Category Archives: Chicago

ALBUM REVIEW: FLATFOOT 56- ‘Odd Boat’ (2017)

Playing positive-natured hardcore-tinged celtic-punk Chicago heavyweights Flatfoot 56 released their new album, Odd Boat, last week with Sailor’s Grave Records. Produced by Matt Allison in Chicago and featuring twelve songs that blend their unique blend of traditional Irish folk music and surging punk rock.

by  Gerard Mellon, 03/2017.

flatfoot-56-odd-boat

So, it’s been five long years since we had a new album from Flatfoot 56, although in that period we had an acoustic album from 6’10, a punk/oi album from Brick Assassin (both bands featuring members of Flatfoot 56), and an EP, featuring a couple of new tracks, split between 6’10 and Flatfoot 56. But a new release from the Chicago Celtic punkers, has been a long time coming! It is called Odd Boat, and comprises a dozen tracks, it runs for 37 minutes.

(Justin has since been replaced on drums by Conrad)

And what a cracking half an hour or so it is! The punk and folk factions in the band blend so well together, giving us a sound so unique to Flatfoot 56 that places them right at the heart of Celtic Punk. These lads get it, they really do! Their last offering Toil was a superb album and this follow up is equally as good. Although it’s not a clone of Toil, far from it! The production on Odd Boat gives it a rawer sound, maybe it’s a bit more punk influenced. There is still the musicality and excellent instrumentation there, but it’s a bit like aggression or power has been added. Perhaps this disc is more related to the wonderful Jungle of the Midwest Sea album from 2007. Anyway, whatever tweaks that have been made over the past five years, they work very well.

Flatfoot 56 formed in the summer of 2000 as a three-piece punk band. The three original members, who are brothers (Tobin, Justin and Kyle), started writing songs in mid-2000 and by the Christmas they were playing their first gig. The following January they band added Josh Robieson to the lineup and the band began including the Highland bagpipes into its sound and Flatfoot 56 had began their rise as one of America’s most popular celtic-punk bands. Countless TV appearances and remember that series of Sons Of Anarchy involving the IRA that played them throughout the whole series! We even had the pleasure of seeing them live in London back in 2010 I think it was. They were first band on at 8pm and maybe twenty people tops there in the Hope And Anchor basement. Didn’t realise it at the time but this gig was the direct inspiration to start the London Celtic Punks! 

f56-band

Flatfoot 56 from left to right: Kyle Bawinkel – Bass, Vocals * Brandon Good – Mandolin, Guitar, Vocals * Conrad – Drums, Vocals * Eric McMahon – Bagpipes, Guitar, Bass Drum * Tobin Bawinkel – Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar

The opening ‘Ty Cobb’, is about a famous Detroit baseball player who was renowned for diving in (“studs up” in our London parlance!) at the bases, is a fast paced, up-beat intro that draws you in and lets you know that you’re in for something special. From the following track ‘Stutter’ through ‘Penny,’ ‘Odd Boat’, ‘Englewood’, ‘Forward’, ‘The Crippled’, ‘Curtains’, ‘KPM’, ‘PS’, ‘The Trap’ to the final track, ‘A Voice’, you feel that you have heard something special! ‘KPM’ is a ballad like track that leans toward acoustic. ‘The Trap’ goes the other way and is a much more punk/oi sounding track. Many people will have heard ‘Penny’ already and so will know just how good this new material is. The final track ‘A Voice’ is a mid-tempo spiritual song that signs off the album beautifully.

(the first single off Odd Boat featuring guest vocals from an artist named IL Neige)

I honestly could have sat here and gone through each track individually and told you all how good they are, but that would be crazy and still wouldn’t do the album justice. The only way you’ll be able to see how right I am is by going out and buying it! Then if you’re anything like me you’ll play it, then play it again and again. It’s an absolute pleasure having to review albums like this, but what I’d like to do and what many more people would like, would be an opportunity to review a live show! It must be time for the band to come over and play a few gigs in the Ireland and Britain!! I mean, even if they have to sail over in an Odd Boat!!!

Buy Odd Boat

SailorsGraveRecords  iTunes

Contact Flatfoot 56

WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  LastFM

Discography

Rumble of 56– 2002 * Waves of War– 2003 * Knuckles Up– 2006 * Jungle of the Midwest Sea– 2007 * Black Thorn– 2010 * Toil– 2012

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE TOSSERS- ‘Smash The Windows’ (2017)

From the predominantly Irish neighborhoods of Southside Chicago The Tossers have been expanding the boundaries of contemporary Irish music since before much better known bands had even begun and have become one of the most popular and successful bands in the worldwide celtic-punk scene.

By Shane O’Neill

tossers

Only a few weeks into 2017 and we have already seen a whole host of fantastic album’s being released onto the scene. The Tossers are celtic-punk heavyweights and they hail from Chicago, Illinois. To be exact they hail from the South of Chicago. This is the part of Chicago that has housed the cities Irish Catholic community ever since they first started arriving from the ‘auld country’. The immigrant history of Chicago is rooted among untold amount of countries and people whose struggles and adversities have led them to the Midwest and to Chicago. From the cities founding in the 1830’s, Chicago has been the final destination for people journeying from all over the world looking for the famed land of opportunity that is the US of A.  It may surprise people to know that in a city known as ‘Chicago Polonia’, and also ‘Poletown’, that it is the Irish that constitute the city’s biggest ethnic community. While most Irish-American families in Chicago are three or four generations deep, plenty of Chicago’s Irish have landed fairly recently. Ireland’s economy in the 1980’s and 1990’s prompted many of its young people to go where many others had gone before them and Chicago with it’s strong Irish links was if not top of the list then very close to it.

tossers-erin

It’s hard to believe that the self-proclaimed ‘World’s Loudest Folk Band’ have been around for twenty-four years now, forming as they did in July, 1993. The six piece from south Chicago have been unleashing their brand of Celtic folk punk even before Dropkick Murphy’s (1996) and Flogging Molly (1997) hit the scene. Steeped in Irish tradition, The Tossers take their place as one of the finest Celtic punk bands on the planet. Like most bands of this genre you can clearly hear the influences of The Pogues and Tony Duggins style of delivering the vocals is frighteningly close to Shane McGowan. That said, The Tossers are not a tribute act – far from it. They have a very unique way of delivering a fine but hooligan like take on folk music. The band’s name though for us here in Britland is an unusual one and would I think effect their t-shirt sales here. Saying that one of the blog editor’s wears his Tossers t-shirt with pride and I must say it suits him fine! Rest assured though it’s not the rude meaning you lot think it is as it actually dates back to Shakespeare, and depending who you ask it also means commode, drunk, to agitate, disturb, or disquiet but the band chose their name for its meaning to “throw away”.

tossers-band

Smash The Windows is due for release early March 2017 and comes four years after their last album hit the streets, the astounding The Emerald City back in March 2013. You can read our review of The Emerald City here and I suggest you do as it is a fantastic album that i still play regularly. Smash The Windows is certainly value for money with a total of seventeen songs that clock in at just under one hour in length. That is definitely a well packed album and there’s something in there for everyone. The album pays tribute to the bands Irish roots and what it meant to be an Irish American.

The album begins with ‘Erin Ga Bragh’ which is of course Irish for Ireland For Ever and The Tossers nail their colours to the mast from the very off. Fast and furious Irish punk rock played on mainly acoustic instruments that would equally please the most devout punk or folky! ‘Smash The Windows’ and ‘The Horses’ are both full of energy and I can imagine them being a real hit live. There is a cracking cover of ‘The Foggy Dew’ which is always a crowd pleaser. I have never really been a fan of the song ‘Danny Boy’ (not sure why) but I must say I really like The Tossers version. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Celtic Punk without a tribute to our beloved alcohol. ‘Drinking All The Day’, ‘Whiskey’ and ‘Lots Of Drops Of Brandy’ ticks this box on the new album. ‘1969’ brings us back to a darker time in Ireland’s history during the Civil Rights campaign and serves as a reminder that we should never forget what the brave people of the time fought for on our behalf. In today’s world, we take too much for granted and forget that without the sacrifices of many back in the 60’s and 70’s things could have been very different today. There are too many good tunes on this album to pick a favourite. Not one of them have disappointed. The album is being released by Victory Records and will be a big hit.

