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.
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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
*
Oh, oh, we want a riot
Oh, oh, so sick and tired
*
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
*
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
*
Oh, oh, we want a riot
Oh, oh, so sick and tired
Oh, oh, we wanna riot
Oh, oh, leave us alone
*
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 the debut release from All Those Empty Pubs (what a great name!) earlier this year. We loved it so much we ran a feature and a small interview with Diego the genius behind this one-man-band. Diego utilises all his talents here with mandolin, flute, acoustic guitar and even Hammond organ alongside your more usual Rock band instruments. It just don’t get more DIY than this.

RAPPAREES (Germany) – ‘Las Vegas (In The Hills Of Donegal)’

Another band from Hamburg Rapparees kicked off thirty years ago in the dive bars before changing their name. A straight up acoustic cover of the Goats Don’t Shave song. A ‘raparee’ was the name given to Irish soldiers who survived the Williamite war with the British in the 1690’s and used guerilla tactics or became highwaymen after the war ended.

LA STOATS (Germany) – ‘Raise Your Pints’

German band La Stoats come from Essenbach in Bavaria in the south-east of Germany and incorporate the traditional tunes and melodies of their Bavarian home into their brand of Celtic-Punk. ‘Raise Your Pints’ is one of the standout songs here with chugging guitar and a real cool early 80’s Punk Rock sound with some superb bagpipes. Definitely a band worth checking out.

MUIRSHEEN DURKIN (Germany) – ‘Riot’

The last of nine German bands on Raise Your Pints features one of the best Muirsheen Durkin And Friends. ‘Riot’ is a bloomin’ brilliant Celtic-Punk cover of a UK Subs song from 1997. The original is superb but here it is mastered with the energy intact and growling vocals and a core of Celtic instruments chugging along.

SEAN TOBIN (USA) – ‘St. Patrick’s Day Forever’

The last of the 20th songs belongs to New Jersey Irish singer/ songwriter Sean Tobin. Theirs 2 versions of ‘St’ Patrick’s Day Forever’ and I guess you could call this the ‘radio edit’. Blue-collar, working-class Irish American Folk music and one of the standout tracks on the album to bring down the curtain.

So that’s yer lot. There’s bound to be a load of bands here that you have never heard of. Some are new even to us and the styles of music is varied from Folk and trad right across to Punk but the songs are all totally accessible at all times. This (like the previous five volumes) is essential listening to all fans of Celtic-Punk and we cannot put it any clearer than that! Raise Your Pints #6 is out on July 9th and is available for pre-release order from the link below.

https://macslons-shop.com/v-a-raise-your-pints-vol-6-cd

EP REVIEW: THE BLACK CLOVER – ‘Just Another Pub’ (2021)

One of 2021’s best Celtic-Punk releases so far The Black Clover are an innovative and somewhat unusual band that may take a listen or two before you fall for them… but I promise fall you will do!

This is the second appearance The Black Clover have made on these pages. Back in 2017 they released an excellent five track EP, From Sailor To Hobo, and they return four years later with another five tracker to thrill us. Founded in 2016 from the ashes of the short lived (but bloomin’ brilliant!) Seagulls Are Drunk who released one excellent EP before disbanding. The Black Clover hail from Grand Est in  France and have, like their predecessors, a very unique take on Celtic-Punk. Their debut release touched on all the various wings of Celtic-Punk from Folk to trad to Punk while all fitting seamlessly together …and all with a really nice Tom Waits-y twang.

Veterans now of hundreds of shows playing every conceivable kind of venue they bring that ‘live’ sound to this recording and you can sense the enjoyment in the air as they play. Just Another Pub kicks off with a classic drinking song ‘We Drink So Much’ and the much missed sound of a pint glass filling up before fiddle and chugging guitar fills the air. Seb chimes in with that Waits-ish (perhaps not as pronounced as before but still there) voice before organ unexpectedly joins in and we’ve a right catchy wee number. A really enjoyable thigh slapper!! ‘El Poco’ takes another turn and I have to say I’m finding the organ here really great fun. A western style Tex-Mex rocker that sounds much better in French than it would in English I wager. The halfway point in the EP is reached with ‘Tonight In Dublin’ and a sort of laid back Jazzy, Folky, Poppy mash-up that once again stretches the boundaries of what The Black Clover play. These lot could give us ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’ and we’d fail to recognise it. ‘Tonight In Dublin’ was the lead single for the EP and the video, released at the height of the ‘clampdown’, consists of the guys playing in their own homes ‘isolating’ from each other.

‘Sloggy Trip’ whisks us back to the Celtic lands and again Seb’s vocals are in French and have a lot more bite to them in what sounds remarkably like a battle song. It’s a slowish swirling number with trademark brilliant fiddle playing from Nicolas who quite rightly is pushed to the fore throughout this EP. We end where we came in on a classy, pure thorough-bred Celtic-Punk drinking song! ‘Pure Whisky’ hits the spot but this time it is Olivier’s accordion taking the lead and the sort of song to get even the most reluctant of dancers to slap that thigh and be punching the air.

All in all a fantastic release my only disappointment being that it is only eighteen minutes long which while that isn’t bad for a EP I do find myself wanting to hear an whole album from the guys. lust like on that debut release they have a canny knack for bringing in lots of different influences but still managing to make it sound like a Black Clover song. This may have been a thin year for Celtic-Punk releases so far but this is definitely one of the very best of 2021. Now for them to get writing that album!

(You can stream and download Just Another Pub on the Bandcamp player below)

Just Another Pub Download  CD

Contact The Black Clover  WebSite  Facebook  Spotify  YouTube

ALBUM REVIEW: DROPKICK MURPHYS – ‘Turn Up The Dial’ (2021)

Now the dust has settled and everyone else has had a go and published their reviews of the latest Dropkick Murphys album ‘Turn Up The Dial’ it is our turn. We see our role here as to promote the little known bands in the Celtic-Punk scene but we have always got time for the ‘big-hitters’ too. We are pleased to have guest reviewer Rory Quinn of New York-Irish-Celtic-Punk band The Templars Of Doom to give us a unique insight of the album from a American-Irish perspective. 

The Bastion Bhoys of Boston do it again!

After a year like 2020 you have two options for your fans: wallow in the suffering, or present the world a reprieve. Dropkick Murphys have (wisely I feel) opted for the latter. Not particularly a surprise from a band that spent the pandemic raising money for others and offering live-streamed performances to keep people entertained. So before you listen you have to ask yourself? Am I ready to say “forget the nonsense, let’s crank the music!”

Anyway, let’s dive in!

Arrangement wise this album has hooks and riffs for days between the multiple instrumental melodies to the gang vocal chant of chorus’s urging you to sing along before you’ve even finished the first listen! This band is tight, the parts fleshed out, the vocals good and snarky. Really what more could you want from classic Celtic-punk?

The Dropkick Murphy’s have had the means to create sonically fantastic worlds on record for a while now and ‘Turn Up That Dial’ is no exception. Every facet is crystal clear from the roar of the guitars to the lightest folk instruments. What really draws me in is their ability to match the intensity of their legendary live performances. At points I completely lost track of the fact I was listening home alone. I would have sworn I was in the middle of a crowd cheerfully chanting as I picked up the lyric!

Speaking of lyrics DKM are known for a combination of comedic and heartfelt songs with ’Turn Up That Dial’ continuing that tradition. You’ve got classic self deprecating “Middle Finger” vs the longing/sorrow of “I Wish You Were Here.” And of course, the occasional grateful power song as found with the albums namesake. Without explaining every song to you dear reader I believe you’ll get the idea, it’s the DKM, they have a style they love and we love ‘em for it!

We are blessed to be living in an age where the internet allows access to Celtic-Punk from throughout the globe. It’s easy to forget that not long ago this wasn’t so. My first experience with Dropkick Murphys came in the late 90’s. A cousin of mine HAD to show me this new record he got, one that combined Punk with our Irish heritage. I didn’t believe it until I heard it, and my life changed from the first riff. Being Irish was something that (as an American) was celebrated by my family and not much else. Sure the St. Patrick’s Day parade existed but it seemed more an excuse to party than to honor heritage. To hear in that music a shared sense of community opened my eyes to a world in which I firmly belonged, an understanding of family that exists from afar. Every year I hear more people dismiss DKM, maybe because they’re the easy target or because they’ve survived long enough to suffer “It’s not as good as their old stuff” syndrome. My retort is NONE OF THAT MATTERS. Love ‘em or hate them Dropkick Murphy’s opened the door for Celtic-Punk and a celebration of Irish culture all the world over, and for that I am eternally grateful. 

If you’re a Celtic-Punk fan lend this album your ear. It’s a prime example of what the DKM have been about for a while, story songs to improve your life from the sheer enjoyment of it all. This collection of 11 songs will have you moving, laughing, forgetting your problems, and most importantly turning up that dial!

Dropkick Murphys  WebSite  Facebook  Store

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

Dropkick Murphys – Fan Page

Thanks to Rory for the great review. The Templars Of Doom are soon to begin the recording of their third album but you can listen for free to both their previous albums at the link below.

https://templarsofdoom.bandcamp.com/

AULD ENEMY BEWARE. McGREEVEYS AND FRANKIE Mc ARE HERE!

With Scotland heading to London tomorrow to play the ‘auld enemy’, McGreevey’s Tartan Army with a little help from Mr. Francis McLaughlin offer up their own party anthem to try and inspire the lads onwards to victory.

Nae Scotland, Nae Pairty! ‘Mon the Scotland!!!

Tomorrow night sees the 115th time Scotland and England have met in a football international. The English have had the slight edge so far winning 48 games to Scotland’s 41 with 25 draws. They may be outsiders for the game but that’s how we like it and there’s plenty evidence to show a major upset is on the cards. Here’s five times Scotland put the ‘Auld Enemy it it’s place.

1. England 2 Scotland 3 – 1967

Scotland became ‘Unofficial World Champions’ after defeating the World Cup champions on the very ground where they had lifted the cup the previous summer. The Scots line-up featured four of Celtic’s European Cup winning Lisbon Lions plus Denis Law and the mercurial Jim Baxter. It was Baxter who provided the most memorable moment, playing keepie-uppie at walking pace deep inside the England half. Law, Bobby Lennox and Jim McCalliog got the goals but it could have been so many more such was Scotland’s superiority.

2. England 1 Scotland 2 -1977

Best remembered for after the game which saw thousands of tartan-clad away fans celebrating on the pitch and hauling down the goalposts and digging up the turf as souvenirs. The first time Scotland had beaten England in a decade came via goals from Gordon McQueen and Kenny Dalglish on an afternoon when those in dark blue sunk England’s hopes with a dominant display.

3. Scotland 2 England 1 – 1874

It all began on this day at the West of Scotland Cricket Ground in Partick. A London-based sports magazine reported that England “played splendidly” but had been defeated because the Scots – who lined up in a 2-2-6 formation – “completely puzzled their opponents in the art of passing the ball.”

4. England 1 Scotland 2 – 1963

As strong a squad of players as Scotland have ever had they followed up the previous years win over England with another here to seal the Home International crown. Two first-half goals from Jim Baxter sealed a deserved win in front of 100,000 spectators.

5. England 1 Scotland 5 – 1928

Remembered as the day the ‘Wembley Wizards’ demolished England beneath the twin towers. Scotland’s first win at the Empire Stadium came courtesy of a forward line none of whom were above five foot seven. Alex Jackson scored a hat-trick while Preston’s Alex James nabbed two. Later James would say “we could have had ten.”

‘Mon all ye guid yins o’ every degree,
All sons & daughters o’ Scotia tae me,
Let fly the colours o’ yer wilds and yer toons,
The fire o’ yer spirits and yer best dancin’ tunes.
*
CHORUS
If yer efter a perrty, yer efter a show,
We’ll bring the magic where e’er we go,
Across every ocean, and hunner’s o’ miles,
Here come The Scotland, we’re your best wee pals!
*
All witches, madmen & heroes its true,
Merchin’ a’gither neath our banner sae blue,
Heres tae us wha’s like us? Damn few an they’re a’ deid!
Intae ’em oor Scotland, noo mind & keep the heid.
*
Ring oot the bells, take the drums roon’ the streets,
NAE SCOTLAND, NAE PAIRTY! we’ll lift ye tae yer feet,
We’ll heave away, haul away,
Portpatrick up tae Stornaway,
Elgin doon Belhaven Bay,
We’ll dance the country roon’
*
CHORUS
If yer efter a perrty, yer efter a show,
We’ll bring the magic where e’er we go,
We’re all in it th’gither Come win or bloody lose,
We’re McGreevy’s Tartan Army and we’re here tae tan yer booze!

