Author Archives: The Don

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy March On!​?​  Bandcamp

Contact The Moorings  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Giving up will be the last thing I do”

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

 

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

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

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

Buy Roots Of Life  FromTheBand  (CD / Download)

Contact The Royal Spuds WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Bandcamp

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

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

Savannah Rowdy Irish Music

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download In Memory Of  Bandcamp

Contact In For A Penny  Facebook  YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

‘Hope Like Hell’

’10 TeraOhm’

‘Star Of The County Down’

‘The Foggy Dew’

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

Download Hope Like Hell  Bandcamp

Contact The Grinning Barretts  WebSite  Facebook  Soundcloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook  Bandcamp

FINBAR FUREY – ‘Mychal’

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

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

BARLEYJUICE – ‘Celtic Rocker’

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

Facebook  WebSite

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

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

Facebook  Instagram  Twitter

BANGERS AND MASH – ‘Izzy’s Irish Rose’

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

Facebook  WebSite

THE POGUESTRA – ‘Green Suede Shoes’

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

THE MUCKERS – ‘Five Points’

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

WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

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

Buy After Hours  Fanlink  ValleyEntertainent  Bandcamp

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

WebSite  Facebook

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AFTER HOURS VOLUME ONE COMPILATION

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

Further Recommended Reading:

Let Ireland Remember

Irish National Famine Memorial Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN FOR A PENNY – In Memory Of

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

THE DREADNOUGHTS – Roll And Go

PADDY AND THE RATS – From Wasteland To Wonderland

THEIGNS AND THEALLS – Theigns And Thralls

THE MOORINGS – March On ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 10

First pints of the tour!

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

Friday, March 11 | Dublin, Ireland

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

Saturday, March 12

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

Sunday, March 13 | Slieve League Sea Cliffs Donegal

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

Monday, March 14 | Donegal to Sligo and Westport

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

Tuesday, March 15 | Achill Island

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

Wednesday 16 | Westport to Waterford via Kilkenny

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

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

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

Friday, March 18 | Waterford to Dublin

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

Saturday, March 19

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

Sunday, March 20

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

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

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

Wild Colonial Bhoys  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Star Of The County Down  FromTheBand

Contact Bog Iron  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

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

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

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

Live in Prague – 19.03.2022 * Photo – @crishfoot

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

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

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

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

Buy Still Pissed  Bandcamp

Contact The Cloverhearts  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Brigade 77  E-Mail  YouTube

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download Dread Naught  Bandcamp

Contact The Killigans  YouTube  Facebook  Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download Still Groggin’

Contact The Groggy Dogs WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

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

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

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

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

Contact The Scratch  WebSite   Facebook  YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BRIGADE 77 – Rebellion (review on its way)

THE GARLIC KINGS – Громко, Крепко, Честно

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

THE BRIDGE CITY SINNERS – Unholy Hymns

MOONSHINE WAGON – Self-Destruction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“A disease of hate reminds of the seventies”

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Someday  Bandcamp

Contact Drunken Fighters  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

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

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

SIR REG – ‘Kick Out The Scum’

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

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

THE DREADNOUGHTS – ‘Cider Holiday’

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

THE FOGGY DUDE – ‘Bella Ciao’

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

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

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

SHANGHAI TREASON – ‘Failure To Launch’

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

FLATFOOT 56 – ‘Mud’

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

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

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

MOLLYS vs MURPHYS ST. PATRICK’S FACE OFF!

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

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

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

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

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

Sláinte (slahn-chuh): Irish for cheers. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Slainte  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

NEW ST. PATRICKS TUNE FROM GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS

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

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

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

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

ST. PATRICK’S DAY DRINKING

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

Contact Greenland Whalefishers  WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Spotify

NEW SINGLE FROM NOVA SCOTIAN CELTIC ROCKERS THE STAB ROVERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download Off To War  Bandcamp

Contact The Stab Rovers  Facebook  YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Jamie Clarke’s Perfect WebSite Facebook YouTube Instagram

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

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

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

THE POGUE TRADERS 2022 ST. PATRICK’S TOUR

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

Leeds – Brudenell Social Club Friday March 11th

Holmfirth – Picturedrome Saturday March 12th

London – Half Moon Putney, Thursday 17th March

Glasgow, – McChuills Saturday, March 19th

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

The Pogue Traders  Facebook WebSite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DRUNKEN FIGHTERS – Someday

WHISKEYS WAKE – Wake Up Whiskey

THE KINGS PIPERS – Tradition

SLAINTE – Up Down 95

THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG – Red Kite Rising

THE ROUGHNECK RIOT – Burn It To The Ground

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download City Of Iron  Bandcamp

Contact The Lucky Trolls  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram Spotify

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

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

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

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

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

Stefan Cush

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Red Kite Rising Bandcamp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“where I come from we grow up too tough”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Bryan McPherson WebSite Facebook Instagram YouTube

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

ALBUM REVIEW: SYR- ‘Sentinel’ (2022)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Sentinel  From The Band-CD  Download

Contact Syr  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS 2021 READERS CHOICE WINNER ANNOUNCED

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

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018 – KRAKIN’ KELLYS 169 votes  (524 total)

2019 – MICKEY RICKSHAW 94 Votes  (476 total)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READERS 2018 * READERS 2019 * READERS 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE ALT – Day Is Come

JAMIE CLARKE’S PERFECT – Monkey See, Monkey Do

TIR NA nOG – Live 1970-71

SYR – Sentinel

THE CLOVERHEARTS – The Sick And The Sacred Acoustic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact The Groggy Dogs  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

SIR REG NEW SINGLE ‘OPEN THE PUBS’ OUT NOW

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

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

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

Lyrics: Brendan Sheehy, Chris Inoue

Directed by: Johan Lundsten

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

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

Contact Sir Reg  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS THE BEST OF 2021!

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. FEROCIOUS DOG – The Hope

3. THE RUMJACKS – Hestia

4. BLAGGARDS – Blagmatic

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

9. DIE STROMMS – Vinem, Et Domina Canticum

10. THE CRAZY ROGUES – Advanced Roguery

11. THE OUTCAST CREW – Myths & Yarns

12. WILD COLONIAL BHOYS – Remote Ruaille Buaille

13. THE BLACK TARTAN CLAN – A New Beginning

14. GREEN GUARD – Devil’s Lung

15. SWAINN – Under A Willow Tree

16. THE RUMPLED – The Perfect Match 

17. TIR NAN OG – Sing Ye Bastards!

18. THE POKES – Another Toast

19. HAWTHORN – All The Light We Cannot See

20. THE GROGGY DOGS – Grog O’Clock

21. THE REAL McCOYS – Outlive Death

22. BUGUL NOZ – Chat In The Freezer

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

24. THE SURFIN’ TURNIPS – Down The Allotment

25. EBRI KNIGHT – Carrer

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

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

1. SHADOWS OF BOSTON – Demo

2. FOGGY DUDE – More Ain’t Less

3. THE WORKING CLASS SYMPHONY – Mulat Sarira Angrasa Wani

4. THE RAMSHACKLE ARMY – Highflyer

5. TOXIC FROGS – My Lucky Own

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

7. THE FEELGOOD McLOUDS – Saints And Sinners

8. NEVERMIND NESSIE – Another Six Pack Of Drinking Songs

9. THE BLACK CLOVER – Just Another Pub

10. BLACK MATILDA – Black Matilda

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

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

1. BARDS FROM YESTERDAY – (EP)demia

2. TARA’S FOLK – Leaving

3. DAN WALSH – The Floodgate

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

5. FINNY McCONNELL – Dark Streets Of Love

6. JIM LINDBERG – Songs From The Elkhorn Trail

7. SETH MARTIN – Through Dark Valleys

8. JUSTIN SULLIVAN – Surrounded

9. DARRAGH O’DEA – Tilly And The Postmaster

10. CHRISTY MOORE – Flying Into Mystery

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

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

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

THE LONDON CELTIC PUNKS SHOP

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

https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

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

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

 Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Bhoys – January, 2022

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

codladh sámh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download Black Matilda  Spotify 

Contact Black Matilda  Facebook  Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Download A New Beginning  Apple  Deezer   

Contact The Black Tartan Clan  Facebook  ReverbNation  YouTube

The Black Tartan Clan back catalogue is all available on Spotify

2021 CATCH UP REVIEWS. PART 2 – WILD COLONIAL BHOYS, THE POKES, HAWTHORN, SURFIN’ TURNIPS,

Our last post was an attempt to catch up with a few albums that we loved but had missed for reviewing during 2021. Part One wasn’t originally planned to be but they all ended up being ‘solo’ albums and so today we have a bunch of albums from bands. Apologies for not being able to do more detailed reviews but as we say each and every month “we can’t review what we don’t hear”. 

