Category Archives: Pirate Punk

SINGLE REVIEW: JOLLY ROGER – ‘Rum Song’ (2022)

All those jobs can wait until tomorrow! Come have fun drinking rum with Jolly Roger 🏴‍☠️

Jolly Roger hail from Cornwall. Now even though I think they’re happier calling themselves a ‘pirate’ band that does actually qualify them as a Celtic Celtic-Punk band you know! They come from Penzance, world famous for pirates for over 200 years and a area with strong links to both Brittany and Wales in both custom and language. They couldn’t then fail to be be inspired by the sea but these guys take it to the next level and while they may sound like their stuck in the are not stuck in the 18th century their lyrics are from it. Saying that here on ‘Rum Song’ they kinda do! We get two versions. One with all swear words in tact and a more radio friendly version with them hidden out of way of impressionable minds like mine. Jolly Roger comprises of brother and sister, Jae Dennis (guitar/ ukelele/ harmonica) and Samantha Hannah (mandolin/guitar) with Kynan Sandles on the lesser-seen acoustic bass guitar.

So much to do, but so little time
Procrastinate and feel behind
Away, away, away, away, away, away til the very next day
Do it tomorrow, the jobs can wait
It’s time to drink and stay out late
Away, away, away, away, away, away til the very next dayTake your share of food, your stomach needs a feeding
But leave some room for booze coz soon we’ll all be steamingWe’ll do it tomorrow, tomorrow it will be done
Tonight we set the world alight coz we’re out drinking rum
RUM
**** it off
We’re out drinking rum
I promise you tomorrow, that that thing, it will get done

Drink in hand, the night is young
Get in a round, let’s have some fun
Today, today, today, today, today, today tomorrow we’ll pay
If you’re sober, good for you
There’s plenty of us, we’ll drink for two
Today, today, today, today, today, today tomorrow we’ll pay

Take your share of food, your stomach needs a feeding
But leave some room for booze coz soon we’ll all be steaming

We’ll do it tomorrow, tomorrow it will be done
Tonight we set the world alight coz we’re out drinking rum
RUM
**** it off
We’re out drinking rum
I promise you tomorrow, that that thing, it will get done

Hey, you! Join the company
Hey, you! Join the company
Hey, you! Join the company
Hey, you! Join the company
Hey, you! Enjoy the company
Hey, you! Enjoy the company
Hey, you! Enjoy the company
Hey, you! Enjoy the company

We’ll do it tomorrow, tomorrow it will be done
Tonight we set the world alight coz we’re out drinking rum
RUM
**** it off
We’re out drinking rum
I promise you tomorrow, that that thing, it will get done

‘Rum Song’ both versions are available as a ‘name your price’ download meaning you can get it for free if you like but please try and support new bands and new music by leaving something. Alternatively they have some really nice t-shirts of the single cover Artwork by LemonMooseArt so avail yourself of one of them. They are £15 inc P&P – sizes available in S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL and kids small (4-7yrs) or kids medium (8-12yrs). Payment via PayPal.me/jollyrogermusic.

(The sweary version!)

Download Rum Song  Bandcamp  AllTheOthers

Contact Jolly Roger  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

ALBUM REVIEW: THE REAL McKENZIES – ‘Float Me Boat’ (2022)

It’s about time we did another Real McKenzies write-up. This time, you’re gettin’ the full whack; the kilted Canadian legends have a best-of album, the aptly titled Float Me Boat. It floats ours sure enough, and were sure youll feel the same. Lets get into it.

Float Me Boat. The very best of The Real McKenzies.

The Real McKenzies’ music could be described as waking up with a hangover, but getting up anyway to fight the day. With their short-and-fast, nae-nonsense approach, this band has always put the “punk” into Celtic punk. I first heard of them while living in Berlin, and believe me, the Germans quite like these guys too.

We kick things off with opening track “Chip”, taken from 2008’s Off The Leash. True to form, the band let their trademark sound loose on us, a bagpipe rock style fronted by Paul McKenzie’s unmistakable vocal. Paul may have founded the McKenzies in 1992, almost a decade after The Pogues came about, but he’s played a key role in popularising Celtic punk, shaping it into the genre we all know and love. It also proves again that you don’t need to be in Scotland or Ireland to feel the fervour of the music, start a band and light shit up.