Written and performed by Frankie McLaughlin, featuring McGreevy’s Tartan Army

The McGreevy’s Tartan Army what was soon tae become the McGreevy’s 45 Tartan Army back in 2014 after a trip tae Boston fur St Paddy’s day tae see the DKM and spent most of the five day trip getting looked after fae McGreevy’s and the good folk of Boston so when we came hame we started the McGreevy’s Tartan Army for folk who like Celtic-Folk-Punk, fitbaw and Scottish Independence. You will see oor banners at all the Indy marches, Scotland games and gigs if they let us in 😆 . Wae met Ken Casey in McGreevy’s and Dunfermline wae Ken Paul and Aspy fae the McKenzies and then thurs yin eh oor ain Oor Frankie McLaughlin who like his wife Shelby has become part of oor family. She has her ain shithot band The Gallowgate Murders we got the gether wae Frankie fur a song fur the Euros we gave him……Nae Scotland Nae pairty and he came up wae the rest so thats us maybe see yi all doon in Wembley  🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🍀⚽️🍺🍻🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

McGREEVEY’S TARTAN ARMY  Instagram

NEW COLLABORATION FROM GRASS MUD HORSE AND FRANKIE McLAUGHLIN

Two exiles. A Scouser living in China and a Aussie living in Glasgow collaborate on a traditional Liverpool-Irish song. Performed by Grass Mud Horse and featuring Frankie McLaughlin on lead vocals and tin-whistle. Read on for an exclusive interview with Grass Mud Horse founder Chris Barry.
The international nature of modern Celtic-Punk rears its head again as two of the scene’s major players get to together to collaborate on the new single from Grass Mud Horse. Fusing the worldly storytelling of traditional folk with the fiercely untamed energy of Celtic-Punk; Grass Mud Horse are an emerging band made up of international talent. Currently based out of China and bringing their raw, Celtic anthems to the worldwide stage. Award-winning musician Chris Barry formed the group, which has gone on to perform alongside some of the biggest names on the Celtic-punk scene. To date, the group have released three singles, an acoustic EP and have another album and EP in the works. We spoke to Chris about the history of the song and the recording process.
Johnny Todd he took a notion
For to cross the ocean wide
And he left his love behind him
Waiting by the Liverpool tide
*
For a week she wept with sorrow
Tore her hair and wrung her hands
Till she met another sailor
Walking by the Liverpool sands
*
Fair young maiden are you weeping
For your Johnny gone to sea
If you’ll wed with me tomorrow
I will kind and constant be
*
I will buy you sheets and blankets
I’ll buy you a wedding ring
You shall have a silver cradle
For to rock the baby in
*
Johnny Todd came home from sailing
Sailing on the ocean wide
And he found his fair and false one
Was another sailors bride
*
All young men who go a sailing
For to fight the foreign foe
Do not leave your love like Johnny
Marry her before you go
I’m from a proud Liverpool-Irish family, me Grandad read Irish history at Liverpool Uni and I grew supporting Everton and Celtic. I remember going me first match, was about 7 or 8…was in the late 80s, we drew with Nottingham Forest I think. I don’t remember that much, but I do remember the crowd going silent as drum rolls started over the speakers and then erupting when the boys in blue all ran out as our Everton’s anthem ‘Z Cars’ kicked in. I remember fuck all about the match like, it was thirty odd years ago…but i remember that moment the drum rolls started and the crowd going mental as the players ran out, it was the first time I had the hairs on the back of me neck stand up.
A bit of background ‘Z Cars’ is essentially a sixties telly theme song based on an old Liverpool Irish kids song ‘Johnny Todd’ and it was infused with whistles and snare drums as a sort of homage to the Liverpool-Irish community the TV programme was set around. The original song isn’t that well known, but even Bob Dylan did a version. I wanted to do this song for me Grandad, who sadly passed a few years back. He was a mad Evertonian, and fiercely proud of our Irish roots. When I got older he taught me a lot about our roots as well as the city of Liverpool and Everton football club. I also wanted to do it for me Dad, Evertonians everywhere and all the Scousers with Irish roots whether red or blue.
Frankie’s involvement came about as we’d been writing together and discussing ideas about the future of Celtic-Punk for some time. I asked if he fancied collaborating on a track and he felt the time was right to get his hands dirty again so I sent him some stuff I was working on and he jumped at ‘Johnny Todd’ right away as he’s always loved it too. I recorded everything at my home studio in Ginhuangdao China, sent it to Frankie and he laid down the vocals and whistle parts at his studio in Scotland. I was cast in a Korean War film and left for a desert location right as I got his tracks. When time allowed me and me mate Didi, who was also on the film, but is also a talented engineer mixed the track. That was five months ago and I’ve just wrapped that film and now the singles coming out. Our plan is to release an album of pirate songs and sea shanties with ‘Johnny Todd’ being the lead single, it’ll feature previously released stuff like ‘No Prey No Pay’ as well as some new originals, versions of traditional songs and some reworks of other things we did previously but wanted to improve.
Anyway we all hope you enjoy it!

JUSTICE FOR THE CRAIGAVON 2 BENEFIT SINGLE FROM NEW YORK’S ALTERNATIVE ULSTER

A new track from New York State Celtic-Punk band Alternative Ulster to raise awareness of the campaign to free the innocent Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton. Now in their twelfth year of imprisonment and otherwise known as The Craigavon 2.

Justice for Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton, who were unjustly convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. We believe the case to be corrupt and the ‘evidence’ inconclusive, contradictory and discredited. Both men are victims of a system that sought to find suitable scapegoats in the wake of the political and media backlash following the killing. All money raised from the sale of the track go directly to #JFTC2.
The campaign, which is run by the families of the two men, was supported by the late Gerry Conlon, himself falsely imprisoned for 15 years as a member of the Guildford Four, who argued that the case was “inconclusive, contradictory and in places discredited”.
“We can’t have innocent people going to jail and 15 years down the line them being released, their lives ruined … I believe a miscarriage of justice took place here on the basis of all the evidence I have read.”
You can contact the #JFTC2 campaign via The C 2 Justice for the Craigavon Two Facebook page.
*

(CHORUS)
Here’s what I’ve got to say to you,
Justice for the Craigavon Two
Next time it could be me or you,
Let’s have justice for the Craigavon two.
*
Craigavon 9th March the news man read,
constable Stephen Carroll was shot dead
A police investigation soon began
and they would stop at nothing to get their man
CHORUS
Mc Conville and Wooton got the blame
Since that day their lives have never been the same
The spooks have framed before and they’ll do it again
Unless we come together and break their chains
CHORUS
The trial of these two innocents was a sham
Justice without a jury was the scam
They produced a single witness with bad eyesight
And claimed that he saw everything on that dark and rainy night
CHORUS
Witness ‘Z’ was the father of witness ‘M’
‘My son’s a Walter Mitty’ was his claim
An eye specialist cross examined said the same
That he could not have see clearly in the dark and through the rain
CHORUS
Gerry Conlon, thank you and farewell
You rotted 14 years in a prison cell
For something that you had never done
You drove this campaign hard so it wouldn’t happen to another one
CHORUS
While the British injustice system does prevail
Any one of us can be framed and sent to gaol
The Birmingham 6 and the Guildford 4
Are among the many of whom the Brits have done this kind of thing before
CHORUS
Let’s have justice for the Craigavon two (last line repeats)
*
Written and originally recorded by Pol Mac Adaim @Polmacadaim

Justice For The Craigavon 2 is performed by Alternative Ulster. A kick ass North American Irish Celtic-Punk band from NY State’s Catskill’s region. Members are John McGovern on bagpipes and banjo, Todd Henry on vocals and drums and Jay Anderson on guitar and bass as well as all recording and mixing. This song is taken from their album Craic Agus Ceol and the CD and download is available from

alternativeulster1.bandcamp.com/album/craic-agus-ceol

The song is available for just a single pound and can be downloaded through the Bandcamp player below. Please share through your social media and sign the petition to demand the Criminal Case Review Commission (CCRC) to thoroughly examine all evidence disclosed and undisclosed in the case.

https://www.change.org/p/ccrc-the-craigavon-2-deserve-justice-now

JUNE 2021 EPISODE OF THE CELTIC PUNKCAST #44 OUT NOW

I think they call it ‘technical difficulties’ on the telly but all is now well and good and The Celtic Punkcast is back and has returned with an hour of the best Celtic-Folk-Punk around.

Follow the link below and stream live or download to listen to later and enjoy!

Hi, remember me? Been on hiatus for a while but now we’re ready to go again. And man was I rusty doing this! But anyway, I FINALLY have episode 44 in the can and to paraphrase one of my personal heroes Bob Ross it’s ‘slick and wet and ready to go’. Before I list all the songs this month (and there’s a LOT of new music!) a big thanks to everyone for listening and waiting for a new episode.  Here we go:

THE NEW RUFFIANS – ‘The Parkdale Jig’

THE WELCH BOYS – ‘Methadone Mile’

BROPHYS LAW – ‘The Bachelor’

MICKEY RICKSHAW – ‘Rope’

SHANGHAI TREASON – ‘Wildfire’ (ft. Dan Booth)

THE LANGERS BALL – ‘Real Old Mountain Dew’

THE RUMJACKS – ‘Hestia’

THE WORKING CLASS SYMPHONY – ‘The Holy Ground’

DIAMONDS AND GUNS – ‘Cheers To Us’

MR. IRISH BASTARD – ‘You Spin Me Round’

THE BLACK CLOVER – ‘Pure Whiskey’

THE MAHONES – ‘Shakespeare Road’

THE TOSSERS – ‘The Crutch’

BLACK WATER COUNTY – ‘There Will Be A Day’

DROPKICK MURPHYS – ‘L-EE-B-O-Y’

THE GO SET – ‘Treasures’

SHAMBOLICS – ‘Goin’ off!!’

THE CELTIC PUNKCAST #44

Contact The Celtic Punkcast  Facebook  WebSite  Shop  Twitter  E-Mail

Check out the London Celtic Punk interview with Gareth the ‘Podmaster’ here and find out what possessed him to join the #OneBigCelticPunkFamily. Also worth checking out was the special article written by Gareth for people who haven’t yet experienced the joys of Celtic-Punk- Bring Your Mates To The Hooley: A Starter’s Guide To Celtic-Punk here. In August 2010 they did a Special Edition to celebrate our tenth anniversary with a episode dedicated to the bands here that helped form and shape the London Celtic Punks from 2009-2019.

THE POGUESTRA LATEST RELEASE ‘TURKISH SONG OF THE DAMNED’

Just over a year old The PoguestrA is a flexible group of musicians from around the world who love to play and record the music of The Pogues playing together remotely.
A community powered by passion, diversity and inclusion.

The PoguestrA strike gold again! A flexible group of musicians from around the world who are also fans of The Pogues. It all started in May 2020, during the lockdown, when Daniele Rubertelli, an Italian fan who plays accordion, launched a ‘Call For Musicians’ to perform (remotely) ‘Dirty Old Town’ within the Facebook community of Pogues fans. As a result, sixteen musicians from the UK, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands and USA contributed to the cover of the great Ewan MacColl track. The song even reached the ears of Peggy Seeger, the late Ewan’s wife and renowned singer/songwriter in her own right, who sent over words of appreciation. Since then The PoguestrA have covered other songs of The Pogues, always using “public calls” on Facebook to ensure inclusion for all the musicians moved by the same passion. They recently covered both ‘The Broad Majestic Shannon’ and ‘Misty Morning Albert Bridge‘ and they have begun to attract some pretty amazing star guests with Cisco, frontman of the legendary Italian band Modena City Ramblers alongside Irish international Kevin McManamon on mandolin and Pogues members Jem Finer and James Fearnley joining the gang to perform.

Of ‘Turkish Song Of The Damned’ Shane has said it was the result of a hilarious mix up that the song got it’s title and inspiration when he misheard a German fan asking if he liked “The Turkey Song” by The Damned. Their are of course, it is the internet after all, several different versions of this  but we’ll stick with the one credited to Shane himself. The song itself mentions several maritime myths and legends with tales of [un]dead pirate and sailors. In the song the debt is collected by a servant, who is already dead and carries a “shadow” on their back (Meaning a curse) from whoever has not paid, dead or alive. Such stories go back centuries in Celtic mythology as does the “Woman with a comb in her hand” which refers to a Banshee, a type of faerie spirit from Ireland (or sometimes Scotland) who forewarns someone of a death by singing a song of mourning and typically carries a silver comb. The special guest this time is Justin Adams playing guitar one of the worlds most popular music producer’s having worked with Robert Plant, Brian Eno, Sinead O’Connor and many world music artists.

