Author Archives: The Don

ALBUM REVIEW: KELTIKON- ‘The Black Boar’ (2020)

An hour of original Celtic-Folk-Punk Keltikon songs and Irish and Scots traditionals. Thrilling tales of pagan creatures, esoteric TV, sea bound ships, orphans, boozers, rocky roads, atomic submariners, traveling people and Italian partisans as told by a band who combine the present and the ancient with ease.

It’s been quite a while since Keltikon graced these pages properly. You have to go right back to May, 2014 to find our review of Agenbite Of Inwit. These may have been early days for the London Celtic Punks Web-Zine but we recognised the quality and later in 2014 it made the Top Twenty Albums Of The Year in a year marked out for some outstanding releases. Agenbite Of Inwit was the bands debut release and is an old-English phrase meaning in modern terms, a crisis of conscience. Formed in 2012 in the Swiss city of Pfäffikon, not far from Zurich, they are the leading band in the Celtic scene in Switzerland playing mainly their own original songs as well as traditional Irish and Scottish jigs, reels and ballads, injected with Heavy Rock, Folk, Punk and Folk-Punk. Skilled musicians with decades of experience between them, not only of Scottish and Irish traditional music, but also the added attraction of Rock, Ska, Folk and Baltic all together creating Keltikon’s unique sound.

Keltikon have since their inception toured relentlessly and did an extensive tour of Ireland in 2018 that they were set to repeat this year till the dreaded ‘clampdown’ but their appearance at the Mary from Dungloe Festival 2020 has only been delayed and they are all set to play next years re-arranged Fest. The Black Boar plays just like a live Keltikon set with everything from maudlin ballads to high energy Celtic-Punk rockers but always with a link to something ancient.

Most of the original Keltikon songs here have been written by guitarist and vocalist Olaf Ohl and to say he delves into the past with his songs is an understatement. The album begins with the title song and  ‘The Black Boar’ and its a belter to kick things off with. Here’s the story behind the song

For old Celts pigs were spirit animals, a sign of courage and power, also a symbol for war and disorder. Tryon was the King of Boars, an giant pagan creature in Irish mythology. The the counterpart could be the Welsh legend Twrch Trwyth, a prince of Wales, who had been cursed and transformed into a wild boar. He was hunted by King Arthur and and after a long hard battle the boar swam out to the sea and disappeared. This more humorous adaption suggests that the boar tricked King Arthur and only hid under the cliff, he’s still among us…

You’ll not hear this kind of lyrics on your normal run of the mill Celtic-Punk album. I’d say it belongs in the world of Horslips or Loudest Whisper but of course with a much harder edge to it.

(The first single from the album. Video concept, filmed and produced by Steve Diener)

‘Once Upon A Time (Star Coins)’ tells of the fairy tale Star Coins written in the 19th century by the Brothers Grimm famous for collecting and publishing folklore and who wrote some of the best children’s stories ever. The music is country influenced Folk-Rock reminding me of the Bible Code Sundays with the acoustic guitar and the catchy tune but with England born Sally’s amazing fiddle leading the tune along. next up is ‘We Have Been (And We’re Still Here)’ and again Olaf digs deep into Celtic history but linking it to modern times. The poor have always been exploited by the greedy but these tyrants in history never last but the little people always hold their ground. The song shows the bands imagination with the Ska beat dominating but plenty else going on. Olaf’s vocals are hard to define sitting on the edge of being both a crooner and a punk. The ached sound emphasising the meaning behoind each song and show what they mean to him. A row of traditional songs now beginning with ‘Donald McGillavry’ dealing with the feats of MacGillavry of Drumglass in the Jacobite Wars in the 18th century when this song could have been written.

“Donald was mumpit wi mirds and mockery;
Donald was blinded wi’ blads o’ property;
Arles ran high, but makings were naething, man,
Lord, how Donald is flyting and fretting, man.”

I’ve heard this song plenty of times and it lends itself well to be played upbeat and is a Celtic-Punk staple but Keltikon do more than enough to stamp their own sound all over it. Something they also do with the English folk song ‘The Lark In The Morning’. Though maybe not a song that you would think lends itself to Celtic-Punk here it is treated with reverence but the Keltikon stamp is firmly stamped and the song, first recorded in 1778, has a real catchy tune only just related to the original air.

Now I’m sure you’re going “not again” and the appearance of ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’ had me eliciting the same response but Keltikon give it plenty of oomph and when played with a bit of imagination, humour and flair like how Keltikon do here taking it down a reggae route with Sally taking on the vocals. Another song gaining popularity on the Celtic-Punk scene is ‘Bella Ciao’ an Italian protest folk song that originated among the paddy field workers in the late 19th century. It was sung to protest against harsh working conditions and later the song was adopted as an anti-fascist anthem by the Italian partisans against the Nazi German forces occupying Italy and more recently it has become much more internationally known and popular. 

( Recorded live in concert at Musigburg Aarburg on 15th August 2019)

A couple of originals now penned by Olaf. ‘Chartered’ a sentimental ballad about the hardships of sailors life and ‘The Three Graves’, a tale picked out from the ‘Fenian Cycle‘ and given a cheery Country-Rock sound and again the Bible Code Sundays comes to mind. Another cover next the Scottish Folk song ‘The Raggle Taggle Gypsy’ telling of a rich lady who runs off to join the gypsies and has been recorded by all the giants of Folk and traditional music. Sally takes on vocals again and they play the song pretty straightforward though her fine voice gives the song something extra. A couple more Olaf penned songs with the Poguesy Hells Ditch era ‘Heal My Shakra’, which does drag a bit lasting as it does nearly 9 minutes, and ‘The Diving Dutchman’ one of the earliest Keltikon songs and already featured on Agenbite Of Inwit but tampered with and re-recorded to give it a bit of extra bite and even with the fiddle like guitar work it still ranks as the most Celtic-Punk song of the album and easy to see why the band love playing it. Taking the ancient old mariner’s tale about a ghost ship and turning it into a Dutch nuclear submarine with a similar problem. Only a couple left and ‘The Rocky Road To Dublin’ is always a good choice telling the tale of a 19th-century Kildare man emigrating to England who arrives in Liverpool only to have to fight his way out. There will never be a version to top Luke Kelly and The Dubliners but Keltikon give a great blast through. The album ends with ‘The Local Boozer’ written by long time friend of London Celtic Punks and a man who does immeasurable good work for Irish music. I give you John O’Donnell Cotter, songwriter, booking agent, radio presenter and resident of county Donegal. Unsurprisingly an lovely Irish air with great humour and a fantastic way to end things putting a smile on everyone’s faces.

So almost an hour of authentic Celtic Rock and Punk. The music itself leans heavily upon the Scots Folk sound but as Keltikon began with a piper rather than a fiddle player that may be why but they certainly have made the major change in the band very smoothly and their exuberant energy shines through here. A band that has crossover appeal and could I am sure find favour with your Irish Nan, your Scots Dad or the inner Punk in everyone. Olaf’s songwriting is some of the best in Celtic-Punk and always has a real story to tell whether with humour or great sadness whether wrapped around a folky, rocky, foot-stomper or a weepy ballad. A unique band that encompasses everything good about the Celtic nations and its people and stories. 

HEAR THE BLACK BOAR HERE

Buy The Black Boar  Here

Contact Keltikon  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

Our very good friend Rob who makes the fantastic blog This Drinking Life has just published a great interview with Olaf from Keltikon. Covering life in Switzerland over the clampdown, the release and the recording of The Black Boar (each song was done in one take. Impressive) and a hell of a lot more. Find out the origins of the bands name too!

THIS DRINKING LIFE

EP REVIEW: FOGGY DUDE- ‘Pub 10 Life’ (2020)

Debut release from new Czech Republican Celtic-Punk band. Mostly original songs and all available as a Free Download.

Foggy Dude are a relatively new arrival on the Celtic-Punk scene having formed in Summer, 2017. A bunch of friends studying engineering at Strahov (technical university) in the Czech Republic capital of Praguue got together to form a Celtic-Punk band. Beginning as a 8-piece they played gigs around the local student/punk scene in Prague (Vagon Rock club, 007 club Strahov and their spiritual home the Block 10 Pub). At the end of 2019 they recorded part of their show there which has now become their debut EP. Five songs recorded live during the Ďesítka Festival on 6th December 2019 in Pub 10, mixed and mastered by Štófi and turned into Pub Life 10.

Foggy Dude EP line-up left to right: Cába – Mandolin * Joe – Acoustic Guitar * Zuza – Tin Whistle * Pe’ta – Drums * Sam – Lead Vocals * Štofi – Electric Guitar * Ilia – Violin * Jirka – Bass *

Five songs clocking in at just under fifteen minutes and from that you can gather that Foggy Dude don’t hang about. Opening song ‘Fight Pit’ shows a real urgency with pirate style vocals and a mandolin and fiddle mix. The sound is definitely live but it’s a clear recording and portrays, as you would expect, Foggy Dudes live sound pretty authentically. This is followed by ‘Soldier Boy’ and sounds to me like a Punk band playing Folk instruments as they say in their bio

“in our music you hear traditional Folk instruments, which for the most part try to drown out the punk ones.”

 So if you could imaging Flogging Molly crossed with a proper hard English Punk band from the 1980’s you wouldn’t be too far wrong. Instrumental ‘Castle Kelly’ has been recorded loads and loads of times so the tune may be familiar but I doubt you’ve ever heard it kick-ass like this version. Steaming through in just 73 seconds it demonstrates these guys know their way round a trad song. ‘Mountain God’ begins with a slow mando solo before soon turning into a piratey tune. There’s a fine line sometimes between Celtic-Punk, Celtic-Metal and Pirate music and this song treads it finely even finding time to fit in some trad Folk too. The EP comes to an end with ‘Ochi Chyornye’ a Folk-Punked cover of the Russian love song ‘Dark Eyes’. First published in 1843 it’s another song that is probably familiar and Foggy Dude kick it out the park with Ilia’s fiddle particularly good. 

The bands line-up has changed a little since the EP as some people have graduated, so now we don’t with both Zuza and Sam leaving but as any regular readers will know Celtic-Punk band members do have a habit of moving on and imagine trying to keep eight people together! Prague is of course home to the internationally known bands Pipes And Pints and Cheers so there is a appetite for Celtic-Punk over there so hopefully soon as ‘clampdown’ is over we will be qable to hear a bit more from Foggy Dude and on this showing it will be well worth waiting for.

Download  Pub 10 Life  Bandzone  **For Free**

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ODDS’N’SODS. CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP JULY 2020

Welcome to our regular monthly feature on all the news in the Celtic-Punk scene that you may have missed and we certainly did. Band news, record releases, videos, tours (not individual gigs though yet sadly), live streams, crowd funders etc., we need to hear from you so send it in to londoncelticpunks@hotmail.co.uk or through the Contact Us page.

The biggest non-music news this month has been that film company Magnolia Pictures have picked up the North American rights to the Johnny Depp-produced documentary Crock of Gold – A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan. Set for a limited theatrical release later this year in the States with its UK and Ireland debut to be on BBC 4. The Julien Temple directed look at the hard-living Godfather of Celtic-Punk. Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles said “This is something to hoist a pint of Guinness over”. (groan!)

Expect more live extravaganza’s from the DROPKICK MURPHYS after they signed a 6-figure (ooh!) sum to live stream future gigs including on St. Patrick’s Day for the next few years. Word is that their Fenway Park show reached an estimated 9 million viewers and raised more than $700,000 for COVID relief. These are very good guys. Don’t forget to join the #1 Murphys Facebook page DropKick Murphys – Fan Page. Run by fans. Run for fans.

Canadians PADDY WAGGIN have got around to releasing on CD their debut album. We reviewed Race To The Bottom pre-Paddys Day and it’s 7 foot stomping original tracks and one Pogues cover. Celtic-Rock at its best. The CD and download is available from Bandcamp.

Finland’s LORETTA PROBLEM have a new singer in Maya and a new song and video too. The band has gone through other changes too and ‘It’s Your Bloody Fault’ reflects that in its sound. Not so Celtic but definitely Punk. New stuff is on its way with a more traditional- Loretta Problem sound. Can’t wait.

Another fantastic band we haven’t heard from in a while is the Dutch Irish Folk Punk band McSCALLYWAG. ‘Coming Home’ is the second single released from their forthcoming new album ‘Songs For The Wicked’ in support of the Bhoys local bars and pubs hit by the corona crisis in their home town of Groningen.

Irish band THE POX MEN have a new tune and video out. A mellow one to calm us all down while bass player Kev Gall has just released a solo album as Cú Ulaid with a load of different instruments not just the bass!

It’s been a very quiet time for new releases this month. Will give us a chance to catch up on things hopefully! Remember if you want a review of your release we have to hear it first!

CU ULAID – Self/Titled LP

THE CLOVES AND THE TOBACCO – Jalan Pulang EP

ALESTORM – Curse of the Crystal Coconut LP

GENTRIFIED FERALS – Droidtown EP

Auld Fart (his words not mine) London Irish Punk Folker ANTO MORRA is at it again and his new single ‘It’s Only A Virus’ came out this month written in May while enjoying a early morning walk. This is the first original song he’s released since 2017 believe it or not!

Big fans of Irish-Americans THE FIGHTING JAMESONS and had a grand auld time watching them live streaming on FB recently. So much so I fell asleep woke up with the worse hangover and back pain I’ve had in months! Amazing production and over 90 minutes long. Outstanding guys!!!

Written by Robin and inspired by a song from the Elvis film ‘Frankie & Johnny’ THE CEILI FAMILY. A slow burning foot tapper and these guys are famous for their Gaelic inspired Folk-Punk. The legend Phil Chevron was a big fan of these guys so that should be inspiration enough.

Catalan Folk-Punkers EBRI KNIGHT are crowd funding for their fifth album. With four studio albums, a live album and a themed EP about the Spanish Civil War behind them everything the band is financed without major backing.

Only just became aware of this great album from Germany. ASH CLOUD hail from Elmshorn and Songs Of Rebellion, Love And Meuterei may have come out in October, 2018 but its still well worth a look. Irish Folk meets acoustic Punk with NO drums or electric guitars but everything else. Bodhrán, fiddle, tin-whistle, low-whistle, banjo, concertina, bagpipes and loads of vocals. Twenty songs for just five Euros adds up to a impressive deal!

We like to end on some local news and while Milton Keynes isn’t exactly local we were delighted to hear about the formation of MILTON KEYNES IRISH FC. The Irish are still here you know! This is not just a Sunday League team and they will play in the Spartan South Midlands League at Step 6 in the non-league pyramid. Plans are being laid for a LCP ‘booze cruise / awayday’ to go see them once the season kicks off. Show the guys some support over on Twitter and Facebook.

On a final note we were delighted that the London Celtic Punks Facebook page hit an amazing 5,000 followers. Love and best wishes to all of them and come and join us if you like!

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

ALBUM REVIEW- QUINTESSENTIAL QUARANTUNES (2020)

Six bands, three from Ireland and three London based. No longer able to play their trade due to government lockdowns either side of the Irish Sea have been virtually brought together by one man – Phil Parsons and one pub – Frostys Bar, Kenton to create a lockdown album like no other. With a mixture of Celtic Rock, Traditional Irish Folk and Rebel music, this is your must buy album of 2020.

Released just last week Quintessential Quarantunes is a compilation album of six bands. Three from London and three from across Ireland. There’s twelve songs in total with two each carefully chosen by the bands themselves. The music is mainly of the Irish folk ballad kind. Think along the lines of The Wolfe Tones. All the bands here are gigging musicians meaning its the sole income for many of them so for a tenner you can support Irish music at home and abroad for less than a pound a song.

THE BIBLE CODE SUNDAYS

With over twenty years worth of experience The BibleCode Sundays have performed live on many TV shows and played extensively throughout Europe and the USA. They have played on the pitches of Celtic Park on Champions League night, Twickenham Stadium for Heineken Cup Finals and for many years at London Irish Rugby Club. They have performed at Glastonbury music festival and supported Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon and his band Public Image Ltd on several occasions as well as The Cranberries, Thin Lizzy, The Sawdoctors and Christy Moore. They have also supported American punk band The Dropkick Murphys in both the US and the UK and recorded with Russell Crowe, Elvis Costello and Shane MacGowan to name but a few.

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BLACKSTAIRS REBEL

Formed in 1997 after a sing song on a bus home from a Wexford hurling match. PJ, Kevin and Ollie, later joined by Miss Carol Cooney on accordion. They soon built a reputation for the sessions they put on and were helped along with support slots for The Wolfe Tones, Dublin City Ramblers and Brendan Grace. The band write an occasional song but their real passion is playing live and for the past 23 years they have made many new friends along the way. A highlight of 2019 was playing Crawley Irish Festival. Meeting people, making new friends, having a few beers, eating kebabs, getting on ferries and planes, cars breaking down and belting out Irish folk, ballad, trad and rebel tunes where ever we go, for that’s what we love, that’s what we do and thats what we will continue to do for as long as people are still enjoying it.

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THE REELS

The Reels came together in late 2006. We all met through various music lessons growing up as kids or at sessions in many an Irish pub! With Gavin on vocals and guitar, Leanne on vocals and mandolin, Antonia on the fiddle, Mikey on the bass and Mad Kieran on the drums. Mixing traditional Irish music into more modern songs and taking the old Irish classics and making them more appealable to the younger second generation Irish in London. Already in popular demand to play the London circuit we will continue to belt out the music for as long as you’ll listen to us.

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CATALPA

Catalpa are a 3 piece band who are the resident band for The Confederation of Republic of Ireland Supporters Clubs and play before every home game in The Lansdowne Rugby Club. They traveled to France in 2016 for the Euros to play for the fans in La Rochelle. toured the USA, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Spain playing their brand of Irish ballads. Catalpa have played in The Aviva Stadium the famous Barrowlands in Glasgow and have supported The Wolfe Tones, The Dublin City Ramblers and Hermitage Green at various gigs and festivals. Catalpa have released three CDs to date and one CD in particular being a Charity CD for the John Giles Foundation.

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CELTIC STORM

Celtic Storm is a solo performer who hails from Co. Carlow. With over two decades of musical experience having performed in the USA, Europe and extensively throughout Ireland he is a highly sought after entertainer. He has played the famous Barrowlands on numerous occasions, most recent been the memorable night with his good friends Catalpa. Celtic Storm has one album to date and the ‘ballad bug’ is still as strong as ever.

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THE PEPPERED ACES

The Peppered Aces are a three piece Irish folk/rock band from London. Founded in 2015, the band have featured in festivals, international sporting events and have appeared on national radio. An annual event for the band sees them travel to NYC to perform at the St. Patrick’s festival. They are a developing band and have just commenced recording a selection of covers which prominently feature in the live set. Looking forward, The Peppered Aces plan on exploring their own original content and applying their unique sound and experience gained from playing together over the years.

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(Download or stream Quintessential Quarantunes from the Bandcamp link below)

Download Quintessential Quarantunes  From Bandcamp

ALBUM REVIEW: THE O’REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS- ‘Dogs on the Leash’ (2020)

Germany and Celtic-Punk go together like Guinness and chips and there’s no better purveyors there than the wonderful O’Reillys And The Paddyhats. Our man Anto Morra runs the critical rule over their enjoyable fourth album.

This record opens with the title track, which is a craic’r and appears to have it all, just what Dr Folk Punk ordered. A song written from the perspective of those in charge wanting to keep the people drunk, drugged up, calm, quiet and brilliantly concluding

‘We won’t back off, We will free ourselves from the leash’.

“Here it goes again” levels the class playing field with the clever observation that no matter how financially wealthy or poor, we all go through the motions of endless struggle or celebration, to the point at which it becomes mundane. So the chorus wisely informs us to ‘Get out of your castle get out of your shack, It’s not Groundhog Day so leave the bloody track’ and all with a great punky reggae party feel.

An exquisite fiddle and banjo leads us into “James Brian” for a bit of Celtic mysticism. The story of a man that mysteriously vanishes from the bog because he worked into the night, this is a great arrangement with hints of klezmer and The Levellers springing to mind at times.

“Captain Without A Ship” kicks of with a brilliant twinned guitar harmony part in the style of Thin Lizzy, continues to rock out the middle 8, and ventures into Status Quo playing Oi -if you can imagine that! After another rousing chorus, we are treated to a fine bit of plank spanking from Jan, that’s not unlike the great solos of Kane Roberts on Alice Cooper’s Constrictor album.

“Millions” ‘How many millions do you need to say that you succeed?’ an appealing sentiment, big chorus with a Klezmer crescendo- what more do you need? Sounds like a recipe for success to me.

“Ferryman” is a lament that if it was wearing a different outfit could be described as a power ballad, the arrangement is perfection. Thankfully, because Franz does not sing like Bruce Dickenson, it works beautifully with the low whistle and other trad instruments, which keep it flowing, grounded and not at all laboured.

“From Dublin To Moscow” is a superb tale of five courageous 17th century adventurers whose only fear is running out of beer. It is at the same time a clever doff of the hat to the Irish traditional songs, like the ‘Blarney Stone’ and ‘Star Of The County Down’, that mention many place names as comfortably possible to appeal to everyone from those places. Of course, I was delighted that London got a mention!

“Overtime Work” is just over 3 minutes of more fun than I’ve ever had doing overtime, but I think I could have spent time as a CEO of the company supplying this overtime.

The strength of “Hobo Of Mitchelstown” is the fact it can not really be compared anything, while at the same time sitting comfortably in the folk punk genre. The heavy rock guitar sound could place it, dare I say, in the folk rock genre.

“Beautiful Fear” is a terrific song, full of romantic imagery, but the humour is not far away. I feel as this is an anthem for people like myself that suffer dreadfully from FOMO (fear of missing out). This track could also be called “Beautiful Fiddle” as the solo is just spot on.

In true punk style they appear to have stolen this Bobby Sands/Gordon Lightfoot classic “Back Home In Derry” with no credits on the sleeve notes. It’s a very fine version with a different member of the band on each verse, and that enchanting fiddle playing again. The last verse is reserved the great face of the band Benny, ending with a huge chorus which without missing a beat goes seamlessly into “Shoe Shine Boy”. If you weren’t paying attention when you hit the chorus, you may think you were still back home in Derry, but this is a wonderful song about a wise shoe shine boy and an arrogant rich man. ‘Things change farewell, farewell my friend’ – “Farewell” is just a joyous closing track. ‘We are drinking lots of beer, we’re not asking our livers’ is my favourite line!

The O’Reillys and The Paddyhats succeed where so many celtic folk punk bands fail, is with the quality of singing. Franz has a great strong engaging voice, and Tim adds the aggressive rasp that is essential in punk and rock music. The song writing is intelligent, witty and at times a little comical, but never novelty or flippant- if their musicianship wasn’t top notch they would not be able to successfully execute the humour they do! This is their rockiest offering so far, but they have not lost any of their German Irish charm. Just go and buy it because it has been a joy to review.

Buy Dogs On The Leach  CD/Download- FromTheBand

Contact The O’Reillys And The Paddyhats  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

Album Discography (Click for review)- April 2016 Seven Hearts One Soul * February 2017 Sign Of The Fighter * September 2018 Green Blood *

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London Irish, Punk Folk singer, songwriter and artist Anto Morra lives in East Anglia and is a regular performer on the Norfolk Folk Roots and acoustic music scene as well as the London Celtic Punks scene. He’s even second cousin to Morrissey!  he did a special Live Stream London Celtic Punks show on June 5th and no it wasn’t suppose to be sideways!!

ALBUM REVIEW: THE DEAD MAGGIES- ‘More Than Just Ghosts’ (2020)

Tasmanian devils The Dead Maggies are back with a new album recorded last year in Indonesia while on tour.

Stories of tragic Tasmanian folklore swashbuckling adventures of bush pirates and convict rebels set to upbeat toe-tapping thigh-slapping Cowpunk Folk-Punk, exploring the links between the past and present in their music and lyrics.

The Dead Maggies usually sing about dead people. In fact that is not just a statement of fact but also the name of their debut album! Founded in Tasmania in 2013 and taking their name from the then recently deceased, and much loved(!), ex-Prime Minister of Britain Margaret Thatcher. Tasmania is the island at the bottom of Australia 150 miles to the south of the Australian mainland. Half the country is still in exactly the same state it was when the British invaded in 1803 and christened the island Van Diemons Land. Tassie, as its known to its residents, was used primarily as a natural prison state to house convicts brought from Britain and Ireland convicted of crimes that ranged from murder and assault to stealing sheep or even bread. It’s this history that gives rise to the subject matter that The Dead Maggies find so fruitful.
(debut album The Dead Maggies Sing Songs About Dead People is available as a ‘Name Your Price’ download. This is the 2014 re-issue. Remixed and remastered with added violin)
and as you will tell from that debut album ‘The Dead Maggies do indeed Sing About Dead People’. Only seven songs which tell the history of the various sad endings of colourful characters from Tasmania’s history. Perfect Celtic-Punk subject matter. Taking the past and completely bringing it to life through song. Putting flesh and bones on figures from Tassie’s olden days and ensuring their legend lives on.

They followed that album up with 2015’s Well Hanged and again the past is presented up to us. Twelve tracks exploring the lives, battles, deaths and loves of ordinary people. The people whose history is being written out of the books and just the kind of history that children don’t learn at school but should do. The album was extremely well received featuring in all of that year’s end of year Best Of polls reaching #7 on our Best Of, #12 for Paddy Rock Radio (USA) and #18 for McSlons Irish Pub Radio.

In among these releases were extensive tours of Europe including a visit to these shores which took them from one end to the other in a ramshackle tour culminating in one hell of a night at Tottenham Chances in 2014. They made a great compilation video of the tour that features some footage from that hot and sweaty night in North London and if you look closely you’ll spot some familiar faces in the crowd too. They continued their prolific output in 2017 with two EP’s released in quick succession with Wild Dogs And Flannies coming out in April and The Wild Folk in June both again focusing on stories set in the early days of Tasmania. They would return to these shores later that year with a couple of London dates sandwiched in between appearances at two of Britain’s largest festivals, Outcider and Boomtown. One of the scenes (they prefer to call themselves Folk-Punk) most traveled bands that became, as far as I know, the first Western Celtic/Folk-Punk band to tour Vietnam and then Indonesia. A country well known for its love of Irish music and Celtic-Punk. Whilst there they played with some of that country’s best bands (watch this space for The Cloves And The Tobacco’s new EP!) and also took the opportunity to record and mix More Than Just Ghosts. A truly international effort across the 5,566 km between Bandung, Java and Hobart, Tasmania.

The Dead Maggies left to right: Hannah Morrell – Fiddle * Teresa Dixon – Banjo, Mando, Flute, Vocals * Gruf Mongrel – Guitar, Clarinet, Vocals * Mark Downie – Double Bass, Vocals * Sam Wellings- Drums

The album came out just as the Covid clampdown started to bite meaning The Maggies had to cancel four months of touring and festivals all booked up. Rest assured though they will be rescheduling so keep an eye on things for new dates when all ‘this’ is over. For the first time here on More Than Just Ghosts the Maggies, more famous for writing their own material, have included traditional songs in among their original hard hitting Folk-Punk kicking off with the the trad ‘Mad Tom Of Bedlam’. Dating from early 17th Century England Bedlam in the title is the notorious London insane asylum Bethlam Royal Hospital. Told in three parts through the album its acapello re-telling is reminiscent of The Dreadnoughts. ‘Lacey’s Redemption’ follows directly on from the song ‘Matthew Brady’ as featured on Well Hanged and tells of George Lacey who betrayed Brady and carried the burden of guilt for the rest of his days seeking redemption by campaigning to close Sarah Island, Van Diemen’s Lands most notorious concentration camp or penal colony as it was known at the time.

The video was filmed and edited by Quinton Trembath while with The Dead Maggies in Indonesia and the bands energy is suitably portrayed. Musically its straight up Maggies with a catchy as feck tune with fiddle and banjo accompanied by double bass and even clarinet and Gruf Mongrel’s incredibly rich and powerful and distinctive voice. ‘The Tale Of Martin Cash’ is the tale of a gentleman bushranger. A sort of Robin Hood figure stealing from the rich but whether he gave to the poor is debatable.
“Oh life on the road rarely ends well but if you can’t be rich have a story to tell”
A life rich in legend that he helped himself to forge being one of the few Aussie outlaw figures to die a peaceful death in his bed an old man in 1877.
“This is the man who made the dash, who bashed the fash to save his lass, yes this is the man who dodged the lash, this is the tale of Martin Cash.”
Another rip roarer of a song which takes us into ‘Port Arthur’. A place memorable for being the site of a penal colony in the 1800’s and now a popular tourist destination and also the tragic site of a mass shooting in 1996 in which 35 people were killed and 23 wounded when a madman rampaged through the local area.
“And some shores just see more pain than most; Port Arthur is haunted by more than just ghosts”

A heartfelt and incredibly beautiful plea for gun control. The saga of ‘Mad Tom Of Bedlam’ continues before ‘The Diary Of Michael Howe’ tells us of another infamous bushranger. The Yorkshire born Michael was sentenced to seven years transportation for robbery arriving in Van Diemons Land in late 1812. He refused to cooperate with the guards escaping to join a group of other escaped convicts in the bush eventually rising to become their leader. He came to a sticky end having his brains bashed out by a greedy accomplice for as the Maggies point out 
“I led the outlaw community, but makes it hard when they double your bounty”
Teresa takes over vocals for the first time for ‘Flash Mob’ telling of the women convicts who would not submit to servitude while ‘Paradise’ tells of Ephraim Doe transported in 1839. Slow and dirgy the song tells his story and you’d be hard pressed to find an album of recent years with as many lyrics as The Dead Maggies. They fit in poor Ephraim’s life story for example in only five minutes. ‘Mad Tom Of Bedlam’ comes to its conclusion as ‘Fire On The Ship’ blasts through ninety seconds and if its a true story then by God its hilarious!
“Building ships to transport logs, putting trust in convict dogs. They stole the ship they’re sailing away, what should we make the semaphore say? Fire on the ship! But the semaphore’s manned by convicts too, we’re trusting the dogs with a job to do, to our disgust, to our dismay, guess what they made, the semaphore say? There’s no fire on the ship!”
‘Down To The Sea’ is another slow burner with mournful fiddle and a modern story of escape. This is followed by their cover of In The Pines a song you may not know until revealed by its better known name ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night?’. Dating back to the 1870’s of the Southern Appalachian area of the United States it rose to fame in the modern age when recorded by Nirvana but a far superior version is the one recorded by Blues/Folk legend Lead Belly. It is thought over 160 different variations of the song exist and the Maggies play it pitched somewhere between Nirvana and Lead Belly and nail it perfectly. The final track here is a slow ballad dedicated to Australia’s next door neighbours ‘Indonesia’ and specifically the Javan punks from their recent tour. 
Our opinion on Aussie trad music is well known, there’s a wealth of bands playing such great music and all have that link to the past that the Dead Maggies do. Maybe that is what makes them so special. The Aussie scene shows no sign of slowing down either with bands like Meduas’s Wake, Handsome Young Strangers and Fox’N’Firkin making waves at home and abroad. There are two particularly good sites on Facebook, Aussie Celtic Punk’s and Australian Folk Punk Scene while The Dead Maggies themselves run the record label where I would recommend just about every single bloody release! Folk’Til Ya Punk Records is becoming the main hub to find all things Australian Celtic-Punk, Folk-Punk, Folk, Punk, Gypsy and Bluegrass related and all the artists on its roster are well worth supporting. Also if you’re going to get the album get it from the link provided below so that the band get the maximum amount of money without the vultures taking their cut.
In a human being’s short stint on this earth, no one should have time for death. But it fascinates us, draws us to it. It calls to us, begs us to enter its cold embrace. We worship death in sleep each night, and our band pays homage to it in our songs, as just another aspect of the cult of death.