“Smokin’ Bowl” and “‘Cross The Ocean” make early appearances on the record too. The former is primarily a punk track, with the bagpipe takin’ a back seat for most of it. “Ocean”, meanwhile, is that riff-led romp that’ll get ya dancin’. A foray into pirate rock with humorous verses and some singalong in the choruses. I particularly enjoy givin’ this one a spin, but then I’m an Alestorm fan, so go figure 🏴‍☠️

To put the flag up even higher for my now-home of Scotland, “Scots Wha’ Ha’e” also makes a welcome entrance in the first half of the album. The McKenzies’ take on it doesn’t quite feature the original lyrics by Rabbie Burns 😉 But having said that, it’s as rousing as ever. Another one I can recommend.

Official video to “Scots Wha’ Ha’e”. Gives ye a feel for the McKenzies’ live show.

Firm favourites

“Spinning Wheels” is one good choice for the latter half of the record. The band get the banjo out for this one, and tell us about their relentless gigging experiences around the world. The shout of “Prost!” gives the nod to Germany, my home of six years and one of THE countries for any Celtic folk/punk band to go to.

Soon after, we get to “The Big Six” – or at least that’s what I like to call ’em 😉 Here the band lines up six songs that are firm favourites, ranking among the best McKenzies anthems ever recorded. We start with “Bugger Off”, a song that leaves nothing to the imagination with its ferocity, including a delightfully un-PC use of the word “cunt” 👍🏼 “The Tempest” follows up, and I like this one because it’s longer than yer average McKenzies song. A fine example of a seaman’s shanty.

“You Wanna Know What” brings the speed back. The tin whistle leads the way here, and Paul delivers a strong vocal take to match. “Culling The Herd” is the interesting one – a clean guitar riff fighting the vocals in the verse, giving the song a mystical twist as only the McKenzies can do it. “Due West” boasts another gallant McKenzies riff in what is generally a gallant McKenzies song, and of course, we can’t leave out “Barrett’s Privateers”. This is the band’s own tribute to Mr Stan Rogers, a Canadian folk music legend. It’s a shame the band’s rousing take on “Northwest Passage” wasn’t included as well, but better one Stan song than none at all. We’ll include it below for ya.

“Northwest Passage”, as interpreted by Paul an’ the boys.
A live version of “Bugger Off”, played to an enthusiastic Amsterdam crowd.

Drink some more

Last but by no means least, we reach track #23, and “Drink Some More”. A final hurrah to an epic best-of that looks back over 30 illustrious years, and will have ye playin’ your air bagpipe for many a day to come. All in all, not a bad achievement, given that Paul once claimed he only started the band to “get revenge” on his family, who dressed him in a kilt as a youngster and made him sing and dance to Scottish music! 😉 They planted a seed, and the best results can be yours on this CD.

To get a copy and support the band, buy Float Me Boat online; various outlets have got it, one place for UK fans to get it is HERE. If ye ditched your CD player a while back in favour of streaming, then you can listen on Spotify, Apple Music or (hello French readers!) Deezer. And be sure to show the band some love by stoppin’ by their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Now…you’ll get nae more this article, so you’d better bugger off 😉

Andy xx

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact The Groggy Dogs  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download Black Matilda  Spotify 

Contact Black Matilda  Facebook  Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Grog O’Clock  CD-FromTheBand  Download-Bandcamp

Contact The Groggy Dogs  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

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

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

The missing link between The Levellers and the Dropkick Murphys!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Buy Ship Or Bust Bandcamp

Contact Jolly Roger  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

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

2020 ROUND-UP’S. THE MAHONES, RUNA, ALESTORM, MAGGIES FLOCK, BARBAR O’RHUM

2020 was by and large a shitty year for music. Sure their were a few bright spots… off the top of my head the many Live Streams but it was never going to replace live gigs for the Celtic-Punk scene where live gigs are everything. Even in a year with much fewer releases we still couldn’t keep up with everything! At London Celtic Punks we pride ourselves on giving detailed and extensive reviews but sometimes this isn’t quite possible so here’s the ‘Round-Up’s’ of some of the records we missed first time round.

THE MAHONES –  ’30 Years And This Is All We’ve Got To Show For It’

Just a couple of weeks ago we reviewed the 30th anniversary album of German band Fiddlers Green and around the same time was released another album by a Celtic-Punk giant on the other side of the planet celebrating thirty years in the game this time from The Mahones. Yes 30 years. THIRTY. Hard to believe isn’t it? Popular throughout the world they have recorded eleven studio albums, two live albums, an acoustic album and a compilation marking their 25 year anniversary and have covered more miles than British Airways! Here they have carefully chosen nineteen tracks of their best from across the 30 years of their career. The album is available as a ten track vinyl release (on green!) and also on CD and download with nine bonus tracks from True North Records. As for the songs they are everything you would expect. We may have heard them all before but their really is something for everyone here as The Mahones flit from raucous Irish Punk rockers to maudlin and sad ballads. The mix of songs is perfect and the balance between the harder songs and the ballads is as well. For a band that tours as much as The Mahones do 2020 must have been a particularly difficult year for The Mahones but already with dates released for 2021 (see you in London in February!) they are well prepared to take their 31st year by the throat when it arrives.