Turkish Song Of The Damned performed by The PoguestrA

Recorded in May 2021

I come old friend from Hell tonight
Across the rotting sea
Nor the nails of the cross
Nor the blood of Christ
Can bring you help this eve
The dead have come to claim a debt from thee
They stand outside your door
Four score and three
Did you keep a watch for the dead man’s wind
Did you see the woman with the comb in her hand
Wailing away on the wall on the strand
As you danced to the Turkish song of the damned
*
You remember when the ship went down
You left me on the deck
The captain’s corpse jumped up
And threw his arms around my neck
For all these years I’ve had him on my back
This debt cannot be paid with all your jack
*
And as I sit and talk to you I see your face go white
This shadow hanging over me
Is no trick of the light
The spectre on my back will soon be free
The dead have come to claim a debt from thee

(Written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan)

Justin Adams: Electric Guitar, Req Tambourine (Bath, England) / Brendan Burke: Tin Whistle (England) / Brandon Caylor: Mando-Guitar (California, USA) / Giacomo Chiaramonte: BanjoBass (Faenza, Italy) / Chris Cunningham: Banjo, Octave Mandolin (Indiana/USA) / John Dunne: Ukulele, Vocals (England) / Chris Goddard: Fiddle, Guitar, Vocals (England) / Matt Goddard: Drums (England) / Roy Geurts: Mandolin, Vocals (The Netherlands) / Aapo Halme: Vocals (Kuopio, Finland) / Robin Hiermer: Vocals (Germany) / Marc Hoper: Vocals (Dortmund, Germany) / Jeff Ingarfield: Vocals (England) / Kim Karvonen: Mandolin, Vocals (Finland) / Mattia Malusardi: Bouzouki (Italy) / Vince Martini: Bass (California, USA) / Nick Neale: Drums (Lanzarote, Canary Islands) / Rick Nuttall: Vocals (England) / John O’Donnell: Guitar (Chicago, USA) / Moisés Álvarez Rodríguez: Ukulele (Spain) / Daniele Rubertelli: Accordion (Italy) / Marco Scheepers: Accordion (Dongen, The Netherlands) / Stuart Swann: Guitar, Vocals (London, England) / Marcel van Bergen: Guitar (The Netherlands) / Tim van den Hombergh: Tin Whistles (The Netherlands) / Derk Venema: Mandola (The Netherlands) / Paddy Vervoort: Vocals (The Netherlands).

Audio & Video editing by Tim van den Hombergh.

If you are interested in joining the PoguestrA for future songs then get in touch with the gang viaYouTube orFacebook

WE’RE ON THE MARCH WITH STEVIE’S ARMY! THE CUNDEEZ ANTHEM FOR THE SCOTLAND NATIONAL TEAM

Ready to banish all memories of 1978 Scotland have qualified for Euro 21 and to start off the campaign Dundee band The Cundeez present ‘Kilts On Taps Aff’. A football anthem to beat all other football anthems 6 (six)- 0!

This year members of the Scotland national team will have to find someone else to tend their gardens as they will be otherwise occupied! 2021 sees a rare summer outing for the Scotland national team and it’s only fitting that our favourite Scottish band The Cundeez should celebrate Scotland’s qualification for this years European Championships with a rockin’ Celtic-Punk number that’s sure to be a big hit among the Tartan Army and their fans in the Celtic-Punk scene.
Scotland narrowly missed out on automatic qualification for UEFA Euro 2020, but nail-biting victories in penalty shootouts in the play-offs against Israel and Serbia meant Scotland under the leadership of manager Steve Clarke were into their first major tournament since 1998.

*
Thirz an army massed, see the banners fly
Thirz a saltire set on a clear blue sky
The pipes fire up an wir on wir way
Oor time, oor place, this is oor day
*
Kilts on taps aff, Kilts on taps aff
Kilts on taps aff, Kilts on taps aff
*
Highs an lows we’ve had a few
Ups and doons but we’ll follow you
Fae the Highlands, islands, hills and glens
Fae the city streets. here we go again
*
Kilts on taps aff, Kilts on taps aff
Kilts on taps aff, Kilts on taps aff
*
Voice of the past, hear the Hampden Roar
The terrace chants singin’ “We want more!”
Itz in the blood, runnin’ through oor veins
The Celtic spirit they can never tame
*
Kilts on taps aff, Kilts on taps aff
Kilts on taps aff, Kilts on taps aff
*
Battle hardened an wir on the move
The Tartan Army gonna raise the roof
Thirz a Lion Rampant an a beatin’ heart
So come on boys, this is just the start
*
We’ll be backing Na H-Abhagan Breacan (The Tartan Terriers) through the tournament up to the final on Sunday 11th July and will be glued to our telly’s watching their games.

Monday 14 June: Scotland vs Czech Republic (3pm, Glasgow)

Friday 18 June: England vs Scotland (9pm, London)

Tuesday 22 June: Croatia vs Scotland (9pm, Glasgow)

The Cundeez don’t have a huge media machine or major record company backing, just the small but brilliant independent label Tarbeach Records based in New York so give a lads a hand to take over the Summer by sharing and, of course, purchasing. The track is available to download direct from Tarbeach via credit card or PayPal. The band recently released their fifth album Teckle And Hide which hit the dizzy heights of #4 in 2020’s London Celtic Punks album of the year.
“Bagpipe heavy Celtic-Punk that is never afraid to stray off into other genres. Possibly their most accessible album to date it still has their trademark fast, punchy, catchy Punk-Rock and the same shouty vocals delivered in that raw Dundee dialect but their Celtic and Ska influences see them moving into new territory without ever watering down their music or their identity.”
Teckle And Hide is available on CD and vinyl(download coming soon I am told!) from Tarbeach Records.
Contact The Cundeez  Facebook  YouTube  Spotify  Twitter

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

Summer’s here, the pubs are re-opening, live music is returning and the world of Celtic-Punk is getting back to normal as well! This months Odds’n’Sods features all the band news, record releases, videos from bands big and small across the Celtic-Punk scene. 

Kicking off this month with the new video from THE DROPKICK MURPHYS continue their tradition of celebrating their bagpipers with this beauty dedicated to new piper Lee Forshner. The vid is animated by Adam Murphy (@adammurphyart).

A whole host of new tour dates have been released too with several English and Scots dates culminating in a gig at Wembley Arena!

New tour dates announced today from THE RUMJACKS of their most extensive tour of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Ireland ever for Jan/ Feb 2022. Supported on most dates by the fantastic SHANGHAI TREASON. Check both bands FB pages for dates.

Speaking of SHANGHAI TREASON they put out the third track from their upcoming debut album last week. ‘On The Ropes’ tells of a boxer approaching retirement and again shows their the hottest band in Celtic-Punk at the moment.

English Celtic-Folk-Punk rockers FOLK THE SYSTEM release their second album soon and it’s available for pre-release sale from http://www.folkthesystem.co.uk

Eddie Lawlor from the fantastic Aussie Celtic-Punk band MEDUSA’S WAKE has been releasing the odd solo track here and there and his new one ‘The Orange And Green’ shows what a great talent this fella is. You can watch it on Facebook here.

Exciting news from the Orient (and I don’t just mean the appointment of Kenny Jackett) that the new single from Chinese/ Liverpool Irish band GRASS MUD HORSE lands next week and features the incredible vocal talents and tin-whistling of yer man himself FRANKIE McLAUGHLIN. Tune in here on June 8th to hear it.

Cool as hell video from THE POSITIVE AUTISM of the Murph’s ‘Shipping Up To Boston’. The Positive Autism is 2-Man Band featuring an autistic singer (Micah) and his dad (Danny). We make music to promote autism acceptance. Micah has difficulty talking to people so music gives him a voice. Exact;ly what music ought to do. Support the guys and if you have a song request for Micah leave it in the comments.

Norway’s Premier League Celtic-Punk hitters the GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS have re-visted, re-mastered and re-released their first four albums. Mainstreet Sword, Loboville, Streets Of Salvation and the collection of B-Sides and other crap, Amazing Space (b-sides and other crap). The albums are available on all digital platforms now.

Toronto band OLD MAN FLANAGHAN’S GHOST have a new album out. Re-mastered and re-jiggered from their Covid Live Stream performance. Fourteen tracks of covers and originals they have never recorded before.

I can’t remember how I came across TEDDY HORSE but imagine a sound somewhere in the middle of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Will Oldham and the Godfather of Celtic-Punk Shane MacGowan. A sort of Celtic-Emo if you will. Unusual but a real grower.

FIDDLER’S GREEN premiered their new track ‘Haul Away, Joe’ on You Tube this month and it features the comforting sound of a hurdy-gurdy!

THE POKES – Sail

LEWIS BURNER – Dark Wheels Turn Above Our Heads

LIDDINGTON HILL – Cow

SHAMBOLICS – Goin’ Off

THE BLACK CLOVER – Just Another Pub

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

The ever prolific London Celtic Punks fave TIM HOLEHOUSE has a new album out called simply ‘?’. It’s a collection of tracks from compilations, and some other unearthed gems.

Galician street punk / Oi! band KELTOI! celebrate 15 years together in 2021 and have just released a 2-track single. If you’re into bands like the Cockney Rejects then check these guys out. The very definition of a CELTIC-punk band!

This month we are re-visiting my favourite album from Canadians KNACKER’S YARD. High energy traditional Celtic-Folk from Victoria, BC, since late 2012. Gangers, Chancers And The Craic was released on July 6, 2018 and features an amazing seventeen songs and is available as a ‘name your price’ download on Bandcamp. Strongly committed to the preservation of over four centuries of Irish, Scottish, and English traditional music. For fans of The Dubliners, Pogues, Wolfe Tones, Ryan’s Fancy, Stan Rogers, Ewan MacColl, Shirley Collins, Dominic Behan, Planxty, and many more! Knacker’s Yard are still playing and releasing albums and are now up to seven with last year’s Strayaway Child.

Facebook has become an unlikeable monster with more and more good folk leaving. Can’t say I blames you. So we have set up a Telegram group. Similar but better (and easier to use) than What’s App and free from Facebook control. Join us on Telegram and don’t miss a single post! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/

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!

All we need to do now is for you to help fill this page with news and remember if you are new to the London Celtic Punks blog it is easy to subscribe / follow and never miss a post. Also if anyone is interested in helping out on the reviews front then let us know via the Contact Us page.

SINGLE REVIEW: THE POKES – ‘Sail’ (2021)

The Pokes rock. The Pokes are danceable.
Berlin’s No. 1 Folk-Punk band are back with a new 7″ vinyl release.

It’s been seven years since The Pokes were last featured on these pages for their album Mayday, and the intervening years seem to have done them no harm judging by this their new single. Now two tracks in seven years doesn’t seem like much of a return but I have to say that both these songs are top notch and I thoroughly enjoyed them and hopefully they point to a rejuvenated Pokes and new recordings to come. Based in Berlin, Germany ‘Sail’ is the bands sixth release since their debut EP Hello, My Dear in 2005 and show a band that has always took it’s time and never rushed out their releases. On their web-site you can download for free a whole bunch of songs from their previous albums which track their progression from those early days and their incorporation of genres like Klezmer and Ska into their trademark sound. In the review of Mayday I compared them to legendary Geordie Folk-Punkers The Whisky Priests but here on ‘Sail’ they have a far more punky sound while still retaining a whole host of Folk and Celtic instruments.

The first track here is ‘Catch Me’ and a tale of a harassed delivery driver rushing from delivery to delivery (“Call me wanker, Call me Santa, I’m the parcel guy on the run”) and a plea for us all to be nicer to them though I must admit to not finding it easy when you find a parcel outside in the rain because they haven’t rang the doorbell! Catchy as feck with chugging guitar and fiddle the song soon sweeps away with accordion and drums kicking in. The Pokes manage to convey their message with humour something a lot of bands ought to realise makes it easier to digest. (“Yeah, one day I am going to burn, Burn all your parcels and quit”) A fantastic start which even sees the pipes taking a turn halfway though the song and we can never resist the sound of that magical instrument. The title track ‘Sail!’ is the flipside and again is sung in English, not untypical for German bands at all. The song has a sea-shanty feel to it unsurprisingly and while it may have been middle-class hipsters that brought the sea-shanty back out into the open again Celtic-Punk bands have been singing them for decades now. The accordion is king here and leads from beginning to end as the catchiness reaches #11!