(you can stream or download More Than Just Ghosts from the Bandcamp player below)

Buy More Than Just Ghosts  FolkTilYaPunkRecords

Contact The Dead Maggies  WebSite  Facebook  Bandcamp

ALBUM REVIEW: BLACK ANEMONE- ‘Chasing The Sun’ (2020)

Celtic-Punk band from Sweden Black Anemone bring even more chaos and mischief to the world with the release of their new album, Chasing the Sun. One of the harder bands in Celtic-Punk to pigeonhole they may draw from the likes of Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys but combine with their own influences to great effect.

Black Anemone have used the power of social media to become one of the better known bands in the Celtic-Punk scene over the last few years. Always there with a supportive comment they have truly embraced the idea of #onecelticpunkfamily to their hearts. Chasing The Sun is the bands third full length studio album and so far they have all been received favourably by the various Celtic-Punk media and even outside, especially with their well produced and clever videos. Coming as they do from very near the river Lagan (not that one but the one in Jönköping in southern Sweden!) it may be no surprise the rocky road these young Scandinavians have taken.

Formed in 2010 and still at school when future vocalist Mattias came up with the idea of mixing “traditional folk music, mostly Irish trad and fusing it with Punk-Rock” and having recruited longtime friends Andy on guitar and Adam on drums they began rehearsals and others soon joined to fill in the gaps. Their first release was a demo the following year and later an EP titled Let The Freak-Show Begin’. In the later part of 2011 Black Anemone started working on their first full length album that would eventually come out in 2013. The album, King Of Kings won several local awards including ‘Best Act’ in their region and would appear in most of that years Celtic-Punk media’s Best Of’s. It would be four years till they followed this up with In It For Life as sadly, in common with a lot of Celtic-Punk bands, line up changes always seem to come at the most awkward moment. It was the first music we had heard of theirs are we were suitably impressed with their “combination of folk and punk and folkpunk all underpinned with the trad sounds of Ireland”.

Opening with the first single from the album ‘Straight Back To Hell’ and its straight into what Black Anemone are best at. Lively, cheering Pop-Punky tunes as catchy as the hell their going straight back to! The video below is a perfect example of their art too. Not showy or overstated but works amazingly well and makes a change from the ‘band playing in a pub’ scenario.

The album takes several twists and turns and they tune on the Gaelic for ‘Drinking On A Sunday’ perhaps the most Irish sounding here. Needless to say its a corker and keeps up the lively approach of the opening song even time for a ‘slapyourhands/stampyourfeet’ interlude. ‘Voices From Bones’ begins with fiddle and banjo standing out while Mattias has a strong voice for both the rocky and more contemplative moments while unsurprisingly able to sing in perfect English. One my favourites here and at four and a half minutes it doesn’t drag its feet either. ‘Scream Of A Banshee’ showcases Stina’s amazing fiddle playing in a song with plenty of ‘Woaaaa’. The first slow track rolls in next sounding for all the world like a off cut from Rum, Sodomy And The Lash. While not quite a ballad ‘Letter To Lorelei’ is slow but still heavy and its Irish core leads nicely into ‘Templehouse Session’ where the Bhoys and Ghirls blast through 160 seconds of brilliantly played fast trad Irish folk. I love it when bands pull this pout of the bag proving to the Irish music snobs purists that Celtic-Punk is more than just songs about drinking and fighting. The same snobs purists were saying the same things in the 1960’s about The Dubliners! Title track ‘Chasing The Sun’ was the albums second single and coming out post-clampdown meant whatever idea they had for the video had to changed but they still manged to come up with something novel that looks great. Accordionist Fredrik takes over on vocals and while he may have the look of a Death-Metal head his voice is achingly tender.

Time now for that ballad and ‘The Willow Creek’ delivers it with gusto. Again its not a gentle thing. Instruments are pounded and the swirl is large. At near five minutes long it does well to fly past so quickly. Definitely a song for holding your pint up to the stage and clinging on to those you love and trust the most. Nearing the end now and ‘Wanderlust’ takes us back into Celtic-Punk territory again while ‘Far Away’ brings down the curtain on a thoroughly enjoyable forty odd minutes of original music.

Black Anemone from left to right: Stina – Fiddle * Andreas – Guitar * Fredrik – Accordion * Mattias – Lead Vocals * Rickard – Bass * Martin – Banjo/Mandolin * Adam – Drums *

Chasing The Sun came out on May Day it was recorded at Distmaskinen, mixed by Alexander Gabara and mastered by Ulf Blomberg. The sound is excellent and very clear and for a band with so many members that is some achievement. Celtic-Punk when played in the right spirit should be a joyous affair (even taking into account the rather dark subject matter of some of the scene’s most popular themes!) and on the evidence here Black Anemone have nailed it yet again.

(stream or download Chasing The Sun from the Bandcamp player below)

Download Chasing The Sun FromTheBand

Contact Black Anemone  Bandcamp  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube  Twitter

They got together in early May to play an acoustic Live Stream on Facebook so have a listen. Its just over a hour long and shows this band have a real talent for Irish Folk music. 

EP REVIEW: SHANGHAI TREASON- ‘It’s Treason’ (2020)

The debut EP from highly rated South Yorkshire based Celtic-Punk band Shanghai Treason has hit the airways! 

Shanghai Treason are a band we have been championing ever since they first popped up on the Celtic-Punk scene last year (and not just because they’re from South Yorkshire!) with the release of their debut single ‘Devils Basement’ in November. A song that captured the Dropkick’s at their prime with the passion and speed of Punk. It even made the LCP Top Ten Of 2019 the only time a single song has ever made the Best Of lists in seven years.

Here on It’s Treason they bring together their three singles released over the last six months with three new tracks kicking off with that debut song and over 40,000 views across social media certainly saw them arrive in style. ‘Devil’s Basement’ is a song that the Dropkick Murphys would kill to write and saw the band picking up fans across the world. Fast and furious a fierce firecracker of a debut! Shanghai Treason are at heart a Punk band but with banjo (and occasional accordion) supplied by Hardy whose a bit of a mutli instrumentalist who can also play mandolin, accordion, bouzouki…even bagpipes which gives the band plenty of options for the future. It’s not just tacked onto a random Punk song though with their songs built around the sound of the banjo. Their sound lies somewhere between early Murphs and South-Western band Mick O’Toole (who make a appearance in the video if you look closely!). ‘Rats Get Fat’ is the first new one and they’ve lost none of their bite with a song about home giving Huddersfield a name check and Sams vocals coming over particularly good with a ‘operatic’ Punk style that fit perfectly.

‘Can’t Even Hang A Man Right’ carries on with the anthemic Celtic-Punk. Loud and raucous and with us finally on the verge of leaving the EU at last a rallying cry against political dirty tricks at Westminster with the great chorus “You can’t trust the rats by the river”. This is an EP for anyone into LOUD music but if you’re a fan of the banjo then this is definitely for you and again on ‘Drowning Heart’ the mix is done perfectly and the balance between the banjo and everything else is great.

‘The North Will Rise Again’ is dedicated to the music venues of the North of England and hopefully they’ll be some left to watch Shanghai Treason in at the end of all this! A video was released on Facebook in support of the Music Venue Trust’s campaign to #SaveOurVenues featuring some of the bands favourite boozers. Foot stamper ‘Green Cove’ brings down the curtain on It’s Treason and we are treated to Hardy and his accordion and the song has a bit more of a Celtic air to it, no doubt due to the accordion, but it still powers along.

Shanghai Treason left to right: Joel Hughes – Bass * Tom Hardy – You name it. Just about anything he can get his hands on * Sam Christie – Vocals * Tom Jackson – Guitar * Alex Fell – Pots and Pans *

The band were riding the crest of the wave when the clampdown came along and I can’t think of a single band whose momentum has been damaged more. Having shot onto the scene and in six months risen to where they are it’s a real shame. Still plans are already afoot to get back on the road as soon as they are able with a intensive UK tour on the table and some supports to bands I must not mention. Shanghai Treason may inhabit the darker, heavier side of Celtic-Punk but for anyone that misses Mike McColgan era Dropkick Murphys than mourn no more and get treasonous!

Buy It’s Treason  Apple  Amazon 

Contact Shanghai Treason  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram  Twitter Spotify

ALBUM REVIEW: BATALLON DE SAN PATRICIO- ‘Hermanos De Guerra’ (2020)

Celtic-Punk again shows it’s international appeal as Mexican band Batallón de San Patricio celebrate the release of their debut album. Named in respect of the famed Irish battalion that fought in the America-Mexico War of 1846-1848 these Bhoys are more than just a pretty name.

Here’s a first for London Celtic Punks a review of a Celtic-Punk release from Mexico. The band in question are called Batallón de San Patricio and for those in the know that is Spanish for St. Patrick’s Battalion and something extremely significant in the relationship between Ireland and Mexico. The band chose their name with great care taking their inspiration from the St. Patrick’s Battalion (see our extensive article The Irish Soldiers Of Mexico In Film And Song from the other day). A group of immigrants, mainly of Irish descent, who deserted from the US Army because of anti-Catholic bigotry and went to fight for the Mexican Army during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). It’s a tale of great adventure and heroic valour but ultimately it is another sad chapter in Ireland’s history. They are still commemorated today by the Mexican government and its people with a parade featuring a bagpipe troop. Musically the first links were forged by The Chieftains who collaborated with Ry Cooder on their 2010 San Patricio album which combined Irish and Mexican Folk music to great effect to tell the tale of the Saint Patrick’s Battalion. The album featured a long list of guests, including narration by Liam Neeson of a poem in tribute to the San Patricios. Still those of you who read our article earlier in the week The Irish Soldiers Of Mexico In Film And Song will already be well versed in the history of these giants of men.

Batallón De San Patricio from left to right: Juan Alcalá ‘Peludito’ – 5 String Banjo/Backing Vocals * Ricardo Martínez ‘Ricky’ – Lead Vocals/Harp/Tin Whistle * Adrián Flores ‘Kazio’ – Drums * Elias Rubio ‘Ponko’ – Guitar/Backing Vocals * Emanel Muñoz ‘Alan’ – Bass/Backing Vocals * Ricardo Lupercio – Fiddle / Backing Vocals

So at last we move onto the review and I can hear the relief from here! Batallón de San Patricio were formed in July, 2017 in the city of Guadalajara and right from the start the idea was to pay tribute to their namesakes. In many ways the name was a obvious choice for a band whose chief aim was to play Celtic-Punk mixing Irish and Mexican culture. Their first few months were spent practicing and playing covers of you know who (!) and with a few line up changes they were ready to go and began to pay locally and eventually further afield. It’s been a steady procession for the Bhoys with a 6-track demo in 2018, a 2-track single last year and now finally the album has been completed.

The album is titled Hermanos de Guerra (in English Brothers Of War) and was released on May 30th. Recorded at the Bilbao studio  in Guadalajara Mexico by Alex León it’s twelve songs are all sung in Spanish and as I’ve said before I’m a product of the English education system at a time when languages were thought of in the same category as Cooking and Needlework. We had to do them but no care was put into how they were taught. So it is that whatever is being sung about here has, bar a couple of songs, completely passed me by. Not to worry though as the message they spread is a positive one of love, friendship and loyalty. What Celtic-Punk is all about if you ask me.

“We strongly believe in brotherhood, honesty, dignity and respect. Our slogan will always be ‘Family First’. Our music forms part of our life and people around us and to remember those who passed away. We will always step forward on this long hard way making it Green and not forgetting Mexico’s unity with the rest of the world.”

The album begins with the title song ‘Hermanos De Sangre’ and the sound of marching feet soon erupts into a fast and furious Celtic-PUNK number which unless my ears betray tells the story of the St. Patrick’s Battalion. ‘Familia’ featured on their single from last year and unsurprisingly is about the love of family. More folk than it’s predecessor and this will become a common thread throughout the album as they manage record twelve songs that cross all boundaries of Celtic-Folk-Punk and  make an album where each song stands on its own feet. Todo Sigue Igual (in English ‘Everything Remains The Same’) slows things down and the lonesome banjo combined with some beautiful Cowboy atmospheric fiddle and almost verging on Country it threatens to come bursting out the blocks but they quite rightly restrain it when it comes and the song is all the better for it.

It may not be as polished as some releases we review here but those slight rough and ready edges give it a live feel that really works for them. ‘Piratas’ introduces one of my favourite instruments, the harmonica, to the fray alongside banjo, violin, harmonica and Irish flute (which I have only recently realised is what some folk call the tin-whistle) and the usual Punk-Rock instruments of bass, guitar and drums.

Let’s face it it wouldn’t be a Celtic-Punk album without a alcohol song and Después Del Alcohol (- ‘After Alcohol’) begins in an usual way with just bass and banjo but Bhoy is it catchy. El Ultimo Partir (- The Last Leaving) takes the previous songs banjo and turns out a more country-fied song again with excellent fiddle work while ‘Fadir’ even has a bit of an English 80’s Punk vibe around it all be it with the fiddle still fiddling expertly away. As I said they skate round a lot of genres here and I have to admit I am drawn to the less Punky ones and songs like ‘Amigo’ really hit the spot. Catchy, well played and with a nice balance of Punk and Folk. For ‘Viciosa Lujuria’ (- ‘Vicious Lust’) though they return to a classic Celtic-Punk sound with tin-whistle to the fore. The video for ‘Leal’ (- ‘Loyal’) came out on St. Patrick’s Day just gone and is dedicated to all the people who have ever been stabbed in the back by someone they once held dear.

It’s the quickest song here at under two minutes and showcases the banjo admirably as they kick out a straight up Punk number though that doesn’t quite prepare for ‘Asesinos Por Naturaleza’ (- ‘Natural born Killer’) which turns the guitar up to 11 and a heavyness and energy we haven’t seen so far. A cracker of a song and one that will no doubt get the dance floor heaving once a few beers have been downed. The album ends with ‘Trotamundos’ (- ‘Globetrotter’) and a slow funereal end to proceedings.  The Bhoys harmonise together over a gentle tune with only occasional fiddle over the quiet banjo, bass and drums. A quality end indeed.

So there you go and it’s been an enjoyable forty minutes. To be honest this is the kind of album that I would normally buy regardless of what the music sounded like. The very idea of a Mexican Celtic-Punk band and one based inn such noble Irish history just ticks all my boxes. That the music is also pretty damn good is a bonus. Definitely one for our Spanish speaking readers but don’t be dismayed as this is a thoroughly pleasurable album for non speakers too. A great album for all! 

(you can stream or download Hermanos de Guerra on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Hermanos de Guerra  TotemRecords

Contact Batallón De San Patricio  Facebook  Bandcamp  YouTube

Batallón De San Patricio played a Live Stream on Facebook last weekend and although tremendous good fun and a brilliant watch they suffered the same fate as we did recently when we featured Callum Houston doing his. That of the dodgy internet connection!!! Well worth persevering with so here’s Part One, Part Two and Part Three. I think I have them in the right order!

THE IRISH SOLDIERS OF MEXICO IN FILM AND IN SONG

The story of the legendary San Patricios battalion and their legacy as told in film, books and song from bands as diverse as The Chieftains, Black 47, David Rovics, Larkin, The Fenians, The Wakes and others. 

by Michael Hogan

Next week sees the release of the debut album from Mexican Celtic-Punk band Batallón de San Patricio. Now not only does this show the truly international appeal of the scene these days but it also gives us an opportunity to look into one of the least-known stories of the Irish who came to America in the 1840’s, that of the Irish battalion that fought on the Mexican side in the America-Mexico War of 1846-1848. They came to Mexico and died, some gloriously in combat, others ignominiously on the gallows. United under a green banner, they participated in all the major battles of the war and were cited for bravery by General López de Santa Anna, the Mexican commander-in-chief and president.

At the penultimate battle of the war, these Irishmen fought until their ammunition was exhausted and even then tore down the white flag that was raised by their Mexican comrades in arms, preferring to struggle on with bayonets until finally being overwhelmed. Despite their brave resistance, however, 85 of the Irish battalion were captured and sentenced to bizarre tortures and deaths at the hands of the Americans, resulting in what is considered even today as the “largest hanging affair in North America.”

Hanging of the San Patricios as painted by Sam Chamberlain.

In the spring of 1846, the United States was poised to invade Mexico, its neighbour to the south. The ostensible reason was to collect on past-due loans and indemnities. The real reason was to provide the United States with control of the ports of San Francisco and San Diego, the trade route through the New Mexico Territory, and the rich mineral resources of the Nevada Territory – all of which at that time belonged to the Republic of Mexico. The United States had previously offered $5 million to purchase the New Mexico Territory and $25 million for California, but Mexico had refused.

Before the declaration of war by the United States, a group of Irish Catholics headed by a crack artilleryman named John Riley deserted from the American forces and joined the Mexicans. Born in Clifden, County Galway, Riley was an expert on artillery, and it was widely believed that he had served in the British army as an officer or a non-com in Canada before enlisting in the American army. Riley’s turned this new unit into a crack artillery arm of the Mexican defence. He is credited with changing the name of the group from the Legion of Foreigners and designing their distinctive flag. Within a year, the ranks of Riley’s men would be swelled by Catholic foreign residents in Mexico City, and Irish and German Catholics who deserted once the war broke out, into a battalion known as Los San Patricios, or ‘Those of Saint Patrick’.

The San Patricios fought under a green silk flag emblazoned with the Mexican coat of arms, an image of St. Patrick, and the words “Erin Go Bragh.” The battalion was made up of artillery and was observed in key positions during every major battle. Their aid was critical because the Mexicans had poor cannon with a range of 400 meters less than the Americans. In addition, Mexican cannoneers were inexperienced and poorly trained. The addition of veteran gunners to the Mexican side would result in at least two major battles being fought to a draw. Several Irishmen were awarded the Cross of Honor by the Mexican government for their bravery, and many received field promotions.

At the Battle of Churubusco, holed up in a Catholic monastery and surrounded by a superior force of American cavalry, artillery, and infantry, the San Patricios withstood three major assaults and inflicted heavy losses on the Yanks. Eventually, however, a shell struck their stored gunpowder, the ammunition park blew up, and the Irishmen, after a gallant counteroffensive with bayonets, were overwhelmed by sheer numbers. They were tried by a military court-martial and then scourged, branded, and hanged in a manner so brutal that it is still remembered in Mexico today.

(left: the Batallón de San Patricio Memorial plaque placed at the San Jacinto Plaza in the district of San Ángel, Mexico City in 1959: “In memory of the Irish soldiers of the heroic St. Patrick’s Battalion, martyrs who gave their lives to the Mexican cause in the United States’ unjust invasion of 1847”)

In September 1847, the Americans put the Irish soldiers captured at the Battle of Churubusco on trial. Forty-eight were sentenced to death by hanging. Those who had deserted before the declaration of war were sentenced to whipping at the stake, branding, and hard labour. Fuelled by Manifest Destiny, the American government dictated terms to the Mexicans in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. More than two-thirds of the Mexican Territory was taken, and out of it the United States would carve California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, and parts of Kansas and Colorado. Among all the major wars fought by the United States, the Mexican War is the least discussed in the classroom, the least written about, and the least known by the general public. Yet, it added more to the national treasury and to the land mass of the United States than all other wars combined.

After the conflict, so much new area was opened up, so many things had been accomplished, that a mood of self-congregation and enthusiasm took root in the United States. The deserters from the war were soon forgotten as they homesteaded and laboured in the gold fields of California or, as the 1860’s approached, put on the grey uniform of the Confederacy or the blue of the Union. Prejudice against the Irish waned, as the country was provided with a “pressure valve” to release many of its new immigrants westward. The story of the San Patricios disappeared from history.

For most Mexicans, solidarity with the Irish is part of a long tradition and they remembered the help they received from the Irish and their friendship. In the words of John Riley, written in 1847 but equally true today,

“A more hospitable and friendly people than the Mexican there exists not on the face of the earth… especially to an Irishman and a Catholic.”

Riley sums up what cannot be clearly documented in any history: the basic, gut-level affinity the Irishman had then, and still has today, for Mexico and its people. The decisions of the men who joined the San Patricios were probably not well-planned or thought out. They were impulsive and emotional, like many of Ireland’s own rebellions – including the Easter Uprising of 1916. Nevertheless, the courage of the San Patricios, their loyalty to their new cause, and their unquestioned bravery forged an indelible seal of honour on their sacrifice.

In 1997, on the 150th anniversary of the executions, then Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo stated:

“Members of the St. Patrick’s Battalion were executed for following their consciences. They were martyred for adhering to the highest ideals…we honour their memory. In the name of the people of Mexico, I salute today the people of Ireland and express my eternal gratitude”.

***

This article first featured on the Latino Rebels web-site here. Michael Hogan is the author of 20 books, including the Irish Soldiers of Mexico, one of the major historical works on the San Patricios Battalion which encompasses six years of research in the U.S., Mexico, and Ireland. As a permanent resident of Mexico, he was the first historian to be granted complete access to Mexican archives and military records. His home page is www.drmichaelhogan.com and the Facebook page for the book and related videos, photos, maps and stories about the San Patricios can be found at www.facebook.com/IrishMex.

The little-known 1999 feature film One Man’s Hero tells the (again!) little-known story of the San Patricios. The plot centres around the story of John Riley, as played by Tom Berenger, who  commands the battalion, as he bravely leads his men in battle, and struggles with authorities on both sides of the border.

Country: Spain / Mexico / USA  Language: English / Spanish  Release Date:  8 October 1999

Director: Lance Hool  Writer: Milton S. Gelman

Stars: Tom BerengerJoaquim de AlmeidaDaniela Romo

Despite being a decent film and an mostly enjoyable couple of hours parts of the film are pure blarney so for an accurate account of the San Patricios, read The Rogue’s March by Peter Stevens, and watch the San Patricios documentary starting here in several parts.

As we said at the beginning Celtic-Punk is no longer just confined to the Irish and Celtic diaspora it has become truly international with bands represented on every continent of the globe. In the next few days though we will be reviewing our very first band from Mexico, Batallón de San Patricio. Their debut album takes influences from both Ireland and their home country to make something truly wonderful as well as unique. I hope you revisit these pages to check them and their album out. You can subscribe to the London Celtic Punks Blog by filling in the ‘Follow Blog’ box that will be either on the left or below depending on how you are viewing us. Cheers!

ALBUM REVIEW: CelKILT- ‘The Next One Down’ (2020)

French band CelKIlt have long established themselves as one of the Celtic-Punk/Rock scenes heavyweights and here they return with their seventh album The Next One Down.

Trad Celtic-Rockers CelKIlt are back with their seventh album, recorded in Italy, France and Switzerland over several months, its time has unfortunately come in the middle of the clampdown doing away with any chance of decent promotion and it would be tragic if this album were to pass people by because of that. Reviewing CelKilt’s last album in 2017 I made the bold statement that “I’ve had to promote CelKilt up to the Premier League of top celtic-punk bands” and their new album hasn’t changed my opinion much either. They might be famous to a lot of London Celtic Punks readers for their song ‘Everyday’s St Patrick’s Day’ which kicks off the #1 Celtic-Punk compilation (still free and now at well over 1,500 downloads!) Irish Pub Songs- Celtic Punk Sampler.

CelKilt are a five piece Celtic-Punk band from Roanne, near to Lyon, which is pretty much bang in the middle of France and have been together since 2011 what is quite remarkable is that The Next One Down makes it seven albums in only nine years. I know a band who got together in 2010 and are still on one. Not mentioning any names!?!? Their releases include a whole album of Christmas themed originals titled Kiltmas Songs from 2015 as well as a Live album and on top of over 500 live shows they have even toured the USA not once, not twice but an amazing three times!!! They have been invited to play Shamrock Fest twice and in 2018 they returned to the States to play the Flogging Molly Salty Dog Cruise in 2018 (the lucky bastards!). Now not many Euro bands get the chance to go ‘Stateside’ so if you do then that means an awful lot. Last week we reviewed the new album from Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards, who also toured the USA, and I would very much class CelKIlt as being in the same league.

Their last album, the excellent Stand, made the Top Thirty Best Celtic-Punk Album of 2017 and when I reviewed it I hadn’t quite realised that their was such a thing as Google Translate so some of the bands history passed me by still it made me concentrate much more on the music than I would perhaps would do for an ‘Irish’ band. A superb mix of AC/DC hard rock, Celtic/Irish melodies and even Pop-Punk and ballads it is a brilliant album and one that I still play regularly. The Next One Down begins with the title track and some heavy and atmospheric piping from new team member Iain are joined by loud guitar before Titou’s great rock vocals come in. He sings in English and it’s clear as crystal and rather ‘theatrical’ in the style I can only describe as Freddie Mercury-esque. The music is more Rock style than Punk influenced but they make up for that next on ‘The Best I Can’ and a straight up Celtic-Punk masterpiece. Lyrically it’s about the environment but not preachy. In fact the opposite in saying it’s good enough to try our best and not make things worse. The song is only just over two minutes long and new band member Iain is much in evidence.

A great video which gets across the energy of the band and considering it’s their live performances that are mainly responsible for winning them their legions of fans it’s done a good job of portraying that. ‘Dig Around’ has some amazing piping and the more rocky sound reminds me of Fiddlers Green or the American bands Seven Nations and the Young Dubliners. Titou’s vocals throughout are another instrument for a band that you’d be amazed consists of only five members. ‘People Are Crazy’ dips it’s toe into some catchy ska/reggae but all the time firmly anchored in Celtic music.

‘Carry On’ is the albums longest song and I suppose a type of bombastic rock ballad. The Celtic side of things on The Next One Down is more subdued than on previous albums I would say but it still makes for a fantastic album given that they always had more of a Celtic spirit than 95% of bands in the scene anyway! The first of the album’s two instrumental is next and while ‘Their Wasabi’ may not be the massive free for all you’re expecting it is extremely well played and as catchy as hell. A word for the cracking video too a perfect example of ‘necessity breeds ingenuity’. The foreboding start to ‘The Road That Takes Me Home’ does not disappoint with its great gang chorus and heavy beat and clever and poignant lyrics.

‘Your Hand’ is the albums most accessible song to ‘outsiders’. The type of song that would appeal to everyone from Celtic-Punk extremists like me right up to your Mam! The Celtic takes a back seat except for Ana’s, as ever, amazing fiddle playing and has traces of Celtic-Rock from bands like U2, Simple Minds or even The Alarm. ‘Dewey’ is the second of the instrumentals here and at only ninety seconds it’s pipe heavy with a hard rock feel. Only a couple to go and both standout tracks with ‘Can’t Go Back’ the fastest song here taking in US style Pop-Punk as well as Calypso too. It’s all here folks!! The curtain comes down with the glorious singalong ‘Whaole’. A modern take on a sea-shanty and bloody brilliant and set to become a crowd favourite I would bet my shirt on.

CelKIlt continue to push the boundaries of Celtic music and with The Next One Down are right to be considered one of the scenes leading lights and internationally acclaimed. The album was mastered by Howie Weinberg, famous for his work with the Dropkick Murphys and other such giants such as Nirvana, Jeff Buckley and Deftones, and it cannot be understated what an amazing job he has done. The album is as close to perfection as you can get. The Celtic base to every song gives CelKilt the chance to spread their wings a little compared to their last LP but doesn’t detract from the overall feel. A great album and in this time of clampdown a ‘goodfeel’ album we desperately need.

Buy The Next One Down  Download  CD-FromTheBand   Vinyl-FromTheBand

Contact CelKilt WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  YouTube 

ODDS’N’SODS. CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP JUNE 2020

We want to move away from just being ‘ReviewReviewReviewReview’ so we have started this monthly feature that comes out on the last day of each month. All news items that we otherwise miss will get a mention but I need YOU to be the eyes and ears if it’s going to work so send over to us any band news, record releases, videos, tours (not individual gigs though yet sadly), live streams, crowd funders etc., to us at londoncelticpunks@hotmail.co.uk or through the Contact Us page and it will go in here!

