That Witch was released July 2nd on Ratchet Blade Records. The Los Angeles based label home to the Heathen Apostles, Doghouse Lords, the Mau Maus, Charley Horse, Berlin Brats and many more. Ratchet Blade Records describes itself, correctly, as “the best in dark roots music”. Once again it features the amazingly talented former Cramps bassist, and current Heathen Apostles one, Chopper Franklin on production duties. The digital sale of the album is only $7 and the CD not much more but comes with buttons and stickers. Their is also an option for international orders which has drastically reduced ($5 international shipping as opposed to $15) postage charges. To be honest I’m kinda upset this ain’t a Celtic-Punk album as it would definitely be up there in our end of year Best Of awards. Looks like I’m going to have to make up a special new category just for them!

The Phantom Of The Black Hills have come a long way since Ghosts and while their sound may not be quite as raucous as then they still are as powerful and heavy and even more darker than ever before. The teaming up with the beautiful Mather Louth adds a whole new dimension to the sound. It’s a dark world out there and the imagery The Phantom Of The Black Hills conjure up in the mind may not be a pleasant one but it’s an imaginative one filled with the ghosts of the wronged, deserted mines and villages, dust and dirt and the people who lived there and also the  best music the ‘old’ west can produce.

(you can stream/download the whole of That Witch on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy The Witch  Bandcamp (Download/CD)

Contact Phantom Of The Black Hills  Facebook  YouTube  Bandcamp

Ratchet Blade Records  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

Discography: Ghosts (2009) * Born To Gun (2010) * ENEMY! (2012) * Black Hearted Killer EP (2013) * Moonshine Bright (2014) * Scalped (2017)

If you would like to check out the Phantom Of the Black Hills previous albums (and I’m sure you can tell from our glowing review what we think!) then we ran a feature back in late 2018 where we tried to introduce the band to a wider audience, especially this side of the Atlantic. Links are included to listen to all their previous releases so click below and enjoy being lasso’ed in! You can but their entire catalogue for less than £20 through Bandcamp.

PHANTOM OF THE BLACK HILLS

NEW SINGLE FROM OGRAS ABOUT NORWEGIAN IMMIGRANTS IN RED HOOK, BROOKLYN

Yes its been rather slim pickings so far in 2021 for Celtic-Punk fans. There’s been a few gems (The Black Clover, Real McCoys, The Peelers, Sean Tobin and, of course, the new Dropkick Murphys album) but if there’s one band that can be relied on for providing some decent tunes it’s Ogras! The six-piece band from western Norway shot onto the scene last year with the release of their album No Love In The City. The album went on to hit the #1 spot in the Best Of 2020 polls for both us and Paddyrock and never before had we both agreed on the best Celtic-Punk album of the year. Not bad for a band no one outside Norway had heard of 12 months previous.

One of the joys of Ogras music is not just the music, though that is damn good, is the stories they tell within the song. These guys have truly embraced the ancient Irish way of the Seanchaí who would roam the land recording and then telling the history and stories of the old ways. That Ogras can tell a tale within the confines of a three or four minute song is an amazing feat and all a million miles away from the usual drinking’n’fighting we usually hear. On No Love In The City it was circus performers, outcasts, freaks and other round pegs in square holes while the follow up single ‘Sideshoe Hallelujah‘ stayed in the same territory and the hypocrisy in cheering for the sideshow freaks during the show and mocking them afterwards.

GOSPEL

We’ve seen trouble

in kerosene light
We’ve seen murder
over methanol delights
And we’ve seen worries
in the cold, cold rain
And we’ve seen pain
*
There’s a shadow in Red Hook
It’s there day and night
Through the smoke of ol’ barrels
You can see the Brooklyn lights
But it’s home to the queen, the mayor
the wolf and to me.
So we’ll stay here
We’ll cry here
We’ll pray here
We’ll die here
We’ll never grow old
So we’ll make us a life here
It’s home to the queen, the mayor
the wolf and to me.
GOSPEL
Love’s the only thing brave girl
Love’s the only thing to slip away
I still miss the old country
Sometimes I even miss the snow
I keep my dreams to myself
So no one can ever know
That this is the home to the queen, the mayor
the wolf and to me.