The Tossers Logo

Again on this album one of the things that amazes me is the way that The Tossers can change tempo and go from a raucous Irish punk rock number to a solemn reflective Irish ballad or a full on trad folk piece without you even noticing. The Tossers are more than just a band to their fans. They inspire and promote a love in your roots that is sadly missing for most people. They tell the tale of both Chicago and America’s Irish communities. Serious and piss-taking and joyful and sad and upbeat and maudlin The Tossers do it all and yes we Irish are all of these things… and The Tossers celebrate it all.

Discography

The Pint of No Return (1994) * We’ll Never Be Sober Again (1996) * The Tossers/The Arrivals- split (1998) * Long Dim Road (2000) * Citizen Fish/The Tossers- split (2001) * The First League Out From Land-EP (2001) * Communication & Conviction: Last Seven Years (2001) * Purgatory (2003) * Live At The Metro ’04 (2004) * The Valley of the Shadow of Death (2005) * Agony (2007) Gloatin’ and Showboatin’: Live on St. Patrick’s Day (2008) On a Fine Spring Evening (2008) The Emerald City (2013)

Buy The Album

Here directs to several sites where the pre-order is available or VictoryRecords

Contact The Band

WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Spotify

TRIBUTE TO BALLYDOWSE…AND FREE DOWNLOADS!

Ballydowse were an American Christian celtic-punk band that sang about social and economic injustice.

Ballydowse

(1998-2003)

Ballydowse were a celtic punk rock band from Chicago, Illinois with a rare mix of both anarchist and religious ideas infused into their music. Formed from the ashes of streetpunk/Oi! band Crashdog many of the group’s members were from the Jesus People USA commune. In addition to the group’s Mekons/Pogues-style celtic punk influences, the group also drew influence from world music such as klezmer and Tibetan throat singing. Ballydowse released two fantastic albums both engineered by the legendary producer Steve Albini. Their debut album was entitled ‘The Land, the Bread, and the People’ and was a home place for many who found common cause with certain elements of Christianity while rejecting the American right wing bias so prominent in the church at the time. Their second album ‘Out Of The Fertile Crescent’ continued this trajectory with a growing Eastern European flavor. The group’s political activism over the economic sanctions on Iraq in the 2000s, prison reform, death penalty and the short-comings of capitalism was unique among Christian bands of the time. They are credited with being at the forefront of the hardcore Christian music scene. Sadly Ballydowse disbanded in 2003 but don’t let those cocky corporate music execs keep you from hearing quality music. Let’s prove them dead wrong, join the revolution, and turn the world upside down. A double dose of Ballydowse is a great place to start to get your motor running, heart pounding, brain thinking and your spirit soaring.

“Holy Father we all want bread,

Both from heaven and your fields so green.

I know your grace is man’s first need,

But I can no longer hold the pain I’ve seen.

I am my brother’s keeper and that I’ll always be.

I’ll not turn my back be he stranger of blood

And embrace a life of greed.

I am my sister’s keeper and that I’ve always been.

Every day I’ve left her out in the streets”

from ‘The Land, The Bread And The People’

Ballydowse- 'The Land, The Bread, And The People'  click on the record sleeve for your download link password: freepunk77

Ballydowse- ‘The Land, The Bread, And The People’ (1998)
click on the above record sleeve for your download link
password: freepunk77

(click on play below to hear the entire album)

Ballydowse- 'Out Of The Fertile Crescent' (2000) click on the above record sleeve for your download links password: freepunk77

Ballydowse- ‘Out Of The Fertile Crescent’ (2000)
click on the above record sleeve for your download links
password: freepunk77

(click on play below to hear the entire album)

The Band

Facebook  Bandcamp  YouTube

there’s an extensive interview with Andrew and Brian from the band here on the web-zine ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’.

if you’re interested in Christian celtic-punk then go here for a big section on it from the ‘Celtic Folk Punk And More’ web-zine.

*any links don’t work simply leave a comment and we will update them.

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS OUR BEST OF 2014!

TOP TWENTY CELTIC PUNK ALBUMS OF 2014

Last year our ‘Best Of’ list was completely dominated by bands from these shores but this time there’s a much more international flavour to 2014’s Best Album’s list. Again Irish influenced bands dominate but the absolute standout album for me was without a doubt Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards from Italy who nailed their fusion of punk rock and traditional music completely. With their own roots and influences included along with some amazing uilleann piping they are deserved winners of the Best Album spot. Kitchen Implosion join them in what has been a great year for Italian bands. Sure not all of these twenty bands are celtic-punk in the dictionary definition of the phrase but sod that anyway. These are what we liked and they all fit in in some way. Twenty bands from thirteen countries (Italy, England, Sweden, Brittany, Canada, Ireland, USA, Australia, Brazil, Catalonia, Germany, Switzerland and Belguim) which only goes to show the international appeal of the celtic-punk scene these days. A special mention for London Irish band Creeds Cross superb debut album. Only just caught them live and they were awesome so hoping to see much more of them around town in 2015.
As ever we have reviewed some, though not all of these albums, so click (here) after the title and you will be re-directed to our review.
We compiled the ‘Best Of’ lists together from the scraps of paper handed to me by the various admins from the London Celtic Punks facebook page.
1. UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS- ‘Get The Folk Out!’ (here)
2. CREEDS CROSS- ‘Gods And Fighting Men (here)
3. ROVERS AHEAD- Always The Sinner, Never The Saint (here)
4. LES RAMONEURS DE MENHIRS- Tan Ar Bobl (here)
5. THE MAHONES- The Hunger And The Fight
6. BLOOD OR WHISKEY- Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil (here)
7. THE ROUGHNECK RIOT- Out Of Anger
8. BASTARD BEARDED IRISHMEN- Rise Of The Bastard (here)
9. JAY WARS- Carry Me Home (here)
10. THE RAMSHACKLE ARMY- Letters from the Road Less Travelled
11. 6’10- The Humble Beginnings Of A Rovin’ Soul (here)
12. LUGH- Quando Os Canecos Batem (here)
13. SIGELPA- TerraMorte (here)
14. KITCHEN IMPLOSION- Pretty Work Brave Boys! (here)
15. THE KILKENNY KNIGHTS- Bradys Pub Tales (here)
16. BEYOND THE FIELDS- The Falcon Lives (here)
17. THE YOUNG DUBLINERS- ‘Nine (here)
18. KELTIKON- Agenbite Of Inwit (here)
19. FM 359- Truth, Love And Liberty (here)
20. THE BLACK TARTAN CLAN – Scotland in Our Hearts
a special special mention for three absolutely brilliant compilation albums too. Can’t really include them in the Best of charts so heres all three in no particular order at all as they are all 11 out of 10!
a class album with 4 songs per band and an absolutely beautifully put together record. THE PORTERS/ THE JUDAS BUNCH/ THE MAHONES/ MALASANERS 4-WAY SPLIT DOUBLE ALBUM- ‘Welcome To The Folk Punk Show’ (2014)  here
a mostly Russian compilation paying tribute to all (lets just face it they are!) our favourite celtic-punk band- ‘Ex-USSR Tribute To The Dropkick Murphys’ (2014)  here
this ought to be the number one album of the year to be honest. a fecking amazing compilation of Indonesian celtic-punk bands.the quality is amazing throughout.absolutely stunning. I cannot recommend enough!! ‘Wind From The Foreign Land- Indonesian Celtic-Punk Compilation’ (2014)  here