Together the 7″ lasts almost eight minutes so decent value too. Released primarily on vinyl which has slowly but surely started to return to Celtic-Punk the cover features accordion player Matthias and is released on the famous German DIY label Mad Butcher Records. These two songs can be viewed as a taster as the good news is that a fifth Pokes album is currently on the way and will also be released by Mad Butcher. What can we say except more of the same please guys!!

Download Sail  MadButcherRecords (Vinyl) Amazon (Download)

Contact The Pokes  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

 

CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW: BOB DYLAN – ‘The Ghost Of Woody Guthrie’ (1961)

Today is the 80th birthday of Bob Dylan so in celebration here’s a set of live recordings from 1961 the year before his debut album. None are original songs and as the name suggests, the legendary American singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie’s influence hangs like a specter over much of the material here.

The latest addition to our Classic Album Review series where we re-discover hidden gems from a bygone. Lost and sometimes forgotten songs from legends and unknowns that have inspired Folk music and musicians right up to modern Celtic-Punk music. These records are usually out of print so we can provide a free download link for you.

29 January 1961:

Number 19 In The Series Of The 50 Key Events In The History Of World And Folk Music

In September 1960, Bob Dylan borrowed a copy of Woody Guthrie’s autobiography Bound for Glory from a college classmate and became obsessed. Written with the encouragement of Alan Lomax and published in 1943, it rendered its protagonist an almost mythical figure. Dylan started mimicking his hero’s speech patterns and even told the crowd at the Cafe Wha? when he arrived in New York for the first time the following January:

“I been travellin’ around the country, followin’ in Woody Guthrie’s footsteps.”

The “dust bowl troubadour” – author of this This Land is Your Land, whose guitar bore the legend “this machine kills fascists” – had himself almost reached the end of the road: he was now in his fourth year at the Greystone Park Psychiatric hospital in New Jersey, suffering from Huntingdon’s disease, which finally led to his death in 1967. But Dylan hunted him out there, and the two men met – Guthrie apparently giving Dylan a card after their first meeting saying: “I ain’t dead yet.” Dylan wrote, and played to his idol, a new piece of his own called Song to Woody. It met with the older man’s approval and was one of only two original compositions that made Dylan’s 1962 debut.

Caspar Llewellyn Smith June 2011

Surprisingly Bob Dylan has barely featured on these pages much. He has been name checked along the years but this is the first time we have highlighted some of Dylan’s recordings. Woody Guthrie on the other hand has appeared numerous times with various tribute albums and biographies dedicated to him. The recordings here are among Dylan’s earliest known with him beginning his journey towards musical stardom. Starting off shyly the later recordings show a Dylan more confident in himself cracking jokes and entertaining the audience between songs. Unsurprisingly given it’s age, sound quality at times does go in and out but mostly it is perfectly listenable however none of the recording quality detracts from the songs. Only a cover of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Clean’ made it onto Dylan’s self-titled debut LP, though ‘1913 Massacre’ would become ‘Song To Woody’.

Track Listing

01. 1913 Massacre – November 4, 1961 (Live at Carnegie Chapter Hall)
02. Ain’t Got No Home – December 22, 1961 (Minnesota Hotel Tape)
03. Baby Please Don’t Go – December 22, 1961 (Minnesota Hotel Tape)
04. Car, Car – September 6, 1961 (Live at The Gaslight Cafe)
05. Cocaine Blues – December 22, 1961 (Minnesota Hotel Tape)
06. Don’t Push Me Down – May 1961 (Minnesota Party Tape)
07. Gypsy Davy – Early 1961 (Gleason Tape)
08. Handsome Molly – July 29, 1961 (Riverside Church Tape)
09. How’d You Do – May 1961 (Minnesota Party Tape)
10. In The Evening – December 22, 1961 (Minnesota Hotel Tape)
11. In The Pines – November 4, 1961 (Live at Carnegie Chapter Hall)
12. It’s Hard To Be Blind – December 22, 1961 (Minnesota Hotel Tape)
13. Omie Wise – July 29, 1961 (Riverside Church Tape)
14. Pastures Of Plenty – Early 1961 (Gleason Tape)
15. Poor Lazarus – December 22, 1961 (Minnesota Hotel Tape)
16. Railroad Bill – May 1961 (Minnesota Party Tape)
16. Railroad Boy – May 1961 (Minnesota Party Tape)
18. Remember Me – Early 1961 (Gleason Tape)
19. Stealin’ – December 22, 1961 (Minnesota Hotel Tape)
20. Talking Merchant Marine – November 4, 1961 (Live at Carnegie Chapter Hall)
21. This Train Is Bound For Glory – May 1961 (Minnesota Party Tape)
22. Young But Daily Growing – November 4, 1961 (Live at Carnegie Chapter Hall)

LINK1   LINK2   LINK3   LINK4*

( * file including artwork, notes, bonus tracks )

WOODROW WILSON ‘Woody’ GUTHRIE (1912-1967)

Woody Guthrie is the most influential American folk musician of the first half of the 20th century. Best known for his Folk ballads, traditional and children’s songs, and improvised works, often incorporating political commentary. He was closely identified with the Dust Bowl and Great Depression of the 1930s and his songs from that time earned him the nickname ‘Dust Bowl Troubadour’.

Born in 1912 in Okema, Oklahoma, Woody moved at 18 to Pampa, Texas, a small town in the hardest-hit area of the Dust Bowl. It was in Pampa that he experienced the fury of Black Sunday—a severe dust storm that swept across the Midwestern states on April 14, 1935, and inspired Guthrie to write the song, ‘So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You’. After Black Sunday, Guthrie joined the ranks of Okies migrating to California in search of work. Many of his works – ‘Do Re Mi’, ‘I Ain’t Got No Home’, ‘Talking Dust Bowl’ and others – chronicle the conditions faced by working class Okies in their new home. At the close of the 1930s, he left California for New York City and it was there that he wrote his best-known song, ‘This Land Is Your Land’. In the often-omitted fourth and sixth verses of the song, Guthrie rails against class inequality.

Guthrie died in 1967. Despite his decline, he had a major impact on American popular music in the second half of the 20th century and the rise of the Folk movement, and many of Woody Guthrie’s recordings have been archived in the Library of Congress.

As I went walking, I saw a sign there,
And on the sign there, it said “Private Property.”
But on the other side, it didn’t say nothing!
That side was made for you and me.
In the squares of the city, in the shadow of a steeple,
By the relief office, I’d seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

for more like this…

EP REVIEW: LIDDINGTON HILL – ‘Cow’ (2021)

New 4-track EP of high adrenaline Celtic-Punk and Alternative Rock from the South West of England’s Liddington Hill. 

It was only in February that we featured Liddington Hill for the first time. As surprised as we were that their was a band out there in southern England playing brilliant kick-arse Celtic-Folk-Punk that we had not come across we decided straight away that we had to do something. Without any new releases at the time we advertised that their back catalogue was available for free (they still are if you follow the link!). Free Downloads From Liddington Hill the articles title shouted out at you and by the look of it plenty of you did too. This time we are pleased to say that the music is new having been released only yesterday as I write this review.

Liddington Hill: Front- Tamzin – Vocals / Bass * Left to right – Ethan – Rhythm Guitar * Liam – Lead Guitar / Vocals * Chris – Drums * Matt – Fiddle / Vocals *

Formed in 2015 when Matt and Emily began performing traditional Celtic and English folk songs around their local area and taking their name from an ancient hill in Wiltshire. As is par for the course in Celtic bands the sound changed and members came and went before eventually moving away from the more trad sound to a heavier darker approach. A shadowy mix of Celtic and Folk tinged Metal and Punk giving them a rather unique sound for these days, added to which the dual male / female vocals gives them a further range than most bands we hear. Not that it’s downbeat but if you like this is more Joy Division and The Pogues rather the usual Clash and Pogues we get to hear.

Well in common with every band the months of C***d lockdown had a dramatic effect on the band abut rather than just sit around and mope they decided to concentrate on the music and finally they got to finish Cow their new EP. Two original songs and two traditional songs recorded at Evolution Recording Studio in Oxford, by Nick Moorbath. Cow is the first recordings from the new line up of Liddington Hill and one the band have preparing for throughout lockdown. Cow begins with the sea-shanty ‘Whip Jamboree’. Described by A.L. Lloyd who performed the song on the 1957 album Blow Boys Blow as “one of the wildest and most exultant of homeward-bound shanties” and here its played fast as hell and the sound and subject matter reminds me of Yorkshire band Blackbeard’s Tea Party. The second of the four tracks is the original ‘Pub Crawl’, written about a night out the band had around Oxford. Again here the fiddle dominates as the sights and sounds of a night on the lash are conveyed to us. It’s been a while so memories need refreshing! The third track is ‘Marshlands’ and the darkest song here both lyrically and in tone. Much heavier than the rest of the EP which ends with a spirited version of the anti-war song ‘Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye’. This song needs no introduction I am sure as by now its been covered by all and sundry but Liddington Hill manage to convey the horror of war suitably enough and ensure their version loses none of the originals power. The fantastic artwork for the EP was the brilliant work of Rob Warren from Paper Plane Consulting and the sound is also excellent though sadly distorted on the Spotify player below. So please don’t judge the EP on these snippets of song.  

Download Cow  Amazon  iTunes

Contact Liddington Hill  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

NEW SINGLE FROM AUSSIE CELT-ROCKERS SHAMBOLICS

Things have been a bit quiet on the Aussie Celtic-Punk scene of late but just like buses prepare for some of the best Celtic-Punk in town with todays offering from Shambolics and the new EP from The Ramshackle Army coming soon. 

Shambolics (there’s no The!) hail from Adelaide which is the capital city of South Australia (and yes they do a knock out version and play good auld fashioned Poguesy style Irish Celt’n’Roll. The sort of tunes you are just as likely to hear at your local Irish centre with yer Nan as well as at a Punk gig at some rundown dive. Formed out of the ashes of another Celtic-Punk band, The Gartloney Rats, they have featured here in the past with reviews of their debut release the six-track EP Pogue Mahone (in gaelic ‘póg mo thóin’) which is of course the Irish for ‘kiss my arse’ and also the original name of The Pogues (until the Brit media realised what it meant and made them change it!). The Pogues reference fits Shambolics well as unlike the majority of Aussie Celtic-Punk bands they follow a much more folkier path than. Well that was 214 and two years later came there debut album Riot On Race Day with ten original songs from rollickin’ Celtic-Punk to Country and spaghetti western.

“A love and respect for folk music but which is never afraid to take it and shake it and give it a nudge up to the modern day”.

So it’s been a good few years that the Bhoys have graced the pages of London Celtic Punks not that they haven’t been busy and their regular updates have shown a band that gigs regularly in and out of town and is more than a little well known overseas too.

The new track ‘Goin Off’ takes Celtic-Punk into the realm of Surf-Rock and a sorta Irish take on both the Beach Boys and The Ramones. Catchy and totally different but yet unmistakably Shambolics still. Written by frontman Jimmy I hope this heralds a new wave of releases from the band as they have been sorely missed. The song is available for just a measly single dollar so support Celtic-Punk musicians in these shitty times.

Contact The Band  Facebook  Bandcamp  Soundcloud  Twitter

BODH’AKTAN – ‘De part et d’autre de l’Atlantique’ (2021)

A new album from Bodh’aktan to whet your appetite for when live concerts return. Recorded during their last major tour across venues in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Quebec.

Anyone out there remember live gigs? For me it was a great night out in Staines enjoying a very nice evening of culture with Peter And The Test Tube Babies but all seems like a long distant fading memory now. So it seems rather apt now that we are on the verge of a semblance of normality returning that we should be reviewing a live album. The ever prolific Bodh’aktan, this is their eighth album now, recorded all their live shows from their 2019 summer tour and handpicked the best versions of eleven of their most loved songs for this release on their 10th anniversary.

Bodh’aktan formed in Québec in 2011 so eight albums is pretty damn good and judging by their placing’s on the various Celtic-Punk end of year awards they have been pretty well received by all. The songs here come from pretty much their entire back catalogue with four taken from debut album Au Diable Les Remords in 2011. Only their last album De Temps et de Vents is absent no doubt because of the lack of gigs since its release.