Ogras new single ‘Red Hook’ is a gospel-infused up-tempo Folk-Rock tune, as always done with a very particular acoustic/electric mix. The lyrics are inspired by the horrific stories of poor and unemployed Norwegian immigrants to New York 100 years ago. The homeless gathered in a community called ‘Ørkenen Sur’ (‘The Bitter Desert’) in Red Hook, Brooklyn. At a time when people from every European nation were fleeing from poverty, oppression and unrest in search of happiness and prosperity in the States, between 1825 and 1925 almost a million Norwegians left for North America. Roughly a third of the entire population of Norway, a higher proportion of any other country other than Ireland. Those early immigrants were almost all farmers so settled in rural areas in the Midwest becoming the most rural of any group arriving in America in the nineteenth century. Others, mainly sailors, were drawn to the city where competition for jobs and housing were high and many slipped through the gaps thankful for a place where they would find if not material needs at least a little comfort and love.

“Between barrels, pipes and in wrecked cars they made their home and where they lived, in summer and winter. Instead evolved into a separate small community.”

The setting for both On The Waterfront and Last exit To Brooklyn, Red Hook was, in the 1990s, named  in Life magazine as one of the “worst” neighborhoods in the United States and as “the crack capital of America”. A legacy no doubt of how much was cared for the working classes and the places they lived.  Today the Norwegian diaspora in the States is the tenth largest from Europe and the ancestors of those early settlers still celebrate their roots and traditions in high numbers.

Ogras (left to right) Knut Peder Voldset – Guitars * Aleksander Eidsvåg – Fiddle * Filip Eidsvåg – Drums * Thomas Dahle – Bass * Pål Elnan – Piano, Organ and Trumpet * Paul Solåt – Vocals

‘Red Hook’ was recorded at Ocean Sound Recordings in Norway and mixed by Jordon Silva (California), known for mixing The Avett Brothers, Flogging Molly among others. The video was shot in the landfill docks of Åndalsnes and, as usual, made by the exceptional one-man production team of Thomas Dahle.

Download Red Hook  Here

Contact Ogras  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

ODDS’N’SODS. CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP JULY 2021

Summer’s here. You can tell from the rain!

This time of year is normally pretty quiet in the Celtic-Punk world as bands concentrate on the upcoming Festival season but we still hunted down all the band news, record releases, videos from bands big and small across the Celtic-Punk scene. 

We start off this month with the new single/ video from FEROCIOUS DOG. ‘Pentrich Rising’ is right up the Dog’s street. A tale of England’s fight for trade union rights in the 1800’s. A brilliant professional looking video it deserves to be splashed all over the TV. The new album The Hope is out in October and is available for pre-order here https://thehope.ferociousdog.co.uk/

20,000 views in just three days shows why FIDDLER’S GREEN are one of the most popular Celtic-Punk bands around. They are also one of the busiest and even the Covid lockdown didn’t slow them down too much!

“One and half years of forced isolation later and we’re back in the studio working on the new album. The numbers are down and falling every day. The tour calender is filling up again. Back in the studio someone goes: „Na, da ist doch Land in Sicht. (See! Land in sight!)” That’s it—the moment grabs us by the balls! That same evening we start fleshing out ideas for a song. Inspired by the moment, the lyrics start to flow. In German. For the first time ever. A glimmer of hope for us all, born of the moment—Land Ahoy, lads! Enjoy!”

All round talented musician and nice guy KANE O’ROURKE has a new single ‘Farewell To Erin’ out now on Celtic Bulldog Records. The track is taken from Kane’s forthcoming album Dance In The Fourth and the video was filmed in New York, London, Hill of Ward, Rathmore Abbey and Trim Castle.