TOP FIVE CELTIC PUNK EP’S OF 2015

No question which EP deserved this and Russia’s Middle Class Bastards just blasted us away with their follow up to their 2013 album. Superb use of bagpipes and brass instruments combined with fast but tuneful punk rock. A bit unfortunate for Black Water County who looked nailed on to win this for most of the year with their fantastic 2nd EP. The Breton band The Maggie Whackers released their EP back at the start of the year while The South Sea Ramblers from South Africa literally released theirs just a couple of weeks ago while LQR from Holland slipped theirs out in time for St Patricks Day… ooh err missus! So spread out across the year but these are the ones that left their mark. Looking forward to hearing more from them all and long players must be arriving soon I hope.
1. MIDDLE CLASS BASTARD- Rebel To The Core (here)
2. BLACK WATER COUNTY- Fellowship Of the Craic (here)
3. THE MAGGIE WHACKERS- Naoned Whisky (here)
4. LQR- A Touch Of Liquor (here)
5. SOUTH SHORE RAMBLERS- Bare Knuckle Blackout

TOP FIVE TRAD ALBUMS OF 2014

As the blog is for (mostly) celtic punk so it is that we only review stuff that isn’t celtic punk if we really really (really!!) like it. All these rocked our boat and we loved them all to bits. Hard to decide which order they should go in but this is how we ended up. Turned out to be an all Irish list with I DRAW SLOW from Dublin with beautiful alternative country sounds and both Cork’s THE BUACHAILLS and London’s THE CRAICHEADS going head to head with both bands playing similar styles of music while Irish-American supergroup THE ALT’s debut album was a worthy runner-up to fellow Irish-Americans RUNA’s brillliant fourth album.
1. RUNA- Current Affairs (here)
2. THE ALT- ‘The Alt (here)
3. THE CRAICHEADS- Brewed in London (here) 
3. THE BUACHAILLS- At Your Call (here)
5. I DRAW SLOW- ‘WhiteWave Chapel (here)

BEST CELTIC PUNK WEB-SITE OF 2014

Celtic Folk Punk And More Blogonce again there is no question who gets this
CELTIC FOLK PUNK AND MORE
 keeping the whole wide world up to date with what’s going on and who is doing who within celtic punk (and more!) while also supplying us with regular free downloads and free compilations. Waldo you’re great. Keep it up mate!

BEST GIGS

Apart from the ones we put on which were all amazing and showcased some amazing performances from JAY WARS and THE DEAD MAGGIES from Aus, THE GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS from Norway, a couple of benefit gigs for Mad Dog out The Popes (hope youre back on your guitar highkicking soon pal!), BLACK WATER COUNTY played their London debut and went down a fecking storm, me O’s mates STEVE WHITE AND THE PROTEST FAMILY were as superb as ever and released a fantastic album. One of the major highlights was discovering the quintessential London Celtic Punk in ANTO MORRA and we look forward to working with him again in the future. We teamed up with fellow Londoners of Urbankelt and will be doing so again too.

I also saw DAVID ROVICS for the first time, THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG’s amazing 30th anniversary show was incredible, NECK and their sadly ended residency at TChances which had us all pissed on Polish lager on Sunday afternoons for the first 6 months of the year, FLOGGING MOLLY in Reading in June which showed they havent lost a thing and are as great as ever, THE POGUE TRADERS were the best Pogues tribute band I ever seen. Disappointing was missing so many gigs where I just didnt have the cash especially The Pogues various outings. THE STANFIELDS from Canada seemed like a decent bunch of lads but their London gig was a total rip-off. The pre-gig ticket price was £7-50 which more than doubled to £15 on the door on the night. Oi bands watch out for charlaten promoters won’t you? Rebellion music fest brings loads of decent bands over to play but that means that they all end up playing in the same week so I had to forgo THE GO-SET’s return to London. Missed out on THE WOLFE TONES London gigs too due to work. All three of them! THE LAGAN have been brilliant. Far far too many of their gigs to go into detail so we have choosen the whole of St Patricks Weekend as our Number One! With NECK playing three gigs over the weekend and both THE BIBLE CODE SUNDAYS and THE LAGAN playing on the same day as well it seen a clean sweep of all the London bands done. Afterwards sick days were phoned in, headache pills were taken and the best St Patricks in donkeys was had.
Now were just looking forward to catching THE DROPKICK MURPHYS ‘Celtic Invasion ‘ Tour in Dublin and London this year round St Patricks Day.
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- 2015
 London Celtic Punks
Of course all these things are very subjective so don’t be dismayed if your album ain’t here. What appeals to one don’t neccessarily appeal to another. It would be impossible to keep up with the multitude of celtic-punk related releases so these are the best of of what we actually did get to hear. All the various sites in the celtic-punk family had different winners so to see what they thought check out the Best Of lists of the following sites…
click on the blog logo at the top of the page to find more of this kind of stuff…

ALBUM REVIEW: 6’10- ‘The Humble Beginnings Of A Roving Soul’ (2014)

journey through the mind of a man who has overcome betrayal, unforgiveness and pain. how a soul in agony was able to find peace and strength through difficult times
6’10- ‘The Humble Beginnings Of A Roving Soul’
It would seem at the moment that over half the celtic-punk scene has gone off to make folk or country side projects at the moment. One of the first to do so was Tobin Bawinkel of the fantastic Chicago based band Flatfoot 56. If you’ve not heard of Flatfoot 56 then take yourself immediatly to the bottom of this review and look up their web site. One of the top bands in celtic-punk they are truly one of the scenes trailblazers and innovators. But if you do know of them then read on!
‘The Humble Beginnings Of A Roving Soul’ is a follow up to last years six track EP ‘The Humble Beginnings’ and continues in much the same style just don’t expect the wild, loud and sometimes brutal sound of Flatfoot 56, as with these songs Tobin has gone back to his musical roots. Laid back American folk with definite celtic influences with thought provoking lyrics and a sometimes relaxed style that shows Tobin’s talents off in every way possible.
6'10
The album was funded by a ‘Kickstarter’ campaign where fans pledged money to finance the production of the album in return for various rewards like advance copies of the album or signed merchandise. They easily surpassed their target so this is truly a DIY effort without a sniff of any interference from outside. Not only that but the CD itself is like a wee piece of art coming in an 8 panel digipack format that displays the full albums lyrics and images. A stunning cover that would happily adorn any wall, it has had time and care lavished on it so do yourselves a favour and forget the download if you can and get the physical copy.
Aided by fellow band members Josh Robieson, Mike Pettus and Keith Perez the album includes a deluge of instruments and traditional influences. Tobin explains
“When I was growing up, I remember playing folk and bluegrass music with my family in our living room. I always loved the story telling aspect of this style and the joy of playing with close friends and family. I loved it when songs would have a quirky and playful tone and theme. All of the pretentious elements that can sometimes find their way into music, were absent during these sessions with my family and friends. You would find seasoned players, playing right next to children who were just learning. This culture is what I wanted again. The idea was to return to a simpler and more earthy feel”
This they have done. Recently we have added a new feature to the blog ‘Classic Album Reviews’ (here) where we intend to take you right back to the roots of folk music, sometimes with albums over sixty year old sometimes or music from before the 2nd World War. Music that has inspired and motivated and helped create what we are listening to today. It is to 6’10 credit that they could easily be filed into that section too. The music is lovingly crafted and expertly played and if Tobin can get his mellower side out here then I’m sure fans will be happy that Flatfoot 56 will show no signs of slowing it down themselves.