The album begins with ‘Nothing But A Game’ the first of a couple of songs taken from the Paleo Festival in Switzerland. From their album of English speaking songs Ride Out The Storm it’s a jolly romp that is made solely for enjoying yourself. Like all the songs here a Bodh’aktan concert is a time to forget yourself and immerse yourself and have a good time. Concerts are the life blood of Celtic-Punk and like no other genre it is all about enjoying yourself. ‘Les Dames Du Large’ is from that debut album and has a slight ‘western’ tinge to it. More thigh slapping follows with ‘La Bonne Journée – La Suite De La Capitale’ and a album standout. Catchy and lyric packed (I can’t tell you what they are saying) Alex’s voice fits superbly. This song is is from a intimate performance on the Magdalen Islands, in the heart of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a place with much symbolic meaning for Irish-Canadians. The music up to now has been fairly laid back and it can perhaps be forgiven that they haven’t packed the album with their rowdiest Celtic-PUNK songs but ‘Zimmerman’ certainly gets the blood racing. Mostly acoustic the electric guitar is placed behind the acoustic guitar but the still rocks in that way that The Pogues showed us (“the loudest acoustic band in the world”). These fella’s are great musicians and show it off with the traditional instrumental ‘Le Medley Du Mal De Pieds’ with Alain’s lectric guitar allowed to come out of the shadows and enter the limelight along with Marc-Etienne and his fiddle. Breton and Irish influences abound here as the song reels off several reels packed together in just three minutes. The next couple of songs come from a concert in their home of Québec and show the width of the bands talents with Par Chez Nous’ showcasing their stadium skills with the audience singing along to a slow, swirling ballad while ‘La Bouteille Est Agreable’ shows their other side with a rockier/ punky number. The nest three songs come from gigs in Italy, Shamrock Castle in Italy and Celti’Teuillac in France. The fiddle led ‘Ici’, the Newfoundland traditional ‘Heave Away’ and the country-ish ‘Samedi Soir Au Fais Dodo’ all crowd pleasers that continue the romp! The album ends with ‘Le 31 Du Mois D’Aout’ (in English ‘August 31st’) I’m sure it has some important significance so forgive me Québécois for my ignorance. A call to arms perhaps and a pint in the air / arms round your mates ballad to round things off with the obligatory fast ending to send you off into the night sweating and smiling.

Eleven songs may seem like a short album but Bodh’aktan don’t do short songs. Their songs are given a chance to breathe and at almost 45 minutes the album is both entertaining and even on the more lengthy songs never drags. With all the songs taken from different shows you might expect the album to be a bit disjointed but it flows absolutely perfectly. A triumph of the mixing room! A great album all told but then I am a big fan and with their frequent visits to Europe it’s not unreasonable to think I may get to see them live. Certainly on this showing it will be a experience worth saving up for!

Buy De part et d’autre de l’Atlantique  Backlink

Contact Bodh’aktan  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Twitter  LastFM  Soundcloud

Disography Au Diable Les Remords (2011) * Against Winds And Tides (2013) * Tant Qu’il Restera Du Rhum… (2013) * Mixtape (2015) * Bodh’aktan (2016) * Ride Out The Storm (2018) * De Temps Et De Vents (2019)

NEW SINGLE ‘As I Roved Out One Morning’ FROM CALLUM HOUSTON

Acoustic Alternative Folk Rock.
Made in Bretagne. Inspired in Ireland.

We’re big fans of Callum Houston and when we heard he had a new single out we had a quick chat to find out the lowdown on what it was all about.

This song first started out as a chord pattern I randomly came up with and posted on Facebook. I was then convinced to make a song out of it by my friend Anthony who plays with the Ska band The Groovin’ Jailers from the North of France. I had meet him previously while on tour with the Graveyard Johnnys when we had shared a stage together. I quickly made a structure for the song and sent it to him to put record some Dobro over the top. I had just got back from doing a week long St Patrick’s Facebook tour where I played live with a number of musicians in different locations all across Bretagne. My head was full of old Irish ballads so I cut a load of lines from songs and pasted them together to make a Frankenstein style ballad of my own. The words seemed to fall into place easily and actually pretty well portrayed the week that proceeded them. Both my parts and Anthony’s parts were recorded in our own home studios. I then sent the track over to another great friend and even better musician Sleeper Bill from Rennes, he added some piano and then with ease took over the mixing and mastering malarkey which I am hopeless at. The beautiful artwork was hand crafted by my good neighbor Maire Pauline. It was great fun creating it together and I hope you can enjoy it as much as I did. More music will follow in the coming months and some concerts (fingers crossed).

As I roved out one morning, at the dawning of the day,
I meet a pretty maid, traipsing along my way,
Like a fox caught in the headlights,
I looked with surprise,
My mind being bent on rambling,
away I did fly
*
I said no nay never, no never again,
I’ve traveled many miles, from glen to glen,
There’s some that you fuss over, and some that you forgo,
I fell right for a raggle taggle gypsyo,
*
 Her eyes they shone like diamonds,
she’s the queen of this town,
Like an angel I have lost my wings, fallen to the ground,
There was whiskey in the jar, and the maid behind the bar, it was the parting glass,
Her eyes they shone like diamonds,
she’s the queen of this town,
Like an angel I have lost my wings, fallen to the ground,
There was whiskey in the jar, and the maid behind the bar gave the parting glass,
That went just a little too far
*
 Now through the Foggy Dew,
I search for you, as I rove around,
the streets of this Dirty old Town.
*
Callum Houston – Guitar, Vocals / Anthony Francois – Dobro / Sleeper Bill – Piano
Mixed and mastered by Sleeper Bill / Artwork by Marie Pauline Van Parys
To promote the single Callum performed a craicing live stream set of original material. If you missed it fear not click here to be re-directed straight there! Music begins from 3 minutes in and lasts just over a hour. The single costs just €0.99 so help out struggling artists by helping them to get a pint!

Download As I Roved Out One Morning  FromCallum

Contact Callum Houston  Facebook  Bandcamp  YouTube  Spotify

ALBUM REVIEW: BUGUL NOZ – ‘Chat In The Freezer’ (2021)

The second album from Bugul Noz. Belgian Celtic-Punk with major influences from both Metal and Brittany especially.

Apologies to Bugul Noz as their email somehow ended up in a file I no longer use so when I came across it four months later I dashed off an apology to the Bhoys and settled down to have a listen to their new album with a big mug of tea. The band hail from Namur in Belguim which is the capital of Wallonia one of the three federal regions that make up the country and has a history of coal mining and iron works. The band were formed in 2016 and as is usual their list of Celtic-Punk influences cites all the usual suspects but also bands like Les Beruriers Noirs and Trust and and Celtic music, whether Irish, Breton or Scottish.

Their debut self titled album of thirteen original tracks was released in the Summer of 2017. With the songs split fairly even between French and English it is the opening track that is my favourite even though I don’t speak French! Another great highlight is ‘Fucking Irish Song’ with Metal guitar and over the top vocals. Class! The whole album can be streamed via YouTube here. The Metal influence sometimes outstrips the Punk here but always with both feet anchored by Celtic music. The music does seem to have a Breton edge to it which is hardly suprising I suppose especailly when we learn that the band take their name from a Breton legend.

The Bugul Noz ‘Night Shepherd’ is a fae-like being who lives in the woodlands of Brittany. He is the last of his kind and is said to be incredibly ugly, which causes him distress. His appearance is so awful that even woodland animals avoid him, and he sometimes cries out to warn others nearby of his approach, so that he won’t frighten them and that they will go home. He is called the night shepherd because it is generally not safe in forests late at night. The Bugul Noz is not malicious (indeed, rather kind and gentle), he is always alone because of his hideous visage.

The bands second album was released back in January and no doubt they were expecting London Celtic Punks to be a bit more professional …well now now they know! Still here we are in the end and just a shame I missed out on hearing this earlier. The album is again all original tracks and with the songs split between French and English. I look forward one day to being able to write a review without having to mention the dreaded co*id lockdown but the inevitable delays and problems the lockdown presented don’t seem to have affected the finished article at all an Bugul Noz still managed to work together to get the album delivered.

Chat In The Freezer begins with ‘I’m Not Crazy’ and the familair drone of the pipes. How someone from Belguim decides to learn the bagpipes is a mystery to me but Fred is an excellent player and accompanied here by Candice on fiddle the song soon opens up into a real Celtic-Punk-Rocker. There’s plenty of Metal style flourishes and the song flashes by despite its length at almost five minutes. This is not Celtic-Punk for your Nan this is for the moshpit and shaking the dandruff out your hair. Tremendous!! As Bugul Noz are a brand new band to my ears I literally had no idea what to expect but one song in and I’m already loving it. ‘Ton Opinion’ is a more basic number and I can’t understand but the words are flying out at me as the fiddle leads. Next up is ‘Cat In The Freezer’ and no I haven’t left out the ‘h’. Strange name for a album song and being a cat fan I wondered what was ahead of me. Starting off with a sort of Gothic rumble and a cat meowing it soon develops into a punky chugging guitar classic. My favourite song of the album it builds up and up taking in a multitude of influences telling of a poor cat trapped in a freezer… I think anyway.  A couple of songs in French follow with ‘Meurs En Silence’ and ‘Chance D’exister’ and one thing that stands out a mile is the amount of lyrics here. Imagine that chorus of ‘The Rocky Road To Dublin’ over and over again. The music is fast and furious and I’m stuck somewhere between the Dropkicks and the Mollys here as a way to describe them. Of course they sound nothing like either but have perhaps the power of the Murphys and their Folkier side is more akin to Flogging Molly, To keep the tunes so faithful to Celtic music when ‘punking out’ is quite an achievement. ‘Donald’ begins with a spoken word intro in French so I can’t tell you anymore but the song does have a medieval feel to it, at least until Andy and Gilles come marching in with loud thrashy guitars. ‘From Hell To Freedom’ is, at five minutes, the albums longest track and with the whole album lasting nearly fifty minutes all the songs are given a chance to develop and its good to see the band taking their time. Not that they do here as Fred shouts out Conflict style over a thrashy-hardcore number not for the faint-hearted or them dreaded snowflakes I keep seeing mentioned everywhere.  Fred exhibits his superb piping again next on ‘Copier – Coller’ and believe me it is superb.

‘Sunday Morning’ has a more overt Murphys influence as well as 80’s English Punk thing going on. After several months confinement the band took advantage of the temporary cessation of the lockdown to get together to record the video for the lead single of the album ‘No Way’. As with all the songs on Chat In The Freezer the English language tracks take a more Punk approach while the French have a more Celtic feel. Still the bagpipes blare loud as hell and God alone knows how Fred managed to keep up with himself at the rate he does!

They pushed the boat out for the video for ‘Comme Une Licorne (Punk En Kilt)’ a hilarious romp through the Walloon countryside with transvestites, unicorns and drumming horses! The song is all pipes, fiddle, drums, pounding bass and chugging guitar and, of course, Fred and his distinctive vocals. We have reached the end and the decision must have been “shall we go out in style or show the skeptics that Celtic-Punk bands can play a mean traditional tune”? Well ‘Ciao L’ami’ takes both routes starting with with a nice gentle folky tune with gang vocals before the heavens open and they go out in Punk rock style.

So a cracker of an album that came as a very pleasant surprise. As I may have hinted this album is for the rockers out there but the all round musicianship is extremely good and the Celtic instrumentation is particularly good. You won’t be shocked to hear that I have a feeling that it is in the live setting that Bugul Noz really come into their own. Having already reached Moscow it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that London may be on their radar. I certainly hope so!

Contact Bugul Noz  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

GUESS WHOSE BACK? THE SOUTH SHORE RAMBLERS ARE BACK!

It must be pretty hard being the sole Celtic-Punk representatiove for a whole continent but The South Shore Ramblers represented Africa superbly till they called it a day a few years back. Well the good news is their back at the wheel and with some free downloads to give away too!

Formed out of the ashes of another superb Celtic-Punk band, The Sunday Punchers (check out the video for one of Celtic-Punk’s greatest ever songs here) , in late 2014 and after recruiting Martin Bezuidenhout as lead vocalist and frontman The South Shore Ramblers released a flurry of EP’s and videos during their short existence. Based in Johannesburg the South Shore Ramblers were always on the punkier side of things but always entertaining and their releases were always well received. In fact they achieved a pretty good double in our end of year Best of lists with Bare Knuckle Blackout  reaching #5 in the Best Of 2015 and Open Room Sessions #6 in the Best Of 2015.