Time to get your wallets out for French band THE MOORINGS. They have just launched a Ulele campaign for their new record called ‘March On ?’. It will be coming out in digital, CD vinyl. The  promotion/pre-order campaign can be contacted here.

At one point the Celtic-Punk scene in Hungary was to be admired the world over. Loads of bands and it seemed there was a new release every couple of weeks (we even ran a feature called Hungarian Celtic-Punk week!!). Well with the lockdown over there the bands are returning. FIRKIN got a new singer and single out and now THE CRAZY ROGUES have released the first track, a semi live version of ‘Empire Of sand’, from their forthcoming new album expected later this year.

One of many great bands out there in the Celtic-Punk scene that deserve a wider audience is the Russian band ZUNAME. I’ve followed them since the early days and always really enjoyed their music so delighted to hear they are half way through the recording of a new album. Punk-Rock with bagpipes from Moscow ‘Señor Diego’ was their last release and is available for just a dollar!

Boston band MICKEY RICKSHAW have a new song out, their first since their last album I think. ‘Athens To The North’ is available on all streaming sites.

South America may not be blessed with many Celtic-Punkk bands but the ones they do are utterly brilliant. Here’s the single from a forthcoming EP from LA FIESTA DEL DIABLO called ‘A Flote’ all the way from Chile. Dedicated to all the people who have lost family members and have suffered as a result of the pandemic and have had to be separated from their loved ones. This link from linktree takes you to all their social media to find out more and download the song.

THE RUMPLED – The Perfect Match

THE BLACK CLOVER –

PUNKREAS – Funny Goes Acoustic

LES NAUFRAGES – Les Naufrages

remember we can’t review what we haven’t heard!

West Midlands based SONS OF CLOGGER would normally around this time preparing to spend every weekend for the next five months playing festivals up and down the country. I’m sure they’ve a few in the bag but they have also just released a new album The Neolithic, available from their web-site.

RAMBLERS PARADE formed in Lisbon in late 2020, mixing Folk music from around the world with the energy and spirit of Punk-Rock, adapting traditions with Balkan, Latin American and European Folk. They have a new 5-track EP out available via Bandcamp.

Load of free Punk-Rock courtesy of Canadian one mand band WilkSHAKE. Brendan Wilkie plays all the instruments here and is also a accomplished writer and poet in true Irish ‘seanchai’ style! The music touches on several themes of interest to Celtic-Punks so give it a look.

Pirate speedfolk band LILY OF THE VALLEY from Berlin have a new song out this week. They play fast and evil music with lots of songs about whaling and trouserlessness. Anyone refusing to dance at their gigs is made to walk the plank! 

LES NAUFRAGES are not a band I know much about but they play a very interesting mix of Rock, Punk, Ska and trad. Folk. Formed in 1986 in Montpellier, France they have released over a dozen albums and have just started to re-release each one re-mastered and re-packaged.

This month we re-visit a free download from six years ago from New York’s THE NARROWBACKS. A official bootleg of five songs from their show playing at the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey supporting Flogging Molly. The Narrowbacks have over the years become an integral part of the new York Irish community and continue to go from strength to strength.

A sort of ‘folkier’ offshoot from French Celtic-Punk band THE BOOZE BROTHERS the debut EP from TARA’S FOLK has just come out.

Some London Celtic Punks news now and we still have a handful of Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer t-shirts available. They come in all sizes from Small right up to XXX-L and are available from our online store. Also check out our full range of other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the diserning Celtic-Punk fan needs!

https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

The more I see of Facebook the more and more I am disliking it. If you feel the same you can now subscribe to 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 and completely free from Facebook control. Join us on Telegram and don’t miss a single post! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/  
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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 and join in the fun!

If you are new to the London Celtic Punks blog it is easy to subscribe / follow and never miss a post. We post a couple of times a weeks so we won’t fill up your in-box. Bands, promoters, record labels, venues send in any news to londoncelticpunks@hotmail.co.uk or via the Contact Us page.