Celtic-Punk major leaguers THE REAL MCKENZIES are back with their eleventh full-length album, Beer And Loathing, set for release on July 3rd on Stomp Records. More epic tales of alcohol soaked debauchery, historic sagas and hard-fought personal battles are promised and it will be coming out we are promised on Seafarer’s green and Beer Piss yellow vinyl and is available for pre-order from several different sites.

With the new album from THE O’REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS, Dogs On The Leash, just released here’s their first single. Easily one of the most prolific bands in Celtic-Punk it never ceases to amaze me the high quality of their output. As an aside my Mammy is from Mitchelstown and she’s proud as punch to see a song named after her home town.

We’re still plodding our way through reviews from St. Patrick’s week releases but the Celtic-Punk/Folk-Punk world continues to turn and here are all of the most recent ones we aware of

BLACK ANEMONE – Chasing The Sun

KELTIKON – The Black Boar

THE O’REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS – Dogs On The Leash

FIDDLER’S GREEN – Acoustic Pub Crawl II (Live In Hamburg)

NORTH ALONE – Quarantine Coverage (EP)

DAYS N DAZEShow Me The Blueprints

THE GO SET – Of Bright Futures

THE GO SET – …And Broken Pasts

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Raise Yer Pints Volume 5 Compilation

(remember if you want a review of your release we have to hear it first!)

Manchester based Derry born Gaelic Hip-Hop maestro DANNY DIATRIBE released At War With The Morning on May Day. A five track EP of modern day Irish immigrant Rap’n’Roll for a fiver!

For those of you who may have missed it the GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS premiered via live stream the professionally recorded live concert Barely Alive On The Inside filmed live at Inside Rock Cafe in their home town of Bergen in Norway on February the 15th 2020. It’s now available to watch on You Tube and is incredibly good!

The fourth album in ten years from JOHNNY KOWALSKI AND THE SEXY WEIRDOS and the first with new fiddle player Katherine McWilliam. Seven original tracks with weird instrumentals rubbing up against references to anti-fascism and conversations with the undead!

We gave it a small mention last month but full details are now available for THE PLACKS upcoming 7″ vinyl single. Limited to only 300 copies and on red vinyl it’s available for pre-order and features the songs ‘Rebellious Son’ and ‘The Bomb, The Bullet And The Gun’. Get it now as the pre-sale has gone fast.

South Yorkshire band SHANGHAI TREASON can do no wrong and their latest video is another masterpiece. Sooooo looking forward to seeing these Bhoys soon as the clampdowns over. The North Shall Rise Again’ is dedicated to the music venues of the North of England and hopefully they’ll be some left to watch them in at the end of all this! Their debut release comes out in the next few days so keep a eye on these pages.

Aussies MEDUSA’S WAKE have some new material out soon and I can tell you now it’s very good and we are very excited to hear more. We will be interviewing their singer and writer the Premier county born Eddie on all things Aussie Irish very shortly.

With no festivals or concerts PADDY ROCK has put together an Online Celtic Fest on 13th June 13th. No tickets, no commitments just eight hours of awesome Celtic music staring among others Bill-1916, Mike- Mickey Rickshaw, Sean- The Lucky Pistols and many more.

Scots born/Catalan based LOUIS RIVE has a excellent new single out called ‘Whitewashing‘ and we will be announcing a London Celtic Punks Live Stream with Louis soon! Just working on a date.

Our man in South Carolina T.C. COSTELLO has had a busy month. Two features on these pages for a single, ‘The Pandemic, and his forthcoming album The Bluebird and he released a new video for new song ‘Lord Randall’ as well. On top of that he played a very entertaining Live Stream for London Celtic Punks last week which is still available to view over on the London Celtic Punks Facebook page.

BRYAN McPHERSON spends his life on the road so holed up with his Mam and Dad in his hometown of Boston must be particularly tough on him. I’ve been loving his regular live streams and here’s one of the best ones. You can support Bryan by getting one his special limited edition Quarantine Time t-shirts and he also put out some Ramones themed tee’s too and on top of all that he also has a  new single out, a cover of an old school Rancid song called ‘Olympia WA‘.

London Celtic Punks fave ANTO MORRA has no record to flog (but if you do like what you hear check out his last album Twenty) but he did put out this the other day and I loved it so here it is.

London Irish Punk Folker ANTO is keeping busy though and on Wednesday June 3rd is performing live on Facebook in the third in a short series of Live Streams of artists that we bloody love. Think Christy Moore meets Billy Bragg but more fun and a better singer! Join the FB event for up to date info and on the day see you at the London Celtic Punks FB page at 8pm for an hour of surprises!

This July CLOVER’S REVENGE were set to wing their way over from sunny Florida to play London and we were looking forward to sharing a few beers with them but well you know… Anyway to make up for it they are also performing a full band Live Stream on Tuesday 25th June which will be on the London Celtic Punks Facebook page. Check the FB events page for any further information.

The new album from French band CelKILT, The Next One Down, came out yesterday and will be reviewed here any day soon but in the meantime enjoy this excellent track from the album.

The Irish music scene in Serbia is extremely popular with the biggest being the amazing Irish Stew Of Sindidun and SCORDISCI are the latest to throw their hat into the ring. Celtic-Punk from Belgrade, Serbia formed early in 2014 they have just released a new single – ‘In a Year Or Two’.

Ambitious plans from Holland’s MAGGIE’S FLOCK. A single released on the 23rd of every month during 2020 and then at the end of the year all twelve songs will become the album Party At The Cemetery. Aprils’s song is ‘Drunken Train’ and earlier this year the singles ‘Battle Song‘, ‘Bored Beyond Death‘ and ‘Maggie Of The Moor‘ were also released. Since I wrote this they have already released another song so to to be kept in the loop like them on Facebook.

New ‘clampdown’ video from THE RUMPLED one of the best bands in what seems to be the hottest Celtic-Punk scene around at the moment over there in Italy. They also put out a video with Silvano from UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS last week too.

The clamor for a decent DROPKICK MURPHYS group on Facebook has been getting increasingly louder and its finally arrived so hightail it to the DROPKICK MURPHYS FAN PAGE and join up for all the best news, views and reminiscences on the DKM’s. If you missed their live stream on May 29th then it’s now uploaded to YouTube and is worth multiple views. The Springsteen songs are right at the end.

… and finally it doesn’t seem like it but it’s ten years since THE LAGAN set out on the rocky road. A pity they couldn’t celebrate it in style down at the sweatbox that is The Fighting Cocks but Brendan and Andy got together on Saturday 10th May and rattled off a handful of original Lagan songs and a few covers and it was terrific. If it’s still up get the beers in, settle down and UP THE FUCKING LAGAN!

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

EP REVIEW: 7 STOUT CLAN- ‘7 Stout Clan’ (2020)

Another EP release this time three original songs from Eastern Finland from a band that deserve a lot more recognition. I give you 7 Stout Clan.

I find it quite hard to fathom how a band that has been together since 2008 has only just released a small handful of recordings! I suppose its quite heartening as it means this is literally a band that are in it for the love of the music. This is the bands fourth release which includes their sold out debut Demo from 2009 and Too Drunk To Punk EP from 2010. Another EP from 2018, Alcohostility, is still available from the band. While this may not be exactly groundbreaking it is bloody great stuff and abso-bloody-lutely perfect music for the pub (especially at a time when the pubs are all closed!). There’s only three songs sadly but each is damn good and significantly different enough from each other to show a band with a great depth.

7 Stout Clan left to right: Elias – Drums * Juho – Vocals, Tenor Banjo, Mandolin * Julius – Guitar, Backing Vocals * Taavi – Vocals, Bagpipes, Tin-Whistle, Mandolin * Kalle – Bass, Backing Vocals *

7 Stout Clan were formed in 2008 in Savonlinna in Eastern Finland and take hard drivin’ Punk and team it with Celtic and Finnish Folk music influences and the result is pretty spectacular. The opening song is ‘Wretch Robert’s Grin’ and theirs a certain UK Punk sound going on here but with a catchy Celtic-Punk style chorus. The pounding bass and tin-whistle combined with Taavi’s breathless vocals make a great combination. Over in just three minutes it seems even shorter such is it’s style.

Like I said only three songs and ‘Good People’ showcases Taavi’s bagpipes well with another catchy as hell Punk Rock number with not just great piping but great use of the pipes within the songs framework also. The UK Punk sound is still evident and the energy here is overwhelming. Even just listening to it on the computer gets the blood racing and the foot tapping. The last song and the whole EP is done and dusted in just three minutes which is a great shame but they go out in style with ‘Pogo Stick’ and the Bhoys crank it up with a great singalonga gang chorus.

“Damn right you’re a lunatic bouncing ’round like a pogo stick
Get your feet off the ground for a while but it ain’t much fun, anyway
Damn right you’re a lunatic treating me like a pogo stick
You should get a new that’ll get you through from this little thing called life”

A fast Punky number that’s a surefire dance floor filler I’d say as all the songs here here. Catchy, Celtic-Punk that is heavy but still accessible but if you’re a fan of the Real McKenzies then 7 Stout Clan is a band you will really get.

“Staying still will get you killed”

The 7 Stout Clan single is only available in digital format at the moment from the links below but I’m hopeful the guys will get a Bandcamp account started soon and get their entire back catalogue uploaded. Hint- Hint!!!

Download 7 Stout Clan  Apple  Spotify

Contact 7 Stout Clan WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

LIVE STREAM

The hardest hitting bands of Finnish Celtic-Punk, 7 Stout Clan and Band Of Shysters are joining forces and this time the good times are brought to you right into your living room via live stream from restaurant Maxim!
7 Stout Clan are joined by Band Of Shysters. Pseudo-Celtic-Savonian folk orchestra from pre-historic fog to cyber punk. Showtime is Saturday 30th May at 8pm (which is 7pm UK time) and their is a Facebook event with all the details you need.

ALBUM REVIEW: UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS- ‘The Men Beyond The Glass’ (2020)

It’s been quite the year for Italian Celtic-Punk so far and Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards prove once again that they are ‘Premier League’ with their third album all set to light up the Celtic-Punk world yet again!

Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards are without doubt one of the world’s best Celtic-Punk bands. There I said it. It’s out of the way now. One of the most authentic bands in the scene they have a unbelievable crossover appeal to both Punks and Folk fans though they themselves think that they’re

“Too rock for the Folkies and too folk for the Rockies. The Bastards could please or disappoint almost everyone.”

Formed back in 2007 and based in the north of Italy most of the band have lived or spent time in Ireland and have fallen in love with Irish music and culture, playing a completely unique blend of Folk-Rock and Traditional Irish Music. In fact it’s safe to say that Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards are unlike any other Celtic-Punk band.

The Men Beyond The Glass is the Bhoys third album and both their previous albums have scored enormous success across the Celtic-Punk world. Debut album Get The Folk Out came out of nowhere to hit #1 as the London Celtic Punks album of the year for 2014 while their follow up album Handmade made #13 in 2017 in what has since been considered the strongest year for Celtic-Punk in recent times. These albums were good enough to earn them a slot at the Dublin Irish Festival, the United States most important Irish music festival, in Ohio in 2019 where they went down a storm and made many friends. Besides the US the band has toured internationally and played more than 400 gigs worldwide, including several times supporting Celtic-Punk legends The Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly as well as world renowned traditional Irish acts like The Dubliners, De Danann, Four Men And A Dog, Beoga and Cùig.

The Men Behind The Glass kicks off with ‘Hey Men’ and the glorious drone of the uileann pipes. Much harder to master than Scottish bagpipes and with a much ‘sweeter’ sound it was originally known as píobaí uilleann which translates literally as ‘elbow pipes’. A sound not heard very much in Celtic-Punk but when it is it moves a band from the same league as Leyton Orient up into Champions League territory. Not only that but Luca has truly mastered the instrument and provides an amazing backdrop for the Dirty Bastards to work alongside. The song was written by vocalist Guido whose aching vocals provide a powerful sound for the opening track. This is followed by the first song released from the album ‘Back On Your Feet’ and a song that is perhaps more usual fare for the band than track one.

Fast and catchy with an unmistakable Irish sound it’s a song with both a dark edge and a real catchiness about them and the band are also known for their intelligent lyrics and positive message.

“We spend a life to make it work
It takes a minute to ruin it all
We spent days, months, years
Trying to make it work
But that bloody one minute was worth it all

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again.
Fail again. Fail better.”

‘If Only He Applied Himself’ carries on in the same vein but with the band embracing the Celtic-Punk sound more and more. Think of them as an acoustic Punk band with Silvano’s understated electric guitar works just right in the barrage of sound here. Not only a master of the pipes Luca also excels on the Irish flute and tin whistle. On an album of such quality it is heartening to see that it is truly a band effort with Lorenzo, tenor banjo and mandolin, this time taking on the words and music for ‘Man Of The Storm’. A slow song but with a heavyness to it.

There’s a wealth of good songs here so hard to pick out the best but ‘Happily Misplaced In This World’ is one with a great singalong chorus and Lorenzo’s lyrics emphasise how much affection he has for that wee island on the edge of Europe.

“It’s springing in Dublin this March
And the crowd for Paddy’s day is gone
As I lay down and wait for the first sun
It’s just me and Charles Parnell”

On ‘Wish’ the song tells of a musician looking out on his audience and dreaming. A slow burner with a lovely Irish air to it provided by Luca Rapazzini on the fiddle and a nice touch with trumpet towards the end. ‘Devils Are All Here’ strays into bluegrass a smidgen but still fast and Celt and another killer chorus. ‘Life’s Grand’ has the best lyric of the album without a doubt and though they have that dark edge it’s undercut with a lovely dark humour too’

“Cause life is grand
Yes life is grand
Even when you step into dog shite
And life’s a curse but could be worse
And we would do it all over again”

‘The Count’ opens with the sound of Irish dancing from Irish dancing duo Perla Davide and Letizia Perin and then some of the albums heaviest guitars but still firmly entrenched in their trademark trad Irish sound. Luca’s pipes reign in the catchy and ‘pop’-ish  ‘The Make-Sense-Law’. A great song and a standout here with a real foot tapping/ thigh slapping beat and that piping to die for. ‘Empty Glasses’ gives the Bhoys a chance to ramp it up and get the audience on their feet. With the energy of a Flogging Molly anthem like ‘Drunken Lullabies’ the song rolls along until album closer ‘Get Some Rest’ and a delicate ballad sees the curtain closes on The Men Beyond The Glass. A beautiful song from Lorenzo that fits Guido voice nowhere better.

The album has several interesting guest appearances with Luca Rapazzini on fiddle, Diego Lambertini on trumpet, Lucia Picozzi on accordion and piano, Andrea Verga on clawhammer banjo and Daniele Rigamonti on bodhran with Andrea Rock and Anthony Hind on backing vocals. It was recorded, mixed and mastered at Greenriver Studio, Cavaria con Premezzo by Tancredi Barbuscia who has done an outstanding job in gathering the bands sound together. The power in even the slower songs and ballads shines through the entire album. I’ve said several times this year that I thought that album of the year had already been decided with the debut release from Norway’s Ogras but now I’m not so sure.

In a scene where it is remarkably easy to fall into the cliches of Irish music everything the Bastards put into their music screams originality. It may seem their isn’t always a lot of room for the boundaries of Celtic-Punk to be stretched but Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards are as good as band in the scene at stretching them. Fifty minutes that subvert the usual drinking songs that you usually hear on these pages. From the twelve original songs to the very title of the album The Men Beyond The Glass aims to show something different from just them drinking songs, jolly jigs, reels and sombre ballads. Not that the Bastards can’t turn their hand to those songs as well as these songs welcome you behind the artist and past the drinker to meet the men beyond the glass…

Buy The Men Beyond The Glass  CD- FromTheBand

Contact Uncle Bard  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

NEW SINGLE FROM GRASS MUD HORSE ‘The Hill I Chose To Die On’ OUT NOW

Grass Mud Horse are one of the newest additions to the Celtic Punk Scene. Strong song-writing and a fascinating backstory has helped this China based three piece turn a lot of heads.

Grass Mud Horse was originally just a group of mates who got together each week for beer and BBQ. They would come up with song ideas and even rap about their lives in the “Big Red” (China). Chris turned these ideas into punk songs and started recording some of the better ones. The band is comprised of expats living in Northern China, Chris Barry (Guitars Mando, Tin Whistle, Vocals) from the UK/Canada, Will Wyld (Drums) from Texas and Rocca Desta (Bass) from Scotland.

Their debut single “Christmas Time in China” was a catchy and hilarious fish out of water Christmas sing-along. Since then Chris and Grass Mud Horse have released a second single, the pirate punk “No Prey No Pay” (we exclusively released the video here on London Celtic Punks), and an Acoustic EP “The Quarantine Sessions.”

The EP, a mix of originals and traditional folk songs, was written and recorded on a porta-studio in an Inner Mongolian kitchen with whatever instruments Chris could find whilst the band was split up on lockdown in various parts of China. Like I said this band has a very interesting back story…

“…Where I was food ran out, we had martial law basically. I saw a woman push past a government check point and get battered by a dude in combats. We lost a lot as band, some big opportunities, including a tour opening for a big headliner….”

Chris on how the CORONAVIRUS has affected Grass Mud Horse. Things are now getting better in China, Chris and Will are back together jamming again (Rocco is still stuck in Scotland) and released their third single on May 15th “The Hill I Chose to Die on.”

(You can stream The Hill I Chose To Die On on the Bandcamp player below. It is also now available on most other download/ stream sites)

The new single is a welcome return to the “plugged-in” full-band sound for Grass Mud Horse. The song begins with a single mandolin, which is quickly joined by thunderous toms, accordion and thick punk rock guitar. The Intro peaks when the tin-whistle jumps in with a catchy riff. The first verse sees the arrangement reduced as the accordion and tin whistle drop out. Chris’s snarling vocals from “No Prey No Pay” return belting out the first lines “This is the hill I chose to die on, This is where you’ll find my grave…” The hook and content of the song has a bit of a story behind it too.

“…It was a Facebook fight! Two keyboard warriors where going at it, calling each other “millennial”, “boomer”, “gammon” etc. Somehow that whole thing with the bakery refusing to make a cake for a gay couple had come up again and the “millennial” posted about how he was amazed that this was the hill so many “gammon”, “boomers”…(or whatever I can’t remember exactly)….chose to die on. I’d heard the phrase before, but it hit me that in the context of this “generation war” that’s going on, it was very poetic and I grabbed me notebook and starting writing…”

The second half of the verse builds again with the reintroduction of the Accordion, before a brief dropout announces the arrival of the PreChorus. Yet another shift in dynamics brings the tin whistle back, but this time it sits back and harmonises with the catchy vocal Refrain “The World is changing so fast without me…” Another dynamic breakdown leads us into the first Chorus and the arrangement now includes all the instruments together in support of the hook. Following the first Chorus the tin whistle takes the lead again, with a return off the riff from the intro and then we have a repeat of the first verse, but this time the arrangement is broken down to just a little guitar, mando’ and light drums. The last few bars of this verse feature an energetic build up over the lines “…quiet, reserved, with not much to say…” and then we go back to the pre-chorus and repeat the chorus twice to see the song out.

The Hill I Chose To Die On is about keyboard warriors in an angry exchange and that is how the song plays out. The song builds as the anger builds, ending in a crescendo of passionate exchanges. The protagonists are angered and spent but the listener is exhilarated and excited like a near death experience. At just under two and a half minutes it’s a short but sweet song that will have you wanting to listen again. “The Hill I chose to Die on” is a well-produced song, but I’m left hungry for a full length release from Grass Mud Horse, which is something they do have in the works apparently.

The future for Grass Mud Horse like many bands right now is fairly uncertain. Chris tells me they have more songs from the Quarantine Sessions that they plan to release as a Part Two and possibly even Part Three EP. However the real focus will be finishing a full length Celtic Punk Record comprised of the singles so far and new material, which Chris hopes they will release later this year.

Download The Hill I Chose To Die On  Spotify  Bandcamp

Contact Grass Mud Horse  WebSite  Facebook   GMH Blog  YouTube

ALBUM REVIEW: T.C. COSTELLO- ‘The Bluebird’ (2020)

With the imminent release of his seventh album next week London Irish Folk Punker Anto Morra gives his view on T.C. Costello’s The Bluebird.

The Bluebird will be launched live on Facebook on Thursday where T.C. will be debuting some new songs and a few auld favourites too no doubt.

The last time I graced a stage in London I had the pleasure of performing a song with T.C Costello so if you’re expecting an unbiased review you’re gonna be outta luck as when I took the second wave Punk oath back in 1978, I’ve been cursed into a life of artistic honesty.

T.C’s voice is a very acquired taste but what it lacks in melodic beauty, it more than makes up for in passion, expression and wild abandonment in a similar way to MacGowan and Strummer. As a musician he is quite remarkable and completely fearless, with strange instruments dropping in and out all over the place. Imaging the first Roxy Music album lead by an accordion with Ferry on a mixture of absinth and amphetamine, Eno tripping his bollocks off in a room full of chimes bells and whistles, and Manzanera’s strat replaced by a bunch of strange acoustic stringed instruments from the four corners of the earth, and you may have some idea of what you’re gonna get on his latest offering.

‘The Bluebird’ is quite a leap sonically from his previous ‘100 Years Ago’ album but has not lost any of the energy or joy. I am quite ashamed to admit I struggle with any singing that’s not in English (Even the French bit in The Beatles ‘Michelle’ gets on my nerves) and so the opening song ‘Saeya, Saeya Parang Saeya’ was quite a shock and most certainly a challenge for me, but when I applied the right head space and put aside my narrow little Englander prejudiced approach, I started to love it in a similar way I love these early Thompson Twins song’s ‘Vendredi Saint’ or ‘Animal Laugh’.

The term ‘World Music’ is always one I’ve hated (simply because all music is world music unless it’s been made in space) making it mean nothing along with ‘Fusion’ a fuckin’ bass and drum is a fuckin’ fusion!!! However Folk Punk, Celtic Punk does not seem to fully pigeonhole TC Costello’s music adequately so I’m gonna describe it as ‘World Punk’ as the influences here are from everywhere. The psychedelic 60’s india is pulled into Eastern European Klezmer moments and wrapped around the odd traditional and Irish songs and delivered in that authentic, warm, Greenville South Carolina USA accent. Traditional Irish standard ‘To The Begging I Will Go’ follows and is a song I easily relate too and this is a remarkable arrangement of it that seamlessly slides into Italian protest classic ‘Bella Ciao/Pizzicarella Mia’ the latter part sounding like a beautiful Italian love song delivered on Red Bull and Vodka.

The next two songs are very familiar on the Folk scene since the 60’s revival. ‘The Old Churchyard’ popularised by The Watersons and ‘Lord Randall’ a tale of a fool poisoned by the Fairies.

‘Malena’ is another I have to plead ignorance about but it’s full of emotion, passion and musical dexterity. This takes us into the exceptionally familiar ‘Matty Groves’ sticking lyrically close to the Fairport Convention version but musically much more adventurous. ‘Tramp Tramp Tramp’ is a great song about prejudice and discrimination that I think may have taken the melody from ‘God Save Ireland.’  ‘They’re Red Hot’ is a fantastic break neck folk Rag and before you know it, TC is informing us with great joy “who we can and canae throw off the bus”. I’ve heard more versions of ‘Haul Away Joe’ than you can shake a stick at, but the arrangement and performance is one of the best. It’s how I imagine someone like Nick Cave would approach it, very dark, very tortured passionate and authentic. ‘The Willow Garden’ closes this record appropriately, as it is a traditional murder ballad.

This is not a record for those who want a traditional song played the way they always have been, but for people that want possibilities stretched. It’s one of them you’ll listen to again and again and always hear something else going on, a complete acoustic psychedelic head fuck with all the discordant beauty of the world smashed together and made coherent by the passionately spewed lyrics and vocal delivery.
If you want to be taken from anxiety verging on a panic attack, to manic joy and laughter, then be dropped off at the nearest watering hole to cry in your beer? You better buy this album.

(The Bluebird is available for download from Bandcamp. Only $10 the album is set for release on June 1st and all Proceeds go to International Medical Corps, who provide medical and related services to 30 countries around the world)

Pre-Order The Bluebird From TC

Contact T.C. Costello  Facebook  Bandcamp  YouTube

I’d like to leave you with this little clip from a couple of years ago, when I last played in my beloved home town and it really is the only way to put a band together; it features the great man himself as well as Brendan O’Prey of brilliant Celtic Punk outfit “The Lagan.”

ALBUM LAUNCH LIVE STREAM ANNOUNCEMENT

Par for the course and ages after everyone else has had a go we are doing a series of LiveStreams. We begin with the album launch for The Bluebird. We sadly had to cancel the TC Costello/Tim Holehouse gig but TC still wants to play for his UK based fans so he will be streaming live from South Carolina while hopefully Tim will fit in a show for us soon afterwards.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1150555188477972/

The 20th May was all set for his 5th triumphant return to The Lamb but fear not his UK and European fans T.C. will go live at 8pm (9pm- Europe) direct into our phones and computers via his page https://www.facebook.com/tccostello2/ and will play till his hands go sore… so that’s about a hour. Tune in there and then and we’ll see you in the comments section.

For more details on our exclusive Live Streams check out here

SINGLE REVIEW: ANTI DEPRESANTS- ‘Yer The One’ (2020)

Anti Depressants are a four piece Ska, Punk’n’Roll band from the hills of County Armagh. Going since 2008 they already have four albums behind them but the last one was in 2013. Now with a settled line up our man in South Carolina TC Costello ran the rule over their new single ‘Yer The One’.

 

Two years ago I went on my first tour through Ireland. The Brandy Thieves were booked as the headline act at the Summer Solstice Festival, a DIY festival at a remote house in County Armagh, and the organizers were nice enough to book me as the opening act, too. So with my less-than-trusty accordion in a state of disrepair, I took the stage at 2pm, bottle of Buckfast by my side, and got ready for a long day of craic that would end with a Brandy Thieves encore of ‘Zombie’ that I have no recollection of participating in – though video evidence says otherwise.

Of what I remember, though, one of the highlights of the festival was local Armagh punk band Anti Depresants.  With their diverse sound embracing heavy rock, reggae, male and female vocals and blistering guitar work, they’d be a standout at this or any other festival.  Their song ‘Legalize’, an angry anthem of marijuana legalization, may have been my favourite song of the 2018, and its video was shot at the same house as the festival, where bassist Lemmy lives, has band practice and can work away at building motorbikes without bothering anyone.

With the their upcoming single ‘Yer The One’, the lineup has changed, and this particular song is less angry, but the spirit, craic and eclectic influences are still pervasive. It starts with a heavy three-chord guitar riff then jolts the listener with some Specials-esque reggae for the verse.  Back-and forth vocals between guitarists Becca McCaffrey and Ringo tell the story of a happy couple’s journey through the week:

“Monday Might be raining, it don’t matter to us

Tuesday Might be the same, we don’t give a f-ck

Wednesday is coming and no matter what

Thursday is for learning but only if you want.”

And the pre-chorus:

“Oh, my love, don’t you know yer the one?”

For the chorus of simply, “yer the one,” the heavy distortion is back with an ascending guitar riff. The rest of the week consists of a drunken weekend, a Sunday hangover and the Mandatory Monday, where they can do it “again, and again and again,” which is anything but boring and repetitive for these two. Is the festival still happening this year?  McCaffrey says the band is unsure due to Covid-19. 

‘Yer The One’ is released today May 14th and is available for streaming or download from Bandcamp or the link below for just a lousy Pound. They also have their entire back catalogue available on Bandcamp, going right back to 2008, for ‘Name Your Price’ download.

Buy Yer The One  Here

Contact Anti Depresants  Facebook  YouTube  Bandcamp

INTERVIEW WITH MIKE FROM THE ‘CELTIC PUNK, FOLK AND ROCK FANS’ GROUP

Little over a year ago a new Group appeared on Facebook called Celtic Punk, Folk And Rock Fans and considering 2019 was a bad year for Celtic-Punk media with two of the biggest sites closing it has been an invaluable place for fans old and new to share and introduce music to each other. Despite the shortcomings of Facebook the group has grown and continues to and Mike the groups founder agreed to answer a few questions on all things Celtic-Punk and the Irish community in the States.

Hello Mike! You set up the Facebook group ‘Celtic Punk, Folk And Rock Fans‘. What was your main purpose in doing that? How has it been? Has the scene got behind you? I did notice it exploded after the St. Patrick’s Day Dropkick Murphys live stream show.

Hi and thanks for asking me to do this. Hopefully I can give you what you were hoping for. I started the Facebook Page Celtic Punk Folk Rock first when I was doing a small online radio station thru live365.com, hoping to get more listeners and help to spread the word about all the great music being put out in the genre. I myself didn’t really get into it until 2006 when I started discovering the music thanks to the P2P programs that were popular at the time, like Limewire for instance. The first group I found was the Pogues, who I remembered hearing about back in the 80’s from an English guy I was working with at the time, although my musical tastes were in a different place at the time so I never really got into it then. From there I started discovering more Celt music thanks to John B of Paddy Rock and also Shite n Onions, and from there my love of the music began to grow. When I just had the FB Page there was some interest from fans, but it took almost 6 years or so to get 1000 followers, and then I saw something about making a group affiliated with the Page and got 1000 fans within 11 months. I’d say the scene has been getting behind the group, especially from like the end of February as you mentioned, ever since the post about the Murphys live stream on Paddy’s Day, and suddenly I was adding over 100 member requests a day, to where we are today with almost 5000 members, and there has been lots of participation by members which makes it more fun,discovering even more new bands than I’d known of previously.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? One glimpse at your FB page tells me you are a proud Irish-American but do you know much about your roots? Us non-Irish born Irish are often ridiculed by those whose ancestors were lucky not to be starved out of Ireland for having the most tenuous of links and sadly Irish-Americans seem to bear the brunt of it. What’s the community like where you live?