Debut release Bare Knuckle Blackout’ was all tales of hard lifes and hard lives, drinking to forget and drinking for the sake of it and the occasional happy time when all the bad times are forgotten. It began with the brilliant ‘Thirstday’ and from the very beginning you understood what the band is about.

The following year saw the release of Open Room Session and captured the guys in a raw live form. Rough and ready, but in a good way! Only three songs and just over ten minutes but it saw the release of the outstanding ‘Own Wicked Device’ accomapnied by a equally outstanding video. More music followed like a couple of covers from the Dropkick Murphys and even talk of a European tour before they dropped off the radar.

At the time all their releases were available for free download but the links are long gone now sadly BUT the guys have just released a couple of songs from back in the day. Two never-heard-before practice recordings of NoFx’s ‘The Greatest Country”‘and ‘Miami’ by Against Me!.

DOWNLOAD

so with gigs returning and new music in their arsenal The South Shore Ramblers are back so get on their social media and keep a finely tuned ear out for them when they take the Celtic-Punk scene by storm.

Contact The South Shore Ramblers Facebook  Soundcloud  YouTube

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

That time of the month again! Odds’n’Sods our regular monthly feature of all the Celtic-Punk news that’s fit to print. Band news, record releases, videos, tours (not individual gigs though yet sadly), live streams, crowd funders etc., send it into us at londoncelticpunks@hotmail.co.uk or through the Contact Us page. All will get a mention but I need YOU to help if it’s going to work.

We kick off this month with some sad news that THE MAHONES are retiring from touring. Easily the busiest band in the Celtic-Punk world they’ve been just about everywhere there is to go… and several times too! I think for many out there they are the only out of town Celtic-Punk band people will have seen. They will pop up for the occasional local gig or festival but that’s yer lot.

“After 30 years, it’s time for The Mighty Mahones to stop touring. There will be no farewell or reunion cash grab tours. We are done the big tours. If you didn’t come in the last 30 years, ya snooze ya lose, but we still love you! “

Other Mahones news leads man Finny has his debut solo album out soon on TrueNorth Records titled The Dark Streets Of Love and is booking now for a solo acoustic World Tour in 2021 / 2022.

Justin Sullivan of Brit Folk-Rockers NEW MODEL ARMY releases his 2nd solo album Surrounded at the end of May released on earMUSIC. Sixteen original songs written through the lockdown.  Pre-order the album(s) here: https://JustinSullivan.lnk.to/Surrounded

You lot must have heard the new DROPKICK MURPHYS album by now and personally I think it’s bloody brilliant! Been playing it non-stop and boucing off the walls here in LCP Towers for the last fortnight. New video from the boys landed in the month and as usual top quality! Turn Up The Dial is out now and we are letting the hoo-har die down before our review which we are very lucky to be able to have a stalwart member of the American-Irish community and the American-Irish Celtic-Punk scene to write it so expect a perspective you won’t see anywhere else.

LONAN are a Folk trio from Leeds and have just released their debut release a beautiful new song with  the proceeds going to St. George’s Crypt who do excellent work in Leeds providing shelter, food and support to the homeless and vulnerable.

Formerly of The Dead 60s and a recent live guitarist for The Specials, MATT McMANAMON has spent a decade putting out his debut album Scally Punk. It is released May 28, 2021 and you can hear a couple of songs on the Bandcamp player below. It is available now for pre-order from Fretsore Records.

The collaboration between NICK BURBRIDGE and DAN BOOTH of Ferocious Dog now has a confirmed release date at the end of May 2021, with pre-orders (including a t-shirt and signed print option) available now from www.nickanddan.co.uk 

THE REAL McCOYS – Outlive Death

TEUFELSTANZ – Decennium

UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS – The Cellar Tapes

BODH’AKTAN –  Live From Both Sides Of The Atlantic

One of the more interesting bands around are TEUFELSTANZ. They hail from Russia and have put out a new live album, Decennium. Recorded at their 10th anniversary concert at The Glastonberry in Moscow. Their unique sound, they call ‘Alternative Medieval Music; is well worth hearing. 

THE SCALLY CAP BRATS formed in Ottawa in the summer of 2010 out of a chance meeting between Mike Pusiak and Mike Franey. They quickly discovered a mutual love for Punk, Oi! and Celtic music which led to talk about starting a band. Take A Shot was their debut release a powerful 5 track EP that first introduced me to this excellent bands. Check out their Bandcamp page for more ‘name your price’ downloads and some very cheap albums. One of the best Celtic-Punkbands of the last decade. 

More Canadian Celtic-Punk from THE GRINNING BARRETTS from Ladysmith, British Columbia. They put out a couple of bloody awesome EP’s back in 2018 but have been a bit on the quiet side since but they have put out a couple of songs already this year. Divided By A Negative is also available as a ‘name your price’ download below.

Yet more from Canada and BODH’AKTAN have a live album out now – De Part Et D’autre De l’Atlantique. Eleven songs recorded at different venues throughout 2019. It is, of course, an absolute belter and watch this space for a upcoming review very soon.

UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS enjoyed live streaming so much that they have gone and recorded an album in the same acoustic style. The Cellar Tapes Vol.1 is out on platforms on May 7th.

Facebook has become an unlikeable monster with more and more good folk leaving. Can’t say I blames you. So we have set up a Telegram group. Similar but better (and easier to use) than Whats App and free from Facebook control. Join us on Telegram and dont miss a beat! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/

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!

All we need to do now is for you to help fill this page with news and remember if you are new to the London Celtic Punks blog it is easy to subscribe / follow and never miss a post. Also if anyone is interested in helping out on the reviews front then let us know via the Contact Us page.

ALBUM REVIEW: THE REAL McCOYS – ‘Outlive Death’ (2021)

Folk Drunk Folk Punk!

Third album from Texan Celtic-Punk band The Real McCoys. Combining Folk-Punk with Celtic influences for a rowdy bar or any revolution-ready extravaganza!

Funny how things work out and just a couple of weeks after reviewing an album from Houston band The Dead Rabbits comes another album from the same city. The Real McCoys have been together since 2015 when Josh left The Dead Rabbits with a notebook of songs he had written and began looking for a band to record them. Roping in Tommy on drums and a workmate on bass things soon led to the release of debut album Folk Drunk, coming out in May, 2016 and was fifteen original songs dedicated to the memory of Glen Campbell. After recording they went on a short tour and on return their bassist  would later give them the ‘Irish goodbye’ (look it up if you’re not American!). A friend Jeremy took his place and they wemt on to record Barfly in 2017, a collection of songs written from Josh’s time as a hopeful drinker. Listening to all kinds of stories and watching people’s lives unfold in wild ways sitting at the same old hole in the wall every night. Again it was all original songs and the twelve songs whizz by in under twenty-five minutes. Definitly on the jokier side of things both albums are both a fun ride through Celtic-Folk-Punk and are higly recommended.

Somehow they have only featured on these pages with only the briefest of mentions. A mystery to me personally as I’m actually a big fan of The Real McCoys and have all their releases. Anyway we got here in the end and nows a good a time as any to wax lyrically about this class band. With the Covid lockdowns musicians have suffered imeasurably but Josh has used the time wisely despite not being able to practise and gone back to his DIY Folk-Punk roots and recorded the album pretty much by himself and that is about as DIY as it can possibly get!

So now onto the present day and whats the score with The Real McCoys here in 2021. Well I was really suprised that Outlive Death just sort of appeared. One day just popping up on my Bandcamp feed, somewhere I very rarely check, It certainly deserved more than its low key arrival and hopefully this will review will go a tiny way to rectifying that. The album kicks off with ‘We All Fall Down’ and the album is pretty much sign posted from this one song. Fast, catchy, clever and over in just over 100 seconds. The kind of song yoy’d love to go on a lot longer but perfect for some of us to dance around to before we get too tired!! Josh has got a distinctive voice that really suits this style (and that accent is pretty damn cool as well!) and writes a real good tune as well as managing to tell quite a story too. ‘True Punx Don’t Need Kidneys’ is lashed with the kind of humour that The Real McCoys are famous for and even lasts three minutes plus!

The title track is up next and features Marissa Sendejas of anarcho-folkies Days N Daze and Asa Martin on baritone guitar. It’s a slow moving song that Josh wrote about the passing of his Dad when he was only 21.

“My Dad passed away from cancer when I was 21, it was a really crazy point In my life that was the source of my excessive drinking in my barfly days. Helping my mother clean her house over quarantine she was throwing some books so I had a look. I pulled out The Road by Cormac McCarthy and when I opened it up to start reading a few days later on the first page in my dad’s handwriting was “to Micah (my brother) love Dad, 2009” (a year before he passed). All through the book were little notes written to him of various little things… like my Dad was passng me wisdom from the grave..it was beautiful. And it got me thinking about how even those passed can speak to us sometimes in various ways. The Road is about a father who’s dying and trying to teach his young son how to survive in a post apocalyptic world. It culminates in him passing away and his son going on to use what he’s learned … It was very very very fitting. Uncanny. It was like all that I went through in the 11 years since he died kinda resolved in part from my father after the fact from the grave…it was beautiful. And ‘Outlive Death’ just came spewing out as a result.”

An emotional ballad and one that a loving son should be very proud of. The kind of song that would make even the stoniest face shed a tear. ‘Barfly’ is one of a handful of songs here that was originally planned to make the debut album but didn’t make the cut. Reworked and partly rewritten again managing to be both catchy and tell a real story of someones life. ‘Sonder’ is 90 seconds long but seems so much longer. Great use of the mandolin here and it certainly has a sound of the full band.

‘LADADA Whiskey’ is the catchiest song here with a lovely tune and a beat to slap your thigh red raw too. Again a nice wee short number we love both our serious songs and pour drinking/fighting songs here we are against all that Folk snobbery and The Real McCoys have the perfect blend of both.  ‘Stingers’ again  comes with some furious strumming and I’ve only just realised this album is purely acoustic. ‘You’ll Be Fine’ is the most Celtic-ee number here and they slow it down but not too much. My favourite track of the album with great lyrics and a great sound. It’s worth saying at this point that the whole albums production is perfect which leads us nicely to the final track and ‘Cold Moon’ brings down with another catchy number packed full of meaning and even manages to incorporate a Poguesy ‘See You In Hell’ style Western vibe.

All three of the Real McCoys albums are available for free as a ‘name your price’ download but there is aso an option to leave some money and while I am sure Josh don’t mind we would like him to have a beer of two out of it so feel free to leave something… or not. I would recommend grabbing all three at once and we give you the London Celtic Punks promise that you’ll not be disappointed. A sort of seal of approval if you like! Outlive Death flies past in only twenty-two minutes but it is time well spent with someone with a lot of talent that I feel has lot more in him once things return to normal.

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

Download Outlive Death  Bandcamp

Contact The Real McCoys  Facebook  YouTube

NEW SINGER, NEW SINGLE, NEW ERA FOR FIRKIN

Firkin ‘the crazy Irish band’ from Hungary have some important changes afoot. Read on and introduce yourself to their new frontman!

While it is always sad to hear that a band is losing members that sadness is always lessened when it is followed with news that the band will go on. Andy the vocalist from Hungarian giants Firkin has decided his time is up for the band. Nearly six years of commuting from his home in Serbia for gigs and practises has understandably become too much on top of his full time acting work and family commitments. The guys all remain good friends and he will always be a dear member of the Firkin Family!

“We are immensely thankful for his hard work over the years, the always cheerful atmosphere in the rehearsal room, in the tour van and on stage, too, the many songs we wrote and the nearly 250,000 km we travelled together across Europe”.

So life goes on and we welcome Ákos into Andy’s big shoes. A friend of the band for many years his band Zágba Cat even supporting Firkin in the past on occasion. This may not be the first time Firkin have changed singers but the spirit of the band outlasts the individual members and a whole new era begins and with a rather aptly named opening song as well.

(We are) still alive!

When the morning sun rises
high above the hills
The stars shyly hide from
the shining of the creek

The chime of the bells
is the beat of my heart
The scent of the spring brings
Me a fresh star

O-a-hey O-a-hay We are still alive!
O-a-hey O-a-hay We’re dancing through the night
O-a-hey O-a-hay We are still alive!
Hey-hey-hey-hey

The silence of the field
is trampled by the herd
Return from south again

All our chirping birds
Buds gently burst
in the heat of the sun
Summer memories
I ain’t complain ‘bout none

O-a-hey O-a-hay We are still alive!
O-a-hey O-a-hay We’re dancing through the night
O-a-hey O-a-hay We are still alive!
Hey-hey-hey-hey

Spring’s at long last here
The village comes to life
The muddy road is dry
We gather every night

The evenings are still cold
We have no other chance
Tap a barrel in a jiffy
And let’s dance!