WILD COLONIAL BHOYS – Remote Ruaille Buaille

Not a band I’m particularly knowledgeable about bar coveting one of their great t-shirts but here goes. I’m pretty sure I had some stuff from them in the past but was all lost in the great external HD crash of a few years ago. Hailing from Minnesota the album was recorded remotely, hence the name, which makes the expert production even more impressive.

Things start with the self penned ‘Red haired Lass’ and a upbeat bouncy Country /Celtic number. The production here is maybe one of the best I’ve heard all year. The sound is so full with the many instruments here all complimenting each other. The talented band show their ability throughout the album able to switch from more rocking numbers even to trad Folk. Their harder edge comes out early on, on the first of a handful of covers and ‘Rocky Road’ never fails to disappoint. Their are several excellent covers like  Ewan MacColl’s ‘Homes of Donegal’, and Luke Kelly’s ‘Schooldays Over’ but as usual it’s the originals that I’m really interested in. The standout track here is the ‘Tragedy At Duffy’s Cut’ where the Bhoys tells the tragic story of the death of 57 Irish immigrants whilst working digging the railroad near Philadelphia in the 1830’s. The death and unmarked grave containing these men’s remains was hidden for decades and is a stark reminder that the lives of working-class Irish Catholics in those days were worthless. A fascinating story well worth reading more about but the story is well told here. The album ends with a great upbeat version of ‘The Auld Triangle’ and it all reminds me what I have been missing. A fantastic album that captures the spirit of Irish-America perfectly.

THE POKES – Another Toast  (Here)

The Pokes had quite a lengthy several year hiatus between this album and their last but have returned with an album that reminds me of them at their best. Another Toast is their fifth studio album and takes off from where Mayday ended. Their distinctive Folk-Punk sound is left intact as well as the humour they are famous for. Kicking off with an ode to their beloved Berlin wart’n’all. Accordion led with a real catchy beat chugging along. As I’ve said before The Pokes remind me a hell of a lot of the Geordie band The Whiskey Priests. Unafraid to venture into political commentary but it’s pure bold and absolute brazen entertainment that is the goal here and is achieved 100%. My personal favourite here is ‘Gambler’, now talk about bloody catchy! but several songs could all be described the same. With the album’s artwork it’s no surprise The Pokes take a deep look at death here but always with a jig in their heart and a beer glass being slammed into a table.

The CD album comes with the added bonus of the vinyl only Sail single from earlier this year and also with a extensive 16-page booklet. The album was released on the famous Mad Butcher Records and is available in all formats. This to me is Celtic-Punk without being particularly Celtic but it is nevertheless absolutely superb party music!

HAWTHORN – All The Light We Cannot See  (Download)

We have just literally done a review of another band from Arizona (the new album from Swainn) and his has been in the to-do pile for a few weeks without us giving it much of a chance. hawthorns roots began in another local Celtic-Punk West Winds and they have previously released a 6-track EP in 2017 before this. Hawthorn are, rather unbelievably, a duo with Sarah Elizabeth and Brent Anderson playing all the instruments. The band is rather mysterious with blurred videos and artsy photos never quite giving you a decent view of the band. Still we here for the music and that is damn good.

I didn’t know they were a duo for a good while after I heard this album and I still find it hard to believe now after several listens. The amount of instruments here is incredible with flute, tin-whistle, uileann pipes, upright bass, mandolin, banjo and plenty more all in the mix here. At times the music is aggressive Celtic-Punk and at other times gentle Celtic inspired Folk. Basically the perfect model for an album on these pages. Of the former the brilliant intro ‘Beltane’ that leads into the fast bagpipe led ‘A Green And Ancient Light’, ‘Gardner’s Ghost’ and the album’s closing song ‘Raven’ all rock along with Celtic intensity, while of the latter the Irish trad instrumental ‘Lughnasadh’, the atmospheric ‘Samhain’, with almost Gothic sounding uileann piping, and the gentle ‘Solstice’ all stand out. Overall it’s a great album with a bit extra than most Celtic-Punk albums. Definitely not yer typical American album with both it’s style and lyrics. The album is available at the link below for ‘name your price’ download so basically a £100, a pint of Guinness or bugger all. Up to you but make sure you do download it.

THE SURFIN’ TURNIPS – Down The Allotment  (Download)

The Surfin’ Turnips have been with us now a good few years and round their way (Bristol and the south-west of England) they have become quite the institution. Known primarily as a festival band they have a decent enough back catalogue too and their latest album Down The Allotment came out back in March.
These guys are the real deal when it comes to West country Cider Punk anthems and its all heads down Folk’n’Roll as on the album opener the Ramonesy ‘Mermaids Leg’ that leads into the Folky but Punky but still Folky ‘Windbound’. It’s all done in great spirit and with tongue lodged firmly in cheek with salty songs of the sea, some of the fields and some of the orchards too. There’s plenty here but maybe you have to be a local for it to really click with you. Some of the subjects sailing right over me head but I loved the uncomplicated Punk-Rock sound that is only improved by the addition of accordion. The kind of band that when asked your standout tracks it would change every listen. At the moment the spoken word ‘Evesham Wheel’, UK82 style ‘Cider Police’, the piss taking ‘You Are My Cider’ and the album’s closing song, and also one of my favourite songs, ‘The Bonnie Ship The Diamond’ all stand out though I can guarantee that will change. One for ‘turnip’ up loud and getting your dancing boots on!
 

2021 CATCH UP REVIEWS. PART 1 – PHIL ODGERS, CHRISTY MOORE, JIM LINDBERG, DAN WALSH

Here’s hoping you all had a great Christmas and New Year.  Despite everything it’s been another great year for music. Maybe not quite as much of it but things are picking up and the end of 2021 saw us caught in a deluge of music we couldn’t keep up with. Any regular reader will know we prefer to do detailed reviews and even though we can’t do them justice here are some notable release we simply had to mention before the end of the year.  Each one impressed us immensely and are worthy of your time so go ahead and check them out. We start with Part 1 and a bunch of solo artists.

PHIL ODGERS – Ghosts Of Rock’n’Roll  (Bandcamp)

Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers has been one half of the legendary joint vocal strike force of legendary folk rebel rockers The Men They Couldn’t Hang since the early 80’s and has recorded under many various monikers over the years. In fact this is his fifth solo album. In February TMTCH announced the sad death Of Swill’s fellow vocalist Stefan Cush and many wondered where The Men would go from here. Well The Men still continue to perform and Swill put out Ghosts Of Rock’n’Roll in September after a successful campaign to raise the necessary to release it. Eleven tracks of acoustic folkiness accompanied by guests galore including Sid Griffin and The Men fiddler Bobby Valentino. The music itself owes much to The Men perhaps inevitable given Phil Odgers distinctive vocals. Of the songs here the opening ‘The Serpent, The Maiden and The Bear’ kicks off with a county-ish happy-go-lucky jaunty banjo led song with the warm vocals telling of guiding your way home from reading the stars.

The following song, a cover of Phil Ochs, ‘Flower Lady’ is another high point standing out from the more Folky songs with its R’n’R guitar while it is ‘Brooklyn Bridge’ that is most memorable. A beautiful study in aging and dementia originally written by Joe Solo. Ghosts Of Rock’n’Roll is like a Men album it that it does encompass several distinct influences and also like a Men album it is both uplifting and sobering. Though the sadness of the death of Cush hangs over the album is dedicated to Cush and is a fitting memorial to him.

CHRISTY MOORE – Flying Into Mystery   (Here)

A ‘proper’ new album from one of the last remaining true legends of Irish music. Christy Moore’s first studio album since 2016 features twelve songs Christy has brought to life and made unique even if some we have heard before. For the first time (with the exception of health induced breaks) since 1969 Christy’s life hasn’t revolved around live performances and so as he says “all my focus has been on this album”. As is common with a lot of his work the album consists of his own interpretations of others and a handful of his own compositions. There are Gary Moore’s ‘Johnny Boy’ and Bob Dylan’s ‘I Pity The Poor Immigrant’ among the better known but also the less well known like the chilling ‘December 1942’ by Cork singer/ songwriter Ricky Lynch telling of the arrival of a train from the Warsaw ghetto at Auschwitz “to unload its human cargo/met by demons and by devils and their savage dogs”. While I do sometimes despair of the dreaded ‘celebrity opinion’ and their desire to stay relevant Christy’s politics at least come from the heart and on the album’s lead single ‘Clock Winds Down’ he sings of the mess the planet is in. Written by American singer Jim Page who was also covered by The Moving Hearts when they recorded his anti-nuclear classic ‘Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Russian Roulette’.

This is followed by another harrowing song, the traditional ‘Van Diemen’s Land’ telling the cautionary tale of a young lad Henry tried and convicted for poaching and sentenced to transportation to the horrors of the British penal colony in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania).