What I know of my roots I discovered on my own thru online ancestry sites, and I discovered my great great grandfather came to the States around 1850 or so, and the first American born member of my family was a great aunt who was born in NY in 1854. I found that my family was one of the first Irish families to settle in the town I grew up in which I thought was pretty cool. My mother’s family came here in 1888 and 1890 from Cork. I grew up in a mainly working class town whose main employer was the General Motors plant, so it was a landing point for lots of immigrants from Ireland as well as many other countries, so it was a real melting pot,not surprising since the town was only 25 miles from New York City.

Do you think most Irish in the States would consider themselves Irish, Irish-American or just plain auld American? Why do you think that affinity to Ireland has stayed so strong in people whose ancestors left Ireland in some cases generations ago?

I’d say most think of themselves the same as I do, as an American first with strong Irish heritage that we’re all proud of, sort of like ‘Emerald City’ by The Tossers. I’m 4th generation Irish American on my father’s side and I’ve known I had Irish blood since I was a kid, but like I said earlier, I never knew much until around 2005 or so when I got into finding out my ancestry history, and once a person knows and learns about the history and the culture of the Irish people, there’s no way you can’t be proud to be Irish.

It seems to me that the media have an obsession with Irish-Americans often showing them on TV as violent gangsters or drunken simpletons. The most obvious example is the disrespectful way that St.Patrick’s Day is now portrayed. It is still the most popular day in the worldwide Irish calendar but does it hurt when it is shown as just a gigantic piss-up and what ways are the community doing to combat this.

To tell you the truth, I don’t see or hear any of that type of negativity over here. NYC has the oldest and biggest Paddy’s Day parade in the world if i’m not mistaken and it’s the biggest parade of all of the parades in NYC. I’ve been down there three times on Paddy’s Day, two of those times to see The Pogues in 2007 and 2008, and all I saw was people having a blast and celebrating the day, with never any violence, so those people that think that way just don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about and even if anyone does say anything offensive we’re not pussies and we don’t get offended like a snowflake, we just deal with it. I’m not a PC person anyway. PC culture was created as a form of censorship in my opinion, but that’s neither hear nor there, so I’ll move on.

Which leads us onto this. Now us Irish are fond of a drink or two that much is true and there’s a current debate around the idea of cultural appropriation. Is it politically correct for non-Irish bands to sing about the Irish getting pissed and fighting and pubs and what have you. Personally I love it. The idea of the likes of Indonesian or Brazilian bands getting into The Dubliners and The Wolfe Tones after listening to the Dropkick Murphys. I mean its not like The Dubliners ever wrote a song about getting pissed is it? I think its just a case of snobbery but do you think it’s ok?

Hell, I love the fact that there are Celtic bands all over the world, it just shows how far Irish culture is spread around the globe. Hell,there are forty million Americans who claim Irish ancestry to one degree or another. There are people in the FB group from places like Poland, Belgium, Germany, Mexico and on and on, places you wouldn’t really expect the music to be popular, and they post videos of bands people may not have heard of, so I’m all for it. Music connects everyone in one way or another so that’s a cool thing.

(we asked Mike for his three favourite Celtic-Punk videos. #1 our very own Neck)

How did you get into Celtic-Punk? For myself it was as a child growing up listening to Irish music (somewhat reluctantly it must be said!) and then later on after I had gotten into Punk both traditions met head on with The Pogues when I was 14 and that was that!

I was very late getting into it. In 2006 my son was reading the Bob Dylan book Chronicles Part One and it had a section on how he idolized the Clancy Brothers, especially Liam, so he asked me if I could find some Liam Clancy on Limewire, and that’s when I discovered the Pogues and downloaded a few songs and got hooked, and from there I just became totally obsessed with the Punk and the Trad genres.

Who were the bands who first got you into Celtic-Punk? Who are your all time favourite bands on the scene?

For me, everything started with The Pogues, and after joining the Medusa Forum (Pogues site) I learned more about them and found out about the Murphys and Flogging Molly, and thanks to Paddy Rock my Celt Punk horizons expanded. Right now I’d say my all time favorites would be the Pogues, Tossers, Mahones, DKM, Greenland Whalefishers and the Rumjacks.

Besides Celtic-Punk what other music do you like?

Rock has always been my favorite, starting with seeing the Beatles on TV on Ed Sullivan as a young lad of 7 then getting into the Stones, then in ’72 a friend of mine turned me on to Bowie, Lou Reed and the V.U., Mott, Iggy and then came the Ramones and Punk and New Wave. I’ve also gotten into the Outlaw Country stuff with Waylon, Willie, Johnny Cash, Hank and Hank Jr, Steve Earle, who has a lot of Celtic influence in his music. I also loved the Motown sound of my youth and liked some of the original hardcore Hip-Hop.

(Mikes second song was the perfect mix of past and present)

I’m sure you get to hear a lot of modern day Celtic/Folk-Punk bands? Which bands would you recommend as the ‘next big thing’ on the scene?

I don’t see any live music. Most of what I hear as far as newer bands go I find in my group actually. I really like The Gallowgate Murders and The O’Reilly’s And The Paddyhats. Another couple of new favorites are Paddy Waggin and Grass Mud Horse.

Has Celtic-Punk been welcomed in the Irish-American community at all? I was recently reading about the explosion in young people wanting to learn bagpipes, banjo, mandolin and tin-whistle. Of course what the article failed to mention was that these are all instruments the Dropkick Murphys play!! Here in England the very mention of Celtic-Punk conjures up images of young men in Celtic tops smashing up bars and puking in the bogs so there is still a lot of fear and mistrust.

I’d say it probably all depends on what type of music people are into in the first place. If people are more into alternative type music they’d probably gravitate more to the Celt Punk. Even the Murphys and Flogging Molly aren’t filling the big arenas like a Madison Square Garden so it’s still a small loyal community, and none of the bands get played on the mainstream radio stations. I don’t really see the big explosion of young fans either. The numbers I get in my group data is that almost 70% of the members are between 35 and 54, which really surprised me.

(Mikes final video is Irish-American favourites The Tossers and their ode to their home city of Chicago)

To us in England it seems that Celtic-Punk over there is massive. It does seem there’s even more bands than ever before. Is this right is the scene bigger? If it is bigger has that made it more commercial / mainstream and is that a good thing? After the big 2 who are the next most popular US bands?

I don’t really know how big the scene here is, but it definitely isn’t mainstream or commercial, it’s still more of a subculture or cult type thing. The groups besides the Big 2 I like from here are the Tossers, Flatfoot 56, Black 47 were big when they were together. The Kilmaine Saints, Killigans, Shilelagh Law usually have big regional followings and are always popular on the summer Irish American Festival circuit. A new band I just discovered in the group is Black Irish Texas who I like a lot.

Do you think their is a particular American Celtic-Punk sound. Like the Australians their is a very strong working class ethos but also a mistrust of anything overtly political.

I think each band has their own sound, I mean nobody is gonna confuse the Tossers sound for the Murphys or Flogging Molly for Flatfoot 56. Some bands have more of the hard edged sound while others have the more trad sound just sped up a bit.

We Irish love our sport and it is football that is most dear to our hearts and we (nearly) all support the best team in the world but we all (mostly) have other (not so good) teams too. You into sport at all? Which teams do you support? Does learning the value of defeat and having pride in losing but trying your hardest teach you something that is missing in society?

I love sports,played them all the time as a kid. I played baseball and basketball and pickup football (American style) and I love watching NHL hockey even though I never played. My favorite teams are all New York teams, my favorite being the Yankees in baseball, Giants in the NFL, Knicks,even though they’ve sucked for 20 years now, in the NBA and the Islanders in the NHL. I think sports teach us how to win and lose, and nothing is handed to you, at least it used to be like that in youth sports when I was growing up, none of this participation trophy shite we see these days. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, words that still hold true today. I know one political party over here that never learned to lose gracefully, that’s not the way to lose. If you lose, it’s cool to be pissed, but lose with class and dedicate yourself to work on the mistakes you made that caused you to lose, and hopefully one day you’ll taste the thrill of victory.

Any final thoughts Mike? Anyone you would like to give a shout out to and any bands you would like to give a plug?

First,thanks for asking me to do this interview. Hopefully I gave you something you could use with my answers, and I’d like to give a shout-out to all the glorious bastards in my FB group for helping spread the word about this great music we love and participating and sharing their favorite music with everyone, and a shout out to your own London Celtic Punks which has kept fans in the loop about everything Celt Punk for so long.

Join the best Group on Facebook at the link below and why not share your most local band. 

CELTIC PUNK, FOLK AND ROCK FANS

ALBUM REVIEW: THE FEELGOOD McLOUDS- ‘Life On A Ferris Wheel’ (2020)

Imagine if The Dubliners were around now and in their early twenties… then they may sound just like German Celtic-Punkers The Feelgood McLouds do!!

It is very hard when reviewing to figure out how popular a band is. Sure it’s easy enough if you are seeing that band regularly but when it’s one from abroad you can only go on instinct. The Feelgood McLouds are a band that have never appeared on this site before which seems strange especially as we have all been fans of theirs since their debut self titled album in 2017. That debut album saw The Feelgood McLouds pushing the envelope with both bagpipes and a more Streetpunk/ Oi! sound, both highly unusual for German Celtic-Punk bands. The album though utterly brilliant seemed to bypass the usual media and was completely ignored by us for some inexplicable reason as I can confirm it was a pretty decent debut.

So here we are in May 2020 and I cannot possibly imagine a worse time to release a record with the opportunity to promote Life On A Ferris Wheel almost non-existent. With no sign of the ‘clampdown’ being relaxed it is a refreshing attitude to say “Hey, Life goes on” and say “Damn it!” and just put it out. The boys are a relatively new band, being formed in January 2015 in the city of Saarbrücken in the southwestern German state of Saarland. Now the Germans have taken to Celtic-Punk like no other country in Europe has and they have a wealth of really excellent bands but The Feelgood McLouds do more than enough to make themselves stand out. While most of these bands take a more Folk orientated route the McLouds are unashamedly Punk Rock and you could categorise the difference as being Do Or Die Dropkick Murphys and post- Mike McColgan Dropkick Murphys. That is not to say they are a straight up Punk band as they are most definitely not and they manage to combine that Streetpunk sound with Irish/Celtic melodies and instrumentation really well and authentically. The band themselves describe their sound as

“like NOFX and the Dropkick Murphys are meeting in an Irish pub for an endless party”

which is fair enough but I also feel detracts from their ‘Celticness’ a little.

Life On A Ferris Wheel came out a couple of days ago on Wolverine Records,  one of the best known Punk labels in Germany and one that has seen its fair share of Celtic-Punk releases from bands like Bastards On Parade, Jamie Clarkes Perfect and The Mahones. Released on digipak and vinyl the album runs for an impressive near forty minutes and even more importantly, for us, its all original material with not a hint of a ‘Wild Rover’ or a meadow in Galway. The album kicks off with ‘Spineless Mass’ and if you heard that debut album you  may be expecting more of the Oi!/ Celtic crossover sound but here they have taken a Folky route but without losing any of their trademark speedy delivery and Punk rock attitude. Günther’s vocals are perfect for their sound and on ‘Foggy Days’ they come across as a sort of Flogging Molly/ Street Dogs hybrid with his vocals gruff and coarse and with the rest of the band joining in at intervals it makes the song a high point of the album. The first song released was ‘Moonshiners’ accompanied by a simple but effective and well made video of German bar life surrounded by adoring fans but guys what is it with the head on them beers?

Its a great song and pure Celtic-Punk and while I feel they have toned down their sound somewhat I also feel it is for the better and I’m a person that prefers Celtic-PUNK! Catchy and well played with a killer chorus and some great accordion from Benni. Their are flashes of the auld McLouds with ‘Mad O’Riley’ playing as mostly straight forward Punk but with a nice Irish interlude at several points through the song. In common with a lot of Euro bands they inject a spot of Ska into proceedings and ‘Lovers And Friends’ takes an anti-racist stance without being preachy and po-faced and plays with great humour and cool lyrics. Again the accordion shines here. There is a lot going on in their songs and at times they are banjo led and other times accordion which must make it difficult live as Benni is the man behind both instruments. Halfway through with the country tinged ‘Off The Rails’ and its all first class but not heard a great deal of the much vaunted Bagpipes yet. ‘King For A Day’ is fast and furious at just over a couple of minutes and for the first time since the opening track the pipes get a proper good airing and its well worth it. ‘Last Hurray’ flies by in just over a minute and with the manic banjo plucking reminds me of Mick O’Toole. ‘Drink To All My Friends’ features Valerio guesting on vocals from Berlin based Ska-Punk band The Offenders and was the albums second single release. The Offenders are probably best known for last years single ‘Rose Thorn’ featuring the distinctive voice of the wee legend himself Frankie McLaughlin.

Take a minute or two to check out the fantastic accompanying video which goes to show that even in these testing times a bit of imagination can produce something really good and clever. A great song would be good and that is delivered too with another banjo heavy number. ‘Runaway’ has Eastern influences while Gunthers vocals verge on Death Metal but we are back in traditional Celtic-Punk territory for the final two tracks with the pacey ‘Behind Black Eyes’ and the sad swirling of ‘In Our Pub’.

Twelve tracks all written by the band themselves and not a single duff note among them. The McLouds are making a name for themselves and as is evident from the songs here their live show must be bloody manic. Singalong choruses, catchy rhythms, loads of different influences (which don’t detract from the Celtic feel of things), hard and fast Punk at times and a more trad Celtic at others its a extremely well paced album that, as someone else said in a review it is “never boring” and that is absolutely the truth. The Feelgood McLouds may not be a band on every bodies lips just yet but Life On A Ferris Wheel is hopefully set to change that but anyway the message the bands hope finds its way into your ears is “We drink to all our friends and we’ll never go home!” and to that I can can raise a glass also. Sláinte.

(The Feelgood McLouds live in concert May, 2019 in Cologne, Germany)

Buy Life On A Ferris Wheel  CD/ Vinyl- FromTheBand  Download- AppleMusic

Contact The Feelgood McLeods  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

ALBUM REVIEW: CLOVER’S REVENGE- ‘Truants And Absolution’ (2020)

Based In Sarasota, Florida, Irish Speed Folk trio Clover’s Revenge exist at the dangerous intersection of two great Irish musical traditions: Acoustic pub music and Celtic-Punk-Rock. Their second full length release, Truants And Absolution, came out on Paddy’s Day.

The new album from Clover’s Revenge carries on in much the same vein as their debut release Gotta Get O’Raggednized. Very simple instrumentation with an emphasis on traditional Irish music but done with barrel loads of humour and charm. The review for their debut album declared them very much a pub band and I can still find no disagreement with that after listening to Truants and Absolution as well and just like their debut it is restricted to eight songs and while that may feel a bit on the short side at twenty-four minutes it’s not too bad. The songs are a mixture of well known classic trad and folk songs and some not so well known (but I wouldn’t quite say obscure) and the odd original track.

Clover’s Revenge left to right: Beau Wilberding- Cajon Drum * John Barron- Mandolin * Zach Johnson- Guitar *

Based in Florida I had always thought the area was largely untouched by Irish immigration but a staggering one-in-nine Florida residents are of Irish or Scotch-Irish ancestry. That works out at over two million folks!!! The Florida Irish claim to fame is that Father Richard Arthur, St. Augustine parish priest, started the first public school in America in 1606. Open to children of both sexes and of all races!  Since that time, the Irish in Florida have proudly played and continue to play key roles in the history and heritage of the state. So it is that wherever you find the Irish you will find several bands of hearty folks willing to entertain them and in Florida they don’t come any bigger, or better, than Clover’s Revenge.

Debuting, like many other bands, on St. Patrick’s Day Clovers Revenge first saw the light of day in 2015 and have performed all over the State as well as regular trips back to the ‘homeland’ while 2020 was set to be a BIG year for the Bhoys with a Northeast/Midwest tour booked in June and then in July a series of gigs in Scotland which was also going to see them perform a one-off London date organised by us. As time has ticked on these dates have looked increasingly unlikely to happen sadly but we can but hope. The band were formed by frontman, lead singer and mandolin player John Barron and he is ably backed up by Dr. Zachary Johnson, on vocals and guitar and Beau Wilberding, who also sings and plays the cajon, a box-shaped percussion instrument played with the hands. Taking influence from modern day Irish-American bands as well as the irreverence of The Pogues they manage while not bringing anything particularly new to Irish music certainly they make music that is fresh and appealing and in the right setting (guess where!!) is most definitely enjoyable.

Labelled ‘Irish Speed Folk’ Truants and Absolution kicks off with a song much loved in Irish Folk and Celtic-Punk and no matter how often I hear it I never tire of ‘The Leaving Of Liverpool’, especially when it’s played well like it is here. The song has a natural energy and a great tempo for ‘punking’ it up and Clover’s Revenge give it plenty of oompf. I also love the harmonica at the beginning (a much underused instrument in folk these days) and the song also has a touch of bluegrass/ country at times. Next is the first original and ‘The Maid Behind The Bar’ and John certainly has a voice that fits in perfectly with the sound of the band. It may not be Frank Sinatra but its slightly rough edges are perfect for Irish music. The song is dedicated to the priestesses of fun at the altars of our joy and in particular one Danae Chiaudano from McCabes Irish Pub in Bradenton, Florida who has kept the Bhoys beer glasses over-flowing through the years. It is set to be the albums second single release.

The following is a mashup of two jigs ‘Old Hag You Have Killed Me / Dinny Delaney’ and is absolutely stunning. Amazing in its simplicity and yet sounding like several more people were plucking away rather than just John and Zach. That big sound continues next with another original Clover’s Revenge song, this time written by Zachary and instrumental called ‘The Ahdmor Jig’ which soon morphs into a loud and rowdy version of ‘Tell Me Ma’ and if Leaving Of Liverpool is popular in Celtic-Punk then this has to be the #1 song of all time. Played with reckless abandon the song is irresistible played by most but Clover’s Revenge nail it. The first single from the album was another original and one the lads may go to hell for! ‘The Merry Misadventures Of Sister Mary Margaret’ is fast approaching a healthy 10,000  streams on Spotify and has seen plenty of airplay both within and outside the Celtic scene. Composed by John and arranged by the band it’s a great auld romp about a gambling obsessed Nun. My Mum went to convent school and we had plenty of Nuns teaching at my secondary school and so its hard to get offended ‘cos if you ever actually knew any nuns and while they did have their fair share of hard nosed task-masters their were also ones who loved music and football and the horses!

‘Big Strong Man’ is best known to us as one of the signature tunes of the great Wolfe Tones and with no record of who or when it was written it was the Tones version that claimed it as an Irish-American song helped no doubt by the reference to Irish-American boxer Jack Dempsey. Another well chosen track and in keeping with the high tempo sound of the album and no doubt a live favourite with its catchy as feck singalong chorus.

“He was my brother Sylvest (What’s he got?)
A row of forty medals on his chest (Big Chest!)
Well, he killed fifty badmen in the west
He knows no rest, thinkin’ a man’s hell fire
Don’t push, just shove, plenty of room for you and me
He’s got an arm like a leg
And a punch that can sick a battle ship (Big Ship!)
Well it takes all the army and the navy to put the wind up Sylvest”

The album comes to an end with a epic version of the great American traditional folk ballad, ‘The Lakes of Pontchartrain’. At over six minutes long its quite the departure on an album of short, fast and friskey numbers but I needn’t have worried as the band have interpreted the song into a musical tour-de-force. Again the origins of the song are unknown, though it is thought to have originated in the southern US in the 19th century. The story tells of a man who is sheltered by a Louisiana Creole woman who he falls in love with but when he asks her for her hand in marriage she declines as she is already engaged. The course of true love never runs smooth in Folk music! The highlight of the album for me its a great song owing much to Paul Brady’s version and a utterly superb way to close down the album.

So eight songs (or is it more like ten?) of simple Irish Folk music that the lads don’t mind admitting are heavily influenced by ‘more talented Irish musicians from history’ and their is absolutely no shame in that at all. Like their debut Truants And Absolution is best heard live but they’ve done a wonderful job transferring that live sound onto disc and the album reflects their live performance pretty damn well. A sound we were looking forward to hearing in auld London town in July and while we are still hopeful there’s no guarantees of bloody anything in 2020!

Buy Truants And Absolution  FromTheBand  iTunes  Amazon

Contact Clover’s Revenge  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

ODDS’N’SODS. CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP MAY 2020

There has been a huge gap in the Celtic-Punk scene since the sad demise of the Celtic Folk Punk And More web-zine so in an attempt to make ourselves useful and fill it we’re starting a new regular monthly feature here. All news items that we otherwise miss will get a mention but I need YOU to be the eyes and ears if it’s going to work so send over to us any band news, record releases, videos, tours (not individual gigs though yet), live streams, crowd funders etc., to us at londoncelticpunks@hotmail.co.uk or through the Contact Us page and it will go in here!

 

The best Celtic-Punk album I have heard yet in 2020 has been the debut long player from Norway’s OGRAS and they have a new video out featuring Children Of Dust a standout track from their recently reviewed album No Love In The City.

The video to the debut single from new highly rated Edinburgh band THE GALLOWGATE MURDERS Wreck Head Wedding came out to a big fanfare. Filmed and directed by the main geez himself Frankie McLaughlin in Govan and Edinburgh. One of a few new bands in the scene we are expecting to here an awful lot more from once the lockdown ends!

Rose family Irish-American supergroup THE WILD IRISH ROSES album ‘Full Bloom‘ which was reviewed during St. Patrick’s Week is now out on vinyl.

After the hugely positive response to THE PLACKS debut single, My Dearest Friend the band are releasing a second single in May. Official release date will be announced soon but it will again be available for download and this time also on 7″ vinyl.

March was a mental time for releases and far too many came out for us to get round to but we did our best and hopefully we’ll get round to them all but these are the most recent releases we are aware of.

FEROCIOUS DOG – ‘You’

LEXINGTON FIELD – ‘Here’s To You: Ten Years Of Fiddle Rock’

NORTH ALONE -Punk Is Dad’

BLACK WATER COUNTY – ‘Comedies And Tragedies’

THE DEAD RABBITS – ‘The Dead Rabbits’

PADDY MURPHY – ‘Rams Rebels Goats and Girls

PEAT & DIESEL – ‘Light My Byre’

HUGH MORRISON – ‘The Other Side’

Been a good few years since the series of Shite’n’Onions compilation albums came out but luckily MacSLONS IRISH PUB RADIO have taken on the job and Volume 5 of Raise Your Pints is all set for release in early May. The Cloverhearts, The Placks, The Rumpled, Krakin ‘Kellys, The Gallowgate Murders, Ferocious Dog plus loads more. Find out more direct from MacSlons.

New York Irish rockers 1916 have a new album out later in the year and released the first single / video. After a successful St Patrick’s Week where they live streamed several entertaining shows including both full and acoustic band gigs and some solo shows from frontman Billy this is the Celtic-Punk scenes most anticipated album of 2020.

The crowd-funder for the second full-length 6’10 album, ‘Carried in Retrospect’ has ended and so the album is set for release sometime in the next few weeks.

THE DROPKICK MURPHYS after their Paddys Day show on Facebook are now even more bloody popular and celebrated with the release of a new single. The rather laboured ‘Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding’ is backed by the brilliant cover of Black 47’s ‘James Connolly’ and is available everywhere.

German band THE FEELGOOD McLOUDS may not be a band on every bodies lips but they are a bloody good band and have their new album ‘Life On A Ferris Wheel’ out very soon and having heard it can guarantee it will be one to watch for the end of year Best Albums Of 2020.

Swedes BLACK ANEMONE are very active in promoting the Celtic-Punk scene and have made a lot of friends because of that but they are also a cracking band and they have a new album due out any day. Here’s the title track and even with the current condition they still manage to bring out a decent video.

There’s a new Celtic-Punk band on the scene and thanks to SCORDISCI from Serbia for alerting us to the release of their cracking new song and video, a cover of The Pogues ‘I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day’. Watch out for these guys!!!!

Having suffered the lock down longer than the rest of us Chinese band GRASS MUD HORSE have a had a busy couple of months with a fantastic new logo c/o Laurence Crow Illustrations and a massive range of merchandise for you to spend your hard earned on. They also put out the 6-track Quarantine Sessions of Irish covers and also featured on the Beijing Underground music compilation (both available for free) and also have an EP of original material out soon.

The Italian Celtic-Punk scene is on fire so far in 2020 and I’ve had a sneak peak at the new album from UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS ‘The Men Beyond The Glass’ and can confirm it is another brilliant release. They put out ‘Back on Your Feet’ as the first single from the album.

To wrap up our first edition of Odds’n’Sods we have two local bands to us the first being the excellent CALICO STREET RIOTS who were just getting into their stride with a whole pile of gigs lined up before lockdown came along. Their new single was written by bassist Nick about his son Harley and shows the Riots more reflective side.

London Irish alternative trad folk rockers and one of my favourite bands CROCK OF BONES released the video for the beautiful ‘Ferry’ and as all the videos here is well worth a look.

Finally (tomorrow May 1st) streaming site Bandcamp are doing away with revenue fees for the day so all money will go direct to the bands so check out your favourite bands BC sites and send rest assured that for one day at least these vultures won’t be pocketing a decent sized share of your money for doing absolutely nothing.

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

THE POGUES LIVE IN LONDON ST. PATRICK’S DAY 1988

The Pogues were just an incredible band. In fact most of us think them the #1 band of all time. It went beyond music for many of us with their music making important changes to how we perceived ourselves. Here The Pogues perform shortly after the release of If I Should Fall From Grace With God, considered their best album. They perform all their greatest songs alongside many friends including Joe Strummer and the dearly departed Kirsty MacColl.

St. Patrick’s Day 2020 was cancelled so if you’re stuck indoors like me looking for something to do enjoy an hour or so of what made The Pogues so memorable and have a free download too and carry them around with you from room to room!! 

So Paddy’s Day 2020 came and went and all I can say is thank Heavens for the Dropkick Murphys and their utterly brilliant Live Stream which saw me up until the early hours shouting drunkenly at the telly! With no gigs and the flow of new music, though not so bad at the moment, eventually set to dry up we are taking a trip back to 1988 to see The Bhoys in majestic full flow live at the iconic Town And Country Club in North London. Based in Kentish Town just up the road from Camden the venue played host to numerous Pogues concerts and in the aftermath of The Pogues gigs by Shane MacGowan solo and with The Popes. So no better venue for the London Irish community (near 2,000 of them) to flock to one night in the middle of March over thirty years ago to celebrate the patron saint of the country most of their parents came from.

That night saw one of the most raucous and memorable nights in the venues long and illustrious career and saw several stand out moments on a night that saw them joined on stage by Joe Strummer leads The Pogues through a Irish-ed up version of The Clash’s ‘London Calling’ while Kirsty MacColl accompanies Shane for an outstanding version of ‘Fairytale of New York’ which is only topped by the encore performance of ‘A Message To You (Rudi)’ featuring The Specials’ Lynval Golding himself sending the beer and sweat drenched crowd off into the night. For a band that had many special nights St. Patrick’s Day at The Town And Country 1988 was most definitely one of them.

Live at the Town and Country Club, London St. Patrick’s Day Concert March 1988

Special guests: Kirsty MacColl, Joe Strummer, After Tonite, Lynval Golding, Joe Cashman, Eli Thompson, Brian Clarke, Paul Taylor, Steve Lillywhite

James Fearnley- Accordion * Jem Finer- Banjo, Saxophone * Darryl Hunt- Bass * Terry Woods- Concertina * Andrew Ranken- Drums * Philip Chevron- Guitar * Spider Stacy- Tin Whistle * Shane MacGowan- Lead Vocals
Design- The Leisure Process * Film Director- Billy Magra

The accompanying video that came out soon after clocked in at a just paltry sixty minutes which left a hell of a lot of footage on the cutting room floor and leaves us crying out for more. Joe Strummer acts as narrator introducing band members and songs before taking the stage himself. Most notably for me Strummer pays tribute to who he saw as The Pogues powerhouse, Terry Woods

“That brings me on to Mr T. Woods, who I see as the master musician of the band. I don’t know what groups he’s been in and out of but he’s run the whole gamut of rock and roll. I like the story he tells me he used to go ‘In those days you know, I had a white horses head on my head when I go on stage’, and it makes me think ‘wow, we’ve all been through a few trip”.

As for the ‘Godfather Of Celtic-Punk’ himself, Shane is in classic Shane form. Hiding behind his shades for most of the night and drunk of course and while obviously pished you can still hear and understand him. His last few remaining teeth are also evident as he pops back and forth to the dressing room as he drags on a ciggie and swigs something exotic while clinging tightly to the mic stand. The Pogues and Shane continued to perform for years afterwards but whether it would ever reach these heights again is perhaps debatable but we never stopped loving them and with the recent news that Shane is all set to return to the recording studio and had already recorded new tracks for a forthcoming album The Pogues story continues. So for now enjoy the sound of a band whose style of Punk and traditional Irish made the most perfect cocktail, served with brilliant lyrics from a poetic soul.

FREE DOWNLOAD HERE

NEW SINGLE FROM TC COSTELLO ‘THE PANDEMIC’ AND LIVE STREAM ANNOUNCEMENT

Irish-American multi-instrumentalist TC Costello is back with a new album in the Summer but to keep us happy he’s released a 2-track single available as a ‘Pay What You Like’ download.