Contact The Mahones  FacebookPage  FacebookGroup YouTube  Instagram

RUNA – ‘The Tide of Winter’

American Irish ‘supergroup’ Runa are one of the best Irish Folk/Trad bands around. This is due in no small part to the beautiful voice of lead singer Shannon Lambert-Ryan (who also plays quite a mean harp!) and that they also have the ability to weave other influences into their signature sound without you even noticing. Several LP’s in Runa have become famous on both sides of the Atlantic now and continue their path with The Tide Of Winter. Now by rights this ought to have been done pre-Christmas but it slipped the net and we ran out of time. A beautiful, at times haunting and at others spirit lifting, collection of thirteen Christmas themed songs and carols. All the favourites are here (‘In The Bleak Midwinter’, ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’, ‘Silent Night’) as well as a few new ones including a stunning version of ‘The Wexford Carol’ (also known as ‘Enniscorthy Carol’) recorded in its native Irish Gaelic.

It was in May 2019 that Runa got together for a weekend to get into the Christmas spirit and started working on arrangements for the album. Highlights beyond those already mentioned include the track ‘Instrumental’ which features the songs ‘Hark the Herald / Dixie Hoedown / Red Prairie Dawn / O Come Emmanuel / Road to Cashel’ seamlessly joined together with some amazing musical work from Fionán, Chery, Caleb and Jake. One for next Christmas I suppose but hopefully by then Runa’s joyous album really will be something to celebrate.

Buy The Tide of Winter  CD- FromTheBand  Download- Here

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ALESTORM – ‘Curse Of the Crystal Coconut’

From traditional Christmas folk music now to Heavy Metal! Founded in 2004 in Perth, Scotland by Christopher Bowes Alestorm are one of the pioneers and certainly the leading light of Pirate Metal! Basically the combination of Heavy Rock/Metal and Pirate music. Now Pirate music is often confused with Celtic music and for good reason too. The similarities are obvious to anyone with a pair of ears with plenty of the same melodies (and even some of the same songs) criss-crossing the genres. Alestorm have been together for fourteen years and they may have toned down the Metal side of their music a little but their popularity seems set to continue with this their sixth album. Now I don’t claim to know much about this genre but it does seem to be growing and their have been a few high profile gigs in London over the last couple of the years with Alestorm headlining some of the towns biggest venues. Released in May on Napalm Records and recorded in Thailand this is as good a place as any to start if this genre interests you. Songs like ‘Treasure Chest Party Quest’, ‘Fannybaws’ and ‘Pirate’s Scorn’ give you an idea but it is the epic eight minute ‘Wooden Leg Pt. 2 (The Woodening)’ that really stood out for me showing there’s more to Alstorm than gimmick.

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MAGGIE’S FLOCK – Party At The Cemetery

The debut release from Dutch Celtic-Folk-Rockers Maggie’s Flock. The six-piece band from Nijmegen / Arnhem that play a style of music that veers from Celtic-Rock to traditional Folk with more than a little Celtic twist. The band had the novel idea to release a video/song a month on You Tube from January 2020 through to December and then compile the songs into an album and release it. We have tracked these videos over the last year and it really is worth checking them (the Party At The Cemetery YouTube play-list) out yourselves as the work the band put into them deserves it. So quite a novel idea in quite the ‘novel’ year! The Netherlands has quite the cool Celtic scene and one of our gigs last year that Covid killed off was a Dutch Celtic-Punk double-header with Pyrolysis and The Royal Spuds. Musically Maggies Flock come across to me as a ‘mature’ Dropkick Murphys. I mean the Dropkicks sound of recent rather than their punky years. Catchy, tuneful songs with chugging guitars and superb whistles and accordion. ‘The album opener ‘The Poguey Club’ is one of the many highlights here and you can tell this album has not been rushed into. The idea of releasing a song a month has worked perfectly here as the balance of songs is great and the music is not solely Celtic veering into more Folk-Rock/Punk at times. Personally I love me Tipp songs so I especially loved ‘Travelling Laddie’ but the fast ‘Bored Beyond Death’ is sure to get the toes tapping.