“Young men, all now beware, Lest you are drawn into a snare”

My own favourite here is one of his own songs and ‘Bord na Móna Man’ is always the kind of song I think of when I think of Christy Moore. A comic tale and a tribute to the art of turf cutting and turf cutters. Their was a time when it was a feature of Irish national life but these days the government would rather import it from overseas.

Their is something very familiar about this album. That mix of trad, modern covers and rowdy self penned numbers is very much the Christy formula but he does it with such style that the whole thing still sounds fresh and new.

JIM LINDBERG – Songs From The Elkhorn Trail (Here)       

Here’s another ‘Punk’ vocalist taking time out from his usual duties to lay down a solo album but unlike Cush this is the Pennywise frontman Jim Lindberg’s first album. Known for shouty Pop Punk friendly anthems he takes a far more reflective turn here and once again the subject of getting old comes up and again is handled beautifully. His father passed away in 2018 from Alzheimer’s Disease and was obviously a huge influence on his life supporting him in his career with Pennywise and even buying him his first guitar. The album cover depicts Jim playing guitar by his old mans Palm Desert home by the Elkhorn Trail and on the cello infused ‘Don’t Lay Me Down’ he opens his heart to us

“Drove to the desert house to say my last goodbye / I ran every light, didn’t make it there in time … A toast to those who gave us life”

Some of the songs here are over twenty years old and the upbeat music often disguises something more serious. The opening track ‘The Palm Of Your Hand’ is a great rousing start and call to sort ourselves out despite the pain we may hold.

On ‘You’re Not Alone’ Jim keeps it catchy as hell, poppy even with an inspiring message keeping the cringe at arms bay. ‘Hello Again’ is a gentle number that verges on exploding into something else but is reigned in magnificently. The words of a man who loves a drink while he reminisces about his Dad before the piano led ending. A truly lovely song though dark as much of the album is. The full band ‘Not One Of Them’ comes as close to a rock-song as possible here but still retains a country-ish feel to it while ‘Good Enough’ also comes close but in acoustic way. On such a good album it may be hard to pick a standout track but along with the two songs featured here a special mention for the strings laden ‘It’s Only’ and an emotional journey through the life of a life well lived.

Not being much of a Pennywise fan I was initially reluctant to give this a spin but I am glad I did and I am sure it will connect with many people in the same way it has with me. The album features some star guests in Social Distortions David Hidalgo Jr. on drums, The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones Joe Gittleman on bass, Dropkick Murphys / Walker Roaders guitarist Marc Orrell and award-winning record producer, musician, and songwriter Ted Hutt working the knobs. Lindberg will be celebrating his Mammy’s Irish roots supporting the Dropkick Murphys for their St. Patrick’s home town gigs so no doubt plenty of you will be lucky to see him then.

DAN WALSH – Live at the Floodgate   (Here)

There ain’t many instruments so suited to Celtic-Punk as the banjo is and while this is a Folk album there is plenty to love about the way Dan Walsh plays for everyone. Since his debut album, Tomorrow’s Still To Come, in 2009 Dan has made a considerable impact n the UK music scene with collaborations with all sorts from The Levellers to Seth Lakeman but he is more than just a ‘banjo to hire’ and his own material displays influences from some pretty imaginative sources! Born into a Irish family in the English town of Stafford Dan has been playing since 13 when so impressed by the likes of Barney McKenna and Gerry O’Connor he begged his parents to buy him a banjo and he has never looked back since. Now several album’s in he has recorded a live album ‘Live At The Floodgate’ at a pub in his own home town.

Recorded just before the first lockdown but only recently released, Live At The Floodgate sees Dan re-visiting all five of his previous albums as well as some new material and also some of his favourite covers like his outstanding version of Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’ that he has never released before. He kicks off with a thoughtful and tentative instrumental ‘Over The Border’ which ever so slowly builds into the equivalent of banjo Motorhead! The first time we hear Dan’s voice is on ‘Still A Town’ about gentrification and perhaps the destruction of the kind of places where this kind of music can still be heard. There’s a couple of auld Saw Doctors tracks ‘The Suilin’ and ‘At Least Pretend’ while ‘Late Night Drive’ at half way through the album begins to show Dan’s confidence as he plays with such speed it’s incredible and all note perfect too. You can hear from the audience too that the excitement is building. Two of the previous reviews have touched on the treatment of the elderly and here Dan puts the banjo down for acoustic guitar as he tells the moving story of an elderly man in a care home on ‘The Song Always Stays’. The song was actually inspired by a visit to Scots singer Glen Mason in a Surrey care home. Glen was often visited by musicians, whose repertoire would sometimes include his own songs, up to his death in 2014. The beauty of music eh? One of the highlights is the epic (over seven minutes!) ‘Joxers Set’ which starts off with you expecting another ballad before speeding up several times to the point where you cant imagine he can go any faster… before getting faster! Dan could have left it there but returns for the obligatory encore and the alcohol has flowed enough even for some audience participation as he sends his appreciative fans home (no doubt with the song playing in their heads for the following couple of days!) to Lester Flatt’s ‘Sleep with One Eye Open’

The live album can be very much a mixed bag but here Dan plays with such an intensity and comes across as so likeable that it’s impossible not to get drawn in. Over an hour that shows him at his very best and with the varied material here this is an album that anyone could love even them as don’t like banjos. If such a person does exist?

WATCH OUT FOR PART 2 COMING THIS WEEKEND!

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM LONDON CELTIC PUNKS. 2021… THE STATISTICS

Well not a lot to say about 2021 is there except that it was better than 2020! At least gigs are back for most of us and bands are back in the recording studios too. During 2021 we published a whopping 116 posts slightly down on last year and the first time in five years the number of posts has decreased. The vast majority of posts have been reviews but our popular monthly Odds’n’Sods feature now makes us the only place to regularly find out what’s going on in the Celtic-Punk world. We got fantastic feedback from bands but then they would wouldn’t they but readers praise is far more important so keep that coming in please.

TOP TEN COUNTRIES VIEWING

Pretty much the same as last year and the previous few years too!!(2013/2014/2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020 in brackets)

1. United Kingdom ( (1/1/1/1/1/1/1/1)

2. USA (2/2/2/2/2/2/2/2)

3. Ireland (4/7/4/4/5/4/3/3)

4. Germany (7/3/3/3/3/3/4/4)

5. Canada  (6/6/7/8/9/5/5/5)

6. Australia (5/4/8/6/7/7/6/8)

7. France (3/5/5/5/4/6/7/9)

8. Italy (9/10/9/8/9/9/9/7)

9. Netherlands (15/11/11/10/10/11/11/11)

10. Spain (8/8/6/7/6/8/8/6)

11. Norway (29/22/18/19/26/23/18/10)

12. Sweden  13. Belgium  14. Indonesia  15. Finland  16. Japan  17. Czech Republic  18. Brazil  19.Switzerland  20. Poland  21. Ukraine

TOP TEN ARTICLES VIEWED

To go to the relevant article/review simply click on link.

We continued to try during 2021 to steer the site away from only doing reviews and we achieved that somewhat as you can see from this top ten. Thanks in no small part to Andy – The Celtic Punk Author but also to all who contributed in any way. One of the saddest events for us in 2021 came early on in the year when a great friend of the site Mike Kilroe passed away – Codladh sámh. Sad news soon followed with the tragic death of Cush the leader of Celtic-Punk legends The Men They Couldn’t Hang.

1. LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS THE BEST OF 2020!

2. REMEMBERING STEFAN CUSH

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

4. REMEMBERING MICHAEL KILROE 1957-2021

5. THE DUNES

6. INTERVIEW WITH WU WEI FROM CHINESE CELTIC-PUNK BAND SMZB

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

8. CELTIC PUNK OLD AND NEW

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

10. A CELTIC PUNK LOVE AFFAIR

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TOP TEN MUSIC REVIEWS VIEWED

Highly unusual that a previously unknown band would take the top spot here but Bostonian super-group Shadows Of Boston did just that with their superb debut release that took the Celtic-Punk scene by storm.

1. SHADOWS OF BOSTON – ‘Demo’

2. RAISE YOUR PINTS. CELTIC- PUNK SAMPLER. VOLUME 6 – VARIOUS ARTISTS

3. NEW COLLABORATION FROM GRASS MUD HORSE AND FRANKIE McLAUGHLIN

4. AFTER HOURS- BLACK 47 TRIBUTE COMPILATION

5. NEW SINGLE ‘A Song’ FROM LUTON IRISH BAND MISSING THE FERRY

6. THE RUMJACKS – ‘Hestia’ (2021)

7. TOXIC FROGS – ‘My Lucky Own’

8. THE SKIDS – ‘Songs From A Haunted Ballroom’

9. THE PEELERS – ‘Down And Out In The City Of Saints’

10. DROPKICK MURPHYS – ‘Turn Up The Dial’

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

The next couple of weeks will see our annual Best Of list featuring the cream of the Celtic-Punk scene over the last twelve months. Be sure to return to find out who reigned as kings of the scene for 2021.