TC Costello is no stranger to these shores (in fact he’s spent more time in my spare room than me!) and was due over here in a months time for a series of dates across England before returning back to South Carolina. So then coronavirus and blah blah blah and everything is off until further notice. Luckily the Celtic-Punk scene has been well served with a bunch of shows live streamed over Facebook. The pick of the bunch so far have to have been the Dropkick Murphys, 1916 and the Brick Top Blaggers shows (all still available to view on their FB pages) so today is a double hitter for TC with the release of ‘The Pandemic’ and a Live Stream announcement for his UK and Euro fans but more on that later.

Now I’m not a big fan of The Misfits. Not that I don’t like them I just never heard much by them so the opening title track is a cover of them with TC doing his best Punky vocals. Its a fast thrashy number which TC wrote with his brother Daniel and is followed by a much more typical TC song a cover of Dexys ‘Come On Eileen’ with the lyrics suitably adapted for a song called ‘Covid19’. Armed with his trusty accordion it’s a spirited version and with TC having lost both his jobs as a musician and driver you are invited to donate to his ‘Broke Musician’ fund. This song is available as a ‘Pay What You Like’ download which as TC himself says also includes nothing.

So look after each other and wash your hands and we are all in the same boat but if you can afford it send a beer or two TC’s way.

LIVE STREAM ANNOUNCEMENT

Par for the course and ages after everyone else has had a go we are doing a LiveStream. We sadly had to cancel the TC Costello/Tim Holehouse gig next month but TC still wants to play for his UK based fans so he will be streaming from South Carolina while hopefully Tim will fit in a show for us soon afterwards.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1150555188477972/

So the 20th May was all set for his 5th triumphant return to The Lamb but fear not his UK and European fans London Celtic Punks and The Lamb Surbiton will be presenting TC playing live from South Carolina direct into our phones and computers.
He will go live at 8pm on his page https://www.facebook.com/tccostello2/ and will play till his hands go sore… so that’s about a hour. Tune in there and then and we’ll see you in the comments section.

LOUIS RIVE NEW SINGLE ‘BUSINESS AS USUAL’

New single ‘Business As Usual’ by Catalonia-based Scottish singer Louis Rive tips its hat to hip-hop and cuts into the powers that be during the crisis with blistering lyrics that give voice to the anger of a generation.

When the powers-that-be looked at the ever-more distant European Union with its rising death tolls, unfamiliar looking police cars and panicked sound bites in languages that we don’t understand; they took a familiar and predictable line: It’s ‘business as usual’ here is the UK.

A few weeks later and we are reaping the seeds that we sowed, the leader who preached Blitz spirit, the importance of the economy and the certain loss of family members lies incapacitated by the virus. British spirit and stiff upper lips didn’t hold up against a pathogen that doesn’t discriminate between bank balance and social class. Still, the government’s negligence of our well being was evident and the damage had already been done. The message was clear; it’s better to be sick and working than to be poor and broke. Being ill has become preferable to being poor in a modern UK.

Louis Rive is no stranger to tackling social issues through music. His previous single ‘The State of the Nation’ pours scorn on the dual hypocrisy of both the Scottish and British governments in a post-Brexit UK. While such acerbic takes are unlikely to earn him a spot on breakfast radio, they remain more relevant than ever in a society which is currently under the microscope provided by the current crisis. This is what folk music was made for, protest and the highlighting of social issues. In a world where folk is often relegated to the immaculate dress code and unsubstantial lyrics that plague coffee shops and identikit bars, Louis’ fire puts more of the original punk attitude back into the genre.

It’s a loving tribute to the essential workers who are holding society together, and clear references to the shop workers and delivery workers who keep the nation fed and help those unable to leave their houses are interposed with the sense of powerlessness. At the same time visceral lyrics tear into the pillars of faceless capitalism, the stooges of ignorance and arrogance that have left the workers of this nation on their knees, frantically trying to keep it all together.

“Did you listen to the laughs, the cheers, the profiteers?
Bank balances embellished with an extra zero
You’re nothing but a number on a payslip given in the name of the minimum wage”

The corrupt ‘greased palms’ of politicians who put party donors before the folk that they are supposed to represent are joined by the convenient absence of organised religion in a time of crisis. Louis is unafraid of asking difficult questions, questions that deserve an immediate answer.

‘the money men, imitation Don Draper, sending out Deliveroo for toilet paper’

The bathroom with no window, mirror mirror on the wall
Who’s the fairest of them all, the undisputed belle of the ball?
Walking through the rain ‘cos the train’s on strike
But they had the gall, to label you ‘essential’
Against all common sense, now we sit on the fence
Waiting for someone just like me to take the fall

Did you think about the money men, imitation Don Draper?
Sending out Deliveroo for toilet paper
No contract means no consent about the wiping of a rich man’s arse
From ‘The Cheap Part of Town’ to this human zoo
A house made for seven that accommodates two
In splendid isolation, equality’s a farce

A murmur from the depths of hell grows louder every day
The economy is paralysed, the bill arrives and there no-one there to pay
We’ll remember next election who our friends are
Greased palms by example, champagne on standby
But in case you’ve forgotten the motto it’s never to late to be left at the bottom
When we hold all the cards

Did you listen to the laughs, the cheers, the profiteers
Bank balances embellished with an extra zero
You’re nothing but a number on a payslip given in the name of the minimum wage
The words of wisdom they spoke
Better to be sick and working than poor and broke
What’s the point in growing up? It’s time to act your age

Don’t turn to the clergy, don’t turn to organised religion
When the church door has been closed with lock and key
If you’re looking for solace in your fellow human
Now’s the time to drop the ten pound note for a shot of solidarity

Weights and measures, weekend pleasures, hidden treasures
It’s been too long
Interest rates mounting, advice from accounting, crying and shouting
It’s been too long

Too long, too long, far too long
Too long, too long, far too long

Did you imitate Cain and Abel to put food on the table
Starting at the grave and ending at the cradle
Stable living at the price of the thousands falling through the cracks
Paying off the jury, blood sweat and tears
Pound signs gleaming in the eyes of the overseers
Feeling the threat of the whip across your back

Nothing left to worry, nothing left to choose
Nothing, and when all’s said and done
Nothing left to lose
Rotten to the core, riven by disease
Learning how to walk again
From a life lived on my knees

Too long, too long, far too long
Too long, too long, far too long

There are plenty of traditional influences from his native Scotland in this, you can hear the bitterness of Dick Gaughan and the humour of Matt McGinn, but there is another edge evident in the single. Drawing from new influences in the world of hip-hop, Glasgow’s Darren McGarvey aka Loki, Belfast’s Jon Tsu and London’s Akala, Louis’ lyrics and musical delivery take on a new machine gun like delivery, dropping the buck squarely at the door of those who have left us in a situation that has brought to light the inherent inequality in the UK more than anything in this generation’s memory.

(Stream from Bandcamp. Business As Usual is available as a ‘Name Your Price’ download)

Download Business As Usual  Bandcamp

Contact Louis Rive  Facebook  Instagram  Spotify  Twitter  YouTube  Soundcloud

PREMIERING TODAY! DEBUT SINGLE/VIDEO FROM SHANGHAI TREASON

Highly rated and future A-Listers South Yorkshire based Celtic-Punk band Shanghai Treason release their third single today and you can watch the video exclusively here!

Let’s Shanghai Treason!

The Buzzcocks first ever gig supporting The Sex Pistols in Manchester in 1976 at a gig that has entered into music folklaw. Forty odd years later a young bunch of Celtic-Punkers from Sheffield played their debut gig supporting The Buzzcocks in Manchester. That band was Shanghai Treason and they went down a storm with a set of powerful Folk tinged Punk-Rock. Fast, melodic and catchy as hell.

Just before that gig Shanghai Treason  released their debut single the rip roaring ‘Devil’s Basement’ which announced their arrival on the Celtic-Punk and Punk scenes. Premiered on this here site the video soon shot past 40,000+ views with exposure across the Celtic-Punk media. They followed this with a extensive tour taking in shows in Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, York. London’s Water Rats (where The Pogues first trod the boards) and the band’s first headline show at Sheffield’s #1 music venue Corporation.

Their second single ‘Drowning Heart’  further helped to cement their loyal local following and more exposure across the Celtic-Punk scene through The Celtic Punkcast and MacSlons Irish Pub Radio that they hope to expand on with their new single ‘Can’t Even Hang A Man Right’. A song about Brexit but released during the corona virus pandemic with the country finally rallying together after a turbulent number of years. Let’s hope we’ve seen the back of sleight of hand dirty politics from Westminster and the beginning of something else but as the lyrics suggest

“You can’t trust the rats by the river”

Video by Ben Parr and Elliot Beese of Quiet Tiger Productions

Johnny Hangman, can ya tighten my noose
Feels a little flimsy I’m afraid i’ll come loose
Johnny Hangman, can you shorten this rope
I’ll likely land on my feet, it don’t give me much hope
Johnny Hangman, don’t want my coffin to shake
Lets tighten this up, get a clean break
Johnny Hangman, heard you hung men in the war who didn’t suffer like this,
what ya playing me like this for
*
Let’s drop
We ain’t got all morning
Let’s drop
Don’t fancy purgatory
No
*
Can’t even hang a man right
Can’t even hang a man right
Not quite Albert Pierrepoint, more a slow and poisonous snake bite
Can’t even hang a man right
*
Oh John, you’ve made a reyt old mess of this chief
Let me standing here waiting on death’s sweet release
Oh John, this wait it should be a sin
Pass me the gun, I’ll do it me sen
*
Let’s drop
We ain’t got all morning
Let’s drop
Don’t fancy purgatory
No
*
Can’t even hang a man right
Can’t even hang a man right
Not quite Albert Pierrepoint, more a slow and poisonous snake bite
Can’t even hang a man right
*
When the light, it shines in from the cold
No hope left for the young or old
And the fruit you bore has all but become rotten
And i’m left shaking in the cold
*
Let’s drop
We ain’t got all morning
Let’s drop
Don’t fancy purgatory
No
*
Can’t even hang a man right
Can’t even hang a man right
Not quite Albert Pierrepoint, more a slow and poisonous snake bite
Can’t even hang a man right
*
Oh John
What are you like Johnny
Oh what are you like
What are you?
*
You can’t trust the rats by the river
You can’t trust the rats by the river
You can’t trust the rats, the aristocrats
Couldn’t even hang a man right

Get Can’t Even Hang A Man Right  Pre-Save

Contact Shanghai Treason  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram  Twitter

EP REVIEW: THE RUMPLED- ‘Toss The Coin’ (2020)

Yet more brilliant Italian Celtic-Folk-Punk has arrived on the London Celtic Punks doorstep. The new seven track EP from the Rumpled is here!
“Are you ready to face fate? Are you going to accept your
destiny or will you challenge it? Toss the Coin!”

The last month has seen a resurgence of Italian Celtic-Punk with several releases around St. Patrick’s Day of bands like Patricks  and The Cloverhearts who have both featured on these pages in the last few weeks (and not only that but probably the best band in the scene Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards have a new album due out very very soon!!). The Rumpled have appeared on these pages several times and although only formed in 2013 have long become a solid fixture on the Italian Celtic-Folk-Punk scene. Based in northern Italian city of Trento they have a steady collection of releases behind them including their debut album Ashes And Wishes in 2018 recorded and produced by Gianluca Amendolara of Black Dingo Productions. Last year saw the well received release of Grace O’Malley, a 5-track EP based on the story of the Irish pirate Queen that made the Top Ten Celtic-Punk EP’s Of 2019 on this here web-zine.

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

Toss The Coin continues The Rumpled story with seven self penned original songs that maintains The Rumpled way of fresh and original Celtic-Punk. As I have stated before the Italian scene in particular has very strong links to Ireland and Irish music and culture and this comes across in their Celtic-Punk music. Toss The Coin begins with ‘Stand Up’ and sees the band once again accompanied by the Bold Rumjacker himself Frankie McLaughlin. The Rumjacks influence on the Italian scene is immense and allthough many of the bands take inspiration from The Rumjacks sound you won’t find many ‘covers bands’ here! Singing in English and accordion led they blast through the longest song here (only 3 and 1/2 Minutes) in a fast and breezy way with Frankie doing what Frankie does best and his unmistakable voice. The song tells of the time when it doesn’t matter which side of the coin falls. ‘Take A Drop’ has an Irish air but has still plenty of Punk Rock energy. Again the accordion is the fore and Tommaso is certainly a very very good player. ‘The Gipsy Dancer’ was the first single to be released from the EP from back at the beginning of March (seems a lot longer!!) and one thing that is quite common among Italian Celtic-Punk bands is the quality of their videos and The Rumpled like to make theirs interesting and The Gipsy Dancer’ is no different so be be sure to check it out.

Again it’s the story of tossing a coin. Head or tails? Fate speaks to us and while the coin spins there is the illusion that anything is possible. Next ‘The Road’ and for me the EP’s high point. Less ‘traditional’ or maybe more modern sounding Celtic-Punk that combines elements of Ska it’s a great song and I always love a bit of group ‘Woah-Woah-Woahh’ gang vocals. ‘One Love’ features another guest this time on banjo from Andrea Verga from fellow Italian Celtic-Folk-Rockers Folkamiseria from western Piedmont. A more Folk orientated song and catchy as hell while ‘Broken Romances’ has a harder edge to it and Marco’s vocals shine here. All the songs are sung in English and very easy to understand. My guess is we will be seeing a lot more videos like this but even with the restrictions imposed them they still manage something interesting and worth a view. The Bhoys go full out for the last song and ‘Patty’s Jig’ is the perfect way to bring the curtain down on an album of class Irish Punk. Accompanied again by Andrea and this time by Jacopo Ventura from Folkamiseria on bouzouki here they show they can go full on traditional with a self penned Irish Folk tune that could have been written a hundred years ago!!

The EP came out in St. Patrick’s week and was set to be followed by a massive series of dates across Europe labelled the ‘2020 Saint Patrick’s Tour’ similar in size to their 40 (!) date ‘Ashes And Wishes” tour which was them hitting 60+ stages and festivals. They were set to be joined on stage at several of those gigs by their friends The Rumjacks and the last I heard most of these have been re-arranged for later in the year so check the press for details.

#StayRumpled

Buy Toss The Coin  Here  Contact The Rumpled  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

Black Dingo Productions  WebSite  Facebook

NEW SINGLE FROM INDONESIAN CELTIC-PUNK BAND THE WORKING CLASS SYMPHONY

The new single/ video release from one of the best bands around and from a non-English speaking country too! The Working Class Symphony play a brand of Celtic-Punk that is totally influenced by Irish traditional folk music. If only more Irish bands played with this much passion and pride!

The new single ‘Alerta Song’ from one of the best bands in today’s Celtic-Punk scene who also happen to be one of the most under rated too!) The Working Class Symphony. Formed in 2010 in Surakarta, in central Indonesia when a couple of friends were listening to Irish music in an internet cafe in the city. This sparked the idea to start up a band playing similar music and soon after The Working Class Symphony were born!

Life in this country is already very difficult, if it still has to be added by listening to mainstream music as it is today … Really it will be FORGETTING..There is no other way than making music that can be uplifting … God Save The Working Class !!!!!

Their new single is a tribute to Cornel Simanjuntak who is credited with the development of Indonesian music with his heroic and patriotic songs against the occupation of Indonesia. His words still inspire today to inflame the spirit of resistance to fight injustice, fight for rights and for truth. The Working Class Symphony dedicate this song to Cornel. With straightforward lyrics, as a picture of the reality that is happening here. Finally, keep on loving our country no matter what happens until the end of closing of your eyes… Freedom.

 

Cornel Simanjuntak 1921 – 1946

“Those in power write the history, while those who suffer write the songs.”

so said Frank Harte and by heavens he was right you know. The man that The Working Class Symphony pay tribute to is little known outside Indonesia and even at home his contribution is almost never taught in the schools anymore. Part of Cornel’s song ‘Maju Tak Gentar’ are incorporated into the Alerta Song! A man who fought for Indonesia  in every way possible and in the end gave his life for Indonesia’s independence. 

THE SMART MUSIC LOVING KID

Cornel was born in Pematang Siantar in 1921. His musical talent has emerged when he attended school and at that time he was already playing guitar and singing western songs that he heard on the radio and watching movies. Around 1937, Cornel went to school in Muntilan and his friends recall he was an intelligent, brave, honest student and never reluctant to defend his and others stand. While there he learnt to play music joining the symphony orchestra playing the work of Beethoven, Bach, Haydn, Wagner and Schubert. One of Franz Schubert’s songs, Ave Maria, became Cornel’s favorite song. Here he discovered the works of Indonesian poets: Amir Hamzah, Sanusi Pane, JE Tatengkeng, and Sutomo Djauhar Arifin and a love of literature becoming familiar with familiar with Goethe, Schiller, Heine and Shakespeare among others.

SONGWRITER

Cornel would become a teacher in Magelang, Central Java around the time Japanese fascist forces attacked in 1942 leading to the one of his earliest songs ‘Mekar Melatiku’. In 1943 having moved to Jakarta he worked at the Japanese Culture Office where he was assigned to make propaganda songs. Many songs were created: ‘Asia Has Awakened’, ‘Destroy Our Enemies’ and ‘Beware Of Britain And America’. The 1943-1945 period was the peak of Cornel’s creativity making songs simple songs that were easy to understand, but very agitative and able to capture the feelings and spirit of the common person

INTO THE REVOLUTION

In 1945, when the fire of revolution burned the bosom of youth and people everywhere, he chose to go directly into the revolution. Cornel said to a close friend at the time

“If you want to find me, don’t look at home. I am at API headquarters, Menteng 31. For a while I leave music. I now feel free as freely as I can and with the freedom I have gained, I will certainly be able to block my soul. I don’t want that feeling of freedom to disappear. If our independence is taken by people, it will also disappear. Now there is a battle for this freedom. I’m stuck in it.”

He shouldered a rifle involved in battle until he was shot. Not fully recovered, the allied forces conducted a sweep in the hospital he was being treated in and Cornel was hurriedly evacuated by comrades and taken outside the city of Jakarta. From there he was sent to Yogyakarta and it was in this city that his many heroic and patriotic songs were born. ‘Land Of Blood Spilt’, ‘Forward Undaunted’, ‘In Heroes’, ‘Indonesia Remains Independent’ and many others. His body weakened he cared little for his health and continued to work to produce songs of struggle hoping to ignite the heroic spirit of the Indonesian people. On September 15, 1946, Cornel, sadly only 25 years old, breathed his last. He was buried in the Kerkop Cemetery in Yogyakarta. He had given his life to the revolution and to the liberation of his country.

Contact The Working Class Symphony  Facebook  ReverbNation  Instagram  YouTube

For the best introduction to the Celtic-Punk scene in Indonesia you simply cannot go wrong than checking out Wind From The Foreign Land- Indonesian Celtic Punk Compilation’ from 2014. An album of fourteen tracks from fourteen different and diverse Celtic-Punk bands from right across Indonesia. From traditional Irish folk right up to Celtic-Oi! and ballads to full on rockers its all here and just goes to show why the scene in Indonesia is both wonderful and always interesting. No self respecting Celtic-Punker should not have at least a couple of favourite Indonesian bands in their arsenal so get along here Wind From The Foreign Land is one of the best compilation albums you will ever here. That’s a London Celtic Punks guarantee!

ALBUM REVIEW: KRAKIN’ KELLYS- ‘Burn Your Flag’ (2020)

My favourite Celtic-Punk band in the whole wide world are back with their second album and needless to say it’s another belter to beat up the floor to.

The last couple of years have been out of this world for Belgian band Krakin’ Kellys. Only formed in 2017 they have far and away been the Celtic-Punk critics and fans favourite band. Announcing their arrival on the scene with debut album Promised Land and a series of fantastic videos I even used the phrase I hate the most “this is a must have album!” to end the review! It’s fair to say it bowled me over and at the end of 2018 the album romped home as Best Debut Album of the year and 4th best overall. They cemented their popularity further by winning the London Celtic Punks Readers Pick of the year polling and incredible 32.38% out of 522 votes. Since then they have consolidated their popularity and last year saw them release of the Irish Tribute EP. Six classic Irish folk music tunes beefed up with heavy punk-rock riffs. The songs were an inspired choice with, bar ‘The Irish Rover (!), them avoiding the world of ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’ and ‘Black Velvet Band’. David’s vocals standing out loud and proud and gruff and smoky against a backdrop of pure Irish Folk-Punk. I ended that review with a very telling quote about them “they show a love and respect for source material that you would not expect for a band from the heavier side of Celtic-Punk” and this is one of the reasons they have gone down so well.

Their third release is Burn Your Flags and came out on this years ill fated St. Patrick’s Day (every single year I am still reviewing Paddy’s Day releases well into May!!!) and like everyone else their album promotional tour fell at the corona virus hurdle. So much thought and planning and thought had gone into making this years even more spectacular than usual only for the day to fall apart as cancellations began in the run up to the 17th eventually taking pretty each everything worldwide. Just to make matters worse the sun was cracking the pavement here in south-west London! Trapped in the house with only Guinness Original and pizza and crisps the day was made better by a handful of things. Among them the stella live stream performances from New Yorkers 1916 and, of course, the Dropkick Murphys and the chance to play Burn Your Flag every opportunity I could. So without any live gigs to promote it the album has had a rather subdued release which we hope to rectify now if only in a very small way.

Krakin’ Kellys from left to the right : Olivier Drèze (Drum) * Stephan Mossiat (Bass) * Pierre-Yves Berhin (Accordion) * David Leroy (Lead Vocals) * Matthieu Hendrick (Guitar) * Rémi Decker (Bagpipes & Whistles )

Burn Your Flag offers nothing new in the Krakin’ Kellys arsenal that is true. Twelve original songs all written by the band that continue in pretty much exactly the same vein as their previous two releases have. Now their is nothing wrong with that at all. After all when you got a winning formula you don’t suddenly start chopping and changing especially when it starts working for you and a winning formula is what Krakin’ Kellys have. They got the formula but have they got the tunes and once again the answer is a resounding YES! The album kicks off with the sound of bagpipes onFreedom And Whiskey’ and Krakin’ Kellys have not only one of the best pipers in Celtic-Punk with Rémi but also one of the best accordion players too in Pierre-Yves who also does the fabulous artwork for the Kellys releases under his ‘business’ name Hamo. Guitarist Matthieu is responsible for much of the leg work in promoting the band and their fantastic videos (more on them in a bit) and also helped record and master the album with Nicola Lomartire. The song drifts along at a fair old pace and is very Celtic but it is only when David’s vocals start that the song become proper Krakin’ Kellys fair. His raspy vocals sit nicely on top of chugging guitars and Punk drums and bass. It’s the sort of song you could play someone and they wouldn’t necessarily get the Celtic aspect of the song. A great fist in the air chorus and as catchy as anything I’ve heard this year it already says to me that Finnegans Hell will have competition for the Best Album Of 2020. I can see I’m going to over-use the word ‘catchy’ doing this review so from now on just assume each song is ca**hy. ‘Bigger Plan’ keeps the energy level to max and tin-whistle adds to the Celtic feel to it alongside, even for them, heavy guitar. The style of Punk I feel they are closest too would be that of bands like Leatherface who could play at 100 mph and still be totally melodic and accessible. Like Leatherface they also possess a wonderful sense of humour like o‘Not A Mermaid’. Another reason for their immediate success in the scene was their brilliant videos (as directed by Matthieu) and they nail again in the video for ‘Today’s The Day’. Seemingly filmed at the last available chance before ‘virus lockdown’ its shows the band members playing their bits at home surrounded by their families. Truly wonderful piece of work and a nice insight into their lives.

Most of the songs here hover around three and a half minutes. Standard in Punk really. Their are no ‘epics’ just speedy Punk Rock with a tonne of Celtic/ Gaelic melodies. On ‘Just Remember’ they also throw a touch of ‘Gallic’ flair too while ‘Payback’ actually at times comes close to trad Irish. ‘The Champ Is Here’ seems like straight forward Punk but those Folk instruments come in and take the song in another direction. These songs are written with the Celtic side very much in mind and though they could probably get away with being just another decent Punk band it is with the addition of those Celtic instruments that they stand out from the crowd. The title song, ‘Burn Your Flag’, is of course one of the highlights and half way through gives Pierre-Yves the opportunity to play a Punk-Rock accordion solo.  ‘Crazy Dancer’, ‘Golden Youth’, ‘No Regrets’ and ‘Cletus The Great’ all follow the same standard. Catchy (their I have said it!) as hell, super energetic Celtic-Punk that manages to keep the songs completely different enough in style so that nothing here sounds the same so the running length of the album never starts to grate on you.

We are nearing the end and ‘We Are The Freaks’ was the albums first single and another outstanding video too. I implore you to take the time out to watch their videos. Their is so much going on that the music only adds to their appeal. The albums ‘curtain closer’ is ‘Scars’ and a positive message played in a fast punk song with a singalong chorus and pint in the air close. There’s a great version of it here on RTBF a French language web-site so foo,ow the link and check that out.

So if you are stuck at home, like you should be, then if you are anything like me it is music that is keeping you sane. It’s no wonder Krakin’ Kellys are considered one of the best bands in Celtic-Punk and it is at times like this we need to support the people who bring us such enjoyment so please consider buying the album and give these guys. This is music to dance your ass off to and though it may be a while before we get the chance to do so together move the chairs back and let yourself go after all we still have beer!!!

(you can stream Burn Your Flag below on the Bandcamp player before you buy it!)

Buy Burn Your Flag  FromTheBand

Contact Krakin’ Kellys WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram  Twitter

ALBUM REVIEW: THE MAHONES- ‘Unplugged’ (2020)

The Mahones have always been one of Celtic-Punk’s heavyweights and last month celebrated their 30th anniversary in style with another knockout album to add to their ‘Irish Punk Collection’!

The Mahones are well regarded amongst Celtic-Punk fans and recognised indeed as pioneers of the scene. Formed in 1990 on St. Patrick’s Day in Kingston, Ontario as a band for a one-off show their reception was such that they would go onto become one of the most famous DIY Punk bands in the world and one of the hardest working bands out there. Their tours each year take them right across Europe and North America to every nook and cranny. In fact at this moment in time they ought to be on tour in Australia with The Go-Set! With a stack of studio albums behind them as well as Best Of’s, Live Albums, Compilations even tribute albums their back catalogue is second to none in the scene and to add to them now is this compilation of acoustic, mainly original, Mahones tracks taken from throughout their career.

I’m a sucker for albums like this and I’m sure those of you of a certain age will well remember Nirvana’s triumphant Unplugged album that set the scene for many albums of this kind afterwards. The Mahones may be one of the biggest ‘good time’ bands around but these songs given a raw and intimate performance gives them a new lease of life. The Mahones main attraction has always been their songwriting and whether wrapped around a three minute Punk Rock mosh pit filler or a five minute ballad the effect is much the same. Here Dublin born frontman Finny McConnell comes into his own and already famed for his ached and emotional way of singing his voice really suits these songs new arrangements.

The album begins with the romantic ‘Girl With Galway Eyes’ originally recorded for 2010’s Black Irish. Played at much the same tempo like the majority of songs here it becomes a new song played like this. ‘Rise Again’ is from the album of the same name from 1996 and is a bit of a cheat as it was acoustic then too! Still it’s a nice updating. ‘A Little Bit Of Love’ comes from 2006’s Take No Prisoners and Finny is accompanied on vocals by Canadian-Irish singer-songwriter Damhnait Doyle. So far the influence of country has been trying to make it’s presence felt and here it takes over but not in a cheesy way at all. This is followed by a couple of live set favourites with the fiddle heavy ballad ‘London’ and ‘Draggin’ The Days’ both from the early days of the band as well as the next, ‘Cocktail Blue’ and these songs lyrically show The Mahones singing about the Irish emigrant experience of drink, work and loneliness. The days of the Irish student gap-year supported financially by Mammy and Daddy were decades away. Back then the Irish emigrant was almost exclusively working class and like the generations who left before them worked the shittiest jobs and lived in the roughest and toughest areas. Like the best Irish singer-songwriters Finny takes you back to those days and makes you re-live them with him. ‘Far Away’, ‘Night Train To Paris’, ‘Will Ya Marry Me’, ‘100 Bucks’ and ‘Back Home’ also come from those early days and ‘Unplugged’ is becoming a really nice overview of those early albums and it’s even better to hear a few songs that don’t get played anymore. This is the sort of album that will have you re-visiting your record collection to search out the original. I haven’t played The Mahones so much since I started listening to this one!! Next up is arguably their most famous song, ‘Celtic Pride’, and the one that introduced yours truly to The Mahones. The title track for the 1996 film of the same name about two Irish-American Boston Celtics basketball fans starring Dan Aykroyd and Damon Wayans. I remember watching the film and sitting by the telly with a pen and a bit of paper trying to catch the name of the band on the soundtrack! It’s commendable that Finny has recorded an album of mostly originals and also songs from across The Mahones songbook but ‘Hurt’, famously recorded by the legend Johnny Cash towards his final days, is one of the albums highlights here, Finny’s vocals fit superbly and the slow accordion easily nails the sound. Written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails he described the song as being “a track I wrote in my bedroom at a black moment” but it was Johnny’s amazing version that brought the song to the public’s attention. Another highlight is Simon Townshend of The Who providing acoustic guitar and harmony vocals on ‘Stars’ telling the sad tale of Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde. Convicted of “gross indecency” at a time when homosexuality was illegal, he was imprisoned and died in poverty in 1900 at the tragically early age of 46. One of The Mahones best more modern songs it has a chorus that is out of this world and would I am sure have Oscar looking down with grace and a twinkle in his eye. We are nearing the end and it’s clear Finny writes directly from the heart and on ‘Someone Saved Me’ it can sometimes feel like you’re sitting in on a private conversation. Finny has experienced much tragedy in the last few years which we won’t go into here but if music can save us (the listener) then it can also save them (the performer) too. The curtain call for the album is another in the same style ‘Never Let You Down’ featuring singer-songwriter  Sarah Harmer and her stunning voice is the perfect counterpoint to Finny’s. A slow burner of a song that slowly builds and builds and with the aid of tin-whistle and mandolin it’s the most Celtic sounding song on their last album Love + Death + Redemption from 2018.