A lot of effort then and not just in the music with the vinyl version coming in a luxurious fold-out cover with all the lyrics while the CD has an extensive 24 page illustrated booklet.

Buy Party At The Cemetary – Vinyl/CD FromTheBand

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BARBAR’O’RHUM – Journal de B’O’R

Drawing in inspiration from sea-shanties, traditional music, Celtic-Rock and Celtic-Punk, Irish-Punk and Folk-Metal, Barbar’O’Rhum inhabit an area that sits somewhere between Alestorm and The Mahones. Founded in 2014 in the South-West Of France the band offer up their own style of music they call ‘Rock ‘n’ Rhum’. The musical style here owes much to theatrics making them more a band you would want to witness live but they have captured the sound of the band here rather well and also the atmosphere too which I would think is a lot harder. From beginning to end it’s an accessibly joyful Punk Rock stomp from album opener ‘Pirate des Champs’ which brings in some offbeat but delightful influences to eight minute epic ‘Freres de Bitte’ which brings down the curtain on the album and manages to capture all the various parts of Barbar’O’Rhum in one bombastic theatrical campy triumph. Yet in a album that lasts over an hour and the majority of the songs are around the five minute mark it’s that opening track that stand outs head and shoulders and one listen to that will tell you all you need to know about whether you would like this album or not. Me I fecking loved it!

Contact Barbar O’Rhum  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

So their you go our ‘last’ post of 2020. Apologies to all the bands that we weren’t able to give each album the full London Celtic Punks treatment but was just not possible this time. Remember if you are in a band then we cant do a review if we haven’t heard your release!

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE STUBBY SHILLELAGHS – ‘Glass To Mouth’ (2020)

High-Energy northern Colorado acoustic Celtic-Folk-Punk Band The Stubby Shillelaghs release their fifth studio album, Glass to Mouth, to celebrate the band’s tenth anniversary.

The Stubby Shillelaghs new album (out this week!!) is self-produced and self financed as well as being recorded and mixed as a result of quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a great risk to put out an album in these bleak times as their are no proper chances to promote any new releases but life must go on and for many music is one way to help get through the dark times. As Shaughnessy McDaniel, the bands songwriter and guitarist says

“I think this album really sums up what we are about, this year has been tough for everyone and I hope that a little of our band’s aggressively positive attitude and slapstick sensibilities can shine a little light on people’s days,”

Glass To Mouth celebrates the bands 10th anniversary together and you have to go back to June, 2010 to the very start when the small northern Colorado town of Greeley saw three long-time friends Andrew Mithun, Ryan Knaub, and Shaughnessy McDaniel looking to start a Celtic influenced band as a small side project. Later that year Greg Farnsworth, owner of local Irish bar Patrick’s, was looking for an act to play a Halloween show and took a chance on the as-yet unproven Stubbies. The success of this show led to what became known as ‘Stubby Tuesdays’, a weekly residency at the bar and in the process becoming a staple in Colorado nightlife with their four hour sets legendary. The following year saw the release of their debut album Stubbies Assemble! (available as a free download) and also the band gigging further afield into neighbouring states. They went on to release further studio albums Whiskey Business, Celtic American and Critical Fail in 2015, a live album Parental Advisory Live!, a Live DVD Uisce Beatha: The Water Of Life and a greatest hits release Bangerz! the Greatest Hits (2010-2019).

For Glass To Mouth the band continue on the DIY path setting up a Kickstarter appeal that raised all the necessary money to both the record Glass To Mouth and to also release it on vinyl, something that the band have always wanted to do, and with the growing popularity of vinyl among music fans who can blame them. Glass To Mouth kicks off with the instrumental ‘Butter Up That Jig’. A short acoustic fiddle led song to open proceedings that leads into ‘Buyer Beware’ and demonstrates the Stubby Shilleaghs eclectic nature, influences, and musical style perfectly. Laid back Folk music with an American-Irish flourish warning people against buying the CD as they are much better live. I don’t do the lyrics justice as they made laugh out loud on hearing this song! They continue along the same route with ‘Sails And Sorrow’ which features fellow Colorado band Bolonium an American comedy-rock band famous for their satirical style parodies and music soundtracks. Accordion and the fiddle led Pirate song and we’re only four in. Plenty of Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! but they do resist the urge to shout “Ahoy, Me Hearties!”.