ALBUM REVIEW: RAISE YOUR PINTS. CELTIC- PUNK SAMPLER. VOLUME 6 – VARIOUS ARTISTS (2021)

From the scene. For the scene.

After months of planning, organising and fund-raising the compilation album Raise Your Pints #6 has finally been delivered. Twenty bands from eleven countries celebrating (might be the wrong word- editor) the virus lockdowns in Celtic-Folk-Punk style. 

Anyone remember the original Celtic-Punk samplers from Shite’n’Onions? I think they stretched to three volumes and came at a time when I had never been on the internet. Yes I was one of the select few who never even had a MySpace account! So to come across these samplers with upwards of twenty  bands on and pretty much all new to me (even the English ones) was eye-opening… or should that be ear-opening? Them days are long ago and we can thank Shite’n’Onions for being early pioneers of the Celtic-Punk sampler though they have long passed the baton onto MacSlon’s Irish Radio. Now in their 11th year the radio station brings out the best in Celtic-Rock, Celtic-Punk and trad Irish Folk both modern and ancient(!). They have also for the last few years been a major player on the merchandise front organizing merch for a whole host of bands from across mainland Europe and even the United States.

This is the 6th in the Raise Your Pints series and all the songs have been written and recorded over the last 16 months while the Corona virus has done it’s best to wreck the music industry. We are yet to see what long term damage the lockdown have caused but already here in London, and across England, many music venues have closed their doors permanently and several bands have handed in their guitar straps. The thirst for live music though seems at a all time high but bands are still finding it difficult to book gigs and tours with so much uncertainty around about whether or not the lockdown will return.

So the arrival of Raise Your Pints #6 is to applauded for many reasons but chiefly among them is that the bands will directly benefit from the sales of the CD and with not much else going on it’s a chance for them to remind their fans and followers that they are still here and still fighting.

Reviewing a compilation album is hard enough but one made up of different bands is even harder so I will forego the usual review and just tell you a small bit about each artist and song and link to them so they can tell you more. Of course the best way to find out more is to buy the album!!!

RAISE YOUR PINTS VOLUME 6

THE MULLINS (France) – ‘Part Of Me’

The album kicks off with The Mullins. Hailing from the south of France their song began life before the lockdown but the band took the opportunity to perfect it and even managed to get together inbetween lockdowns to record the cracking video!

THE CEILI FAMILY (Germany) – ‘Corona Chesay’

The album is perhaps a bit top heavy with German bands but that is totally understandable. They do have the #1 scene in Europe you know. The Ceili Family are one of the better known established bands. The band first stirred back in 1996 and even had a great recommendation from the late Philip Chevron: “Enjoyed listening to the CD, by the way. Always good to see people doing something of their own with the basic idea we invented!”

THE FEELGOOD McLOUDS (Germany) – ‘Dirty Bastards’

More Germans here with The Feelgood McLouds formed in January 2015 southwestern Germany. More than any country in Europe the Germans have embraced Celtic-Punk with the number of bands, gigs and fans far outstripping anywhere else this side of the Atlantic. This track is taken from this years critically popular ‘Saints & Sinners’ EP.

GRASS MUD HORSE (China) ‘ Absent Friends’

Grass Mud Horse only seem to have around a year or two but already have more releases than many more well established bands. Formed when Scouse-Irish musician Chris Barry mover to China the band has had some set backs with members coming and going because of the virus (they are based in Wuhan) but luckily things have settled down and they recently recorded a single with yer man Frankie McLoughlin.

UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS (Italy) – ‘Back On Your Feet’

From playing with ALL the Celtic-Punk superstars to headlining festivals across Europe and even getting to the United States several times Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards are without a doubt one of the select few you could describe as ‘Premier League’ Celtic-Punk bands. ‘Back On Your Feet’ is one of the standout tracks from last years album Men Behind The Glass that the Bhoys have recorded an acoustic version for here. One of many great Celtic-Punk highlights during the lockdown was the Bastards hour long acoustic live stream. Brilliant!