So another release from the ever prolific Mahones and for me one of their best in recent years. Their is nothing here that most die-hard Mahones fans won’t have heard before but these new interpretations are worth getting as the often subtle and occasionally overt differences in the songs really make he songs sound fresh and even original. Their is plenty left in The Mahones cannon but this is probably the best imaginable way they could have celebrated thirty years on the road.

(Stream The Mahones Unplugged on the Soundcloud player below)

Buy The Mahones Unplugged  Download- NorthEndRecords  CD- Here Here

Contact The Mahones  WebSite  FacebookPage  FacebookGroup  Twitter  YouTube 

EP REVIEW: BRAVE THE SEA- ‘The Murders Three’ (2020)

The brand new E.P from Newark, OH Celtic Punk band, Brave The Sea sees them take on three traditional folk tunes or as they say “murder them” in the classic Brave The Sea style.

Now the first thing to note is that Brave The Sea don’t actually come from near they sea. That’s not to say they don’t have saltwater running through their veins though. We have to go back to the Summer of 2015 when four friends in the small industrial town of Newark, Ohio decided to get together and form a band with the aim to cover everything from trad Irish tunes to well chosen covers of the more famous Celtic-Punk bands. Originally called A Pirate’s Life and unsurprisingly they played it Pirate style! A year later they had enough material under their belt to release an album and decided to shift course and become Brave The Sea. That album titled A Pirate’s Life in homage to their original roots as a band saw the light of day in 2017. This was followed last year with The Kraken and again highlighted their unique sound and Celtic-Rock riffs.

The state of Ohio, like everywhere in North America, has strong links back to the auld country and their are over 1,500,000 people of Irish descent there. The Irish in Newark are served well by Ohio Irish-American News and the towns multiple Irish bars (the oldest surviving being McGovern’s Tavern opened in 1936 and still thriving) present the most obvious connection. Irish culture and traditions have played an important role in Newark since the Irish first came to the city escaping An Gorta Mór in the mid-nineteenth century settling for its burgeoning industrial connections.

Brave The Sea from left to right: Dennis B.- Drums * Mattie T.- Mandolin/ Guitar/ Vocals *  Will John- Accordion * Vito G.- Vocals * Matt B.- Guitar * R. Boggs- Bass *

The boys were set for a great series of St. Patrick’s shows, including three in the Celtic-Punk capital of Boston, till you-know-what reared it’s ugly head and forced them to cancel everything so the EP’s release has been a bit subdued. Hopefully this wee review will help rectify that, if only in a small way. On their previous releases they have concentrated on their own material but here on The Murders Three they take on (“murder”) three well known traditional songs kicking off with ‘Old Maui’. This has become a bit of a staple among the Celtic-Punk community with it often sung acapello. The song can be traced to records going back to the mid-19th century and tells the story of a whaling ship returning to Maui in Hawaii after a long season of whaling. To be honest I was dreading another acapello version but Brave The Sea steam straight into

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

it and its a fast and furious ride through 180 seconds of fast Celtic-Punk/Metal that sticks closely to the tune despite the furious drumming and Vito’s gruff shouty vocals. Tremendous and a guaranteed floor filler I would imagine. Next up is ‘Bully Boys’ and at first hear it sounds like another mid-19th century sea shanty but is in fact a song written by the Newfie Bros. of Great Big Sea, for the 2010 Russell Crow film Robin Hood. Again the melody remains the same but Brave The Sea throw their all into the song and make it a real foot stamper. The EP ends with the famous Irish rebel song ‘Come Out You Black And Tans’. Normally this the song that the band walk out to at live gigs and here they play a great rabble rousing version with the beautiful voice of local singer/songwriter Bonnie Humble kicking things off and some great mandolin plucking from Mattie. This song has seen a renaissance recently especially in Ireland, reaching #1 in the music charts, as it became the focal point for the campaign against the traitorous Irish government’s bold (!) idea to commemorate both the Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Metropolitan Police two forces famed for their brutality during the Irish War of Independence. The very idea was soon put to the sword and ‘Come Out Ye Black And Tans’ gained a very welcome second lease of life.

The songs were recorded and mastered by: Tim Waters at Radio City Records and as usual for Brave The Sea the amazing artwork was supplied by Omnigraphicon. In common with a lot of bands with intended releases this month their plans have had to be radically altered and with no gigs to promote the single its up to us and you to help the fella’s out. Send them a couple of quid for the EP and lets keep Celtic-Punk on the one road!

Buy The Murders Three CD’s- Here  Download- Amazon

Contact Brave The Sea  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

NEW SINGLE FROM THE PLACKS ‘MY DEAREST FRIEND’

A new release from a band making BIG waves in the Celtic-Punk scene. Based in the Scottish Highlands and Islands The Placks play a dynamite mixture of Celtic infused Punk Rock and Folk, with melody, mirth and message.

Proper CELTIC Celtic-Punk from the Celtic Nations. The Placks hail from deep in the Scottish Highlands and you can’t get much more Celtic than that! ‘Our Dearest Friend’ is the follow up release to their debut ‘Rebellious Sons‘ from last year. Four original songs of proud Scots folk with Punk Rock guitars. That single reached the dizzy heights of #6 in the ‘LCP Best Celtic-Punk EP/Single Of 2019‘ and launched The Placks on a road that will see them reach the very top of the Celtic-Punk ladder. The video for ‘Our Dearest Friend’ was filmed almost entirely at The Royal Marine, on the banks of the beautiful Holy Loch, in January. They announced their arrival on the scene with two sets supporting The Rumjacks at their sell out Scots homecoming gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh earlier this month that were very well received plus an appearance on the 5th volume of the Celtic-Punk compilation album Raise Your Pints alongside many of the big hitters of the scene. Plenty to get excited about from The Placks with a full studio album promised later in the year.

Every year we meet back up on the date you went away

We always have a chair for you at our table with your mates

We always buy your favourite drink and place it by your chair

We gather to remember you and a say a little prayer

*

Our dearest friend, our dearest friend, drinking of you, our dearest friend

*

Every time I lie awake, late at night in bed

I listen to the wind outside and the raindrops overhead

I think about that fateful day that tore our world apart

We may not see you anymore, you’re forever in our heart

*

Our dearest friend, our dearest friend, drinking of you, our dearest friend

*

As we grow old and turn to grey and our sons they grow to men

Our daughters all grow up too quick and the seasons turn again

We always wonder what you’d be like with us growing old

To us you’ll be forever young and your story always told

*

Our dearest friend, our dearest friend, drinking of you, our dearest friend

Our dearest friend, our dearest friend, our dearest friend, our dearest friend, drinking of you, our dearest friend

Download My Dearest Friend  Here

Contact The Placks  Facebook  Twitter  YouTube

Read a interview with The Placks Clan Chief MacPlack here from Transceltic from last month.

Top quality shenanigans from The Placks set supporting the mighty Rumjacks. ‘The Kings Of Old Argyll‘ live at The Audio, Glasgow Saturday 7th March 2020

DAVE LALLY R-I-P

With the kind of coincidence he would love London Celtic Punks pay tribute today on what would been his 34th his birthday to Dave Lally. A friend and comrade for many years Dave passed away just before St. Patrick’s Day. A sad loss for his family, his many many friends and all who ever came into contact with him. He was always there for advice and encouragement and could always be relied on to buy a LCP t-shirt or 3 at Christmas time! The London Irish have lost one of their best.  A ‘dearest friend’ to all he met. God bless you Dave.

EP REVIEW: THE CLOVERHEARTS- ‘The Sacred’ (2020)

The second EP from one of the brightest new bands in the Celtic-Punk scene has descended! The Cloverhearts follow a great tradition of Italian bands that capture perfectly what Celtic-Punk is about. 
Only a few months after their debut release The Sick took the Celtic-Punk scene by storm The Cloverhearts return with another blockbuster EP. Like their debut its six original tracks that pull in influences from around the scene and their obvious affiliation to The Rumjacks sound is not just down to Sam their Australian singer but one that doesn’t overpower their own sound. The Sick came a very respectful 4th in the London Celtic Punks Top Ten EP’s/Singles Of 2019 for last year. Not bad at all for a release that had only been out a matter of weeks before the Poll took place.
(you can stream The Sick on the Bandcamp player below)
So The Cloverhearts stick to exactly the same format for The Sacred. Six songs all original compositions and they even come in at virtually the same length of time (only one minute short!). The EP begins with the single ‘Caught Ya In A Lie’, basically a ‘Pop’-Punk song with some fantastic bagpipes laid on top. When you have a piper that is good as Chiara is then it makes perfect sense to fit the songs around her piping. The Folk melodies are left at the dock as The Cloverhearts concentrate on their harder edge and Punkier sound. Catchy as hell melodic Punk and definitly the right choice to lead the EP.

A song about people trying to get the better of you and the consequences of lying. A great start to things that they follow up with the pipes heavy ‘Drunk Tank’ where Sam tackles that most prevalent of Celtic-Punk subjects! On ‘I’ll Be Home Soon’ they showcase a whole raft of genres with Celtic and Country among others. The most folky of all their songs so far but still that melodic Punk attitude. Sam’s vocals are great and unusually for Celtic-Punk he makes absolutely no attempt at a Shane MacGowan drawl but croons away magnificently! A very personal song for Sam about never feeling at home after a lifetime spent living in Australia, Singapore, England and Italy. They return to harder material on ‘Walk’ with plenty of band “Wo-Oh” chants and chugging guitar and a cool chorus it’s a class song that at four minutes has plenty of time to develop. It leads us nicely into ‘Gutters To Graves’ another catchy number and though I may be making it sound like I’m reviewing the same song six times The Sacred is a very diverse sounding EP. It all revolves around the tight melodic Punk sound with Sams clear as crystal vocals and Chiara’s excellent piping. I wouldn’t come to The Sacred perhaps as a lover of Celtic music but if you like your Punk well played and gimmick free then The Cloverhearts are a band that you will love. The last song here ‘Where Did We Go Wrong?’ just goes to show how wrong I can be with a song that revisits the Celtic/Country sound from earlier but much more blatantly and I bloody love it!!

So another successful release but tempered with the sad news that their most ambitious tour to date has had to be cancelled due to the current medical crisis in Italy. A tour that would have took them to Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and around Italy so hopefully it will be re-scheduled soon. Their are some utterly fantastic Italian bands around and its good that The Cloverhearts have found their niche among them. A bunch of bands that fit nicely together with all them sounding just that bit different from each other. A while back I went to a Psychobilly all-dayer and it got a bit boring but a all-dayer starring The Cloverhearts, The Rumpled, The Clan, Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards, Tullamore and Dirty Artichiokes  would be one hell of a gig. Any millionaires out there give me a shout!!
(Stream The Sacred before you buy it on the Bandcamp player below)
Buy The Sacred EP  FromTheBand  AppleMusic
Contact The Cloverhearts  Facebook  YouTube  Twitter
Black Dingo Records  WebSite  Facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: FINNEGAN’S HELL- ‘Work Is The Curse Of The Drinking Class’ (2020)

The new album from Sweden’s Finnegan’s Hell takes Ramones flavoured Celtic drinking songs and chucks them in the mixer with Hillbilly Country, Folk-Rock, metal, Swedish Folk and even Reggae for an intoxicating brew for St. Patrick’s week!

I first became aware of Finnegan’s Hell when I was exposed to the video for their excellent version of The Dubliners ‘The Molly Maguires‘. Dressed in pit gear and with sooty faces the boys ran threw 2:24 minutes of hyper energetic Celtic-Punk that has long sailed past 1,000,000 views. The boys nailed the song and it has become one of a handful songs that constantly pops up across the media whenever Celtic-Punk is mentioned. Formed in 2010 from members from the Swedish towns of Malmö, Lund and Gothenburg the Bhoys prepared for their debut release by getting in as many gigs as possible. The self titled EP features their YOU Tube hit as well as two traditional Irish Folk standards and a couple of self-penned songs which certainly put Finnegan’s Hell on the European Celtic-Punk map. The following year they recorded ‘The Boys In Green Will Conquer‘ for a competition on Irish TV to find a suitable anthem for the Ireland team for Euro 2012. This led to them being described brilliantly as

”They’re hard to describe, but just imagine a blend of Metallica and the Kilfenora céilí Band and you’d be about right.”

in the Irish media. The following year they again achieved a internet sensation when they released ‘Drunken Christmas’. Voted #1 ‘Christmas song of the year’ by Swedish music magazine Gaffa the video has passed 300,000 views and led to them signing for Heptown Records. Next up was their debut album and Drunk, Sick And Blue was released to great fanfare. Well received across the Celtic/Folk-Punk media as one of the best Celtic punk releases of the year its ten tracks flew past at only twenty-three minutes. The albums songs were a mix of self-penned, trad Folk covers and some re-recorded tracks including the definitive version of ‘The Molly Maguires’.

Live the band continued to gig relentlessly across Europe and was awarded with being voted “best foreign band” at the huge Woodstock Festival in Poland in 2015. They have played Ireland several times and even visited London back in 2017 unbeknown to us. The next big event in the recording history of Finnegan’s Hell wasn’t to be till four years later in 2018 with the release of their follow up album Life and Death. This time the album contained all self penned tracks based around the theme of life and death. A roller coaster ride from the cradle to the grave and those four years playing the songs live before recording showed a band that had perfected their sound. Since then they have signed for Wild Kingdom Records and this week sees the release of Finnegan’s Hell’s third album the wonderfully titled Work Is The Curse Of The Curse Of The Drinking Class.

Finnegan’s Hell left to right: Reverend Mick Finnegan * Pabs Finnegan * Old Roxy * Ace Finnegan * Cozy Finnegan * San Finnegan *

It is the album’s title song that kicks the album off and ‘Work Is The Curse Of The Drinking Class’, modestly sub-titled “probably the best drinking anthem in the world”, is a short, fast and downright furious Celtic-Punk belter. Their sound is dominated by the banjo and accordion, a sound that has influenced bands across Europe from England’s Mick O’Toole to the Dutch band Drunken Dolly. It was the unfortunate Irish dramatist and novelist Oscar Wilde,  who famously said “work is the curse of the drinking class” and here Finnegan’s Hell expand on his theory.

“My old man said to me When I was a little boy,
Son, work is over-rated in work there’s little joy
Then he’d pour himself a whiskey and he’d light his favorite cigar
We’d always hear him singin’ as he headed down the bar”

Over 100 years later people still find themselves in situations where their work is interfering with their alcohol consumption!

Alongside the release of Work Is The Curse Of The Drinking Class is the release of a special Finnegan’s Hell beer (a Porter of course!) in co-operation with a local brewery. The next song up was the first single from the album ‘Six Feet Under’ released in February.

“My throat is dry like the desert sand
My thirst is growing beyond my command
I know that I’m dying, my time’s running out
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me just one more stout”

Another drinking song and ye better get use to them as this album is for the dedicated drinker. No lightweights here. The fastest song on the album just over two minutes long and even though you might want Finnegan’s Hell to take it easy they flatly refuse to.

The video was directed by Swedish filmmaker Michael Ek, who got his inspiration from Jim Jarmusch’s zombie film The Dead Don’t Die. They take a rather odd turn next with their Shane MacGowan tribute ‘Whiskey, Rum, Gin And Wine’. Absolutely bloomin’ hilarious and catchy too. Kind of 60’s-ish but with Metal influences too it’s a great song and shows that you can veer from the Celtic-Punk path if you got the tunes and these Bhoys certainly have the tunes. Their may be no Gaelic blood running through Finnegan’s Hell’s veins but you wouldn’t know it with ‘The Promised Land’. Tin-Whistle starts proceedings and accordion drops in before the gang turn up. The most Irish of the album’s tracks and the story of an immigrant leaving home for a better life. Like the Celts the Swedes know all about the sadness of emigration. In the early 19th and 20th centuries the USA was a magnet for the rural poor all across Europe with about 1.3 million Swedes leaving for the USA and a better life. In 1890 the U.S. census reported a Swedish population of almost 1,000,000. All the songs as you would expect for a Celtic-Punk lean heavily on their Celtic instruments and a healthy dose of humour and ‘Friends And Foes’ is a great example of this. Slower than usual but no less heavy and it’s what passes for the quieter moments here where Finnegan’s Hell Metal influences come to play. ‘King Of The Bar’ is standard Celtic-Punk with tin-whistle leading and a breakneck speed while ‘The Last Dance’ has an Eastern European feel to it and while this is usually provided by fiddle and accordion here it is the banjo that does the job. A testament to their excellent banjo plucker Mick. On ‘Tokyo Town’ they slow it down again and Pabs vocals here are great. Half shouting half crooning. We heading towards the end and ‘Parasite’ tells of a relationship that comes to an end. When Finnegan’s Hell formed in 2010, the band made a vow to only sing about three things: life, death and alcohol and so they have strictly stuck to that pledge. So it is that they end with ‘When I’m Dead’. This is what passes for a Finnegan’s Hell ballad but no surprise at all it’s not yer typical one. Hard and heavy and all the subtleness of a clout round the ear though the change of tempo is great and really rounds the album off well.

Work Is The Curse Of The Drinking Class does not ‘invent the wheel’ that is true. What it is though is a fun filled half an hour of quality Celtic-Punk that is for getting pissed to and having a laugh and their ain’t enough bands around like that trust me. Music like this is best experienced with others but here the transfer to record is done astoundingly well. The production is perfect and with so many instruments competing that is some achievement.

Buy Work Is The Curse Of The Drinking Class  (CD/Vinyl)- From The Band  Download- Here

Contact Finnegan’s Hell  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

BEANNACHTAÍ NA FÉILE PÁDRAIG ORAIBH WITH THE DEADLYS

Happy St. Patrick’s Day  / Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

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

A very happy (and merry!) St. Patrick’s Day to all our readers with Irish roots or not. Well it’s not our purpose to bring you down on the most joyous of days but I have found myself increasingly irritated by something this year. With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Tuesday our ‘friends’ in the pub industry seem to have taken it upon themselves to change the date of St. Patrick’s Day to the nearest Saturday. Complicit in this seem to be whoever does the Facebook events and publicity for literally dozens and dozens of Irish pubs and gigs across the world who ought to know better. Yeah call it a St. Patricks gig but the actual date is the 17th and only gigs on that date are St. Patrick’s Day gigs. Sorry if that means you won’t be able to maximise as much profit as you imagined but there you go. Of course this is all just another step along the road of finally removing any vestige of ‘real’ Irishness from the day and turning it into one unholy mess of alcohol abuse and consumption. Well I’d be the biggest hypocrite out there if I didn’t mention I don’t remember ever seeing a sober midnight on the 17th of March since i was at school but another thing that bugs me is the way every pub and music venue jumps upon the Irish bandwagon at this time of year. Sod these places. Spend your hard earned in real Irish places. Ones that support Irish culture and the Irish community all year round. Dust off the auld Eire/GAA/Celtic top or even your bloody leprechaun outfit and whatever you choose to do be proud of your roots if you got ’em. If you ain’t got them then come join us anyway everyone is welcome at this hooley. If possible try and spend some of the day in the company of family and elder members of our community and raise a glass, whatever your poison, to the sky for those who you love who are no longer here with us. Sláinte.

“No enemy speaks slightingly of Irish Music, and no friend need fear to boast of it. It is without a rival. Its antique war-tunes, such as those of O’Byrne, O’Donnell, MacAlistrum and Brian Boru, stream and crash upon the ear like the warriors of a hundred glens meeting; and you are borne with them to battle, and they and you charge and struggle amid cries and battle-axes and stinging arrows.”

Thomas Davis. 14 October 1814 – 16 September 1845

So have a grand St. Patrick’s Day today and sing along with The Deadlys from Arizona with a track from their forthcoming album. A celebration of the Irish all over the world. We as a nation have overcome so much hardship to stand proud like we do today. St Patricks Day is the day we sing it loud and proud!  Available for download. Spotify/iTunes/Amazon and all the usual digital platforms.

With fire in your eyes, burning bright
The fight in your hearts was strong
For every woman and every man
Who fought the Black and Tans
Sing it loud and sing it proud tonight
*
Here we are on St Patrick’s Day
The gangs all here and we’re here to say
We can take a hit and we never quit
Sing along with me…..
*
From Dublin down to Kerry
Up to Galway bay
The ghosts of so many
So many sailed away
To a land of hope and glory
from a land torn in two
Now the bells of St Patrick’s
Are ringing out for you
*
Here we are on St Patrick’s Day
The gangs all here and we’re here to say
We can take a hit and we never quit
Sing along with me……
*
When Irish eyes are shining
the whole world shines with you
When Irish eyes are smiling
The whole worlds smiling too
*
Here we are on St Patricks Day
The gangs all here and we’re here to say
We can take a hit and we never quit
Sing along with me…..

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE WILD IRISH ROSES- ‘Full Bloom’ (2020)

The Wild Irish Roses are a true family band.
Mom, Dad and 8 kids. They live in New Paltz, NY
Josie Rose (21) sings, plays banjo
, mandolin, penny whistle, viola. Michael X. (dad) plays guitar. Kristi (mom) sings, plays bass. Hanna (23) plays bodhran. Evelyn(18) sings, plays concertina, accordion,viola. Penelope (16) sings,plays Guitar, and tambourine. Aenghus (13) drums. Lazarus (11) harmonica.

Now this is some band and also the perfect time to review them with St. Patrick’s Day just a few days off. Full Bloom is the fourth album release from The Wild Irish Roses an Irish-American family from New Paltz which is a small town in aptly named Ulster County located in the state of New York, about eighty  miles north of New York City. It’s a small place but with plenty of places to get a cold Guinness and even to learn Irish at the local school it’s a place where the Irish-American community have never forgotten their roots.
The base of the band is a group well known to readers here and that is The Templars Of Doom for it is the Templars singer /songwriter /bassist Mike whose five eldest (of eight!) children make up The Wild Irish Roses. His fellow Templar Scott Benson assists on bagpipes, tin-whistles and flute. Mam (Kristina) and Dad cut their teeth in Brooklyn based post-punk band The Astro-Zombies in the 90’s while during the 2000’s they were in The Brian Wilson Shock Treatment who released 8 albums up to 2010 so music is the blood of this prolific family. On the last Roses album, Fill Yer Boots, Man!, it featured an incredible twenty one songs while here they manage only a paltry seventeen but they continue in much the same vein with songs flying past you as faster than you can keep up with them. The album was recorded in the family’s home studio, their renovated barn, and released on Poe Records.
Full Bloom begins with ‘Garry Owen’ a famous Irish drinking song dating back to Limerick in the late 1700’s. It was adopted by the  7th Cavalry and is said to have been the favourite of General George Armstrong Custer who heard the song among the Irish troops and liked the beat so it was used as a marching song. Mike takes on vocals here giving it a Templars feel while the family supply backing vocals. The album sees three sisters take turns at singing lead and on ‘An Incident At Sea’ it is Josie, who also plays pipes in the Templars Of The Doom, who sings her own composition.

Her voice reminds me of Jacqui McShee from Pentangle while the song also has that 1970’s British folk feel to it. This is followed by a brief tin whistle and flute interlude before we are treated to the song that I feel has given Pentangle a place in music history. ‘Will O’Winsbury’, a traditional Scots ballad dating from 1775, is sung by Evelyn-Marie and while much different to the Pentangle version in fact I think it even improves on it. In conversation with Mike though he says they came to the song through Anne Briggs who in turn got it from Johnny Moynihan of the legendary Sweeneys Men. With three bagpipers in the family it’s no surprise to find the pipes featuring heavily here and the first of three bagpipe reels ‘The Atholl Highlanders’ is next and no wonder it use to put the fear of God into people! Evelyn-Marie returns to sing a beautiful acapella version of ‘Let No Man Steal Your Thyme’, a a traditional folk ballad used to warn young people of the dangers in taking false lovers. First documented in 1689 it’s another link to the wonderful Pentangle’s appearing on their debut album in 1968. ‘The Adventures Of A Young Rose’ is an interesting track sounding in part like an Aussie western song as wellas a Celtic foot stomper. Now their previous albums have been significant (as have the Templars Of Doom) for their use of covers that you just wouldn’t expect and here they throw in Sweet’s ‘Fox On The Run’ sung brilliantly by Penelope Ann (only 15!). I LOVE Sweet and this versions sure does them justice.

Another instrumental ‘The Gael’ follows. The song written by Dougie Maclean featured in the 1992 blockbuster film ‘Last of the Mohicans’ and is adapted from fiddle to bagpipes and again stirs the blood like no other instrument on earth can. ‘Rumple- Pye The Troll’ sees Mike taking vocals over a silly song about an imaginary (?) friend. ‘Jenny Nettles’ is another pipes instrumental and has a punky feel to it despite is being purely acoustic (the true mark for a LOUD band if you ask me!). ‘A Rogues March’ like most here has an interesting back story being the song played in camp when  dishonoured soldiers were drummed out of camp on their way to punishment. Here the entire Rose family of ten combine to sing accompanied only by the beat of the bodhran. We are back in Celtic-Punk territory next with ‘ICC Home (Hudson Valley Irish Cultural Center)’. The battle to build an Irish centre was a long one but in the end a successful one and here the Roses pay tribute to a place that will provide a warm and welcoming place for all who want to share in the great Irish-American experience. Polly Vaughn’ is an old Irish folk song about a boy out hunting who accidentally kills his true love. We are rounding the bend now and Armstrong’s Last Goodbye’ is better known these days as ‘The Parting Glass’ and contrary to popular opinion is in fact a Scots song. Sung at the end of a gathering of friends and more recently at funerals it’s been recorded by just about every decent Irish artist.

The album (sort of) ends with a cover of the Velvet Undergrounds ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’. Bagpipe heavy and with Josie and Evelyn on vocals it doesn’t disappoint. Well that should be it except for a bonus track which is basically the family Rose three bagpipe players going to town on ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ which also turns out to be one of the album’s highlights.

Well what to say. Besides the obvious achievement of it being so special thanks to it being such a family endeavour it does also stand on its own two feet as well. The music sometimes has the feel of Prog-Rock at times alongside the utter abashed Celtic/ Irishness of the music. Always interesting The Wild Irish Roses have a very unique take on Irish music and on an album full of maudlin sad ballads sat next to full on Irish foot stompers they carry it off with ease. I have revisited this album several times since i first sat down and listened to it and each time I hear something different and I have no doubt that if I was to write this review again in a year it would be completely different.

(you can stream Full Bloom on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Full Bloom  FromTheBand  (CD or Download)

Contact The Wild Irish Roses  Bandcamp  Facebook  YouTube

Contact The Templars Of Doom  Facebook   Bandcamp  YouTube  Spotify  Instagram

ALBUM REVIEW: PADDY WAGGIN- ‘Race To The Bottom’ (2020)

The debut release of seven originals and a Pogues cover from Paddy Waggin a new Celtic-Punk Rock outfit straight outta East Vancouver, BC.

Canadian music use to be a regular feature on these pages but has been relatively quiet the last couple of years so it’s great to be able to feature a band that is just setting sale! Paddy Waggin are a gang of Irish-Canadians hailing from Vancouver in British Columbia. East Van, as it is known, has traditionally been known as the first port of call for many immigrant communities from the Irish and Welsh in the early days of settlement right up to the modern day. Historically, it was a more affordable area and the home for mainly working class people thought the rapid increase in housing prices and gentrification that is affecting pretty much all cities is destroying much of the areas character. Still the auld world is still well represented with the WISE (Welsh, Irish, Scottish, English) Hall, The Celtic Connection newspaper and The Irish Sporting and Social Club all thriving alongside the Irish pub scene.

Paddy Waggin left to right: Andrew Whyte- Guitar * Aidan Carroll- Lead Vocals/ Songwriter * Rob Stewart- Percussion * Jonny ‘Needles’ Poliquin – Bass/shrieking *  Philip Meyer-  Accordion * Johnny ‘BBQ’ Jandara – Banjo/ Mandolin/ Harmonica * not pictured Bourton Scott- Fiddle and Lisa Ronald- Tin Whistle *

So a new band kicks off or so we thought. A debut release ought to signify that but Paddy Waggin have been playing on and off for more than twenty years, mainly as singer Aidan’s St Patrick’s day project. Aidan in fact was born in Dublin but grew up in Canada while others in the band come from Irish and Scottish backgrounds and, accordion player, Philip is of Dutch descent. So a long wait to get that debut release out but they have delivered a craicing album of eight songs, all but one an original and a cover of one of the best songs in Celtic-Punk. Race To The Bottom begins with ‘Gilding The Liffey’ a fiddle and banjo led song about an imaginary trip taken by the band to Dublin to play music and party. The music is upbeat and jolly and Aiden’s vocals slip perfectly in alongside.

The Bhoys keep it up with ‘Broken Teeth’ a song telling of the perils of getting old and about the joys of youth and partying till the early morn but those things soon catch up with you and “Now I’m getting on in years” those days are well behind them. The music is still fast paced and only two songs in and you get the impression that Paddy Waggin are a band to kick yer boots to. The video for ‘Broken Teeth’ is utterly fantastic too so be sure to check that out.

‘Davy Jones’ is not dedicated to the sadly missed singer from The Monkees but a tragic tale of lost love. Davy Jones is the name given to the mythical resting place of drowned mariners at the bottom of the sea. The first source that mentions Jones’ locker is in 1803

“…seamen would have met a watery grave; or, to use a seaman’s phrase, gone to Davy Jones’s locker.”