ALBUM REVIEW: THE GROGGY DOGS – ‘Grog O’Clock’ (2021)

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

Our last review of the year, we’ll see you soon, sees the debut album from Seville based Groggy Dogs. They be a pirate band that fuses Punk, Metal ‘n Ska wit’ sea shanties ‘n traditional Celtic melodies, achievin’ a forceful ‘n fun sound that invites ye t’ dance ‘n party wit’ a few grog jugs.

The end of 2021 saw a flurry of ‘Pirate-Punk’ releases to which we can now add The Groggy Dogs and their debut 8-track album Grog O’Clock. Based in Seville in southern Spain. The city itself is not that far from the sea which may explain why the guys set up a Piratey band. As we have said before there is no more than a fag paper between Celtic-Punk and Pirate music sharing many of the same tunes and songs and sea-shanties galore, as evident on Grog O’Clock.

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

We can thank the Covid lockdown for The Groggy Dogs as they were formed only in April, 2020 only a month after the worldwide lockdown began, with Mauro, already a veteran of several Celtic projects wanting to give the music a more forceful sound. Soon joined by several other musicians and being huge fans of traditional sea songs, the decision was to form a Pirate-Folk-Punk band.
“An unknown plague was sweepin’ the whole world when The Cap’n, marooned, realizin’ that his supplies were diminishin’, decided t’ embark on a new adventure in search o’ ports t’ plunder. He knew that his guitar ‘n his grog-worn voice wouldna be enough t’ navigate through the roarin’ seas ‘n winds so he united the crew”
This album has been out a while being released last April and just goes to show if you want a review then you have to send it us. We don’t need a CD just a download and away we’ll go. The album was recorded in mid-2020 and contains the perfect combination for drinking and having a great time with it’s mix of popular covers and original compositions. Starting off with the great instrumental ‘The Roaring Seas’ and maybe somewhat predictably but still very effective the sound of the shore is soon joined by accordion and then fiddle. Needless to say guitars start thrashing, drums pounding and bass throbbing before the song goes off in a unexpected tangent  of Ska and Metal. I love a bit of trad to kick things off and we next get the first of the covers and a thrashy energetic 18th century Irish sea-shanty ‘Ten Thousand Miles Away’.

Ska is never too far away and the song bounces along in that way that only Ska can do but the fiddle and accordion are pumped up loud (but perfect) in the mix and the song changes tempo several times but always remains tuneful. ‘All For Me Grog’ is another well known sea-shanty that tells of a sailor who sells everything he owns, as well as his wife, to pay for his distractions! The Dubliners had a top 10 hit with the song in 1967 which still remains the most popular version. This is followed by a companion song ‘The Wise Grog’ and another top notch accordion led Metally-Ska instrumental.

Next another well known standard of the genre ‘Drunken Sailor’ and again dating from the 18th century and from Ireland. This song could have been written to be turned into Punk so natural is it. Played fast and with plenty of chorus for the audience to join in on it’s no wonder it has become so popular. ‘The Ghost Of High Barbery’ dates even further back to the early 17th century and tells of a English ship being attacked by African pirates and having to defend themselves.

“For quarter, for quarter those pirates then did plea
But the answer that we gave them, was to sink them in their sea.”

(Directed and animated by Carlos Ghirlanda. Art by Martín Neironi and Agustín Capiglioni)

Not a song I’ve heard before but I love The Groggy Dogs version with it’s gruff vocals and speedy tuneful tune. ‘Botany Bay’ is also known as ‘South Australia’, under which title is was recorded by The Pogues, and is still a favourite of mainly Irish bands. The album ends with another brilliant instrumental and ‘Last Night’s Grog’ sees the album out with probably the best song and never do they sound more Gaelic! A fast, catchy, tuneful, uplifting instrumental to send us off.

Grog O’Clock was expertly recorded, mixed and mastered by The Groggy Dogs Cap’n and founder Mauro at Estudios Tomahawk. The sound is absolutely perfect and with all the instruments as clear as the proverbial bell! The whole album blends traditional Irish Folk and sea-shanties (sometimes the same thing) with more modern influences to make for something very good. The touches of Punk, Ska and Metal in The Groggy Dogs hands make for a brilliant sound. A forceful ‘n fun sound that invites ye t’ dance ‘n party wit’ a few jugs o’ grog (that’s enough of that- editor).

(You can stream / download the whole of Grog O’Clock on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Grog O’Clock  CD-FromTheBand  Download-Bandcamp

Contact The Groggy Dogs  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

So that’s your lot for 2021. Our final post. Thanks for sailing with us and thanks for everybody involved in the site and everyone that has supported us over the last year. Happy to say that 2022 is shaping up to be a great year something for us all to celebrate. 

CELEBRATING A CELTIC CHRISTMAS 2021. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO THE LONDON CELTIC PUNKS FAMILY

We think Celtic-Punk is about embracing the traditions of the past and bringing them to the present so here’s some of the Christmas customs of each of the Celtic nations.

At this point we also pick the best Christmas themed song we’ve heard to showcase. Their was a time it was quite easy to choose which song. Not any more!

This year our chosen Christmas track is by the fantastic Walker Roaders. Already a bit of a supergroup what with James Fearnley from the Pogues, Marc Orrell, and occasionally Tim Brennan, from the Dropkick Murphys and Ted Hutt from Flogging Molly but they are joined here by the wonderful KT Tunstall and Chris Leonard and fueled by coffee and mince pies got to work and came out the other end with ‘Run Rudolph Run’.

Contact Walker Riders  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

CELEBRATING A CELTIC CHRISTMAS

According to long standing theory, the origins of Christmas stems from pagan winter festivals. One main reason early Christians were able to spread their religion across Europe so quickly came from their willingness to embrace celebrations already common among regional populations. One such example is the Celtic ‘Alban Arthuan’, a Druidic festival that took place around December 21st. the Winter Solstice. This traditional fire festival celebrated the re-birth of the Sun. Although a celebration of the Son’s birth replaced that of the Sun’s, still a number of ancient Celtic Christmas traditions remain today.

As we look across the Celtic nations, it is interesting to note some similarities among Christmas traditions that cross geographic boundaries. They include, for example: Holly (a symbol of rebirth among Pagan Celts, but also of hospitality—it was believed fairies sought shelter inside the evergreen leaves to escape the cold); Mistletoe (believed to have healing powers so strong that it warded off evil spirits, cured illnesses and even facilitated a truce between enemies); fire and light (most notably the Yule log or candles placed in windows to light the way for strangers and symbolically welcoming Mary and Joseph); and door-to-door processions, from wassailing to Wren Hunts.

Each of the seven nations possesses its own variations of Celtic Christmas customs. Surrounding cultures and local identify shape theses practices as well.

SCOTLAND

Christmas was not officially recognized in Scotland for nearly four centuries. The Puritan English Parliament banned Christmas in 1647 and it did not become a recognized public holiday in Scotland until 1958. However, according to Andrew Halliday, in his 1833 piece Christmas in Scotland, Scots were not discouraged from celebrating Christmas. Halliday wrote

“We remember it stated in a popular periodical, one Christmas season not long ago, that Christmas-day was not kept at all in Scotland. Such is not the case; the Scots do keep Christmas-day, and in the same kindly Christian spirit that we do, though the Presbyterian austerity of their church does not acknowledge it as a religious festival”

Halliday’s 19th century account went on to describe festive sowens (sweetened oat gruel) ceremonies, “beggars” (actually “strapping fellows”) singing yule song, dances and card parties and children’s teetotum games. Despite Puritan rule, some long-time Christmas traditions are preserved. These include burning the Cailleach (a piece of wood carved to look like an old woman’s face or the Spirit of Winter) to start the new year fresh; or on Christmas Eve burning rowan tree branches to signify the resolution of any disputes. The Celtic tradition of placing candles in windows was also done in Scotland to welcome “first footers” (strangers, bearing a small gift) into the home. Traditional dishes also continue to be featured at Christmas lunch and throughout the holidays, including Cock-a-Leekie soup, smoked salmon, beef or duck, Clootie dumplings, black buns, sun cakes, Christmas pudding and Crannachan.

Because Christmas was not an official holiday until the late ‘50s it is no surprise that today, for some Scots, Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) is the most important event of the season. Arguably, locals ring in the new year with much more gusto than any other place on the planet.

IRELAND

An Autumn clean up was a common practice in Irish homes to prepare for Christmas. Women looked after cleaning the interior, while men took care of the outdoors, including whitewashing all exterior surfaces. Then holly, grown wild in Ireland, was spread throughout the house with cheer. Contemporary Ireland also highlights this clean-up ritual; once complete, fresh Christmas linens are taken out of storage.