The first of the album’s twelve tracks starts with ‘Cannon Ball’,one of four tracks that also appeared on that debut EP. Strumming guitar, picking mando and Tobin’s raspy cool as feck voice combine for an absolute classic. The sound of F56 is of course still in there and if anything this is Flatfoot56 stripped right down to the basics. F56 never ever shied away from their working class roots and ‘Da Boss’ is an ode to the blue collar worker. This could have made the Wobblies ‘Little Red Song Book’ way back in 1909! ‘Peach Farmer’ shows a happier and uplifting side to the album. It’s not always about back breaking toil when you love what your doing. In the great ‘Timothy’ Tobin again surpasses himself with a story of a man sharing his knowledge and foresight from a hard and tough life to the Timothy of the title. A superb song that in the best of folk tradition helps you to understand yourself just that little bit more. Next is ‘Hurricaine’ one of the albums faster tracks and certain to get your foot tapping along. This must surely be a live favourite I’d say.

Though we dont like using the word Hun here on this blog Tobin isn’t to know so we will forgive him and ‘Someday Hun’ is not a ballad celebrating the demise of our much despised zombie neighbours but rather setting off on the road to perform and looking forward to your return home to your true love. ‘Where Did you Go?’ is a slow and tragic ballad of lost love and the suffering that comes with it. ‘Tuesday’ and ‘It Is Well’ continue in the same vein with guest vocalists and tinges of country in there as well before ‘Burning Ships’ tells of true love and a simple life together. In ‘Backpack’ Tobin tells the heart breaking tale of of the collapse of a mans life before he finds joy in moving on and eventualy finding happiness.
“the backpack is calling my name”
The album ends with the sad but beautiful ‘The Travellers’. More brilliant story writing that takes you into the conversation between two sad dreamers who while their lives away telling each other stories trying to escape the banal day to day existence they are trapped in. The story of working class dreamers everywhere that I’m sure renowned artists like Pete Seeger or Woody would have been proud to have written.

The album clocks in at over 45 minutes and is worth every penny to buy the CD. 6’10 are heading over on a European tour in the Autumn so be sure to keep checking them out so as not to miss the tour. This is truly a great album and I simply cannot recommend it enough to you. The musicianship is first rate but as ever its the lyrics and the stories within the songs that sell it for me.
“The main goal of this band is to be able to inspire and relate to people who want something more then the typical things that the world we live in tries to force us to live for. I want it to encourage those who have gone through tough times, to realize that there is always gold to be found in the mud that life sometimes bogs us down in. The trials and difficulties we face can either make us bitter or they can make us better. This band offers an entertaining evening to those who just want to reflect on stories from the past and hopefully be inspired by the ramblings of a seasoned traveling musician”
At home Tobin is a teacher right in the area of Chicago where he grew up, as well as a church leader and its his concern for the bodies and minds and souls of working people that shines through. Tobin exposes his innermost feelings for us and for that we can be grateful. The album itself has the feel of something unpolished and rootsy but rest assured everything to do with this record is first class. A superb debut album and I simply cannot wait for the tour. Congratulations for all involved we are in love with ‘The Humble Beginnnings Of A Roving Soul’ and I’m sure once you’ve heard it you will be too. You will laugh, you will cry and you will be moved.
Buy The Album
Contact The Band
great interview with Tobin here from Idiotek.
Contact Flatfoot 56

30492-LONDON CELTIC PUNK’S TOP TWENTY CELTIC-PUNK ALBUM’s OF ALL TIME‏

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!

Where We Going?

Today we celebrate the blog’s first anniversary so, in a case of obvious self-indulgence, we thought we’d share with you our TOP TWENTY CELTIC-PUNK ALBUM’s OF ALL TIME. The last year has flown by and, even better, feedback for the site seems to have been universally good. As long we’re appreciated it’s all well worth doing. The celtic-punk scene has gone from strength to strength over the last twelve months and hopefully we’ve helped toward that in a small way. Big thanx to all who sent in stuff for review and also to our wee gang of reviewers and contributors.

Now before we get going thought I’d chuck in a couple of things. We’ve only chosen one album per band as let’s face it otherwise it would be dominated by 3, maybe 4, bands at best. There’s no time limit on it although it does tend to be the older rather than the newer albums chosen and their picked not just on music on the albums themselves but sometimes on the circumstances around hearing them for the first time, which I’m sure your all dying to hear!

 NUMBER 20

SAINT BUSHMILLS CHOIR- ‘S/T’ (2004)

Saint Bushmill's ChoirAttending the Anarchist Bookfair back in 2004 an old mate Booksie sez get yourself to the Active stall and get this album. So off I trot and I find it and its got a lovely celtic design on the front and a even lovelier Irish tricolour on the back. Not the sort of thing you’d expect to find at a Anarchist event! The song titles were all known to me and mostly Dubliners songs. Problem is its the last one so I have to buy it and lump it around for the rest of the day, and night!, trying not to lose it/break it/cover it in Skol Super. Any road I gets it home and play it and its f’king brilliant. Extremely well played Irish folk punk with great left politics and the only Anarchist celtic-punk song I’ve ever heard. I find out later that Saint Bushmills Choir are a kind of punk-crusty supergroup and that’s why the label Profane Existence released it. I did wonder why as everything I’d ever heard from the label before was an unlistenable racket! And it’s on very nice green vinyl!

 NUMBER 19

THE GENTLEMEN- ‘Stick To Your Guns’ (2009)

The GentlemenFirst time I came across these was a video on YouTube of them at a West Virginia American Football game racing around with a Irish flag to ‘Country Roads’ so when their album popped up on the now defunct Paddy Punx web-site i downloaded it immediately. For such a young band they really were very very good but nothing has been heard from them in a long time and there’s not much to be found on them on the internet either. Aggressive celtic-punk but plenty of emphasis on traditional instruments too. ‘War Time In North London’ and ‘Under The Rowan Tree’ show their style at either end of the celtic-punk spectrum.

 NUMBER 18

CHARM CITY SAINTS- ‘Hooligans And Saints’ (2009)

Charm City SaintsEmerging from the seedy punk rock clubs of Baltimore the Charm City Saints were one of a bunch of American celtic-punk bands inspired by the Dropkick Murphys. The LP begins with ‘Egans Polka’ which wouldn’t be out of place on one of your nanna’s records before blasting into the blistering ‘Night Paddy Murphy Died’. Catchy hooks and fist in the air choruses ensure the LP whizzes past as fast as anything. Blue-collar working class Irish American pride aplenty! Chuck in a couple of rebel songs and more trad punked up to 11 and you got yerself a classic of American celtic-punk. Far from the polish of the Murphys and the Mollys and all the better for it.

 NUMBER 17

KEVIN FLYNN AND THE AVONDALE RAMBLERS- Live At the Double Door 09-15-09

Kevin Flynn And The Avondale RamblersTill they released ‘Broken Pavements Of Avondale’ last year all anyone had of these was a couple of EP’s and this fantastic live album, which consists only of the songs on the EP’s. Once again I came across it on the Paddy Punx blog and despite the name sounding like a old fogies band i thought i’d take a chance, and boy was i was not disappointed. I’m not normally a fan of live recordings but this is one of those rare occasions where the sound and music is immaculate. The bands mix of celtic-Irish-Americana and Chicago folklore plus solid working class roots and politics really hit the spot with me. Great sense of humour, as evident on crowd favourite ‘You Don’t Want Me’.

We reviewed their new album earlier this year here.

NUMBER 16

BETWEEN THE WARS- ‘Carried Away’ (2010)

Between The WarsMelbourne based celtic-folk-punk band who have now sadly broken up. They’ve left us a discography of great records of which this, for me, is the pick of the crop. Great story-telling from lead singer Jay with dark and light themes battling it out with understated humour! A few trad songs ‘Ride On’ and ‘Come Out Ye Black And Tans’ are in turn beautiful and uplifting but its when Between the Wars play their own songs they come into their own. ‘Ciaran’ about the love of a father for his son and the son for his father is heart achingly good while ‘Superherosong’ and ‘You Were The One’ raise the roof with that distinct Aussie celtic-punk sound but with a tinge of country.