The longest song here at just over three minutes it’s what I would call a thigh slapper! Nice chorus and I’m wracking my mind to find a band to compare them to but I’m coming up short. The Pogues influence looms large but they don’t sound like them if that makes sense. ‘King Of The Faeries is one hell of a tune with a ‘piratey’ edge to it and shows that Paddy Waggin are not just in it for the free drinks with a spot of trad Irish though dedicated to the misfortunes of one of the bands mates who got caught on the wrong side of the law. Another trad influenced song is next up with ‘Paddy Traddy Rad’ about an Irish fella the life of the party. Proper acoustic Celtic-Punk with just Johnny ‘Needles’ bass amplified Paddy Waggin sound like they kick up a hell of a storm.  ‘Race To The Bottom’ is a Country influenced song that is super catchy and as the guys say a “tune for East Van people about East Van” leading into ‘Dirty Looking Up All Night’ which keeps the boots kickin’ about the so called ‘Walk Of Shame’ where people end up staying out (!) after a night on the lash and have to walk home in the morning in their evening finery the next day.

That Pogues influence shows up nicely on Race To The Bottom’s final song the Pogues standard ‘Streams Of Whiskey’. Written by Shane MacGowan about a night out with Brendan Behan the famed Irish writer and drinker… thinker. Paddy Waggin play an outstanding version very very close to the original and I’m sure if they ever need the money another life as a Pogues tribute band awaits them.  

The album’s official release is on St. Patrick’s Day- March 17 but it is already available on the band’s Bandcamp site (see below for link) but if you wish to avail of a hard copy of the CD then you’ll have to contact the band. The great artwork is by Fenix Ashborn and it was recorded at home in East Van by Larry Lich at Eagle Ears studios. Paddy Waggin are definitely a band to enjoy life to. Eight foot stomping songs, mainly original tracks too, to beat the floor up to. Checking out a few songs on You Tube they have a tremendous live show with their own catchy as feck original songs with the odd auld Irish tune thrown in alongside. Their sound is infectious and, I am sure,  more than able to get their audience dancing and singing along. Here on Race To The Bottom they have captured their live sound pretty well and though well rooted in traditional Irish folk their Rock and Punk influences keep them from becoming too safe. A welcome addition to the Canadian Celtic-Punk scene and a band I look forward to hearing a lot more from.

(you can stream Race To The Bottom on the Bandcamp player below)
Download Race To The BottomFromTheBand  DistroKid
Contact Paddy WagginWebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Soundcloud

ALBUM REVIEW: OGRAS- ‘No Love In The City’ (2020)

The second full length studio album from Celtic-Rockers Ogras from western Norway.

Their distinct sound mixes trad Irish music with rock and punk and a twist of Balkan with superb tales of the macabre and the best songwriting I’ve heard in a long time. 

Of all the countries in the world famous for their Celtic-Punk output one of the more surprisingly famous ones is Norway. This is thanks to the legendary Greenland Whalefishers who have taken their particular brand of Pogues influenced Irish-Punk across the globe to every continent in their 25+ year history. It was bound to have an effect on the locals and back in 2009 the seeds were sown for the band that would become Ogras. The band hails from the Romsdal area of Norway, and have just one album behind them, the promising Compadre in 2018. Celtic-Punk can be different to a lot of other genres in that with a few tweaks to the set and the addition of a few covers most bands can find live work every week of the year thanks to the massive Irish pub world. This can mean that bands tend to concentrate less on recording than maybe straight up punk bands do who play live a lot less. Even so two albums in eleven years is pretty slow but admittedly then again two in three is very impressive!

Ogras left to right: Filip Eidsvåg- Drums * Knut Voldset- Electric Guitars, Banjo, Harmonica * Paul Solåt- Vocals, Guitar, Main Songwriter * Pål Elnan- Trumpet/ Keyboards/ Mandolin *  Aleksander Eidsvåg- Fiddle * Thomas Dahle- Bass *

Based where they are they get to play in just about every conceivable kind of venue, especially barns! Starting off as a three piece they soon gathered more members and now their are six of them who can handle up to twelve instruments on stage whilst performing a combination of circus show, revival meeting and drunken Irish-pub night! here on their new full length album, No Love In The City the band have recorded nine original tracks, showing a range of influences from catchy, Celtic and Balkan inspired Punk-Rock, to smoldering folk-ballads and full blown party anthems.

I was going to just do a straight forward review of the album but just as i was about to start the band began releasing a track-by-track description of the history behind each song so I’ll try and incorporate those here as well. The album begins with the title track ‘No Love In The City’ and while we may be looking for a Greenland Whalefishers connection Ogras have much more in common with bands like The Fighting Jamesons or The Young Dubliners and their Irish-American rock sound. This is a band that would go down a storm at Get Shamrocked! Paul’s vocals are spot on and capture that perfect space between ‘Tom Waits’ and showman crooning! No Love In The City tells of the wandered. We weren’t all born to exist in the city and the song is dedicated to travelers everywhere. The next song ‘Showmen’s Rest’ was the third song released here as a single. A fast paced Punk tribute to entertainers long gone and the deadly Hammond Circus Train Wreck of 1918. In a quiet cemetery outside Chicago called Showmen’s Rest lies a mass grave of clowns, strongmen, and acrobats who died in one of the worst circus tragedies in history when 86 circus performers were killed. I love songs like this that tell us of long forgotten history and I’m kind of surprised Chicago folklore extraordinaire Kevin Flynn hasn’t told this fascinating story before. ‘Children of Dust’ carries on in the same vein a catchy foot-tapper telling of the children of those who travel. Ogras love of the macabre and circus life continues in ‘Running Wild’. A wonderful song telling the story of twins, one of whom dies at birth while the other blamed by his mother for his death. A never ending feeling of guilt keeps him running till he eventually finds circus ringmaster Darius, a recurring character throughout the album, but will it be enough for him to stop running. A upbeat rocker with great fiddlework followed by ‘The Mighty Atom’. The Mighty Atom appeared on the cover of Ogras debut album and became a world famous strongman in the early 20th century. Born Joe Greenstein he was small and sickly as a child but he trained and trained to become one of the world’s best known strongmen, bending horseshoes with his bare hands and biting the heads off nails. The song is heavily influenced this time by Balkan music with a Eastern flavoured fiddle and brass.

We slow down a tad for ‘The Devils Dance’, a swirling eastern-ish electric ballad about a women who finally breaks free from her manipulative and violent lover. He continues to hunt for her determined to make her dance the devil’s dance again? Half way through the song speeds up and really comes into its own. ‘Black River Falls’ is the shortest song and possibly the fastest and yet still manages to fit in a well told story into its two and a half minutes! The song is based on the 1973 book ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’ by Michael Lesy based on a collection of late 19th century photos and clippings from gruesome times in Black River Falls (Jackson, Wisconsin) in the late 1800′ where unemployment and illness had lead to crime, depression and a high number of unpleasant incidents. Needless to say its a high octane Celtic-Punk romp that leads us nicely into ‘Torture King’ about the current craze for tattoos.

Beginning as a maudlin sad ballad Gaelic fiddle is the catalyst for the band to step it up and go a bit crazy! The album ends with the powerful ‘For Gloria’ the bands tribute to the strong women who spread joy, take care and protect their families. We raise our glasses to you, ladies! A great way to wrap things up and their is something great about hearing a trumpet pop up in the middle of a Celtic-Punk album! A punch bowl of hard hitting Irish folk mixed with electric guitars and that trumpet!

The album was released on St. Valentines day- 14th February and was recorded in the renowned Norwegian recording studio of Ocean Sound Recordings. Though originally on CD and download No Love In The City will be released on vinyl at the beginning of April. No Love In The City came as a complete surprise to me. Expecting wild Poguesy style Irish Folk what we actually get is on of the most imaginative and novel Celtic-Punk records of recent years. With it’s tales of circus strong men and disasters and bleak dark themes all wrapped in music that stays firmly in its own lane with influences from the American scene that we don’t often hear in Europe and from the East that Ogras incorporate into their own sound. A truly magnificent record and one that be can already be guaranteed to be one of the albums of the year.

Buy No Love In The City Here (iTunes, Apple, Spotify etc.,)

Contact Ogras  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

EP REVIEW: THE KILMAINE SAINTS- ‘Off The Wagon Acoustic Sessions’ (2020)

The Kilmaine Saints are back! One of the best Celtic-Rock bands Irish-America has ever produced with a seven track acoustic EP that includes two new songs and five re-imagined Saints classics.

This explosive, high-energy Celtic rock band from Central PA will lift your hearts, your spirits, and your pint when you’re not looking!

Well what to say about the Kilmaine Saints? One of my favourite bands and one that all the writers here would agree is and has been one of the best and not only that but it is widely agreed that when the definitive history of Celtic-Punk is put to paper then the Kilmaine Saints will have one or maybe two of the best Celtic-Punk albums and maybe even a third as well!
Formed in Central Pennsylvania when two members of the Harrisburg Pipe & Drum with a mutual love of the flourishing Irish-American Celtic-Punk scene decided to kick something off with the aim of getting them free beers at local St. Patrick’s Day shows. Well from small acorns they have blossomed into a band that has always stood just a small step away from Celtic-Punk stardom. One of only a few American bands whose fame has translated into overseas success and it’s no surprise to occasionally spot a Saints shirt at gigs over the years. Others in this league would be The Tossers, Mickey Rickshaw or Flatfoot 56. One of the scenes most consistently good bands they have released four albums, a live album and a couple of EP’s with the most outstanding of all being their debut in 2010 The Good, The Plaid, And The Ugly which Paddyrock called “the BEST Celtic Rock release of 2010 hands down!” and introduced me, and many others, to the Kilmaine Saints thanks to the now long gone Paddy Punx web site.
This was followed up  a couple of years later with Drunken Redemption which made the top ten of all four leading Celtic-Punk web-sites for 2012. Five years of intensive gigging led to the release of their last studio album and Whiskey Blues And Faded Tattoos really exploded the Saints back onto the national scene. With over seventeen songs they managed not a single duffer and from the first seconds to last dirge of the bagpipes it remains, along with The Good, The Plaid, And The Ugly, one of the albums any Celtic-Punk fan must seek out.
Now a band needs a good set of releases to achieve this level of attention but in their beginning it is their live shows that sees people coming back for more and even though separated by hundreds of miles of ocean one of the things I have consistently read about is the Saints and their high-octane, blistering, high-energy live sets that keep people singing along, stomping their feet, lifting their pints and shouting for more. So the two come together and top of that the people in the band have always taken an interest in the scene and not just in how it can help them which is something that we here appreciate especially.
So history lesson delivered and what does 2020 give us? Well another drawback to being so far away from the main home of Celtic-Punk is bands can go quiet on you and you don’t always get to realise why so with a couple of years of quiet I was delighted to receive Off The Wagon from band guitarist  Rich. Quickly adding it to my phone I played the EP’s seven songs about a dozen times and then sat through the whole Kilmaine Saints back catalogue at the weekend to remind me what a utterly fantastic band they are. Their albums have tended to be a solid mix of amped up Irish and Celtic classics with extremely good compositions of their own thrown in as well. It has to be said though you can be a great band playing covers, and especially if you do something with them rather than being just a standard cover, but to go further you need strong songs of your own and this is what sets The Kilmaine Saints apart. Here though on Off The Wagon they have gone for a acoustic setting. Not that it doesn’t still mean it can be as noisy and raucous as most thrash metal bands but that the progression of the Kilmaine Saints is far is far from over yet!

Kilmaine Saints left to right: Bill Brown- Pipes, Whistle, Bouzouki * Jon Heller- Bass/Pipes * Tommy Leanza- Drums * Liz Mallin- Fiddle * Rich Lipski- Mandolin, Banjo, Acoustic Guitar * Brendan Power- Vocals * Erich Arndt- Guitar *

The EP’s seven songs consist of five older tracks re-imagined and two completely new ones. The EP begins with a new one the title track ‘Off The Wagon’. With a tune flitting from a Walt Disney favourite to an Irish jig the song flies through in just over two minutes and is typical Kilmaine Saints. These guys can write a serious song and have done many times but its the love of a good time that dominates and their sense of humour shines through here. Next up is a song where the serious nature of the lyrics (the poor Irish arriving in the USA during the Great Hunger and the prejudice they received) belies the jaunty tune that accompanies it. Something you often find in Irish music. ‘Painting Paradise Square’ first appeared on their debut album and was written by former band member and multi-instrumentalist (tenor banjo, bass, mandolin) Frank Aponte.
“I suffered to get here and I’m not going to leave
And if you knock me down, you’d best be sure I’m dead
‘Cause when I get back on me feet, and I promise you that I will
I’ll steal your life and use your blood to paint Paradise Square!”
‘With Regrets’ is next up from Drunken Redemption and while the original was a full throttle Celtic rocker about a wastrel of a man and attempting to make sure his son doesn’t follow the same roads as him. The song is a beautiful ballad with great mournful fiddle work from Liz. Great heartfelt lyrics and Mayo born vocalist Brendan’s great voice is accompanied by Liz to great effect. A real choker of a song. ‘MacGowans Wake’ is not a tribute as I had originally thought to the Godfather of Celtic-Punk but a loving salute to a friend of the band Eddie McGowan.

Eddie was a very proud Irish-American born in Baltimore, Maryland and was a founder member of Celtic-Rock band Dublin 5 who shared many’s a stage with the Kilmaine Saints. Eddie MacGowan was a

Eddie MacGowan 1969-2018 RIP

friend, musician and father who on February 5, 2018, lost his nearly four-year battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). His energy, humor, generosity, love and friendship will be deeply missed by the multitude of people who have been lucky to know him. He made everyone he met feel like they mattered to him, and they truly did. He gave everything he had to family and friends. Those who loved him have set up a foundation the Eddie MacGowan Foundation so please take a look. Funds raised through their activities will be donated to organizations that supported Eddie through his illness and that continue to support patients with similar disabilities. A sad loss for the Irish in America. Another beautiful choker of a song and following this we are back again to their last album for ‘Pennsylvania’s Finest’ what you might call a ‘American Rebel Song’. Again the original was a barnstormer of a song fast, furious and full of righteous anger, rousing the masses to remember the War Of Independence.

“And all the world shall know, Americans are free
Nor slaves nor cowards we will prove, And England soon shall see
We’re Pennsylvania’s Finest,
And we will proudly fight our hearts are strong our aim is true,
We’ll stand up for our rights”
The English making friends wherever they go since 1776!! Played here with with an ever such slight ska-ish beat but with much the same tempo of the original. Their last album provides the last two tracks here with the marvellous ‘Whiskey Blues And Faded Tattoos’ leaping out at you as the standout track. A superb song carefully crafted and here presented in such a beautiful way. The lyrics are amazing and a positive call to sort ourselves out. 
“Don’t waste another night, getting lost in your pint
Wasted memories of wasted yesterdays
Get up off the bar stool Get your boots on the ground
You’ll never reach the top at the bottom of a round
‘Cuz age is just a number not the sum of our mistakes
Always search for new tomorrows Always hope for better days”

The EP ends with ‘Golden Pen’ and a perfect way to leave with another great song Liz wrote about the death of a friend’s Mother. A great EP that shows the amazing talent of a band that is not resting on its laurels and hopefully new material will be following soon. The Celtic-Punk scene needs The Kilmaine Saints.

(Whiskey Blues And Faded Tattoos- not the acoustic version as featured on Off The Wagon but what the hell you get the drift and I bloody love this song!)

The Kilmaine Saints are equal parts Irish swagger, Scottish pride and whiskey. Their usual explosive Celtic-Rock has taken a back seat for now but is sure to return. The scene in America is still standing strong and bands like the Saints have now begun to influence a new breed of band setting out and it’s fair to say that there’s not much better bands to take that influence from. The Kilmaine Saints have become over the years a focal point for not just their local Irish-American community but nationwide too. A band that captures what it is to be Irish in America today. A symbol for a community that isn’t just there so that TV executives can make gangster programmes about them or TV series taking the piss out of their religion. The Irish community is still very much alive just like, thank heavens, The Kilmaine Saints.

Buy Off The Wagon Acoustic Sessions  FromTheBand

Contact The Kilmaine Saints WebSite  Facebook  Bandcamp  ReverbNation  YouTube

The Kilmaine Saints cross the broad Atlantic later in the year to play a series of gigs in the auld country taking in some of Ireland’s biggest tourist attractions. Sadly they won’t be coming to Ireland’s 33rd county (London) so my wait to see them goes on. You can still join them as a fan if you’re in America I think but best to check with them and if you in Ireland or going to be there at the same time (April 18-25) then be sure to find out where they are playing and get along!

The Kilmaine Saints performed the whole of Off The Wagon EP live on Facebook on Saturday 29th February and its a wonderful hour+ of the Saints talking about all manner of stuff and playing the songs. Well worth the watch.

EP REVIEW: THE STANFIELDS- ‘Classic Fadeout’ (2020)

The Stanfields are a folk punk band from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. On Classic Fadeout they have released six original brand new sons for their sixth release all written and recorded within six months!

The Stanfields have been around now for well over a decade having been formed in 2008 and have a very impressive back catalogue with five very well received albums that each have troubled the top spots of the various Celtic and Folk-Punk end of year Best Of polls including ours. Never being one to accept the label of ‘Celtic’ The Stanfields have always travelled under the banner of Folk-Punk and thus far has served them well. Described rather well i think as “the bastard children of AC/DC and Stan Rogers” their music blends working class hard rock with the strands of folk that make up traditional Canadian music with much of it heavily influenced by Scotland and Ireland. The band started out playing cover songs during open mic performances at the Seahorse Tavern in Halifax, Nova Scotia quickly gained notoriety for their rowdy, entertaining performances and with the benefit of a relatively stable line up the boys few years together have seen them traversing the globe even washing up at the Tolpuddle Martyrs festival here in England  for a few years in a row.
Their new release Classic Fadeout is six original songs that span the history of The Stanfields throughout their illustrious career. Opening with ‘Southlands’ definitely the most Celtic influenced song here with a song evoking a long distant past. Next up is ‘Born On The Wrong Side Of Town’ is the kind of song that Bruce Springsteen is singing these days. A sort of Country/ Rock/ Folk mash up that streams along at a grand pace and has the feel that it could (does) appeal to a whole multitude of different genres. I love the idea that bands can make music that will reach the young and the old. After all that is how it use to be. When I was a young kid we use to beg Mum to put music on and now decades later I find myself still listening to that music she introduced me to. One subject I like to hear tackled is the scourge of drug addiction and The Stanfields sensitive and beautiful ‘Breakers In The Dark’ does it superbly.

(Shot at Churchill House in beautiful Hantsport, Nova Scotia)

Right across North America young people are falling foul to this terrible affliction and working class communities are suffering.

“Your eyes tonight are little pins
Looking for a friend
And tell a story locked inside of you
Your lips provide a different spin
One to be believed
If we were strangers on an avenue”

We are half way through and ‘Laser Beam’ may be many miles away from the fast folk and roll of their early days but it shows a maturity in their willingness to never to stand still and always keep moving and adapting. I mean who wants to be like The Queers still singing songs about your Mum finding your porno mags when your fifty! Slow and steady and perfectly balanced and accompanied by a video that I don’t think I have ever seen the like of it while writing for London Celtic Punks site.

Definitely take a few minutes out of your time to watch this incredible video. After that we need a bit of a lift and ‘Rules Have All The Fun’ supplies it with another catchy folk-country-Americana blend.A real foot tapper here among a bunch of songs that are perhaps a bit too on the reserved side.

The EP comes to an end with ‘Good Night, So Long, Goodbye’ the longest track here and a real epic to see us out. The emphasis may have changed from Celtic to Americana but the fire in their belly is the same and music with passion and emotion is what we love here. Classic Fadeout is not yer typical Stanfields release (as they say in their press release “predictably-unpredictable”) but another step in the progression of a band that have achieved much more then most in their time together.

(you can stream Classic Fadeout on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Classic Fadeout  FromTheBand

Contact The Stanfields  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

Discography Vanguard of the Young & Reckless  (2010) * Death & Taxes (2012) * For King and Country (2013) * Modem Operandi (2015) * Limboland (2018)

ALBUM REVIEW: PATRICKS- ‘Rocky Road To Ireland’ (2020)

“When we need to escape from reality, and it’s not possible to take a trip to the green land, have a couple of glasses of mead instead and fly inside the head to the land we love so much”
Rocky Road to Ireland is the second full length album from Italian band Patricks does much the same thing!

When this album popped through the letterbox I took one look at the cover and thought “Oh, an Irish band” and on putting on the disc inside I was further impressed by this ‘Irish’ band. Came as quite the shock then to find out that Patricks may play top quality Irish Folk-Rock and have all the attributes of an actual Irish band but they hail many miles from the Emerald Isle in the Italian home of famed doomed lovers Romeo And Juliet- Verona. Formed in 2012 in no short time Patricks had played right across the north-east of Italy bringing their energy to both the big stages of festivals and their warmth and joy to intimate small pubs venues. In 2014 and 2015 they went down a storm at the ‘Ireland In Festivals’ in Bologna and Padua, opening for Cisco (formerly the legendary Modena City Ramblers). Their debut album, Tales From Irish Waves, hit the shops in June 2016 after eighteen months of hard work. Recorded at Verona’s Bass Department Studio the album was very well received and led to them being invited to headline the 2017 Triskell Celtic Festival in Trieste and for the last couple of years the main spot on St. Patrick’s Day evening in the centre of Verona making over 3,000 people dance for two hours! Tales From Irish Waves was a collection of Irish folk favourites like ‘The Rising Of The Moon’, ‘Star Of The County Down’ and ‘Leaving Of Liverpool’ all done in Patricks very own individual manner. With over 150 concert behind them, these Veronese continue to impress and with the release of Rocky Road To Ireland international growth beckons.
The Rocky Road To Ireland carries on from their debut album in much the same way. Ten tracks of popular Irish folk songs but this time the collection has a lot less emphasis on the more popular songs and includes instrumentals and even a couple of originals too. You actually get almost twenty here with songs mashed together in a incredibly seamless way taking it as far away from the realm of cover albums as you could possibly get. The album starts with ‘The Kesh Jig / Blarney Pilgrim’ and while it may not be only be Irish music that has songs instantly recognisable without words not many also come with the ability to cheer. As is common with a lot of Irish/Celtic bands in Europe the flute is to the fore here while the band cheerfully get through both songs in under three minutes. Next up we are introduced to Margot on vocals whose beautiful voice leads us through ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ a banjo heavy tune owing a lot to the Dubliners famous version though it sounds a little odd not having Ronnie Drew’s gravelly voice (or even Mike McColgan!) accompanying the song! Next is ‘Spancil Hill’ one of the saddest (and let’s face it the competition is immense!) of all the Irish emigration songs. The longest song here at over five minutes and played upbeat rather than its usual slow and maudlin. Margot’s voice dominates as is usually the case with Irish music (see bands like Runa and Solas). I still remember listening to this song for the first time. I had heard it 100’s of times growing up but the first time I took care to listen to the words brought a tear to my eye the sadness of it all.
“Then the cock he crew in the morning, he crew both loud and shrill
I awoke in California, many miles from Spancil Hill”
Here though the famous last lines are missing and replaced with a different last chorus I had never heard before. Next a bunch of songs unfamiliar with me on paper, ‘ ‘The Butterfly / Golden Stud / The Man Of The House’, but ‘Golden Stud’ was recognisable at least. Accordion, fiddle and flute pushing the boundaries and while at times you do wish they would really really cut loose they still manage to beat up the floor. The Dubliners influence here is not just confined to the album’s title with ‘The Rocky Road To Dublin’ played at a steady pace and seeing as i can never quite keep up with the lyrics here Margot does a wonderful job especially in the chorus about bashing up two Liverpudlians! Another song I wasn’t sure I had heard before was ‘P Stands For Paddy’ but on hearing realised i had heard a version of it by German Celtic-Punk band Fiddler’s Green but whether it was this version, a love song, or the one written by Gerry Carney, a bittersweet tribute to the Irish in England that never made it I can’t remember. Here the influences from English Folk-Rock scene of the 70’s are evident with Patricks sounding remarkably like Steeleye Span in places. The Dubs return with a rowdy pub setting performance of ‘Whiskey, You’re The Devil/The Silver Spear/The Mountain Road’ and a professional sets of reels and jigs ‘Glasgow Reel / Aaron’s Key / Banshee Reel’ before we settle down to a modern day Irish folk music classic. ‘The City Of Chicago’ was written by Barry Moore and made famous by Christy Moore the song is a tribute to those who battled all the odds and made it to relative safety across the oceans during the great Hunger.
“Some of them knew fortune
Some of them knew fame
More of them knew hardship
And died upon the plain
They spread throughout the nation
They rode the railroad cars
Brought their songs ant music to ease their lonely hearts”
A fantastic song that that brings the curtain down but NO that’s not it! For they have squeezed in a bonus track at the end!

‘They’re Taking The Hobbits To Isengard / The Fellowship / The Shire’ are songs recognisable from the Lord Of The Rings films and show a sense of humour that has is evident in all the best Irish folk music. So almost forty minutes of quality Irish folk music as interpreted bu one of Europe’s best Irish bands. The album was recorded, mixed and produced by Max Titi at Maxy Sound Studio in Verona for Maxy Sound and if I did have one mixed opinion on the album I would like the band to follow though it is that they should ‘rock out’ a bit more and really go for it but Rocky Road To Ireland is still a fine album and a great way to start March off which is always traditionally our busiest month at London Celtic Punk for obvious reasons!!

Contact Patricks  Facebook  YouTube  Spotify  Instagram

Buy Rocky Road To Ireland  FromTheBand

NEW SINGLE FROM BLACK ANEMONE ‘STRAIGHT BACK TO HELL’

Celtic-Punk band from Sweden that loves to bring chaos and mischief to the world.

The band started out in 2010 when the front man Mattias wanted to start a new project in High School where most of the soon to be members of Black Anemone were studying music.

” I wanted to mix the sound traditional folk music, mostly Irish trad and fuse it with Punk-Rock.”

He recruited longtime friend Andy on guitar and soon after met Adam on drums. After recruiting some fellow school mates and after a few months rehearsing Black Anemone were formed. They released their first demo in 2011 and later an EP titled ‘”Let The Freak-Show Begin’. In the later part of 2011 Black Anemone started working on their first full length album that came put in 2013. The album, ‘King Of Kings’ was the first step for the band’s quest for world domination! At home they were making waves winning several awards including ‘Best local Act’ and appearing in most of the Celtic-Punk media’s end of year Best Of’s. Though the band has seen many changes from the original line-up the eight piece Black Anemone continue to grow.

”We love to bring chaos an mischief to the world. We like to go a little bit crazy and stir things up”.

(Video recorded and edited by Silversand Studios. Song recorded at Distmaskinen. Mix by Alexander Gabara Master by Ulf Blomberg)

Black Anemone are one of the most sincere bands in the scene. They share a real love for the music that sees them always encouraging others. Themselves they set the bar high as you will tell from watching the amazing video above. Young, edgy and sharp dressed and not afraid to be straight up in your face with their brilliant sing-a-long mix of Folk melodies, Rock’n’Roll sound and Punk feel.

Download Straight Back To Hell FromTheBand

Contact Black Anemone  Bandcamp  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube  Twitter

TEN OF THE BEST PERFORMANCES FROM THE JOHNNY CASH SHOW

John R. ‘Johnny’ Cash February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003

Songwriter. Six-string strummer. Storyteller. Country boy. Rock star. Folk hero. Preacher. Poet. Drug addict. Rebel. Saint AND sinner. Victim. Survivor. Home wrecker. Husband. Father. Son. and more…

Today is the birthday of the ultimate Rock’n’Roll rebel the one and only Johnny Cash. We have covered Johnny’s life several times so much are we in awe of his life and his musical career so here we are going to concentrate on a short period of his life from June, 1969 to March, 1970.

In 1968 Johnny’s career came back with a bang following the success of his two live prison shows, 1968’s At Folsom Prison and 1969’s At San Quentin A. With his star firmly back in place he was rewarded with his own television show to be called quite simply The Johnny Cash Show. Earmarked as the Summertime replacement for The Hollywood Palace variety show it was short lived but has gone down in history thanks to Johnny and the way he ‘stepped outside the box’ by inviting some of the most interesting and influential artists of the time onto the show.

The first episode aired on June 7, 1969 taped at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN, the home to country music institution the Grand Ole Opry. It had been Johnny’s ambition to play there as a child and he had achieved that dream thirteen years earlier after his chart topping #1 ‘I Walk The Line’. That first episode featured performances by singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, Cajun fiddler Dough Kershaw and to the shock of many, Bob Dylan. The Johnny Cash Show saw many memorable performances, from the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Eric Clapton to a segment of the show called ‘Country Gold’ which had guests as diverse as Tammy Wynette, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Bill Monroe, Loretta Lynn and the Everly Brothers.

The ratings for The Johnny Cash Show were excellent (reaching #17 in the nationwide Nielsen ratings in 1970) and ABC extended the original run from 15 to 58 episodes but the end came early in 1971 after just 22 shows as part of the so-called ‘rural purge’ in which urban executives at all three major broadcast networks eliminated rural and older skewing programs. ABC viewing figures at the time were in massive decline and by cancelling one of their only successes it just goes to show how mismanaged the network was at the time. Never to be repeated it’s a disgrace that the copies of the shows lay unreleased in the vaults. A terrible mistake and we can only hope it is rectified soon. This is why the quality of some of the videos isn’t quite the best. 

To celebrate of Johnny Cash’s 88th birthday we have trawled through You Tube to find you the best performances from The Johnny Cash Show. From his rendition of ‘The Long Black Veil’ with Joni Mitchell to the debut performance of his classic (and possibly THE ultimate protest song) ‘The Man in Black’ every song that left this mans lips meant something to him and to us. A man whose popularity crossed all borders creed, class and colour and was truly loved and cherished by all.