Other customs include the Bloc na Nollaig or Christmas Block (the Irish version of the Yule log), candles in the window (perhaps one for each family member), and leading up to Christmas, ‘Calling the Waites’ where musicians would wake up townspeople through serenades and shouting out the morning hour. Christmas Eve Mass is still a grand affair; a time for friends and family to reconnect. It is not uncommon for churchgoers to end up at the local pub after service to ring in Christmas morn. On Christmas Day, traditional dishes include roast goose or ham and sausages, potatoes (such as champ), vegetables (such as cabbage with bacon) and plum pudding, whiskey, Christmas cake and barmbrack (currant loaf) for sweets. Traditionally on December 26th, St. Stephen’s Day, Wren Boys with blackened faces, carrying a pole with a dead bird pierced at the top, tramped from house to house. Today the custom sometimes sees children caroling throughout the neighbourhood to raise money for charity. It is also quite common to go out visiting on this day.

WALES

Music was and still is a major part of Welsh holidays. Plygain is a Christmas day church service, traditionally held between three and six in the morning featuring males singing acapella in three or four-part harmonies. While today this may be mainly practised in rural areas, Eisteddfodde (caroling) is abundantly popular in homes, door-to-door and as part of annual song-writing competitions.

Dylan Thomas’ story ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ is renowned around the world. An excerpt offers a glimpse of a traditional Welsh festive season:

“Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang ‘Cherry Ripe’ and another uncle sang ‘Drake’s Drum’… Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-coloured snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night”

Other intriguing Welsh traditions include toffee making; drinking from a communal wassail bowl of fruit, spices, sugar and beer; children visiting homes on New Year’s Day looking for their Callenig gift; and Mary Lwyd (Grey Mare) featuring wassail singers going door-to-door carrying a horse’s skull and challenging residents in a contest of mocking rhymes.

ISLE OF MAN

Carolling also holds a special place in Manx Christmas celebrations, but traditionally an unconventional twist characterized it. On Christmas Eve, large numbers attended church for Carval. While the congregation sang, all of a sudden women would begin the traditional food fight, having peas on hand to throw at their male counterparts! Accounts from the 1700s and 1800s describe 12 days of non-stop Christmas celebrations where every barn was filled with dancers accompanied by fiddlers the local parish hired. The Reverend John Entick recorded in 1774

“On the twelfth day the fiddler lays his head on one of the women’s laps, which posture they look upon as a kind of oracle. For one of the company coming up and naming every maiden in the company, asks the fiddler, who shall this or that girl marry? And whatever he answers it is absolutely depended on as an oracle”

As in Celtic fashion, Hunting the Wren processions occurred on the Isle of Man and today the practice is going through a revival, characterized by costumes, singing and dancing.

Other Manx customs include Mollag Bands, wearing eccentric clothing, swinging a mollag (fishing float) and demanding money (a practice since outlawed); the kissing bush (a more elaborate ornament than a sprig of mistletoe); and Cammag, a sport that originated on the Isle of Man traditionally played on December 26th and/or Easter Monday. In older times but even as recently as the early 20th century, Christmas decorations were not taken down until Pancake Tuesday (when they were burnt under the pancake pan). Now holiday décor tends to be packed away on Old Christmas (January 6th).

CORNWALL

As a result of Oliver Cromwell banning Christmas, authentic holiday carols began to fade through much of Britain. However, throughout the 1800’s, Cornish composers and collectors sparked a revival of local Christmas song.Certain carols well-known around the world, such as Hark the Herald Angels and While Shepherds, are credited to Cornish origins.

“Contrary to the effect Methodism might have had on the English carollers, in Cornwall its impact was to stimulate song,” states the Cornwall Council (Cornish Christmas Carols – Or Curls, 2011). “In those areas where Methodism was strongest, music and signing had their greatest appeal, and notably so at Christmas. The singers would practice in chapels and school-rooms, some of them walking miles to be there”

Today, Cornwall erupts in festivals, fairs and markets during the holidays. The Montol Festival in Penzance (named for Montol Eve on December 21st) is a six-day celebration highlighting many Cornish traditions. These include Mummers plays, lantern processions, Guise dancing (participants dress in masks and costume, such as mock formal dress, to play music and dance).

Montol is also the time for burning the Mock (yule log). A stickman or woman is drawn on the block of wood with chalk. When the log burns, it symbolizes the death of the old year and birth of the year to come.

BRITTANY

Brittany boasts a wealth of folklore and supernatural beliefs around Christmas time. Christmas Eve was known as a night of miraculous apparitions from fairies to Korrigans, and at midnight, for just a brief moment, waters in the wells would turn into the most sweet-tasting wine. It was also at midnight, when families were either at mass or in bed, that ghosts would surface; traditionally food was left out for deceased loved ones just in case they visited.

During the holidays, Christmas markets come alive in many Breton towns vending hand-made crafts and toys, baked cakes and bread and ingredients for Christmas dinner. You can also buy Gallette des Rois at stalls, as well as bakeries, which is traditionally eaten on January 6th (Epiphany). A tiny figurine (the fève) is hidden inside the puff pastry cake; the person who finds the figurine in their piece gets to be king or queen for the day and wear a crown. Another special tradition through all of France is a meal after Christmas Eve’s midnight mass, called Réveillon. Specifically in Britany, the traditional dish for this occasion is buckwheat crêpes with cream.

GALICIA

Galicia has its own unique Christmas gift-bearer that pre-dates Christianity. He is called Apalpador, a giant who lives in the mountains. For Christmas, he descends into the villages below to make sure each child has a full belly. He brings treats, such as chestnuts, and well wishes for a year full of delicious sustenance. While Apalpador may not be widely observed in Galicia, his legend is seeing a revival.

Food is very important during the Galician holidays, featuring at least two feasts (on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Not surprisingly, seafood is on the menu, including lobster, prawns, shrimp, sea bass, and cod with garlic and paprika sauce. Other culinary delights consist of cured meat, cheese and bread, roast beef with vegetables and for dessert tarta de Santiago (almond cake), filloas (stuffed pancakes) and turrones (nougats). The children of anticipate the coming of the Three Kings or Magis by filling their shoes and leaving them outside on Epiphany Eve, January 5th. Many Galician’s communities also parade on the 5th.

So there you have it the old traditions just like the traditional music we all love live on…

Nollick Ghennal as Blein Vie Noa (Manx Gaelic)

Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath ùr (Scottish Gaelic)

Nollaig Shona Dhuit agus Bliain Nua Fe Mhaise (Irish Gaelic)

Nedeleg Laouen na Bloavezh Mat  (Breton)

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda (Welsh)

Nadelik Lowen ha Bledhen Nowyth Da (Cornish)

Further Christmas themed fun with this London Celtic Punks Top Twenty

GET IN THE FESTIVE SPIRIT WITH THE LONDON CELTIC PUNKS CHRISTMAS CELTIC PUNK TOP-TWENTY!

CLICK HERE

Couldn’t leave it there without another ’21 Christmassa! ‘I Auditioned To Be Santa’ by our most favourite Pirate-Punk band Jolly Roger. All the way from the historic Celtic nation of Kernow. It’s the hilarious tale of two friends competing to be a store Santa Claus. One loves Christmas time and the other loves being a pirate. Listen on for what happens and who gets the job. Jolly Roger recently released a great EP Ship Or Bust and have a new van and are looking to busk in YOUR town!

Contact Jolly Roger  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram Bandcamp

CHRISTMAS 2021 SONGS ROUND-UP! FINNEGAN’S HELL, YE BANISHED PRIVATEERS, MISSING THE FERRY, SONS OF CLOGGER, HELLRAISERS & BEERDRINKERS, MICK THE BUSKER

🎵🎵 Ding Dong Merrily On High 🎵🎵

Christmas Day is almost upon us and a recent development in the Celtic-Punk world has been bands doing Christmas songs. Every year we see more and some from quite unusual sources. Of course it being Celtic-Punk most have more in common with the darker side and ‘Fairytale Of New York’ than with ‘Rocking Around The Christmas Tree’. No harm in that after all we should all spare a thought for others at this time of year and go out of our way to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Enjoy this varied collection of Christmas songs and see you at a gig sometime soon!

FINNEGAN’S HELL – ‘Christmas Day’

the season’s upon us as Scandinavian big-hitters Finnegan’s Hell were first out the traps to celebrate a Celtic-Punk Christmas. Their new song ‘Happy Christmas’ shines a light on the dark side of Christmas and is aimed at broadening the general perception of the holiday, which, to some people, is nothing but a nightmare. Not us though, we love it… but some people.

YE BANISHED PRIVATEERS – Carol Of Bellows

Another bunch of Scandinavians go mad this year and Ye Banished Privateers have released a whole album of if not exactly Christmas fun then at least Christmas songs. This song is the lead single from A Pirate Stole Our Christmas and is a  take on the traditional ‘Carol Of The Bells’. A mix of choral’s, bawdy Swedish trad folk tunes and a Ukrainian nursery rhyme, they tell of Bellows triumphant return from the grave. Theatrical Pirate-Folk-Punk and second to none at the genre!