Title track ‘Glass To Mouth’ is up next and begins with the band telling us

“People ask us, “Stubbies, How are you so positive and cheerful all the goddamn time?” Well here’s our secret. Now listen up, cuz this is some Mary Poppins-ass shit!”

Anyone out there remember Tenacious D? Well these guys are the Celtic-Punk equivalent of them! Not much serious shit so far on this album and sometimes that is exactly what we need. I mean life would drive you up the wall and as someone i knew once said ” We are here for a good time not a long time”.

After saying that they go and play a political number next which for me is the album’s standout song ‘Rebel Heart’. Catchy as hell and and a real footstomper to beat the floor up to.

We back on more humorous ground next with ‘Shagnasty McHammerhands’ about the bands guitarist and songwriter. 2020 will go down as the ‘The Year With No St. Patrick’s Day’ and personally the first since I was a teenager that I went to bed sober. The song features another Colorado band, Keep Britain Irish, helping out on the chorus. One of the albums fastest songs it still keeps to the albums style that would see them being able to be enjoyed by all. Punk enough for the Punks, Celtic enough for the oldies and irreverent enough for the Dads!

We steering towards the albums end and we have the interesting Sobermen Trilogy up next. A three-part song set that tells the story of the meeting in 1783 of the great Irish alcohol suppliers Arthur Guinness and John Jameson. Part 1 is ‘Prophecy Conspiracy’ a Country influenced song that also takes in Irish and sea-shanty along the way as the tale is regaled. Part 2 is the Scots tinged ‘The Fall Of Speyside’ while the final epic part is ‘The Siege Of St. James Gate’, with St. James Gate being of course the home of delicious Guinness Stout, and the guys rock the hell out of it with a Celtic-Metal finale. Over ten minutes of brilliant storytelling with all the humour we have come to expect from The Stubby Shilleaghs. That’s not the end though as the final song of the album is ‘Merry Bards Of Metal’ and a gentle and tuneful way to bow out.

Glass To Mouth was recorded at Crunchtronic Studios in their home town and marks the Bhoys tenth anniversary of goofiness and irreverence that has made the band a popular feature on not just the Celtic scene in Colorado. An album with instant appeal to anyone and everyone who enjoys a laugh with their Folk music.

Buy Glass To Mouth  CD/Vinyl

Contact The Stubby Shillelaghs  WebSite  Facebook  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

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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
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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
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Yo ho, hey ho – Hey all hands in a row
Man the pumps down below
Yo hey ho – Now we row
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Rowing in a rowing boat
A trail behind me left afloat
I’ll raise the level of the sea
Enjoying my own company
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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
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Yo ho, hey ho – Hey all hands in a row
Man the pumps down below
Yo hey ho – Now we row
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Some like rowing two and two
Or pass the ore along the crew
Others row in solitude
All dressed up or in the nude
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Some go left, some go right
In circles rowing day and night
Takes a while to get us there
But timewise we are millionaires
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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
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Rowing with one hand hey ho
Round and round and round I go
Lassies mourn and seamen flow
Rowing with one hand hey ho
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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!

NEW SINGLE FROM YE BANISHED PRIVATEERS. THE WORLDS MOST AUTHENTIC PIRATE BAND!

Hoist the Jolly Roger!! The worlds most authentic pirate rock band Ye Banished Privateers roll up to shore with their new single ‘No Prey, No Pay’ from a forthcoming new album, Hostis Humani Generis due out soon. 

Ye Banished Privateers have taken no prisoners since launching back in September 2012 in the Swedish town of Umeå, and have a list of crew mates longer than yer arm with over thirty (!) members of the band at any one time and up to a dozen on stage at gigs. With a fourth album due soon the band have released their first single to promote it. While we called their last album 

“unabashed bastardized Irish folk an’ 17th century sea-shanty punk rock”
they have continued on their quest in much the same manner with ‘No Prey, No Pay’ with a utterly fantastic and authentic (smell that sea water!) video to promote it. Sounds of the ocean begin the song followed some pretty nifty accordion and then the song gets into swing. The song stands out in part to the fabulous vocals of Blackpowder Pete who sounds like a more gravelly Tom Waits! His voice is used as the ultimate instrument throughout the song urging it along. Besides that the rest of the band are a little understated with only the accordion, fiddle and tin whistle jumping out at you but nevertheless it sails along at a fine auld pace and guarantees to take yo back in time to when pirates dominated the seven seas. Smell the salty sea air, join an inn full of drunken singing, lots of shouts of ‘yarrrrrrrrs’ and splice the main brace (an order given aboard naval vessels to issue the crew with an alcoholic drink) and get yourself ready for the delivery of their fourth album Hostis Humani Generis (due to arrive in port in February) boasting a wealth of sea shanties, drinking anthems and trad folk tunes. While you would think it would be near impossible to avoid parody Ye Banished Privateers somehow manage it with an air of authenticity and thanks to some great songs. 
Blackpowder Pete goes onto say “No Prey, No Pay” sets the stage for the album and describes how times suddenly had become more difficult for those sailing under the black flag. More than ever, piracy had become a hazardous task, many times with the sole purpose of getting enough value to guarantee a decent meal for a couple of days.”