O-a-hey O-a-hay We are still alive!
O-a-hey O-a-hay We’re dancing through the night
O-a-hey O-a-hay We are still alive!
Hey-hey-hey-hey

Oh, the winter was so long
The rust ate the blades
The horse is skinny, too
The glory’s long been frayed
All that has remained
Just mem’ries from afar
They hang on my belly with
Me in the bar

O-a-hey O-a-hay We are still alive!
O-a-hey O-a-hay We’re dancing through the night
O-a-hey O-a-hay We are still alive!
Hey-hey-hey-hey

 

Contact Firkin  WebSite  Facebook   YouTube  Instagram

ALBUM REVIEW: HEADSTICKS – ‘C.O.W.’ (2021)

Fresh from their utterly brilliant ‘Live Sessions’ broadcast at Christmas English Folk-Punk-Rockers Headsticks release their fourth studio album having signed to Chapter 22 Records. Hard hitting, emotive, infectious anthems and barbed lyrics a plenty.

Straddling the Punk and Folk scenes and still managing to keep everyone happy is quite a feat but one that Headsticks manage quite admirably. A couple of weeks ago we ran a feature on 80’s band The Glasgow Tremens titled ‘Punky But Not Punk, Folky But Not Folk‘ well this can not be said of Headsticks! The band describe themselves as “where folk and punk collide” and while you can’t help but make comparisons with a host of big names like the New Model Army, a more punky Levellers, Billy Bragg (when he was good) and even more recent bands like Ferocious Dog but Headsticks are still very much their own band. Formed out of the ashes of two much loved, and long gone, Celtic-Punk bands. ‘Tower Struck Down’ who were one of first English Celtic-Punk bands back in 1985 and Jugopunch, who had a song ‘Blackheart’ on the Shite’n’Onions compilation What The Shite #2 back in 2006. This brought them to international attention so popular were this series of CD’s. Well the Celtic touches are mainly gone but what remains is the plain good old folk’n’roll that made them popular first time round.

C.O.W. is their upteenth release and they have been reviewed here quite a few times so regular is their output. The last time was for an 4-track EP ‘Lies, Lies,Lies‘ featuring Punk Rock legend Steve Ignorant. With such a regular output they are also one of a few bands who also put out their releases on vinyl, even going so far as to have had vinyl only releases in the past. Hailing from Stoke in Staffordshire an area once famed for the manufacture of pottery (the area is known as The Potteries), coal mining and steel making. The area has gone into decline with the disappearance of these industries and neglect from both national and local government. Betrayed by the party the people bled red for they now vote for other parties. An area with a proud working class and trade union tradition is where Headsticks come from and this seeps through their music. Kicking off with ‘Red Is The Colour’ an anthem for those that gave their lives on battle fields everywhere. Sounding more like Jello Biafra than I can remember vocalist Andrew Tranter portrays the right ammount of passion and be sure these are passionate songs. Bands like Headsticks have always had plenty to sing about and these days when the ordinary bloke in the street is seemingly despised by everyone their is plenty ammunition. Next up is the apocalyptic love song ‘Peace & Quiet’ foretelling of environmental disaster but like all things Headsticks it’s told in a beautiful way. The art of writing lyrics that tell a complete story is some achievement and one that not just Celtic-Punk bands are adapt at.

The first song from the album to be released late last year it came out as 7″ single backed with a tremendous cover of ‘In The Ghetto’ (still available here).

“Don’t Predict A Riot! I want some peace and some quiet, I don’t to be the one who has to be the one to be so strong!”

‘Miles And Miles’ is a great example of their Folked up Punk while the next songs both show their range from 1980’s Anarcho-Punk in the style of early Chumba’s or Blyth Power to gentle acoustic musing. ‘A Tear For Yesterday’ and ‘Tyger, Tyger’ though poles apart on the surface fit together perfectly. ‘This Ain’t Politics’ is another on the folkier side and one I’m sure will be more popular at 50% of their gigs.

‘Naked’ was the second song to be released from C.O.W. on St. Patrick’s Day just gone and a great chugging Punk-Rock number. Simple but effective. The music takes quite a turn for the next couple of songs with ‘Red Sky’ and a pumping funky bass line my favourite track on C.O.W. while ‘Burn’ turns out a metally rocker. Both songs leave you with plenty to digest. Headsticks are one of those bands that its good to have the lyrics in front of you. ‘Opium’ is another acoustic number the shortest track on the album. We are into the last two songs and you can be among the first people to see the new Headsticks video for it comes out later today! ‘Speak Out’ comes at 9pm here so be sure to tune in and leave a comment. A bombastic rocker based upon the post-war poem by German pastor Martin Niemöller about the cowardice of German intellectuals to stand up to the rise of the Nazi’s. To ignore the persecution of others until it lands on your own doorstep. The standout and most memorable song here brings the curtain down and ‘Sing Danny Boy’ will raise the hairs on your neck. Andrew speaks over a gentle swirling backdrop about child abuse and psychological scars with a rare emotion found in music of any era or style. Some people are damaged before they get a chance to live it’s a terrible heart breaking thing. The passion spills out and I implore you to listen to the song below.

C.O.W. is Headsticks fourth studio album and their first, having recently signed, for the independent Midlands label Chapter 22 Records. The CD comes with a beautifully produced 20-page lyric booklet. C.O.W. is the bands best album so far and unusually each album they have released I have said that about. This may not be the usual kind of fare that readers are use to here but we have a sort of artistic license sometimes to include bands we love that we feel you will love too.  Headsticks have always been one of those bands and their constant innovation and evolving sound deserves to be heard and loved by many more. 

Buy C.O.W. Vinyl/CD Here  Download Here

Contact Headsticks  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

NEW SINGLE FROM SHANGHAI TREASON FEATURING DAN BOOTH FROM FEROCIOUS DOG

‘Wildfire’ the second single from their forthcoming new album sees South Yorkshire’s Shanghai Treason teaming up with Dan Booth from Ferocious Dog on fiddle!

Swiftly becoming one of my favourite bands Yorkshire rockers Shanghai Treason knock it out the ball park again with their new single. Fiddle and banjo go together like a Steak pie and Hendersons (that be South Yorkshire talk!) so it is that when I heard they were working with Dan Booth of Ferocious Dog I did get a little excited. And as you will see it was justified!!

Wildfire is the second single to be released from their new album, due in the Summer on Black Dingo records. The St. Patrick’s Day release of ‘Emerald Causeway‘ came out to much accalim and the album seems to be shaping up rather nicely. Shanghai Treason arrived in 2019 just in time to lay down a few roots before the Covid lockdowns came in but that didn’t see them slow down (well much anyway) and continued to write and produce new music as best they could. By now they have become a recogniseable name on the Celtic-Punk scene and their string of singles and EP’s have all been well received among the many Celtic-Punk focused blogs, radio stations and publications. Beginning to write their new album last year via e-mail’s between the band they managed to pick up a record deal with the Italian label Black Dingo Productions (home of artists like The Rumjacks, The Real McKenzies, The Rumpled ). Earlier this year they booked into Arch Audio recording Studio in Mansfield to work with Dan Booth and Gianluca from The Rumjacks under the watchful eyes of Luke Wheatley, Ferocious Dog’s sound-engineer.

“We’ve really up’d the ante on Wildfire, Dan Booth’s fiddle playin’ smacked the track into the stratosphere, it’s fast, in your face celtic punk, wi’ a Yorkshire twist, tha knows” – Sam Christie (Vocals)

Soon as things get back to normal the #1 thing on my to-do list is to get up to Yorkshire and catch these boys in the flesh. The quality of their previous releases has been incredible and in a year where several albums have been hotly anticipated it is Shanghai Treason’s that has excited me the most and on the evidence of the two singles released so far then this album will be challenging for Album Of The Year!

Contact Shanghai Treason  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

ALBUM REVIEW: THE PEELERS – ‘Down And Out In The City Of Saints’ (2021)

Immersed in a hotbed of Gaelic culture that smashed head on into a love of whiskey, poetry, footy, debauchery, ska and punk The Peelers may not be the most prolific band on the Celtic-Punk scene but  for 20 odd years they have certainly been one of its best! 

Sadly for The Peelers the release of their fantastic new album Down And Out In The City Of Saints was overshadowed by the release of the new Rumjacks album. Coming out around St. Patrick’s Day we are normally overwhelmed with releases but it’s understandably been more of a slow trickle so far during 2021!

The Peelers left to right: Scotty Mitchell – Bass * Jonny Mooreman – Fiddle * Steve Creep – Lead Guitar * Dave Barton – Lead Vocals/ Rhythm Guitar * Eric Diamond – Organ/ Irish Whistles * Will Laurin – Drums *

One of North America’s more popular bands The Peelers are celebrating their 22nd anniversary this year after forming in 1999 in a small farmhouse kitchen in North Glengarry County in Eastern Ontario, Canada. Glengarry holds a special place in Canadian Irish history being separated from New York State by the St. Lawrence river it was originally settled by Irish immigrants who chose the name Glengarry in memory of home. It was where, during Án Gorta Mór, the coffin ships sailed to after being refused entry from America. It is thought over 15,000 Irish people are buried on the small island of Grosse Île where a huge Celtic cross now stands as a memorial to their poor souls. Nowadays though The Peelers are based in Montréal, the largest city in the French speaking province of Québec and The Peelers and their fame has long spread beyond Canada.

Their debut album Boots And Suits came out in 2002 followed by Liquordale in 2004 but it was an incredible 13 (thirteen!) years before they released another album with Palace Of The Fiend arriving on January 3rd, 2017. Recorded in five different studios, located in Montreal, Toronto and Morocco it was very well received across the Celtic-Punk world reaching #4 on the LCP Best Of 2017 list that year. So it is that a four year gap is not bad at all for The Peelers! The new album was again recorded in multiple places in Montreal, Dundee and Vancouver (sounds a bit like a version of Del Boy’s three wheeled van!) between December 2019 and June 2020. We can thank Covid for the gap this time with recording and production interrupted for several months while most of the world went into lockdown. The new material again reflects the North American experience of the Irish diaspora

“blending truth and fiction, glory and sport, love and loss, darkness and despair, while introducing composites of individuals, companions, friends and foes met along the punk rock journey.”

​Now signed to local record label Stomp Records Down And Out In The City Of Saints begins with ‘Give Us A Roar’ and its Celtic-Punk in it’s purest form. A backbone of Irish music ably joined by Punk and Rock’n’Roll that from the first few notes lets you know what you’re in for here! The title track follows and ‘Down And Out In The City Of Saints’ follows in the same energetic mode of music to beat up the floor to. Lyrically these are not your usual Celtic-Punk fayre of drinking and fighting songs (though their is some of that!) and these songs tell stories in the traditional sense.

“You can drive me to drink, I’ll give you the keys And I’ll chart a path to the sea”

The first track from the album to be released was ‘Prizefight’ and a great decision being the album’s standout track for me with singer/songwriter Dave Barton again coming up tops with a sing that channels both Rancid and The Tossers. Bagpipes appear for the next track on ‘Spirits Seldom Sober’ and if you can keep up with Dave here singing along to the words then hats off to ye. Heavy but not fast it has slower interludes of gang vocals and a brilliant pint in the air chorus.

“In bliss or torment judge him now but it’s not what you are thinking. It was an angel that put it in his hands but a devil made him drink it”

We step into real Irish territory with ‘Stick And Move’ a corker of a Gaelige rocker about Irish boxer Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan, the pride of Cork city! Holder of multiple belts including Irish, WBA and WBO titles he also tread the boards starring in several films. ‘Rakes Around The Point’ carries on in the same Irish vein with a track telling of hoods, gun and gangsters.

The only video to promote the album was for ‘Glad To See The Back Of You’ which came out on St. Patrick’s Day. The song itself was actually a reworking of a demo from 2004 along with the album closer ‘From Here To Halifax’. The band excell themselves next with ‘Last Glass’ a rather beautiful wee gentle number with piano with Dave’s words spilling over with emotion proving again this guy is up there with the best in Celtic-Punk history.

“And what if this is our last glass
Just know I loved you all along
If all we’ve done is all we have
And all I’ve left you is this song”

The boxing metaphors continue on ‘Harder They Fall’ an irish rocker laced with a spirit of rebellion and defiance. The curtain comes down with ‘From Here To Halifax’ and I don’t think they mean the market town in West Yorkshire so it must be Halifax in the overseas Celtic territory of Nova Scotia. A working class fishing port it has long been associated with Celtic culture and immigration. The track is a cracking light hearted drinking song celebrating the town and a real good way to end things.