MISSING THE FERRY – Home For Christmas

Luton 2nd generation Irish band have had a busy year with several new releases hopefully building up to a full length album. It’s a bitter sweet song, hoping that the lost and displaced, the grieving, the addicted, the sick in mind or body will again see home this Christmas….if only in their dreams and imagination. The track is free on Bandcamp but the Bhoys ask that you make a donation to a mental health charity.

SONS OF CLOGGER – In Time For Christmas

After 10 years and nearly 400 gigs English Folk-Rockers Sons Of Clogger have finally got round to doing a Christmas single. With new members all bedded in it’s probably the most ‘traditional’ song here and wouldn’t be out of place on any Christmas compilation.

HELLRAISERS & BEERDRINKERS – Warmes Schwarzes Faxe

The Brits like to think that the German race have no sense of humour but German band Hellraisers And Beerdrinkers certainly look like they are having a great time filming the video for their seasonal track. Named after a song by Motorhead they call what they play ‘Gaudi Folk’, Celtic-Punk that is more Folk related but with serious Punk Rock attitude.

MICK THE BUSKER – Fairytale Of New York

Mick McLoughlin (aka ‘Mick The Busker’) has been a familiar face busking on Henry Street now for over a decade. He’s been through the hard times ant the other side and while every year their are umpteen recordings of FONY we loved Mick’s version. Many take the cowards way out and unnecessarily censor the song but not here.

EP REVIEW: FOGGY DUDE – ‘More Ain’t Less’ (2021)

Our favourite Czech Republican Celtic-Punk band Foggy Dude are back with an amazing studio EP of seven songs to follow last years Pub 10 live recording. 

These guys came to our attention last year with the release of Pub 10 a live EP of five songs recorded at their favourite Prague pub. Sadly for them, being live, it wasn’t eligible to be included in our end of year Best Of’s or else it would have definitely featured so impressed were we. Recorded ‘warts’nall’ it really captured this talented band perfectly so I was delighted to hear they were still going and had recorded new material.

Foggy Dude left to right: Jirka – Bass * Drunken Joe – Acoustic Guitar * Caba – Mandolin * Štofi – Electric Guitar * Ilia – Violin * Jirka – Tin Whistle * Peťa – Drums *

Foggy Dude (great name!) were formed in the Summer of 2017 by a group of friends who were studying at Strahov Technical University in the Czech Republic capital of Prague. In their earliest days they were a 8-piece gigging round the local student/punk scene in Prague at mainly the Vagon Rock club, 007 club Strahov and, what would become their spiritual home, the Block 10 Pub. A few years later they may no longer be students but they can still be found hanging around the pubs of Strahov. As any Celtic-Punk fan will tell you it’s next to impossible to keep that many people together long term and so it proved as people have come and gone from the band and no sooner had they released Pub 10 then two members up and left. Foggy Dude have risen to the challenge though and now a mere 7-piece instead of bringing in a singer they now share the vocal duties among the band. A very novel and commendable approach.

A wise man once said: Do you know why you should drink more? Because more ain’t less! Or so the story goes according to Ilia, who decided to demonstrate said proverb to us one drunken night at Pub 10. Since then, we took it to our hea… livers, as we got through many more drunken nights. We wrote some songs, we sang them loud for the entire drinkery to hear and thus this album came about. – Taken from the album notes.

More Ain’t Less begins with ‘Raise Your Glass’ and Ilia, the fiddle player takes on the main vocal in a tribute to The Dreadnoughts. So impressed by the Canadians love of sea-shanties (they recorded a whole album not long back) they decided to write one themselves to open shows so only right it should open here too. Next up is bass player Jirka and a song he wrote in the Himalayas (!) about the small things in life sometimes being the most enjoyable. In this case being in the Himalayas and missing a pint in your favourite bar with your friends.

“I sailed the deepest ocean
and climbed the greatest mountains
I know what is the life
I slept with many girls
and beat a lot of men
I know what is the life”

Great words and musically it’s bloody fantastic too. Great fiddle and a tune to die for. Five minutes of pure unabashed kick-arse Celtic-Punk party music. Catchy beyond words. All I can say is you’ll just have to check it out yourselves.

Cába of the mandolin sings ‘Hunt For Leprechaun’ and it’s actually the very first song ever written by the band about having your gold stolen by a leprechaun and then gaining your revenge. Again it’s a belter of a song and as catchy as hell. Word is they only wrote this song as they wanted to shout “NOW THE GOLD IS IN HIS ASS” in public! This is one hell of a bunch of talented guys and I don’t just mean musically either as they next turn their hand to an instrumental and ‘Felfire Dance’ includes two jigs both written by the band. The origins of the song lay in the time Cába was studying in Ireland. Jirka is back next for ‘Old Man’ and a sad tale but told with amazing gusto and such a uplifting Eastern influenced tune. A old man slaves his life away breaking his back till he can work no more and on finding his life in ruins finds solace in the bottom of a glass.

“Once there was an old man,
in a grotty pub, siting alone
and he had a story to tell
I got one bottle of whiskey
and I sunk across the table”

We see plenty of these old fella’s in the Irish community but truth be told they are everywhere and they built everything. Cába is back on vocals for ‘You Didn’t Even Appear At All’ and a more straight up Punk track but still with all the Celtic instrumentation. Based on a habit of old singer Sam to leave funny messages on peoples phones when angry or drunk or drunk and angry. The EP ends with another fine instrumental ‘Slainte Pico’ of two Foggy Dude original compositions.

Altogether this is a really wonderful release and it really made my day. With a pile of releases to get through of mostly Folky stuff it was an absolute pleasure to get this and it ended up taking over my day so good was it. The only disappointment here is that their is not more of it! The balance struck between Folk and Punk and Trad is perfect as is the production and it comes with the best booklet I’ve seen on any release this year. If we did give marks out of ten then put More Ain’t less down for a 9!

Download More Ain’t Less  Spotify  YouTubePlaylist

Contact Foggy Dude  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

ALBUM REVIEW: STAR BOTHERERS – ‘Tales Of Layton Rakes’ (2021)

The second album from Midlands based Star Botherers is a fine mix of Folk, Punk and social commentary.

Now if one band has dominated the Celtic-Punk scene on these islands in the last twelve months it has to have been Ferocious Dog. The runaway success of their recent album The Hope has only continued their rise in popularity and they’ve plenty more in the bank to come too. Along with their success they’ve managed to ferment a whole crew of regular support acts wherever they go that play a similar kind of broadly left-wing Folk-Punk. Some of these are pretty damn good with The Silk Road, The Leylines, The Whipjacks leaping to mind, but also many more are drippy studenty singer-songwriter types, a band that I knew existed in same milieu as FD but I hadn’t heard was the Star Botherers. Coming from the same small town as Ferocious Dog, Warsop near Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, they have a good relationship together with FD covering a few of their songs and Broken Soldier features on the new FD album, The Hope. It’s an area famous pretty much just for coal mining which ceased in the area 30 years ago but like most mining communities continues to define where they live.

Star Botherers from top left: Ellis Waring – Bouzouki, Mandolin, Guitars, Ukulele * Brad Drury – Percussion * Joel Howe – Guitars, Accordion, Vocals * bottom left: Andrew ( Bart) Hawkins – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar * Dave Drury – Bass, Vocals *
Recording, mix, master, produced: Joel Howe

Tales Of Layton Rakes is the Star Botherers second album after debut Happy Angry from 2017, which itself was preceded by a handful of demos that are now unavailable. Some of the tracks from those early days have been re-recorded here and the one or two I have heard have benefitted from the update. The album opens with, I think the album’s best song, the modern sea-shanty ’13 Years In Oregon’ a gloriously updated version of a track that appeared on their very first EP. The song steams along at a great pace telling of a life on the sea with some great lyrics and nice vocals from Andrew putting on a sort of Yank drawl. It’s a great wee opener and not what I was expecting from a band that I had imagined were prone mostly to jokey songs. The first of the modern tracks is up next and ‘Spoons’ is, as most UK based residents will know, the nickname for the cheap and (sometimes) cheerful (sometimes not) pub chain JD Weatherspoon. In the modern day of gentrification it’s often the only place in some city centres where working class people can afford a couple of pints. It’s common these days for people to bash Spoons under different guises but underneath it’s always that the owner of Spoons was prominent in the ‘Leave’ campaign. This is followed by ‘Blackpool’ and a list of things about why the town is “Shit, Shit, Shit”. Catchy and it chugs along with a story about a day out in the famous seaside town. ‘Let It Stand’ tells of the plan to erect a statue of Maggie Thatcher in her home town of Grantham not far from where the band are from. Needless to say it’s not universally popular but to to everyone’s surprise the band are in favour but as a way to remember what she stood far. ‘Just Around The Corner’ is another older song re-recorded. A jaunty folky tale of working your life away to make a decent life for you and your family and the breaks you get and more often don’t get. All quite serious stuff but hidden away in the kind of song that you could easily end up swinging strangers around a dance floor to. ‘Another Lidl Song’ is about the cheap but popular Lidl supermarket that is the fastest growing supermarket in Britain. ‘Kyle And Norton’ compares the two staples of British telly swopping their shows and how they get on. A clever and witty song.