Sail away with Ye Banished Privateers new song. The most authentic pirate rock inspired masterpiece since the golden age of the dreaded sea-predators!

No Prey, No Pay
Deadlights fastened, pouches empty,
brace yourselves were heading out
Show a leg to the caulk stained sentry
Wet the sails the boom’s about
Set the course for Mayaguana,
a plate fleet’s moving cross the straight
Scudos coined in Old Milano
Pedro’s cog just took the bait
Chase is on in shallow waters
Swivels glowing through the smoke
’tis might be an even slaughter
Took a volley through the oak
Bring a spring upon her cable
Hunter now becomes the prey
Broadsides roar with cannons able
Hooks will take us to the fray
No quarter, No parley
No pay without a prey
Fresh water, fresh barley
fine rations to last the day
No quarter, No parley
Maynard’s sizing up our chains
Good sailors, dried gnarly
end their days in a rusty cage
Scuppers laying low with silver,
none but dead men tell no tales
Charon may their souls deliver,
as we cover up our trail
No more rest on easy booties
Them old days be now long gone
The hangman waits to do his duty
Sail again by the rise of dawn
Fill them seams with tar soaked oakum
Fish the mast to make her hold
Tie and hoist the leadswing’s scrotum
Oh, hornswogglers don’t grow old
Hogshead’s full of sailors folly
Salmagundi and sawbone’s stew
Crimp some knaves from the house of mollies.
At light of dawn head out anew
No quarter, No parley
No pay without a prey
Fresh water, fresh barley
fine rations to last the day
No quarter, No parley
Maynard’s sizing up our chains
Good sailors, dried gnarly
end their days in a rusty cage

Pre-order the new album NapalmRecords

Contact Ye Banished Privateers  WebSite  Facebook  Bandcamp  YouTube

ALBUM REVIEW: THE FILTHY SPECTACULA- ‘The Howl Of The Underclasses’ (2019)

Twisted gypsy punk, revved up pirate shanties, dark folk, ska, punk, dark cabaret, Southern gothic, a bit of steampunk, a bit of darkness, a bit of coarse music hall banter and a lot of drunkenness. The second full-length album from The Filthy Spectacula with thirteen more songs of death, debauchery and drinking that are sure get you dancing.

The story of The Filthy Spectacula begins on a dark and stormy night in late 2014 when a group of vagabonds meet to swap stories, drink absinthe and make music. They were on to something and took to travelling around and making new stories together. Some got left at various ports along the way, but other riff-raff were eagerly waiting in the shadows to join this travelling circus. They released their debut album a couple of years ago Thrup’ny Upright which is available from the band but you can also get a free sampler of the album containing three tracks at the Bandcamp link below.

Details on The Filthy Spectcula are sketchy but having wowed audiences across Britain and played alongside this countries (and Canadas) best Folk-Punk bands as well as having been asked by Ed Milliband to “turn it down please” it seems nothing can slow down this marauding crew of lyrical lunatics. The Howl Of The Underclasses kicks off with the gloriously ramshackle ‘The Dirty Dog’. Fiddle and accordion are shoved up front and Mr E’s vocals lead the way with a eastern flavoured tune that we may call ramshackle but is from it in reality. Tuneful and as catchy as syphilis the album is peppered with references to the sea, death, debauchery and drinking and songs that would get even the stoniest of faces (me) smiling and the leaden of feet (also me!) dancing. Telling of one of London’s dingiest drinking dens.

” We who drown our sorrows in this dirty hole can forget brighter tomorrows”

Next up is my favourite of the album and the Eastern approach has gone for a more traditional folk-punk tune it is UNBELIEVABLY catchy and if catchy is the word that all record reviewers hate the most their really is no alternative . ‘Bedlam Hallelujah’ has such a great but dark ‘ska-ish’ beat it is sure to get you moving. The times that The Filthy Spectacula inhabit are those of Victorian slums and serial killers stalking the London streets and times when everyone drank Gin and did they must to survive. Oh Cynthia’ is a twisted love song and that word from earlier rears its head again. Mr E has a very distinctive vocal style that fits perfectly and the band flit from gypsy to ska to new wave effortlessly. Women And Children First’ is the cry of the shipwreck where men were and are still expected to stay on the sinking ship.