It may only be their third album in 22 years but isurely a case of quality over quantity! The albums ten tracks last almost forty minutes and has superb production as well as a pretty amazing cover by Canadian / Filipino artist @therealdannyrebel. Hope you guys are getting this knocked up as t-shirt? So St. Patrick’s 2021 did come good in the end and I look forward to still be playing this on next years one too!

(Stream / download Down And Out In The City Of Saints on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Down And Out In The City Of Saints  Download / Vinyl – Bandcamp

The album is also available from Stomp Records

Contact The Peelers  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube 

PUNKY BUT NOT PUNK, FOLKY BUT NOT FOLK. THERE WENT THE GLASGOW TREMENS

The 1980s weren’t all gloom and misery. Emerging from the smog of wars, strikes, unemployment, police corruption and pop charts clogged with over-produced music were a little-known Scottish band called The Tremens. They were loud, brash and full of it. They were like some kind of Glaswegian mutation of The Pogues and Tom Waits. They were punky but not Punk. They were folky but not Folk. And for a few years they were the freshest band in town…

During the recent lockdown I decluttered a room that was stuffed to the rafters with junk. Mountains of it. In a far corner I clocked a box ink-marked “Tremens”. The box contained a trove of old vinyl, master tapes, pictures, cassettes, Press cuttings and lyric sheets. It was like exhuming a corpse. Suddenly, it all came back to me…

Early publicity photo intended for an NME article that never happened!

I formed The Tremens as a 4-piece around 1985, most of us from the Govanhill area in Glasgow’s Southside. This first incarnation of the band was shouty and thrashy, second generation Punk, musically limited but bristling with attitude. We sold cassettes of our material at gigs around Glasgow and through the burgeoning Cassette Underground scene. I still love cassettes by the way. Great format. Songs from this period included Here Come The Plods and the boozy Shake Prattle And Fall. Both were included on a now very hard-to-find compilation called Dougie Donnelly’s Robot Pants which changes hands for silly money these days.

Our audiences always had a good time!

I was a huge fan of John Peel’s anything-goes music policy at the time and decided to widen the band’s output by incorporating folkier elements into the set. My influences at that time would have included The Pogues, Alex Harvey, Ivor Cutler, Half Man Half Biscuit and a lot of stuff released on the Ron Johnson label (Bogshed, Stump, Big Flame etc). I drafted in new members and this second version of the band played about 40-50 gigs up and down Scotland for a couple of years. The addition of a sax gave us a near unique sound, described in one review as

“Alex Harvey auditioning for X-Ray Spex”

and by 1987 or so The Tremens were a formidable live draw. Bands we supported around this time included Toxik Ephex, Nyah Fearties, Attila The Stockbroker, Pregnant Neck, Distorted Truth and many others. We were always a support act. Promoters liked sticking us in the middle of multi-band line-ups to give the running order more variety, more colour.

Ray belting something out at a mid-80’s gig

Members came and went, and a newer third version of the band released a 6-track EP in the late 80s called Feral Children, which was played to death on the BBC’s Beat Patrol show on Radio Scotland. For some reason the record became very popular in Germany, selling out in a few months, but full-blown tours abroad never materialised. We were too disorganised. Too lazy and probably too drunk. We continued for another year or two, but I then started going abroad for extended periods, busking and hitching, and I jacked-in the local gig scene. For the next 10 years The Tremens were an occasional recording unit only, releasing about half a dozen albums on CD and cassette, with whatever musicians were passing through. All in, I think there must have been around 30-40 floating members over the years. At one point we had banjo, bagpipes and xylophone in the ranks competing with the standard bass/drums/guitar line-up. Crazy. But it kept the material fresh. We never stayed in the one place, musically speaking. It was always evolving, but the attitude remained the same.

Other bands were by now using the name “Tremens” (there’s at least 3 of them out there), so we eventually became The Glasgow Tremens to distinguish us from the others.

Sometimes there were 8 or 9 of us on stage having good rammy

Listening to the band’s material recently for the first time in decades, it’s clear we were neither Punk or Folk in the conventional sense, but contained elements of both. The Punk element was in the attitude and delivery, not the musicality. Listening back, I was also surprised

by the amount of humour in the songs. We were an antidote to the legions of po-faced bores around at the time. As I said, the 1980s weren’t all gloom and misery.

Selection of Glasgow Tremens releases

The original vinyl, cassettes and CDs are long gone, occasionally popping up in the second-hand market for ridiculous money. I therefore decided to upload a batch of stuff on music site Bandcamp. I’ll put more songs up at a later date but for now, if you’re curious, you can download a 10-track album called SAWNEY BEAN’S GOT THE MUNCHIES.

Cheers, Raymy Tremens

*

Thanks to Raymy and we hunted down the album for you. You get three free listens then your free ride is over and you have to fork out a measley fiver. So get on it Folk-Punk folk.

ALBUM REVIEW: THE DEAD RABBITS- ‘7 Ol’ Jerks’ (2021)

Fueled by cheap whiskey and Lone Star beer The Dead Rabbits have emerged out of Texas as one of the American Celtic-Punk scenes best bands. Charged by the ole songs of Irish rebellion and the speed and harmony of Punk, they combine a potent mix of Irish Folk, Bluegrass, Gypsy and Punk Rock.

Taking their name from the real life street gang of American-Irish criminals active in Lower Manhattan in the 1830s to 1850s The Dead Rabbits hail from Texas but these guys are from your typical Texans! These original Dead Rabbits took their name after a dead rabbit was thrown into a gang meeting, prompting some members to treat this as an omen, their battle symbol becoming a dead rabbit on a pike. Besides their criminal activities they often clashed with so-called ‘nativist’ groups and gangs who viewed Irish Catholics as threatening and dangerous.

Formed in mid-2009 with the band’s founder, Seamuis Strain, a guest of the state at Louisiana prison he returned to Houston and bagan to put together what would become known as the ‘Warren’. Since that day, as with all bands, members have come and gone but always Seamuis has led from the front pushing and promoting the band across social media and he has become a known face on the many Facebook groups and pages specialising in Celtic-Punk. Their debut release was the excellently titled ‘Tiocfaidh Ar La’ which went onto be voted one of the best releases of 2013 by both Paddyrock Radio and Celtic Folk Punk web-zine! As far as I can tell the band spent the next few years playing gigs and touring and it came as a suprise to me that it wasn’t till last year that they followed up ‘TAL’ with the sort of greatest hits self-titled album The Dead Rabbits. It was basically a re-release of TAL but with a handful of new tracks and covers.

The Dead Rabbits: Seamuis – Lead Vocals, Guitars * Banjovi – Vocals, Banjo * Danger Dave – Fiddle * General Woundwort – Vocals, Guitar * Bigwig – Drums and Vox

So a new album is long overdue and their is certainly no messing about here on 7 Ol’ Jerks with the nine tracks clocking in just short of twenty-one minutes it’s a fast and furious, blink and you’ll miss it rollercoaster ride through the angrier side of Celtic-Punk alternating between Discharge styled hardcore Punk and a just slightly more Celtic version of them. Not for the faint hearted these are not likely to turn at Renaissance fayre’s or family orientated Celtic festivals (mores the pity!). Laced with humour and Irish spirit(s) I bloody loved it but then again I am an aging auld anarcho-punk but these days with better politics and hair!

They follow this up with another quick blast through the Shane MacGowan penned ‘If I Should Fall From The Grace With God’. The title track of what is often thought to be the pinnacle of The Pogues career it is here given the full Punk-Rock treatement with some great fiddle work giving it that Irish feel. Played at breakneck speed Seamuis has a great voice for this style but the rest of the band too showing how good the production/mixing is. Another ‘quickie’ with ‘L-Elaine’ not even breaking the minute mark but still manages to tell a story of love and love of the bottle. ‘Father McGregor’ is a oldish song with the version below from Bandcamp a few years old now but has been reworked for 7 Ol’Jerks.

You might expect The Dead Rabbits to not be the kind of band to play the ‘auld favourites’. The kind of song that when your Mammy walks in while you’ve got Celtic-Punk turned up to 11 asks “do they play such and such?”. You reply of “don’t be daft. Of course not Mum, this is Celtic-Punk” and then the next song that comes on is ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’ and she walks away smiling! Well here the Rabbits turn their ear to that most loved of all Irish songs, especially among the American-Irish, ‘Danny Boy Medley’ in which they stick in half-a-dozen classics before the clock strikes three minutes. ‘Train Song’ is a song about trains. Just that but with banjo and fiddle before we get another classic and  ‘The Leaving Of Liverpool’ is one of many Irish Folk tunes that is perfectly suited for ‘punking up’. The sound of the Dubliners version is still intact and recogniseable while the Rabbits add a new dimension to the song. The album ends with two original tracks the short more trad Celtic-Punk sounding title track, ‘7 Ol’ Jerks’, and the epic 4 (four!!) minute ‘Dreams’, originally recorded by The Cranberries. I think it’s a shame they didn’t choose this as the opening single to promote the album as its is utterly brillliant!! They can do the hardcore stuff very well but this song lifts the album from just pretty good into album of the year material, yes it is that good. Seamuis voice aches and strains over a tune to die for that depsite being classic Celtic-Punk still has that harder edge than most bands which I’m sure is what they were striving here on 7 Ol’ Jerks.

Buy 7 Ol’ Jerks  Amazon  Apple  Spotify

(Pre sale orders for vinyl are available now from Grimace Records)

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ALBUM REVIEW: AFTER HOURS- BLACK 47 TRIBUTE COMPILATION (2021)

Thirty years since the release of Black 47’s eponymous first album comes the first part of a trilogy of tribute albums celebrating this popular and controversial band of who Time magazine wrote in 1993 it was

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

Seven songs from Larry Kirwan and Black 47 with Celtic Cross, Pat McGuire, Screaming Orphans, The Gobshites, Rory K, Gary Óg and Martin Furey produced by Peter Walsh of The The Gobshites and Larry Kirwan of Black 47.

Taking their name and inspiration from the worse year of An Gorta Mór (the Great Hunger) in Ireland Black 47 were one of the brightest lights of the Irish music scene on the American east-coast for twenty-five years from 1989 till they called it a day in 2014. Their influence still spreads across the whole of America and wherever Irish music in America is mentioned then the name of Black 47 will be included. So it is fitting that Valley Entertainment have announced a series of tribute albums to be rleased over the next few months starting with After Hours celebrating thirty years since the release of their debut self-titled album in 1991.

Executive produced by Peter Walsh of the much loved Celtic-Punk band The Gobshites and Black 47’s very own Larry Kirwan, After Hours will be released in three parts, each comprising a selection of reworked Black 47 favourites beginning with the first volume that came out on St. Patrick’s Day 2021. Playing over 2500 live shows across three continents during their time together (including one memorable evening down the Haringey Irish Centre in north London) these collections feature musicians that the band met along the way while performing everywhere from stadiums to theatres, rock clubs to Irish bars. In addition to working on these releases, the ever busy Larry Kirwan has been working on several other projects:  His latest novel Rockaway Blue was published by Three Hills/Cornell U. Press on March 15th.  He conceived and co-wrote the Broadway bound musical Paradise Square that tells the story of the immigrant Irish and African-Americans in the Five Points neighborhood of New York City during the Civil War. While for Peter Walsh and The Gobshites they have come storming back onto the Celtic-Punk scene with their latest single ‘Carry Me Away’. The music on After Hours includes songs from the entire Black 47 catalogue, each one featuring a guest artist.

(Each song is featured individually but to hear them together go to the Bandcamp link at the bottom)

Celtic Cross – ’40 Shades Of Blue’

Pat McGuire – ‘Too Late To Turn Back’

Screaming Orphans – ‘Sleep Tight In New York City (Her Dear Old Donegal)

The Gobshites – ‘Livin’ In America’

Rory K. – ‘Desperate’

Gary Óg – ‘James Connolly’

Martin Furey – ‘Rockin’ The Bronx’

 

Buy After Hours  Fanlink  ValleyEntertainent  Bandcamp

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

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Facebook has become an unlikeable monster with more and more good folk leaving. Can’t say I blames you. So we have set up a Telegram group. Similar but better (and easier to use) than Whats App and free from Facebook control. Join us on Telegram and dont miss a beat!