Plenty more on the blog including a review of their last LP here and a interview with Jay, the lead singer, here.

NUMBER 15

CRAIC HAUS- ‘Whose Yer Paddy Now?’ (2009)

Craic HausNow this was a first for me and for anyone else whose ever come across Craic Haus too I bet. What you get is a album of ‘shamrockabilly’ that’s right 12 songs of celtic-rock’n’roll. They ought to be Imelda May’s backing band truth be told. Mostly self-penned titles like ‘Bottom Of A Guinness’ and ‘Shilleagh Bop’ show the bands great sense of humour plus theirs two incredible covers of The Wild Rover and Danny Boy with the original words but to the tune of something equally as famous. Hard to explain. Great production too and quite incredible work considering that their only a trio!

 NUMBER 14

THE MEN THEY COULDNT HANG- ‘How Green Is The Valley’ (1986)

The Men They Couldn't HangThe day this came out I legged it back with the LP under me arm to me Nanna’s house in town. She had an old record player encased in a big massive cabinet about 5 foot long. The sound that came out was crystal clear but it was only ever use to playing country’n’western so how was it gonna handle ‘The Men’? Putting it on and the first song ‘Gold Strike’ came out and the guitar and mandolin giving it the impression of a folky LP she relaxed and then nearly fainted as it kicked into ‘Gold Rush’ a punky folky celt rocker. Things got worse for her as anti-fascist anthem ‘Ghosts Of Cable Street’ advocated hitting fascists and then miners strike song ‘Shirt Of Blue’ advocated attacking the police…she also found some of the language appalling!! Looking back it was nowhere near as punk as I thought it was at the time but The Men are still rocking out and recently celebrated their 30th anniversary with a grand sell-out big London gig. Definitely one of the early pioneers of the celtic-punk scene.

 NUMBER 13

JASPER COAL- ‘Thousand Feet Closer To Hell’ (2010)

Jasper CoalMy dad was a coal-miner and so was his dad and his granddad too so coal-mining is in my blood you could say. Another album I came across via the Paddy Punx blog and it had a massive impact on me. Coming from the coalfields of Alabama these Irish-American lads sing a variety of mostly old standards and a few of their own songs. With very strong vocals and a banjo leading the way its a incredibly ‘full’ LP despite being acoustic and having no drums just the bodhran keeping the beat. Its also notable for having a song, O Caide Sin, in gaelic too.

 NUMBER 12

FLATFOOT 56- ‘Jungle Of The Mid West Sea’ (2007)

Flatfoot 56Saw these the night after the only time I ever saw Blood Or Whiskey. Can’t remember how I came across it as the London celtic-punk scene was non-existent back then, but I did, and it was a weekend that went onto change my life forever! At the BorW gig I made a great friend without whom I doubt the whole London Celtic Punks thing would even exist and the following day at Flatfoot 56 i had my first date with the lady that was to become my future wife! The gig itself was outstanding. Fuck all people in a tiny wee cellar venue but great sound and those that were there were a enthusiastic lot. First on and all over before 9pm, we legged it when they finished playing and the rest is history. A short while after I got the album off another pal with ‘Knuckles Up’ on the same CD. I played it so damn much i cannot bear to put it on anymore but if it comes up on my I-Pod shuffle then i’m instantly reminded of why i love it!

There’s a review of the album of the Flatfoot 56 off-shoot 6’10 here.

 NUMBER 11

BIBLE CODE SUNDAYS- ‘Boots Or No Boots’ (2010)

The Bible Code SundaysThe Bible Code’s are to London what The Tossers are to Chicago or The Murphy’s are to Boston. Probably more celtic-rock than punk they gig relentlessly across London and have a massive and loyal fan base. Reading about them in The Irish Post every week I first saw them play at one of their fortnightly resident shows in London’s west end. Starting off with their own stuff and then returning after a break to play ‘Irish-ed’ up pop hits they certainly had the crowd in the palm of their hands. I got the album that night and bugger me but on listening to it it seemed like it was auto-biographical!! The perfect album for the second- generation Irishman. ‘Maybe Its Because I’m A Irish Londoner’ is by far the fans stand out track but i prefer ‘Paddy Devil’ telling the story of the evil influence that makes us go on the lash instead of staying in and behaving ourselves…

 NUMBER 10

SHANE MacGOWAN AND THE POPES- ‘Crock Of Gold’ (1997)

Shane MacGowan And The PopesWith Shane kicked out of The Pogues and supposedly spiraling off into oblivion he shocked us all by teaming up with County Holloway celtic-rockers The Popes. Their first album together was ‘The Snake’ and was only so-so i thought but this album was something else. Freed from the confines of The Pogues Shane could let his pen do the talking. He calls it the Pogues fifth album. He doesn’t count anything The Pogues did after ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’. While hinting at nationalism with The Pogues for years this LP is defiantly pro-republican with stories of “burning London to the ground” and shooting coppers and soldiers. Received with glee by his fans and horror by the middle-class press both here and in Ireland. Dominated by jigs and reels The Popes prove themselves able to fill The Pogues shoes and even fit in a reggae song reminiscent of The Clash.

“The years they go by quickly/ I know I can’t remain here/ Where each day brings me closer/ To that final misery/ My kids will never scrape shit ’round here/ And I won’t die crying in a pint of beer/ I’m going back to Ireland/ And me Mother Mo Chroi.”

More on Shane from the blog here and The Popes here.

 NUMBER 9

BLOOD OR WHISKEY- ‘Cashed Out On Culture’ (2005)

Blood Or WhiskeyStraddling the celtic-punk fence nicely between the Molly’s folk and the Murphy’s punk is Ireland’s Blood Or Whiskey. This is their third album and they’re best one yet. Fourteen tracks of pure Irish folk ska punk. This was the first recording’s with new singer Dugs taking over from Barney and guest vocals from Cait O’Riordan of The Pogues add that special touch. Blood Or Whiskey have a instantly recognizable sound but don’t be thinking they’re stuck in a rut as they stand out in the celtic punk scene as a constantly evolving band. They are also the only band actually from a celtic nation on our list. ‘They Say No’ ends the album and is the standout track with all the BorW elements coming together perfectly!

This years new album from Blood Or Whiskey was reviewed on the blog earlier in the year, read it here.

 NUMBER 8

THE MAHONES- ‘Irish Punk Collection’ (2007)

The MahonesCatchy and upbeat this is the must have album of Irish-Canadian band The Mahones. They’ve been around for twenty years and are one of the innovators and movers and shakers of the celtic-punk world. Their is plenty here for all fans of celtic or punk music and the songs flow seamlessly from raucous punk to reflective ballad with ease. Dublin born singer Finny leads The Mahones and they are easily the hardest working band in the scene. ‘Queen And Tequila’ and ‘Drunken Lazy Bastard’ are still solid staples of the bands live set. Fourteen tracks and well over a hour long  and not a single bad track. Scruffy from the Dropkicks pops up to show exactly how widely regarded The Mahones are.

NUMBER 7

DROPKICK MURPHYS- ‘Do Or Die’ (1998)

Dropkick MurphysSeems like an age ago now (and it bloody is too) that a old skinhead mate from Belfast put me onto these and I got to see them on their first London gig before I’d actually heard anything by them. To say they blew me away is a understatement and my love affair with them only got worse on hearing this album. Yeah the Pogues and The Men They Couldn’t Hang were there first but the Dropkicks were a proper punk band. Our families all liked what passed for celtic-punk before this lot but the Dropkick Murphys? NO FACKING WAY! My mams heard them and thinks there awful racket! I use to call this album ‘celtic-Oi!’ and if you’re a recent convert to the DKM’s there’s not a lot of what passes for the band now. For a start Mike McColgan, from the Street Dogs, was the bands original singer and there’s very little celtic tunes and no instruments but plenty of references in the lyrics for those of us looking for them. By the time Finnegans Wake came on that was it for me!