“If it’s you or I I’m going to stay alive”

A very nice accordion solo from The Blacksmith is followed by a fiddle solo from Miss Tea and already a quarter of the way through and every song has been outstanding. What the album lacks for in ‘Celtic-ness’ (this is after all a Celtic music site) does not take away from the album at all and would be up the street of the majority of our readers. ‘Our Dirty Little Secret’ returns to to the East and has a sort of Cossack feel to it and you can imagine men with folded arms bouncing up and down to this song about prostitution and grave robbing. It is thought that roughly 80,000 women were working as prostitutes in London alone during the Victorian era. On ‘Rum’ they pay tribute to the sailors drink of choice. Rum was routinely given to sailors right up to the 1970’s on Royal Navy ships. ‘Casanova With A Social Disease‘ finally sees the band in Celtic-Punk territory and by heavens they rock it. A short, sharp and sweet rocker with a nice bit of black humour

“I’m not loves young dream, I’m not as I seem”

The Hearse Song’ slows it down and that black humour is evident again and with a wee nod to The Pogues too. 

The Filthy Spectaular left to right: Lord Harold- Drums, Red Wine, backing shouting * Miss Tea- Fiddle, herbal teas, backing howling * Mr. E- Lead Vocaliser, Guitar, Absinthe, good looks and talent * Shady H- Bourborn, Bass, backing shouting * The Blacksmith -Accordion, Rum, backing grunting

We are back on the oceans again and Tyrants of the Seven Seas’ is just Mr E and acoustic guitar and tells of the excitement of piracy. For many it was an escape from from the cruel conditions on board merchant and navy ships and a chance to be treated as equals in a time when the working classes were seen as a separate race. One Step Closer’ is a heavier number despite its bouncy ska beat the accordion gives it an appropriate dark feel. She Wants Me (Dead)’ has a Poguesy feel circa Hell’s Ditch with it’s strong accordion lead and dark lyrics. 

Seas of Stupidity’ is another standout and they closing down the album well with the albums rockiest song.. A real foot stomper this one and catchy as hell! So that just leaves Dear Judas’ to bring down the curtain on The Howl Of The Underclasses and at nearly six minutes its the albums epic. A risky strategy seeing as even though the albums songs all hover around four minutes one thing you could say about them is that they are punchy and don’t tend to overstay their welcome. Well the same can be said of ‘Dear Judas’ and they carry on where they left off. On listening it seems much shorter and the punchiness is still evident and ends the album superbly.

The Howl Of The Underclasses is not all what I was expecting and I was very pleasantly surprised and they are now at the top of my list of bands to catch live. Capturing perfectly the filth, smoke and destitution of the city their was no happy ending for many in Victorian London but with a soundtrack of The Filthy Spectacula and an endless supply of Gin and Rum it would ease the pain a wee bit!

Buy The Howl Of The Underclasses CD  Download

Contact The Filthy Spectacula  WebSite  Facebook  Soundcloud  ReverbNation  YouTube

ALBUM REVIEW: THE SCARLET- ‘Hardfolk Shanties’ (2017)

It’s been five minutes so must be time for another amazing Hungarian celtic-punk release from another amazing Hungarian celtic-punk band!

2015 was the year of the Hungarian celtic-punk band with a seemingly never ending succession of celtic-punk releases throughout the year that filled the end of year Best Of polls for not just ourselves but for all the other celtic-punk media. Well last year was a bit on the quiet side but the Hungarians are back in 2017 with a bang and already this year we have had Hungarian Celtic-Punk week when we reviewed three releases by bands old and new to the scene in Firkin, Crazy Rogues and The O’Neills plus as well as finding space for the excellent Jolly Jackers album and a new Paddy And The Rats release due any day soon its shaping up to be a repeat of two years back. The Scarlet’s singer/songwriter Dániel also plays in The O’Neills and while they are a much more traditional Irish folk band it seems he has chosen The Scarlet to take out his aggression on and their music has a much harder edge to it than previously. Which brings us to this release which came out in March (when else!) and is the debut long player from Budapest based band The Scarlet. They have previously released a Demo (available for free download from here) in late 2012 and in January, 2015 they released their first official record in Midnight Avenue. That was six tracks and twenty minutes of, mostly Dropkick Murphys style, quality celtic-punk that introduced them both to the celtic-punk scene and the world (here). A combination of pirate ‘Yo-Ho’s’ and metal guitar riffs accompanying the celtic instruments it left us itching to hear more and we were jumping for joy on the news that an album was coming out.