JACK IN THE GREEN (Germany) – ‘Old Maui’

Yeah we may have all heard it a 100 times by now but popular covers are popular for a reason. That we never tire of hearing them! Hamburg’s Jack In The Green play a great acoustic version rather than the ‘choir/acapello’ type I’m more use to hearing. Vocals remind me a lot of from The Whisky Priests who in their day were massive so wonder if they were an influence here. 

THE MOORINGS (France) – ‘Champion At Keeping It Rolling’

Cracking version of the Ewan MacColl penned classic about lorry driving from French band The Moorings. Formed in 2011 the band have released several albums and EP’s a Folky version of this song appears on their debut EP Pints & Glory but they have re-recorded it in proper Celtic-PUNK style here. They have just completed a successful crowd-funding campaign for a new album so can’t wait for that.

JOHNNY HASH (Ireland) – ‘Ride On’

Johnny Hash is a bunch of people from various Belfast bands who got together during the lockdown and released a few videos of Irish Folk classics. Christy Moore’s ‘Ride On’ was their first attempt at a video. Still knocking them out months later let’s hope they develop into something more permanent.

THE RUMPLED (Italy) – ‘If I Should Fall from Grace With God’

The Pogues track gets an airing here from the Italian band The Rumpled. Hard to compete with the originals but gutsy to try and they give it a great go. A relatively new band having got together in 2013 in Trento, Italy. Known for fast paced Celtic-Punk, combining Irish Folk, Rock, Ska and Punk. They have a new album out at any moment so watch this space for news on that.

MEDUSAS WAKE (Australia) – War Of Independence

The debut album from Sydney based Celtic-Folk-Rockers Medusa’s Wake hit the top spots in all of 2018’s Celtic-Punk medias yearly ‘best of’s’ and since then they have gone from strength to strength. Writted by Tipperary born Eddie Lawlor, he sings from the heart of the war back home between 1919 and 1921 against the British. Much of that war took part in the fields and villages of the ‘Premier County’ and those of us with Tipp backgrounds grew up hearing of the tales of heroic activities of those ordinary men who took on the worlds strongest army.

HELLRAISERS AND BEERDRINKERS (Germany) – ‘Stay At Home’

Hellraisers And Beerdrinkers may just have the best name in Celtic-Punk but they are a pretty shit-hot band as well. They take their name from a song by rockers Motorhead so should give you an idea about them! Another band that hails from Germany from the small town of Schwäbisch Gemünd. ‘Stay At Home’ is a re-recorded re-jigged new version of a song from their debut album Folk’s Gaudi in 2016.

AN SPIORAD (Germany) – ‘Carry Me Home’

German band that began life as a two-piece band “The Plästik Päddies” in 1997 before changing name to the far more complicated An Spiorad (Scots Gaelic for The Spirit). ‘Carry me Home’ is taken from their recent album Album Dord Na Mara.

SONS OF O’FLAHERTY (Brittany) – ‘The Pack’

More Celtic Celtic-Punk now from Vannes in Brittany Sons Of O’Flaherty formed as a duo in 2010 they soon fleshed out to a whole band due in no small part to the popularity of Irish music in this Celtic nation. ‘The Pack’ is a new song and with it being four years since the release of their last album The Road Not Taken hopefully this signifies some new sounds on the way.

NEVERMIND NESSIE (Belgium) – ‘Lock Him Up’

Formed in Belgium in 2009 Nevermind Nessie‘s track comes from this years EP Another Six Pack Of Drinking Songs that came out in March. A fast, raucous song about Donald Trump.

KILKENNY BASTARDS (Germany) – ‘Be A Bastard’

More bastards!! This time from Iserlohn in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Like many German bands their emphasis is on playing live such is the demand for their music so their recording output sometimes doesn’t match up with the age of the band. Kilkenny Bastards are one such band and we look forward to them rectifying this soon!

ALL THOSE EMPTY PUBS (Switzerland) – ’40 Days’

Based up in the Swiss alps ’40 Days’ was th