Johnny Cash and Pete Seeger – ‘Cripple Creek’/’Worried Man Blues’

Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison – ‘Pretty Woman’

Johnny Cash and Joni Mitchell – ‘The Long Black Veil’

Johnny Cash – ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’

Johnny Cash and Louis Armstrong  – ‘Blue Yodel #9’

Ray Charles – ‘Ring Of Fire’

Creedence Clearwater Revival – ‘Bad Moon Rising’

Stevie Wonder – ‘Heaven Help Us All’

Johnny Cash, John Hartford, Vassar Clements and Norman Blake – ‘Bill Monroe Medley’

Johnny Cash – ‘Man In Black’

Johnny Cash  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  The Johnny Cash Trail  

THE GO-SET LIVE IN LONDON

Finally it sees the light of day! Four years ago in a dingy sweaty packed out basement in Brixton Aussie Celtic-Punk LEGENDS The Go-Set blasted us away. The footage has only just been uploaded so join us for nearly a hour of some of the best Celtic-Punk ever played!

Comrade X

Back in 2016 we got the call from who I cannot remember to ask if we could help out with a band on tour from Australia called The Go-Set. Now being MASSIVE fans it was a chance we could not refuse and we said “F*ck Aye” straight away. I got on the blower to my auld school pal John McCullagh (he of ‘Dance On Your Grave Mrs. Thatcher’) who had not long returned from a decade in Oz himself for the lovely streets of Rossington, northern England. He said aye and then it was a simple task of rounding up The Lagan and Matilda’s Scoundrels as other supports. Matilda’s were yet to hit the heights they were later to reach but even then I knew they were going to go on to bigger things. Not long before the night John pulled out so we roped in another London Celtic Punks favourite the one and only Comrade X to kick proceedings off. The build up to the gig was the same as ever. A friend recommended The Veg Bar in Tulse Hill, south London. Their had been regular Punk gigs there for ages and I had enjoyed a drunken night there that had passed with very little memory of the venue or bands! So the venue was booked. The basement of a vegan restaurant ten minute walk from the centre of Brixton. Flyers were done and handed out at various gigs and in the run up to this gig we hosted a smaller gig at the same venue with The Cundeez bagpipe Punk from Scotland and Black Water County. The attendance that night was OK but did not prepare me for the crowds that would flock to The Go-Set two weeks later on that warm September evening in 2016. To say it was packed would be an understatement. The sweat was dripping off the walls and the 1 (yes one) bog was doing overtime as crowds of Celtic-Rockers flew in and out to get some air. The bands were outstanding and contrary to what Darren of Flat Cap says i thought yer man doing the sound did an excellent job. CX, The Lagan and Matilda’s played great sets of course and then the rest of the night was documented by Darren stood on a chair at the back of the crowd. Does it even need to be said that the bar was drunk completely dry and that when we opened the back door leading to the street to let in some air the off-license next door did a raving trade! The footage has remained hidden for a few years till Darren got sick and tired of me cajoling him to release it no matter what the quality. So here it is in all it’s glory sit back and enjoy the fabulous The Go-Set.

FLAT CAP PRODUCTIONS

In 2016 The Go Set took there Celtic folk punk tunes to the UK, I was taken along for the ride to help out with merch and do a bit of filming. We ended up in Brixton at The Veg bar for this celler dweller of a show! It’s a bit booming to start but the sound guy got to grips with it so stick with it, it was a cracking night thanks to the guys at London Celtic Punks and the support, Matilda’s Scoundrals and The lagan. It’s early Flatcap so don’t judge us too much just soak in the sweaty atmosphere and enjoy The Go Set Live! Thanks for having us along Cheers

The full fifty minute set (Blimey it felt like a lot longer at the time!) and maybe the sound quality aint the best but this wasn’t yer typical venue so I think Darren did a great job considering. Anyway its a shitload better than our offering that has been up for the last couple of years here…

Check out Flat Cap Productions they do a fantastic all round job supporting live music in Australia. They run a printing service that is dirt cheap for bands as well as regular You Tube interviews and all sorts of other malarkey worthy of your suppport.

FLAT CAP PRODUCTIONS

Facebook  YouTube

(more photos from the night are here on Facebook)

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS EXCLUSIVE VIDEO FROM CHINA! GRASS MUD HORSE NEW SINGLE.

Holed up in their apartments in northern China Grass Mud Horse have been keeping pretty damn busy under quarantine and here is their second release, the pirate themed ‘No Prey No Pay’ and an exclusive first viewing of the video too.

Celtic-Punk based in Qinhuangdao, northern China! Singing about living in one of the strangest, most amazing and, at the moment, most dangerous places on Earth. Singing in both English and Chinese, their music is tongue in cheek and in the spirit of the best Celtic-Punk will make you smile! Grass Mud Horse are a punk band based in Northern China fronted by Chris Barry, who also writes all the songs. Originally from Liverpool he now lives in China and was also a member of the Canadian Rock band The Strange. The music is an eclectic mix of various punk styles, including Skate, hardcore, Ska, Celtic and features a diverse array of musical instruments (most also performed by Chris Barry). This is their second release after ‘Christmas Time In China’ and their next release will be a acoustic EP while the lads work on their debut album, Beijing Bikini, which has been delayed because of something I am sure you must have seen on the news!

We’re setting sail once more to raid
The Spanish Kings own gold
We’ll hunt his scurvy rotten ships
And plunder all they hold
We’re setting course with no remorse
We’re as rotten as we’re damned
We’ll spill their guts just cos we must
It’s to fortune or be hanged
*
 No prey no pay
Our code our way
No prey no pay
We fight we slay
No prey no pay
And to the Devil we say
The order of the day
No prey no pay
*
 Prepare to come about
A shot across the bow
The chance to end this now
Strike your colours be a coward
If you stand your ground
You’ll be shark bate when you drown
*
 Throw the boarding hooks
 Draw your cutlass swig a dram
 Prepare to board her men
 Smell their fear drink it in
Lads we’ll soon be rich
while this lot will soon be dead
 We’re setting sail once more to raid
The Spanish Kings own gold
We’ll hunt his scurvy rotten ships
And plunder all they hold
We’re setting course with no remorse
We’re as rotten as we’re damned
We’ll spill their guts just cos we must
It’s to fortune or be hanged
*
No prey no pay
 No prey no pay
Our code our way
No prey no pay
We fight we slay
No prey no pay
And to the Devil we say
The order of the day
 Crack of muskets dying screams
Clash of steel striking bone
 The sweetest sound I know
Blood streams into the sea
Another Battles won and the day is ours again
*

Now the reason for the bands name Grass Mud Horse is that it is the literal English translation of the Chinese term for the animal known as a llama or an Alpaca. In Chinese the llama is named 草泥马 (pronounced Cao Ni Ma.) As Chris says

“Now the reason we chose this for our name, is because if you say “Cao Ni Ma” with the wrong tones…you don’t say Alpaca at all, in fact you tell somebody to go fornicate with their mother.  In addition to this being quite funny, China is of course a land of extreme censorship and to avoid getting in trouble for swearing, young Chinese angrily exclaim “Llama!”, when in fact they mean something else entirely.”

So more proof if it was needed of the global reach of Celtic-Punk, even if Chris is a scouser! It’s hard enough for new bands to make a mark on the scene but when you are living and working in China it’s near impossible so do the guys a favour and download the song and leave them a ‘like’ on Facebook.

Grass Mud Horse  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

EP REVIEW: HOOLIGAN- ‘Dublin City Rockers’ (2019)

Dublin City Rockers is the 6th release from Hooligan. A new four track EP from these Dublin Punk-Rock hools. Expect thick guitars, hooks and plenty of energy.

Eleven years on from their blistering arrival on the Irish punk scene Hooligan are back again with yet another EP! That makes six now if you’re counting and if your waiting on an album then you will have to wait a little more as they seem more than content to keep pumping out the EP’s.

Kicking off with ‘Punk Rock ‘N’ Roll’ and its a explosive start with a nod to the past glories of Punk especially bands like The Clash or Stiff Little Fingers. Not overcooked  and even chucking in a guitar solo that doesn’t outlive its welcome its a fist in the air singalong that I would have called ‘melodic punk’ back in the day but I think that’s more a term for American bands now but the 1977 tag would suit them well. ‘Dublin City Girls’ is next up and if you recognise it you may be older than you think. Originally released by seminal Dublin blues rock band Skid Row (not the US hair metal band who stole their name!) in 1973 they were fronted by Brendan ‘Brush’ Shiels, Skid Row are famous now for being the first band Phil Lynott and Gary Moore first played in before they formed Thin Lizzy. The song sticks to the same blues rock of Skid Row but with more urgency and made to be louder! Now this EP is only available on vinyl as far as I know so flip the record over for side two and first up is ‘A Gang Like Us’ another original Hooligan number. It’s heads down Punk-Rock with some amazing guitar work from David who also sings and has a particularly good voice for this kind of malarkey. The EP ends with ‘Saturday’s Hero’s’ and signs off with another belter. Slower than the rest but with the same singalong chorus and some great lyrics. Stick two fingers in the air air punk rock as my auld mate Black Mick use to call it. The song winds to a close with the refrain

“Everybody hates us…we don’t care”

ringing in our ears and that can’t be true?!?! The word on the street is that Hooligan have re-located to London these days so hopefully we’ll get a chance to catch up with them soon. Great straightforward Punk-Rock that will have you shouting along after just a single play like me!

Discography Punk Rockers & Hell Raisers (2010) * Prodigal Son (2011) * No Blacks No Irish No Dogs (2013) * Criminal Damage (2014) * Teenage Rebel (2017) * Dublin City Rockers (2019)

Buy Dublin City Rockers  Advance Records  RoughTrade

Contact Hooligan Facebook  Soundcloud  YouTube

SINGLE REVIEW: BRYAN McPHERSON- ‘Berkeley Demos’ (2020)

Bryan McPherson, a fiery, folk-playing, native of Boston Massachusetts was called west to Los Angeles in 2010. Bringing with him blue collared incendiary working class folk music fusing Americana, Folk, alternative and Punk.

One of the highlights of doing this here site is that you can push artists that really made a difference in your life. I first came across Bryan MacPherson when a fellow London Celtic Punk gave me a handful of bootleg CD’s to listen to. To be honest I didn’t give them much of a chance and dismissed them early on as a wee bit lame. How wrong I could be I would learn later. Bryan toured England in 2015 and eventually wound up in London playing at the Goth bar The Devonshire Arms in Camden. It was free so a bunch of us went along and wow I can honestly say I was blown away by both the power and the passion of Bryan’s music. The gig came along after some particularly bad news so it was also a timely reminder to pull my socks up, hold my head up high and get on with it. The night could have gone a lot better with ‘technical’ difficulties mucking up most of the set but I came away that night with a warm feeling of hope and a new favourite singer-songwriter!

“Bryan sings like, we’re lucky he doesn’t own a gun.” -Filter Magazine

Here on his new single Bryan digs into his distant past and releases three tracks from when he first arrived in California around 2010. A decade on they still sound as relevant as ever and incredibly up to date. The opening song ‘East Bay Train’ has never been released before and was recorded with the help of the great Willie Samuels in a session where they were just trying some stuff out. Bryan has the amazing ability to inject into every song his heart and his voice just exudes passion. The following two tracks were both recorded in the shed of Jason White from the Californian bands The Big Cats and Pinhead Gunpowder. He is also a touring guitarist in a little known pop combo called Green Day! Well he must have a better shed than me because both songs sound immaculate. The first of the songs is an early version of ‘Born Again American Blues’. Telling the tale of travelling across the States playing music

“I got a sleeping bag I take it with me wherever I go. I always got a bed. I always got a home. I got the sky for my sky light. Don’t worry mama I’m alright. ‘Cause I was born at night. I was born born born to fight with shadows on the wall.”

The single ends with ‘I See A Flag’ and it’s no exaggeration on my part to say this is one of my all-time favourite songs. At almost seven minutes it’s a song that perfectly captures Bryan McPherson it all his glory. A story told of life- both sordid and hopeful- and love and hate and politics. A world where something better is possible.

“There ain’t no easy way to end this song. I ain’t got no answers ‘cept mountains and fog cuz I seen the buildings built and I watched them crumble. I seen a nation of braggarts stumble humbled I seen money come and go, people live and die, people giving up, standing up to try and all I can hope for is a better today cuz life’s right now and its here I’ll stay. Its here I will sing and here I will pray to a billion gods I hope they all get their way. So lets just tear it all down we can start from scratch. Keep our faces forward don’t ever look back. A place where everybody’s clothed and everybody’s fed and nobody’s dying from a lack of medicine. I don’t understand. I see a flag lowered in the wind”

It don’t get much better than this. Bryan is attempting to survive on the meagre portion that a full time DIY musician makes so he occasionally comes up with novel ways to support himself. This time he has made up bootleg numbered tapes of the single with hand painted covers by Bryan. They are selling quickly and you can pick one up here.

(you can stream Berkeley Demos on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Berkeley Demos  Bandcamp

Contact Bryan McPherson  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube  Spotify

THE BEST SONG EVER WRITTEN!

The debate over what is the best song ever written will linger on and on and on and be debated well into the night by friends and foe alike. Here at London Celtic Punks we are unanimous in our view that it is a song that had been largely forgotten and unknown outside Ireland till the it’s first appearance on You Tube led to its well deserved modern day fame.
Back in 1976 while I was still listening to The Wombles (and a couple of years before I would discover Sham 69) the legendary Paul Brady released an album with the equally legendary Andy Irvine called Andy Irvine & Paul Brady. The whole album is simply outstanding, but there is one song that stands head and shoulder above even the best of the other tracks. Paul plays solo a song that closes the vinyl’s first side (remember ‘records’ and ‘sides’?) that I am yet to hear anyone who has heard it for the first time not comment on its utter brilliance. I am told it’s played in an Open G tuning and for me, someone with no musical talent, it is mesmerising watching Paul’s fingers “bounce on the surface of the strings like dragonflies on the surface of a pond” – guitar tabs for you budding musicians here. Paul’s voice is perfect for the song and the incredible lyrics that contain some serious threats of violence that are eventually acted upon! A Christmas song that is not your typical song! The song was also recorded by Bob Dylan on his Good As I Been To You album of 1992 opening up the opportunity for Pauls superior version to be heard all over again. Dylan had wanted to get out of a contract, but owed two albums so he recorded traditional songs that he liked.

Oh, me and my cousin, one Arthur McBride,
As we went a-walkin’ down by the seaside,
Mark now what followed and what did betide,
For it bein’ on Christmas mornin’
Now, for recreation, we went on a tramp,
And we met Sergeant Napper and Corporal Vamp
And a little wee drummer intending to camp,
For the day bein’ pleasant and charmin’.
*
“Good morning, good morning,” the Sergeant he cried.
“And the same to you, gentlemen,” we did reply,
Intending no harm but meant to pass by,
For it bein’ on Christmas mornin’
“But,” says he, “My fine fellows, if you will enlist,
Ten guineas in gold I’ll stick to your fist,
And a crown in the bargain for to kick up the dust,
And drink the king’s health in the morning.
*
“For a soldier, he leads a very fine life,
And he always is blessed with a charming young wife,
And he pays all his debts without sorrow or strife,
And he always lives pleasant and charmin’,
And a soldier, he always is decent and clean,
In the finest of clothing he’s constantly seen.
While other poor fellows go dirty and mean,
And sup on thin gruel in the morning.”
*
“But,” says Arthur, “I wouldn’t be proud of your clothes,
For you’ve only the lend of them, as I suppose,
But you dare not change them one night, for you know
If you do, you’ll be flogged in the morning,
And although that we’re single and free,
We take great delight in our own company,
We have no desire strange places to see,
Although that your offers are charming.
*
“And we have no desire to take your advance,
All hazards and dangers we barter on chance,
For you’d have no scruples for to send us to France,
Where we would get shot without warning,”
“Oh no,” says the Sergeant. “I’ll have no such chat,
And neither will I take it from snappy young brats,
For if you insult me with one other word,
I’ll cut off your heads in the morning.”
*
And Arthur and I, we soon drew our hogs,
And we scarce gave them time to draw their own blades
When a trusty shillelagh came over their head
And bid them take that as fair warning.
And their old rusty rapiers that hung by their sides,
We flung them as far as we could in the tide,
“Now take them up, devils!” cried Arthur McBride,
“And temper their edge in the mornin’!”
*
And the little wee drummer, we flattened his bow,
And we made a football of his rowdy-dow-dow,
Threw it in the tide for to rock and to roll,
And bade it a tedious returning,
And we havin’ no money, paid them off in cracks.
We paid no respect to their two bloody backs,
And we lathered them there like a pair of wet sacks,
And left them for dead in the morning.
*
And so, to conclude and to finish disputes,
We obligingly asked if they wanted recruits,
For we were the lads who would give them hard clouts
And bid them look sharp in the mornin’.
*
Oh, me and my cousin, one Arthur McBride,
As we went a-walkin’ down by the seaside,
Mark now what followed and what did betide,
For it bein’ on Christmas mornin’

The songs first appearance in print was around 1840 in Limerick as collected by Patrick Weston Joyce, but the roots of ‘Arthur McBride’, however, go right back further to the 17th century, and Ireland’s involvement in the Glorious Revolution (1688), the Nine Years War(1688-97), and especially the Williamite War in Ireland (1689-1691). The song refers to being “sent to France,” which would suggest the Flight of the Wild Geese: when the departure of the Patrick Sarsfield’s Irish Jacobite army were exiled from Ireland to France in 1691.

In the song, the singer and his cousin, Arthur McBride, were out walking when approached by recruiters for the British Army. They try to recruit them into service for the Crown extolling of all they will have both monetary and also the ‘finest of clothing’. Arthur McBride is having none of it and informs the recruiting sergeant that they would not be his clothes only loaned to him and why would they want to join up anyway only to die in France. The sergeant is angry at this and threatens both Arthur and his cousin but they defend themselves by attacking the recruiters with their shillelaghs (a walking stick made from blackthorn that was often used for ‘defending’ oneself!). The lyrics are so descriptive and even chilling- “And we lathered them there like a pair of wet sacks, and left them for dead in the morning.” They then steal their money and in a last show of defiance chuck the recruiters drum into the sea. The website Irish Music Daily has the best explanation for some of the colourful language used in the song.

The whole album is incredible and here from the same record is ‘The Plains Of Kildare’ an old traditional Irish song that with emigration made its way across the broad Atlantic and in the 19th century wound up in the mountains of Appalachia  to become ‘Old Stewball Was A Racehorse’.

ALBUM REVIEW: BODH’AKTAN- ‘De Temps Et De Vents’ (2019)

The seventh album of Bodh’aktan from Québec. Seven rogues fusing elements of Celtic, Rock, Trad, Pop and Punk and the music of the Celtic Nations, especially Brittany and Ireland. With bagpipes, flute, accordion, violin and bouzouki and vocals in both French and English they are a force to be reckoned with!

We are well into 2020 now but we couldn’t let last year go without paying homage to one of the best, and most active, bands in the Celtic-Punk scene. This will definitely be the last review from 2019 and what a great way to bid farewell then with a band that really encapsulates everything that Celtic-Punk should be about. A link from the traditions of the past to both the present and the future. On their last album, Ride Out The Storm, they were assisted by the legendary uileann piper Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains and it was not the first time Bodh’aktan have embraced the ‘old world’ of Celtic music.

Bodh’aktan formed in Québec in 2011 and they have released several acclaimed albums. Regular visitors to Europe, especially, of course, France they are yet to visit the Irish and British isles but as their fame spreads I’m sure it is only a matter of time. The vast majority of their releases have been in their native tongue but they have also had the novel idea of re-recording a couple of albums into English for their Anglo fans. Their new album De Temps Et De Vents has been recorded in French or as one reviewer hilariously described it as a

“return to the language of Molière after an incursion in Shakespeare”.

The Québec flag, the Fleurdelisé (Lily-flower)

Québec is a semi-autonomous region of eastern Canada and is home to 8,500,000 residents. The official language is French and is spoken by the vast majority of residents (78%). The region has a totally different feel to the rest of Canada and French dominates every aspect of life. Within this French culture is a strong Breton influence and their are no shortage of Celtic influenced bands both traditional and modern. The French population of Québec stands at around 30% with the Irish and the Scots making up a further 10% so the Celt identity there is very strong! Their have been referendums about independence in 1980 and 1995 that have been defeated (in 1995 by a margin of only 1%!) and so they remain, for the time being, subjects of the British crown. This led in 2006, to the House Of Commons of Canada passing a motion to recognise the “Québécois as a nation within a united Canada”.

So onto the actual album and De Temps Et De Vents is twelve original songs lasting nearly forty minutes that starts off where Ride Out The Storm left us. They have been moving away from the harder rock/punk sound of their earlier days into a much more Folk and trad style that is instantly recognisable in modern day Celtic-Punk. With all the lyrics in French and being a pupil of the English school system my knowledge of the language is pretty damn basic to non existent! With that in mind I can really only review the music here so please bear with me.

The album begins with the short ‘Ouverture’ a Celtic-Punk heavy intro which starts with drums but with the rest of the band joining in at intervals building up and up and leading straight into ‘Capitaine Deux-Cennes’. My first impression is that Alexandre Richard has a fine voice that really jollies the music along during the fast songs but can also wrap itself around a ballad too. The music is reminiscent of Flogging Molly with its high tempo danceable style. For the album Bodh’aktan added a fiddler and Marc-Etienne Richard’s work is pure excellent shining alongside the rest of the band. Hopefully he will become a permanent fixture. Only a couple of songs in and you are already left with the impression this is the type of album that is for celebrating along to. The tempo does change from time to time with ‘L’orage’ for example when the bagpipes add a sorrowful side to the song. It’s the first ‘slower’ song but played with a heaviness that belies its speed. ‘L’amer’ is a straight up rock number and also one of the highlights of the album with a ‘Wo-Ho-Oh’ chorus that is just ripe for roaring along to!

‘Le Jardinier Du Couvent’ (in English ‘The Gardener Of The Convent’) is a slow beautiful ballad which slowly builds into a wonderful song. Despite not knowing the words it seems full of sorrow and sadness with Alexandre wringing every bit of emotion out of it. Hidden away among the Breton/French influenced tunes is the Irish trad ‘Set Béquate’ played to absolute perfection and a great example of a band that can turn it’s hand to anything. From Celtic-Punk rockers to trad tunes like this they know how to fill up a dance floor and the song speeds along at such an intensity that i’m sure by the end many drinks will have been spilt and many ankles turned over!

‘La Tournée’ is a fast and furious (120 seconds) number that takes in bands like Neck and The Tossers. Banjo heavy and over in a flash before ‘Le Retour’, a bagpipe Celtic-Rock number with a definite Scots feel and not just because of the pipes while ‘Le Dernier Bateau’ is a slower number with very much a ‘epic’ feel to the song. We are nearing the end of our voyage and Bodh’aktan see us out with two of the longest songs on the album. ‘Dans Le Bois’ carries on in in the same vein with an acoustic Celtic jolly wee number while the curtain comes down on De Temps Et De Vents with the amazing ‘Tant Qu’il Restera Du Rhum’ (in English ‘As Long As There Is Rum’!). At over five minutes all Celtic-Punk fans will know the kind of song when i say that its the end of the night, drink has been taken and you find yourself in the middle of the dance floor holding onto a stranger with your fist (or pint) in the air belting out the words at the top of your lungs. A slow heavy swirling way to see things out.

There is literally something here to keep everyone happy. When they ‘punk’ it up they are brilliant and when they ‘folk’ it up they are as well. For an album that varies from genre to genre the album flows magnificently (something I have noticed on their previous albums too) and you barely notice that the last song was a punk or folk number. The music is a joy to listen and the band are absolutely fantastic musicians and although the obvious humour here is lost on me this is a band who put out consistently great music and have done it yet again.

Buy De Temps Et De Vents  FromTheBand  Coop Breizh France

Contact Bodh’aktan  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Twitter  LastFM  Soundcloud

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

(the brand new video for ‘Mick McGuire’ taken from 2018’s acclaimed album Ride Out The Storm just released on January 9th!)

YE BANISHED PRIVATEERS NEW SINGLE ‘ROWING WITH ONE HAND’

Swedish sea-dogs Ye Banished Privateers, th’ most realist pirate band in th’ world are back again wit’ a new single from thar forthcomin’ album Hostis Humani Generis.
Ahoy! So ye be wantin’ t’ go to sea an’ ye don’t be wantin’ t’ end up in Davy Jones’ Locker. Then ye best be learnin’ t’ ways of a buccaneer. Don’t worry I’ll stop that now! Yes the most authentic pirate rock band Ye Banished Privateers continue the build up to the release of their upcoming fourth album Hostis Humani Generis with the release of a new single ‘Rowing With One Hand’. These Swedish marauders of the sea take you through the ups and downs of pirate life! Honest to the bone – the upcoming album tells the unfiltered story about desperation, starvation and war fatigue accompanied by catchy pirate hymns.

Rowing with one hand hey ho
Round and round and round I go
Lassies mourn and seamen flow
Rowing with one hand hey ho
*
Six weeks dry without consent
They all said no so off I went
Left the ship and aimed for shore
a sturdy grip around the oar
*
Yo ho, hey ho – Hey all hands in a row
Man the pumps down below
Yo hey ho – Now we row
*
Rowing in a rowing boat
A trail behind me left afloat
I’ll raise the level of the sea
Enjoying my own company
*
One oar on the deck I stow
Frees next hand to go below
I ain’t going straight for port
Of fantasies I’m never short
*
Yo ho, hey ho – Hey all hands in a row
Man the pumps down below
Yo hey ho – Now we row
*
Some like rowing two and two
Or pass the ore along the crew
Others row in solitude
All dressed up or in the nude
*
Some go left, some go right
In circles rowing day and night
Takes a while to get us there
But timewise we are millionaires
*
My starboard arm as strong and grand
As nimble be my pistol hand
Greasy oil from sperm whale spleen
Keeps my leather nice and lean
*
Rowing with one hand hey ho
Round and round and round I go
Lassies mourn and seamen flow
Rowing with one hand hey ho
*
Yo ho, hey ho – Hey all hands in a row
Man the pumps down below
Yo hey ho – Now we row

PIRATE CODE OF CONDUCT

In order to prevent disputes and to employ a democratic process for ensuring equality and cooperation among the crew, most pirate ships had rigid rules in regard to the division of their spoils and operating procedures. These eventually became known as Articles of Agreement, or Pirate Code…which each crew member was asked to sign or make his mark upon and swear an oath of allegiance. When a rule was breached, the crew was often without pity or remorse in punishing a guilty crew member.

Bartholomew Roberts (Black Bart) was one of the most notorious and successful pirates in the Golden age of piracy, his Shipboard Articles of 1721 prescribed the code of conduct that he and his crew agreed upon as shown below…

I. Every man has a vote in affairs of moment; has equal title to the fresh provisions, or strong liquors, at any time seized, and may use them at pleasure, unless a scarcity makes necessary, for the good of all, to vote a retrenchment.

II. Every man to be called fairly in turn, by list, on board of prizes because, they were on these occasions allowed a shift of clothes: but if they defrauded the company to the value of a dollar in plate, jewels, or money, marooning was their punishment. If the robbery was only betwixt one another, they contented themselves with slitting the ears and nose of him that was guilty, and set him on shore, not in an uninhabited place, but somewhere, where he was sure to encounter hardships.

III. No person to game at cards or dice for money.

IV. The lights and candles to be put out at eight o’clock at night: if any of the crew, after that hour still remained inclined for drinking, they were to do it on the open deck.

V. To keep their peace, pistols, and cutlass clean and fit for service.

VI. No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man were to be found seducing any of the latter sex, and carried her to sea, disguised, he was to suffer death.

VII. To desert their ship or quarters in battle, was punished with death or marooning.

VIII. No striking one another on board, but every man’s quarrels to be ended on shore, at sword and pistol.

IX. No man to talk of breaking up their way of living, till each had shared £1,000. If in order to this, any man should lose a limb, or become a cripple in their service, he was to have 800 dollars, out of the public stock, and for lesser hurts, proportionately.

X. The captain and quartermaster to receive two shares of prize: the master, boatswain, and gunner, one share and a half, and other officers one and a quarter.

XI. The musicians to have rest on the Sabbath Day, only by night, but the other six days and nights, not without special favour.

Pre-order the new album NapalmRecords  Here

Contact Ye Banished Privateers  WebSite  Facebook  Bandcamp  YouTube

Avast me hearties! Celebrate Talk like a Pirate Day…an international event… tis yer excuse to talk like a pirate e’ery year on September 19th so… gather yer mates an’ watch out fer concerts o’ all yer fav’rit musicians!

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS 2019 READERS POLL WINNER ANNOUNCED!

The votes are in and have been counted and although it’s just a bit of fun really a champion has been declared the 2019 Readers Poll winner!

One of most popular releases of the year and it showed as they romped home as champions quite safely in the end. In true Mickey Rickshaw style they didn’t ask their fans to vote for them and even agreed with us that the #1 Celtic-Punk album of the year was The Walker Roaders. A very talented yet humble bunch of guys with a great future ahead of them. Well done fellas.

You can stream Home In Song on the Bandcamp below before you part with your hard earned. We promise you it is well worth it.

Buy Home In Song- Bandcamp   ArrestRecords (T-Shirt/Vinyl offer)

Contact Mickey Rickshaw  WebSite  Facebook  Bandcamp  Twitter  YouTube  Instagram

A special edition of Home In Song is available from MacSlons Irish Shop featuring seven (!) bonus tracks from their acclaimed 16 Down And Back Again demo from 2013 previously only available as a download.

With nearly 500 votes cast for thirty (plus three that came out in 2018!) different releases from 2019 it’s been a much more interesting Poll than 2018’s for a variety of reasons.The vote was slightly down on the previous year but was spread among a much wider selection of releases and a lot more votes were cast in the ‘Other’ section than ever before too.