‘Freethinker’ is another re-recorded song that has been covered by Ferocious Dog and it sounds like FD copied it note perfect! ‘Swearing In Songs’ is a slower Country-ish number with rather understated swearing considering the subject matter. ‘Silence Is Acceptable’ almost reaches Celtic-Punk in it’s intensity with a roll call of people and groups who fought for rights for all while ‘He Got Dreads’ I would say is about the kind of person who sneers at Spoons and Lidl and working class people in general. All the songs here are written by lead singer Andrew Hawkins with the exception of the next song, ‘Oddly Excluded’. Originally recorded for inclusion on the tribute album The Pete Drake Project (Vol​. ​1) and is one of the album highlights here. The album ends with ‘Sailors Grave’ and another marvelous song about the sea. Bit more Punky it definitely lifts the album at the end.

The album is released tomorrow and is available for pre-order below. It was recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by Joel Howe at the Black Market recording studio at home in Warsop and the CD comes with a whopping 16 page lyric booklet. Lyrically it they do seem caught between being an outright jokey band and their more serious material. A balance that will come in time I’m sure. Overall it’s a great album but like most Celtic or Folk-Punk it’s probably best to hear these songs in the live context as it is undoubtedly perfect for drinking and lepping about to!

(You can stream and download Tales Of Layton Rakes on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Tales Of Layton Rakes  Bandcamp

Contact Star Botherers  Facebook  YouTube  

THE POGUESTRA LATEST RELEASE ‘Fiesta’

The PoguestrA is back again this time with the perfect Christmas party song.
A group of musicians from across the world united by a love of The Pogues playing together remotely. Listen on as they continue their quest to cover all our favourite Pogues songs!

The PoguestrA continue their quest to cover everyone’s favourite Pogues song and their latest release is a song that has always been able to get the festivities going. Usually live it signaled the end, and if not the end then very near, of their gigs so it is also remembered with a tinge of sadness. Still, a grand choice of song, especially considering the time of year and also for us as it comes sandwiched perfectly between a review, by The Celtic Punk Author, of the new Shane McGowan biography, A Furious Devotion, last weekend and an interview with the books author Richard Balls coming next weekend.

Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan

‘Fiesta’ first appeared on the 1988 album If I Should Fall From Grace With God before being released as a single. It was the last time The Pogues with Shane at the helm would break into the top thirty and reached a respectable #24 in the UK charts. The rowdy video for the song was directed by Young One’s star and comic actor Ade Edmondson and filmed in Barcelona. The song itself comes from the time the Bhoys found themselves in Almeria in southern Spain as guests of cult film director Alex Cox. The film was a low-budget spaghetti Western called Straight To Hell, and also starred the likes of Joe Strummer and Courtney Love. It’s definitely no Fistful Of Dollars and at the time I wasn’t alone in thinking it an indulgent mess but I have warmed to it more as the years have passed. The last few years have seen the film being released as director’s cut and also a half decent soundtrack too.

In the words of Pogues guitarist Phillip Chevron

“‘Fiesta’ actually came out from our time in Spain. We had peculiar hours. We would get up at 6 in the morning and drive to the set, which was about 25 miles from the hotel. This meant that we had to get to bed relatively early, which was difficult enough for The Pogues. The actual hotel in the film is the one we stayed in. Typically we would get back at 8 O’clock, have a bite to eat and a few drinks to unwind and then go to bed. We were filming at Fiesta time, and the Spanish take their Fiestas very seriously. The problem with the Fiesta is that they start at sun down and continue to sun up. That wouldn’t be too bad except the noise of the fiesta is something else. All through the time we were in Almeria there was two tunes that kept playing, they came like Chinese water torture. It would stop for five minutes and then start again. The first tune was what we made the main tune in ‘Fiesta’ and the other one was coming from the doll-selling stall. You know the line ‘will you kindly kill a doll for me!'”

Appropriately the last line of the song reads “the shouts outside of the houses.”

Fiesta performed by The PoguestrA

Written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan

I am Francisco Vasquez Garcia
I am welcome to Almeria
We have sin gas and con leche
We have fiesta and feria
We have the song of the chochona
We have brandy and half corona
And Leonardo and his accordione
And calamari and macaroni
*
Come all you rambling boys of pleasure
And ladies of easy leisure
We must say Adios! until we see
Almeria once again
*
There is a minstrel, there you see,
And he stoppeth one in three
He whispers in this one’s ear
“Will you kindly kill that doll for me”
Now he has won chochona in the bingo
All the town has watched this crazy gringo
As he pulls off the doll’s head laughing
And ­miraldo! throws its body in the sea
*
El vienticinco de agosto
Abrio sus ojos Jaime Fearnley
Pero el bebe cinquante Gin-campari
Y se tendio para cerrarlos
Y Costello el rey del America
Y suntuosa Cait O Riordan
Non rompere mes colliones
Los gritos fuera de las casas
*
PoguestrA credits
Cisco: Vocals (Italy) / Yuri Lemeshev: Accordion (New York) / Nandu Popu: Harmonica, Vocals (Salento) / Daniel Al-Ayoubi: Mandolin (Germany) / Brandon Caylor: Mando-Guitar (California) / Giacomo Chiaramonte: BanjoBass (Italy) / Helena Cooke: Tenor Sax (England) / Tanis de Simón: Guitar (Almería, Spain) / John Dunne: Trumpet, Vocals (England) / Mark Hamilton: Accordion (Alberta, Canada) / Kaelin Harding: Banjo (Wyoming, USA) / Elizabeth Harman: Fiddle (California) / Robin Hiermer: Vocals (Germany) / Marc Hoper: Vocals (Germany) / Jez Ingarfield: Vocals (England) / Mattia Malusardi: Bouzouki (Italy) / Vince Martini: Bass (California) / Eddie ‘Hernandez’ Moss: Saxophone (UK) / Nick Neale: Drums (Canary Islands) / Rick Nuttall: Vocals (England) / Moisés Álvarez Rodríguez: Ukulele (Spain) / Daniele Rubertelli: Accordion (Italy) / Ron Spee: Banjo (The Netherlands) / Daniele Tristano: Guitar (Matera, Italy) / Geert van Beek: Drums (The Netherlands) / Marcel van Bergen: Guitar (The Netherlands) / Tim van den Hombergh: Tin Whistles, Piano (The Netherlands) / Paddy Vervoort: Vocals (The Netherlands) / MeLinda Wright: Alto Sax (Austin, Texas) / Zac: Vocals (Italy).
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

FINNEGAN’S HELL RELEASE ‘Christmas Day’ TO KICK YULETIME ’21 OFF!

Are you hanging up a stocking on your wall?
It’s the time that every Santa has a ball
Does he ride a red nosed reindeer?
Does he turn up on his sleigh
Do the fairies keep him sober for a day?

It’s Christmas… nearly. I’m not one of them zealots who has the tree up in November but have to say it’s my favourite time of year and second only to St. Patrick’s Day for the flurry of activity in the Celtic-Punk scene. Kicking off Christmas 2021 are the fantastic Finnegan’s Hell who are no strangers to the auld Christmas song genre with a new song and video for ‘Christmas Day’.

(Official Finnegan’s Hell music video directed by Michael Ek)

Well, it’s Christmas again and I’m cold to the bone
It seems Santa ain’t coming this year
Such a shame I have seen this before
It’s become a tradition Christmas alone
It’s just me and my beer
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 A choir on TV is singing their hearts out
The children are smiling, there’s joy everywhere
But here in my room there’s just misery and gloom
I wish I was dead drunk, but I really don’t care
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Well, it’s Christmas again
Just a year since the last one
It’s a curse, such a bummer one cannot escape
It’s snowing outside and I try to keep warm
 But the window is busted and I’m all out of tape
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Well, it’s Christmas again and I sure miss my family
My wife took our children and they all ran away
I don’t know why they left they sure ain’t coming back here
I’m alone in this hell How I curse Christmas Day!
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A dystopian in your face tale of a dysfunctional Christmas day and not one I would wish on anyone! As far away from the world of sugarplums and tinsel as is possible but then again the most famous and bestest Christmas song in the world is as well! Don’t despair though we’ll be back with something a bit positive any time soon. As a wee bonus a film team got the rare opportunity to follow Finnegan’s Hell during the studio recording their time recording ‘Happy Christmas’. This is the story behind the music.