 NUMBER 6

FLOGGING MOLLY- ‘Drunken Lullabies’ (2002)

Flogging MollyTheir second album and easily their best yet. After ‘Swagger’ the band realised they didn’t need a new approach. Slow songs, fast songs and combinations of both was good enough to last them right up until their last album ‘Speed Of Darkness’ when they changed it around a bit. Formed in a LA pub by Dublin native Dave King their sound is as authentic as it comes. Full on Irish folk played with the spirit of punk that captured the imagination of untold numbers of punk rock kids across the globe. Despite their success it’s as a live band Flogging Molly are at their best and they’ve released a handful of excellent live releases. The title track and the heart aching ‘The Sun Never Shines (On Closed Doors)’ show them at their fast and slow best. Listen side by side with the Murphy’s and you’ll see these are the celtic side of celtic-punk while the Murphy’s are more punk but both compliment each other enormously.

 NUMBER 5

THE TOSSERS- ‘The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death’ (2005)

The TossersA mate worked in Reckless Records in the West End and one day down the pub he announced to me “you like all that Irish folk shit, here have these” and presented me with a 1960’s LP of rebel songs, a Wolfe Tones CD and this by The Tossers. Maybe not their best album (I actually prefer ‘Emerald City’) but this has The Tossers greatest song ‘Good Mornin Da’ and a host of other Chicago South Side Irish folk-punk classics. Older than the Murphy’s and the Molly’s they well deserve their place at the top table of celtic-punk. More like the Pogues than the before mentioned bands they have The Pogues knack of playing lengthy songs that don’t bore the arse off you or go off into decadent meandering and keep your interest till the end! Saw them play once in London and they were every bit as good as i thought they would be.

You can find a review of the excellent new album from The Tossers, ‘Emerald City, here.

 NUMBER 4

CUTTHROAT SHAMROCK- ‘Dark Luck’ (2011)

Cutthroat ShamrockComing from the hills of Tennessee they mix Irish and Scots folk with their native Appalachian music. Dark themes abound on this all the way through and the vocals and music really capture the emotions of the lyrics.  Completely acoustic with superb banjo playing to the fore they would in fact go down well absolutely anywhere and with anyone I’d say. ‘Rich Insteada Pretty’ is a brief interlude of humour before ‘Dark Hallow’ takes us back to some more misery. A superb album with all the best bits of celtic-punk but with enough of Cutthroat Shamrock’s own definitive stamp to single them out as real innovators of the scene. ‘Fly Away’ would easily make my Top Ten Songs of all time.

 NUMBER 3

THE POGUES- ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’ (1988)

The PoguesYou simply cannot underestimate the influence The Pogues had on this nation when they came racing out of the blocks in the mid-80’s. To put it simply the amount of Irish born people in Britain was massive but few of their offspring felt in anyway Irish. Hardly surprising when the rest of the nation was stacked up against them and to be Irish meant to be either a bomber or be thick or an alkie or feckless or violent or many other number of racist epitaphs. Who then could find pride in those roots when it was something we ought to be ashamed of? Well The Pogues could. Their first two albums were met with amazement and relief that we could actually be proud of our backgrounds and shout it out as well. By the time of this their third album The Pogues had started to agitate and their song ‘The Birmingham 6’, while only reinforcing what our families had already told us, brought the issue of the many innocent Irish jailed in Britain to a wider audience. That to be in possession of an Irish accent could land you in jail for a very long time. This is the record that saw them move away from being a band only Irish people could like and includes their mega-mega hit ‘Fairytale Of New York’. Though I cant stand ‘Fiesta’ the rest are pure brilliance and Shane’s lyrics are sublime. I especially loved the Tipperary themed ‘The Broad Majestic Shannon’. But even despite all of Shane’s brilliance its the late Phil Chevron song ‘Thousands Are Sailing’ that stands out and gets you on every single level. Possibly the best song about Irish emigration of all time…and that’s a pretty congested subject. More from us on The Pogues here.

 NUMBER 2

NECK- ‘Sod `Em & Begorrah!’ (2005)

NeckNeck have been a solid fixture on the London punk scene for donkeys years now and this LP is their masterpiece. All 12 tracks are fully imbibed with the spirit of the two London bands that have inspired them the most- The Pogues and The Clash. I’ve been a major fan of Neck since the very beginning and no matter how often I’ve seen them play they never fail to give it their all and put on a great show. Lead singer and lyricist Leeson is up there with yer Shane’s and yer Christy’s and your Luke’s in the songwriting stakes and portrays perfectly what it feels to be a, so called, ‘plastic paddy’ or as Neck put it, much better, ‘PLASTIC AND PROUD’. The album has two expertly played trad songs and the rest are pure self-penned celtic-punk Neck classics. As impossible as it is to pick out a standout track, ‘Blood On The Streets’ about the racist murders of two young men in Ireland and London deserves a nod. The CD comes with a huge booklet with the lyrics and background story to each song which alone makes this a must have. More from us on Neck here.

NUMBER 1

THE RUMJACKS- ‘Gangs Of New Holland’ (2010)

The Rumjacks

Bejaysus I really wish I had heard this when I was a young gun, i would have definitely picked up a mandolin instead of untold tinnies and done something with me life! From start to finish this debut album from Sydney, Australia’s The Rumjacks kicks you squarely in the teeth. Whether its the full on celtic-punk rock of ‘Green Ginger Wine’ or the sadness of, nearly a ballad, ‘Bar The Door Casey’ The Rumjacks blue-collar stories of working class immigrant life really hits home. It isn’t without humour mind, check out their enormous (5,500,000 hits and counting!) internet hit ‘An Irish Pub’ which puts the boot firmly into fake plastic Irish pubs. The band is a mix of Scottish immigrants and others from descended from the various celtic nations which gives them a very definite authentic feel. This knocked the flaming socks off me when I first heard it and its still doing it now. Australian celtic-punk bands rule the planet and The Rumjacks rule Australian celtic-punk…that should tell you all you need to know. Plenty more on The Rumjacks here and the wonderful world of Aussie celtic-punk here.

well there you have it. hope you liked and if you like feel free to leave a comment below if you agree or disagree…maybe even leave your best ofs!

if you would like to check the blog out proper like then simply click on the logo at the top of the page unless you’re on a mobile that is!

THE TOSSERS MAKE MUSIC FOR US ALL

by Paul DeCamp

The Tossers

11 P.M. on the northwest side of Chicago, a corner at one of the city’s famous five way intersections. Or maybe its 6. Your sharpness with numbers has been dulling over the last few hours. The air is frigid and still, save for some laughs and chatter coming from the small group you’re standing with outside the bar where a trio that makes up the core of a local Irish punk band have just finished their first set of the night. The front man holds court as the unofficial discussion leader for the people taking cigarette breaks. He regales the crowd with stories about being sent champagne and Guinness to make Black Velvets by Bono in Dublin, or meeting Shane and the boys while opening for The Pogues. Perhaps a childhood memory of discovering an old Clancy Brothers record. You’re in Chicago, so a quip about Rahm or the governor makes it in too. This is perfect interlude to what you’ve been watching already this evening, you think, this sidebar on the sidewalk.

The place is the Abbey Pub in Chicago’s Avondale neighbourhood. The band is The Tossers.