Contact Finnegan’s Hell  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube
Stream / Buy ‘Christmas Day’ : https://orcd.co/happy-christmas

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

We take Christmas very seriously at London Celtic Punks and so begins the countdown to the second best day of the year! Expect much Christmas themed Celtic-Punk in the coming weeks but in the meantime here’s this months biggest yet round-up of all the band news, record releases and videos from bands big and small from across the Celtic-Punk scene.

6’10 the utterly brilliant offshoot from Flatfoot 56 just put out a new video to accompany ‘The Road’ taken from their awesome last album, Carried In Retrospect.

We missed the release of the new SHANGHAI TREASON single but needless to say it is again fantastic fast and punky Celtic-Punk and quite unlike anyone else knocking about. The album draws ever nearer and we cannot bloody wait to her it! Catch’em on tour in the UK with The Rumjacks soon.

It is probably easier to stop a train going at full speed than to convince the former members of the Black Tartan Clan to put an end to their musical adventure. After a small pose due to a change of line up at the end of 2017, the black kilt wearers have reformed ranks and changed their name, becoming BLACK TARTANS. The new group has a solid experience of live and studio work and continues to bring an energetic mix between trad Celtic instruments (bagpipes and banjo) and Punk-Rock. Here’s some footage of them playing live from their Facebook page. They’ve also started a You Tube channel so give that a follow if you can. Lots of new footage promised.

A little late for Halloween or especially early for next years? PADDY FINNEGAN’S GREEN MACHINE is no other than London Celtic Punks columnist Raymond and he put out a five track EP of scary covers and originals just in time to go trick or treating!

Another Halloween release we missed (except this was from last year!!) was When The Tombstones Speak a 4-track EP from Chicago band WORK THE COUNT. A collaborative music project that draws inspiration from American and Celtic Folk, Punk and Pop. Available as a ‘name your price’ download.

While it’s been many a year since The Dublin Castle in Camden has been much of a Irish pub Peggy Conlon talks about life behind the bar at the iconic pub.

THE RUMJACKS released a new video last month for the lead single off an upcoming new release. A eight track EP titled Brass for Gold is due out 11th February 2022 and is available for pre-order

BLACK MATILDA are a new Celtic-Punk band from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia in Canada and just put out their debut song, ‘I Must sail Away’, on You Tube accompanied by a fantastic stop motion animation video. You can find the band on their Instagram page.

THE CUNDEEZ new single ‘The Stornoway Stomp’ is out now on major download sites along with the bands brilliant Scottish football anthem ‘Kilts On Taps Aff’. Both tracks are taken from the forthcoming album ‘Geeez It’ and the song tells the tale of a trip to the Isle o Lewis.

Acclaimed Pirate band and pure theatrical spectacle YE BANISHED PRIVATEERS announced the release of a Christmas themed album next month and I am really hoping we get a copy! A Pirate Stole My Christmas comes out on December 3rd and is on preorder here: https://smarturl.it/APirateStoleMyXmas

London Gaelic Athletic Association launched a commemorative 125th anniversary booklet, which lays out the history of the county’s past century and a quarter. You can read it here.

Speaking of Instagram (Remember it is owned by Facebook so none of your photos are safe!) THE TENBAGS from Birmingham have just discovered it and have been posting some great content on their page. Well worth looking up.

I’m not much of a whiskey man I’d be the first to admit. My father-in-law always gets the Bells out for me and my brother just shakes his head disappointedly when I put Cola in but here’s a good wee video from a couple of Aussies reviewing THE POGUES Irish whiskey.

HAWTHORN are from Tucson, Arizona and just released their second album, All The Light We Cannot See. An aggressive mix of raw energy and fast punk rooted in traditional Celtic music.

SONS OF CLOGGER are a well known fixture on the English Folk-Punk and festival scene with a good few releases behind them. On finding a bass player they are now casting their net out for a rhythm guitarist and keyboard player so if you live anywhere near Staffs. give them a shout on their Facebook page. ‘Siabost Beach’ is taken from their last album The Neolithic as filmed in the Outer Hebrides/ Western Isles.

Irish born Barcelona based tongue-in-cheek singer-songwriter CAL MURPHY released The Partin’ Rocky Rattlin’ Lass 4-track EP earlier in the year but we only just got round to hearing it. All cover versions the EP covers modern day Irish music pretty damn well from the Celtic-Punk of ‘Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go’ to it’s polar opposite ‘The Parting Glass’ stripped down to just vocals and acoustic guitar. 

THE OUTCAST CREW – Myths And Yarns (review coming)

WHISKEY OF THE DAMNED – We Made Bail

BRIAN FALLON – Night Devine

THE GROGGY DAYS – Grog ‘o’ Clock

HAWTHORN – All The Light We Cannot See

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

A wee plug for London Irish Rugby Club. After years in the wilderness out in Reading and some would say a watering down of the club’s Irish ethos they arrived back in London at the tail end of last season and a joy to behold it was too, except for the last minute defeat after being miles ahead at half time!! The club is back in the heart of the Irish community so check out the clubs merchandise and show your roots and get some mates together and get down there. Eight train and tube stations within a 20 minute walk and no shortage of decent pubs too means their is literally no excuse. Games against Newcastle Falcons December 4th, CA Brive in the EPCR Cup December 19th and the first home fixture of the New Year against Bath on Monday January 3rd.

This section is for Celtic-Punk bands that have (on the large) left us but their music is still deserving to be heard and heard for free courtesy of a free download. Well here’s a band that are still together and playing. FALPERRYS are one of them actual Celtic-Punk bands from an actual Celtic country (I use to call that Keltic Celtic-Punk) in Galicia. Do Amor e das Mentiras was their debut album from 2011 and is available as a ‘Name Your Price’ download as is their more recent album Nova Abordagem.

Everyone is wetting themselves that THE DROPOUTS are fronted by former Booze & Glory singer and guitarist Liam well we remember his glory days when he nonchalantly would play the banjo for London Irish Ceilidh rockers Neck whilst dreaming of the day he could be in a Oi! band! A top geezer he moved off to Sydney a couple of years back and hasn’t looked back since. This self-titled release is the bands debut and though only seven tracks it’s all great stuff and perfect melodic and hard hitting Punk Rock.

The more I see of Facebook the more and more I dislike it. It has a stranglehold on all forms of expression and this isn’t good. Anything that breaks their monopoly is a great thing (except Twitter equally as shit!) so if you feel the same you can now subscribe to London Celtic Punks posts via our group on the new phone app Telegram. Very similar in style (but better and easier to use) than What’s App but the best thing is that it is completely free from Facebook control. Join us on Telegram, don’t miss a single post and even receive the odd exclusive and special offer! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/  

We’re not beyond a wee bit of crass commercialism so just to let you know that London Celtic Punks merchandise would make great Christmas presents! We still have a handful of Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer t-shirts available in all sizes from Small right up to XXX-L from our online store. Also available are 2 other shirt designs so click the link below for our full range of all our other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the discerning Celtic-Punk fan could ever need!  https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

On the live front here in London town we have the return of London Irish Pyscho-Ceildh rockers NECK to the New Cross Inn on December 10th with support form the awesome CROCK OF CELTS. The following day sees THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG at the Subterania in Ladbroke Grove and then  a choice of the London Folk legend SEAMUS MOORE at the Sporting Green in Enfield EN3 5JF or THE FIREPIT COLLECTIVE Irish-Folk offshoot from the Inner Terrestrials at the New Cross Inn sees us into Christmas on Sunday 19th. There was also talk of a secret POGUES TRADERS afternoon show somewhere in Central London. Keep an eye out for that. Lots of gigs being announced check the LCP FB events page but the new year will see the return of our dedicated London ‘What’s On’ page.

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

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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.

NO ODDS’N’SODS NEXT MONTH BUT IT WILL RETURN FOR FEBRUARY

THE CLOVERHEARTS NEW SINGLE ‘Thorn In My Side’

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

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

The Cloverhearts – Thorn in My Side

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

Oh, thorn in my side.

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

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

Then, pandemic. And then, nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Under A Willow Tree  Here

Contact Swainn  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

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

NEW SINGLE ‘2 Birds’ FROM BRYAN McPHERSON

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

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

“How To Draw Everything isn’t just Bryan’s latest record; it’s a whole new beginning for him as an artist. On the meditative “2 Birds,” he muses, “There’s something about the sky that makes me grateful to be alive.” From the perspective of age comes a spiritual death of what was, and in its place, a re-discovering of peace, country, and self are found. Hope finally outweighs despair and can be reclaimed, like a child wondering at the seeds of a dandelion. Bryan defies us to admit hope was there all along.”  – Aaron Carnes

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

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

Contact Bryan McPherson  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube 

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

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

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

FREE DOWNLOAD

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

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

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