For the last several years, front man Tony Duggins, Rebecca Manthe, and Tony’s brother Aaron, have played a free acoustic show at the Abbey the first Friday of each month. The trio offers up a mix of old Irish folk songs and their own punk-tinged material to a crowd of mixed age and background. Friends of the band who have made the journey from Tinley Park and other points south pepper the audience, which ranges from young punks to older Irish folk aficionados. All tend to sing along and yell requests freely, with Duggins and company usually happy to oblige.

With St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon, March always sees an increase in tour dates from bands marketing themselves as ‘Irish rock’, ‘celtic punk’, ‘rebel music’ and the like. It’s a necessity for the sort of bars that make significant profits from the holiday. Only a handful of groups have been able to distinguish themselves and make a go of it outside of the St Patrick’s Day season.

Dropkick Murphys has enjoyed huge success in recent years after being featured in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed and becoming associated with the Boston Red Sox. On the West Coast, Flogging Molly managed to entice the local skate punks with  their ‘oirish’ bravado and now have gone national. But the Dropkicks have since become better at selling t-shirts than spinning yarns, and Flogging Molly has taken a few sonic left turns and lost the swagger that distinguished their early records. In the middle of the country, in Chicago, one Irish punk organization has remained committed to not selling out.

In the Irish rock scene, which does not lack for hackneyed acts, The Tossers stand apart.

Duggins is the sole remaining poet in Irish punk and the inheritor of the tradition of Shane MacGowan, whose work with The Pogues set the precedent for all Celtic-infused rock to come. From politically-charged ballads to rousing barroom anthems, lamentations, and benedictions featuring the likes of Dee Dee Ramone and Brendan Behan, Duggins’ songwriting contains great depth and sincerity, as well as a deep understanding of history and the human condition.

While the affectations are there, such as the whistles and fiddle and Duggins’ accent, they do not distract from the strength of the music. The band is aware of the dangers of falling into kitsch, of playing too much at being drunken Paddies and singing about going out to Cal-i-forn-i-ay. The track ‘USA’ from their most recent album, last year’s The Emerald City, displays this awareness from the outset, with Duggins proclaiming

“We were born in the U.S.A.”

It goes on to document family life, teenage antics, and the loss and suffering of wartime experienced by the working class. The video features Duggins walking through Chicago’s Chinatown, interspersed with bar scenes and shots of the band playing, offering an example of how Duggins’ tunes highlight the aspects of Irish music and experience that transcend decades and borders.

A waitress assembles a line of Guinness pints, three or four of them, on the stage next to Duggins near the beginning of most Friday night gigs at the Abbey. However incapacitated he might become, Duggins will raise his pint and sing ‘The Parting Glass’ to end the evening. No matter the size of the room, the song will bring the crowd to a somber and reflective silence, the kind you might find during prayer at a wake, where it is typically sung.

It is moments like this that distinguish The Tossers from their contemporaries.

Moments where we find that there might be a mystical quality to growing up Irish and Catholic on the South Side of Chicago, living in a world where the dead never really leave us and loss and suffering remain as a reminder that we should savor the joy we find in our companions. Love, loyalty, and friendship, the Irish virtues extolled on the claddagh ring, abide in these moments and we find that they are not solely Irish, but wholly human. And perhaps that is the great gift the Irish have given us in their literature and music, a gift Duggins and The Tossers continue to give us, whether to a small barroom in Avondale or a festival stage in Germany.

Chicago is their home, Ireland is their heritage, but The Tossers make music that is for all of us and is not meant to be listened to just one month out of year.

I leave you with Duggins performing ‘The Parting Glass’

this article first appeared on ‘We Started A Band’ blog and thanks to the guys for letting us show it again… check out their great blog here

for our review of The Tossers album from last year ‘The Emerald City’ go here

another equally great Chicago celtic-punk band are Kevin Flynn And The Avondale Ramblers and our review of their last album is here

FREE DOWNLOAD: IRISH PUB SONGS COMPILATION (2014)

FREE DOWNLOAD!

phonto-7

To celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day 2014, and courtesy of GET ROCK MUSIC, we are super pleased to offer you this superb collection of some of the finest celtic-punk bands around to download completely for *FREE*. Seriously this is as good a sampler as you’ll find of what’s alive and kicking and fecking brilliant in the world of celtic-punk 2014. Download link below but you can follow the links to find out more about each band.

TRACKLIST

01. Celkilt (France)- Everyday’s St Patrick’s Day  WebSite
02. Drink Hunters (Catalonia) – Drinking Song  Facebook
03. The Ramshackle Army (Australia) – Boilermaker’s Hands  Facebook  WebSite
04. Auld Corn Brigade (Germany)- Day To Day  WebSite
05. The Vandon Arms (USA) – Streets Of Gold  Facebook
06. Sunday Punchers (South Africa)- Guinness – Facebook
07. Lexington Field (USA) – Crazy Eyes  Facebook  WebSite
08. The Lagan (London)- Fields Of Athenry  Facebook  WebSite
09. Fiddler’s Green (Germany)- A Bottle A Day  WebSite
10. The Detonators (Serbia)- My World  Facebook
11. The Tosspints (USA) – Blood or Whiskey  Facebook
12. Pint Of Stout (Ukraine)- We All Deserve To Die Facebook  Album Review here
13. The Fatty Farmers (Spain) – At The Counter Bar  Facebook
14. Cheers! (Czech Republic)- Cliffs Of Galway  Facebook
15. Fox’n’Firkin (Australia)- 1788  Facebook
16. 1916 (USA)- Wild Rover  WebSite  Facebook
17. Bastards On Parade (Galicia)- Drunken Haze  Facebook
18. The Tossers (USA) – Here’s To A Drink With You  Facebook  WebSite  Album Review here
19. Irish Moutarde (Quebec)- Farewell to Drunkenness  Facebook  Album Review here  Band Interview here
20. LochNesz (Hungary)- Have Another Whisky  Facebook
21. Brutus’ Daughters (Spain) – 6 Beers  Facebook
22. The Scally Cap Brats (Canada) – Dress Sharp, Drink Hard  Bandcamp
23. The Irish Rovers (Canada) – Drunken Sailor  Facebook 
if any links go dead leave a comment or use the Contact Us form via the top of the page
YOU CAN LISTEN TO THE ALBUM BELOW
CLICK ON THE ALBUM SLEEVE BELOW AND FOLLOW DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS
you can download Irish Pub Songs for free if you wish but there is also an option to donate to the Justice For The Craigavon 2 campaign. Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton have been locked up unjustly convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. To find out more information on the case visit
jftc2.com
www.facebook.com/JFTC2/
So there you have it. The CD clocks in at a whopping 70 minutes + and its not even dominated by North American bands with 15 countries represented on the compilation.
So get downloading, get a drink in your hand and get listening…

ALBUM REVIEW: KEVIN FLYNN AND THE AVONDALE RAMBLERS- “The Broken Pavement of Avondale” (2013)

“we’re a Chicago-Irish band”

Kevin Flynn

A few years ago a website suddenly appeared out of nowhere called Paddy Punx. It was basically a download site and the poor guy doing it must have been a drug addict or something as he put up scores and scores of albums everyday at all hours of the day and night. The site is long gone now unfortunately thanks to one of the great many site culls the US government has every now and then.  I mention this because at the time you didn’t know how long it was going to last so you basically downloaded at every opportunity you had. Luckily (!) I was unemployed at the time so could do a bit more than most people. One of the bands I downloaded, amongst the many, was Kevin Flynn And The Avondale Ramblers. Never having heard of them and with a name that makes them sound like a Nashville country band I cant say why but I was certainly glad I did!

Paddy Punx

Their previous releases are two mini-albums and a live album, made up from songs from the two mini LPs, released in 2010. I was blown away by their distinctive sound and incredible lyrics and stories about their home town of Chicago and Irish-America. I thought, like many, that was it and they’d fallen by the wayside but then I heard they were bringing out a new album and my appetite was surely wetted. Chicago has an amazing musical reputation with music as diverse as Sam Cooke to Rise Against to Muddy Waters to err…Chicago, but nowhere has Chicago’s influence been more inspiring than with celtic-punk and bands like The Tossers, Flatfoot56, The Fisticuffs, Ballydowse have led the way in moulding American celtic-punk.

The Broken Pavement Of Avondale honours the Windy City, as Chicago is also known, in a way that makes you want to upsticks and move there(…if it wasn’t called the Windy City for nothing that is!)

The music itself is a superb mix of Americana, country, pop, rock, punk, and celtic/Irish folk put together in a totally accessible way that will appeal to all but, as is the way with the best celtic-punk bands, its the lyrics that stand out here. Kevin Flynn is like a historian putting the history of Chicago to music and passing it along or down to other generations. I defy you not to listen to this and not learn something new of interest.

The album kicks off with ‘The Road I Walk’,

“the road I walk is less than often travelled, never paved in gold- its always dirt or gravel, although its on the byway, it always will be my way, another road just aint for me”

If you get sick of me using the word catchy then don’t blame me as there’s no better word to describe the music here.

Kevin Flynn And The Avondale Ramblers

This is followed by the title song, probably the punkiest on the album, a catchy instrumental with chugging guitar backbone and mandolin and tin whistle driving it along. Subjects covered here include songs about the working-class, Catholicism and the drunken, sometimes violent aspects of their city. A forgotten maritime disaster is one of the stand out tracks, ‘The Eastland’, and the memories of those 844 poor souls will surely never be forgotten again once you’ve heard it. ‘The Pope Of The Windy City’ is the story of the infamous Richard J. Daley who ruled Chicago as Mayor from the 50’s through to 1976 and a listen to this song tells you a whole lot more than the Wikipedia entry will do!!!

“he was raised on the working class Southside, blue-collar Catholic Irish pride, workin’ for the town, he learned about it Holy See”

a beautiful love song ‘I Love Whiskey’ and a hilarious ride through the trials and tribulations of Lent called ‘5 Weeks 5 Days’ and finally the album comes to a end with ‘Don’t Bury Me Outside Chicago’ another magnificent ode to their home city. Kevin is joined by Tony Duggins of The Tossers and he and Tony have much in common in the way their lyrics are much more than just words accompanying a song.  Though the band’s sound is steeped in the influence of traditional Irish music, their songs are anything but traditional. When asked about this Kevin said in a interview

“There was no particular method. They were just the people and events whose stories we felt needed to be told if you’re going to be a true Chicago folk band. Mayor Daley? – that’s a no-brainer. The Daleys are to Chicago what the Kennedys are to Massachusetts. The Eastland? – more passengers died on that trip than on the Titanic.  It didn’t get a big movie made about it, but it got a great song”

You want this LP. You want this if you love your hometown or your family, your class or your religion or your Irish background or even your non-Irish background! Its twelve anthems that will inspire and affect you as well as raising a smile and a glass or two, whiskey of course, to those that this record remembers. quite simply easily one of the best releases of 2013 and I’m only sad that I heard it too late to vote for it in our ‘Top Five Albums Of 2013’.

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Discography

Double Door 9-15-09 (2010)  The Murderer, The Thief, The Minstrels & The Rest (2009)  Don’t Count Me Out (2008)

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE TOSSERS- ‘Emerald City’ (2013)

Emerald City

With 2013 drawing to a close it may seem a bit strange to review a album that was released way back in March in time for St Patrick’s Day but as this is by far and away the #1 Album of the year I thought I’d just chuck in my review to the many others that litter the web.

The Tossers LogoThe Tossers come from Chicago, to be exact they come from the South of Chicago. This is the area where the cities Irish catholic community have lived ever since they started arriving there after the ‘famine’. The immigrant history of Chicago is rooted among untold amount of countries and people whose struggles and triumphs have led them to the Midwest. From the days of Chicago’s founding in the 1830s, the city has been the final stop for people journeying from all over the world looking for a land of opportunity.  It may surprise people to know that the Irish constitute the city’s biggest ethnic community, especially in a city know as ‘Chicago Polonia’! While most Irish-American families in Chicago are three are four generations deep, plenty of Chicago’s Irish have immigrated fairly recently. Ireland’s economy in the 1980s and 1990s prompted many of its young people to go where many many others had gone before them and with strong Irish links Chicago was if not top of the list then very close to it.

It is with this background then that The Tossers were born in 1993 as a 6-piece celtic-punk band pre-dating both The Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly. Seven albums in and while most bands would be starting to tire and get stale The Tossers just continue to get better and better. Using traditional instrumentation comprised of mandolin, fiddle, tin whistle and banjo beefed up with guitar and drums The Tossers possess an unparalleled work ethic, playing ‘anywhere, anytime, for anybody, with anybody’…

The Tossers

From the albums opener with the glorious ‘The Rover’, which had me and the Mrs singing and screaming along at the top of our voices the first time I put it on in the car, its instantly reminiscent of the best of both The Dubliners and The Pogues but without copying or aping them at all. Sure sometimes lead singer Tony Duggins does occasionally slip into Shane MacGowan mode but so what. MacGowan pretty much invented celtic-punk and influences everything every band does within it. That being said Tony is no tribute act and his passion and vocal style stand him out as one of the best in the scene. His song writing is outstanding and just like the best American celtic-punk bands beats a heart fighting for the underdog and the working class. The people who do all the shit and get nothing but shit in return. The message here is have pride in yourself, your community and your class.

It’s all here on this album from acoustic to punk to folk to folkpunk. The biggest compliment I can give when reviewing stuff like this is to ask the question would my mammy like it as well as my punk mates and the truth is I can see them both hopping about to ‘The Break Of Dawn’ and slowdancing to ‘The Southside Of Town’. Of course being a Fermoy lass herself she’d love the albums only trad song ‘The Fermoy Lasses And Sporting Paddy’. For me the stand out track is ‘Johnny McGuire’s Wake’. A beautiful song about the death of an old friend and the loss of youth. The first time I heard it I played it non-stop on my walk to work with tears in my eyes. The album ends with ‘Sláinte’ another stand out track that will leave you feeling uplifted and waking the neighbours with the chorus!

the tossersWhat strikes you upon listening to Emerald City is the way The Tossers have the ability to change tempo and go from raucous Irish punk to solemn reflective Irish ballad without you even noticing. The Tossers tell the tale of both Chicago and America’s Irish community in both a serious and a joyful and upbeat way, celebrating everything the Irish have done wherever they’ve roved!

One more thing to add. to us here in Britland The Tossers is an unusual name and the kind that would make your mammy refuse to wash their t-shirt (happened to me with once with a Pogues top!) but rest assured it’s not rude the band chose their name for its American derogatory meaning, “throw away.” The term dates back to Shakespeare, and depending who you ask it also means commode, drunk, to agitate, disturb, or disquiet.

Discography

On a Fine Spring Evening (Victory Records, 2008) Gloatin’ & Showboatin’: Live on St. Patrick’s Day CD/DVD (Victory Records, 2008) Agony (Victory Records, 2007) The Valley of the Shadow of Death (Victory Records, 2005) Purgatory (Thick Records, 2003) Communication & Conviction: The Last 7 Years (Thick Records, 2001) The First League Out From Land EP (Thick Records, 2001) The Tossers/Citizen Fish split single (Thick Records, 2001) Long Dim Road (Thick Records, 2000) The Tossers/The Arrivals split single (Smilin Bob Records, 1998) We’ll Never Be Sober Again (Folk You Records, 1996) The Pint of No Return (1994)

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