Now as is the case with music genre’s many overlap and while to the casual listener it may all sound the same but to those that like to label things this is probably more towards the pirate punk end of celtic-punk and maybe even celtic-metal as well.

The album kicks off with ‘Heroes of Our Future’ and even though it’s the shortest song on the album it’s still one of the high points. The Hungarians love the flute and The Scarlet are no different with Júlia’s flute competing with fiddle and metally punk electric guitar riffs. Dániel’s vocals as on that earlier EP are clear and even with his slight accent the English lyrics are easy to understand though sung in a more rock style than before.

The music has a urgent feel to it and ‘The Darker Shade of Red’ doesn’t let the pace slip while the sea theme continues with ‘We Plunder’. The heavy guitar and thundering bass, which sounds particularly good, give the song a hard feel but all the time the flute and fiddle keep it celtic. ‘Monday Morning’ is another album standout and one of the more ‘trad’ celtic-punk moments on the album. Gang vocals on the track are a nice touch and keep it interesting. We are halfway through Hardfolk Shanties and ‘Son of a Pirate’ keeps the pace up. I am a new convert to the use of flute in celtic-punk. I was never one for it but on seeing the mighty Firkin here in London on NYE 2015 I have to say I was totally won over. The Scarlet and Firkin share a lot of similarities except in sound and once again it’s pleasing that bands have managed to tread separate paths in a, sometimes, one dimensional scene.

Saying that if there was one song on the album that has a Firkin shadow looming over it then it is ‘Take the Wheel’. In a album of high points it’s not hard hard to pick out songs worthy of attention and ‘Heading to South’ is one. Great fiddle work and chugging guitar and a real catchy tune too. We coming up to the end of the album and ‘Battlefield Requiem’ keeps up the good work and another mention here for Dániel’s tortured vocals which fit perfectly with the sound the band are producing. ‘Runaway’ has a punk feel to it with that thundering bass back again and finally Hardfolk Shanties comes to an end with ‘Long Live the Dead’. The song begins folky acoustic style before moving into celtic-punk territory. Another class song and that The Scarlet can pack so much into their songs when the longest here is only just over three minutes long is remarkable.

So the album is over and you get ten songs all penned by the band themselves that comes in at literally just over half an hour long. If you like your celtic-punk a bit different then Hardfolk Shanties will be right up your street. More punk than most and with metal influences that keep it on the harder side side of things but thanks to the addictive flute and fiddle here it is firmly within the celtic-punk scene. Fiddler Dominika can be thanked for the superb pirate themed album artwork and the album was mixed by Zoltán Cs.Szabó, of the Hungarian garage rock band The Trousers, who has done a grand job and got the maximum out of The Scarlet. A great album and as already stated it sits proudly on the harder edged side of things but it is nevertheless still a fine concoction of both old time folk and more modern punk and metal. Heartily recommended ship mates!

(you can hear Hardfolk Shanties by pressing play on the Soundcloud player below)

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ALBUM REVIEW: BARBAR’O’RHUM- ‘Toutes les Routes Mènent au Rhum’ (2016)

Celtic dancing music with the rhythm of whistles and pipes, the power of electric guitar, bass guitar and drums… and never without a bottle of rum!
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Every time (and i mean EVERY single cotton-picking time) I see the town Toulouse mentioned I instantly start singing the Johnny Thunders penned punk rock classic ‘Born To Lose’ in my head. So its been quite hard to stay focused during this review of the debut album from the Toulouse born pirate / celtic-punkers Barbar’O’Rhum.
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The idea for the band started in 2008 with Mathieu who began writing songs he hoped one day to get a band together to perform but it wasnt until 2013 that things began to move and within a short while the first incarnation of Barbar’O’Rhum was born. A couple of line-up changes later and with a strong and dedicated line-up they have managed to find time between playing every festival in France to record Toutes les Routes Mènent au Rhum (All Roads Lead To Rum) their debut album which was released on July 1st this year.

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Barbar’O’Rhum from left to right: Corentin (aka Roman Ranger)- electric guitar, backing vocals * Richard (aka Rick O’Shay)- drums, backing vocals * Mathieu (aka Capitaine Barbedrut)- lead vocals, tin whistle, Irish bouzouki, gaita * Colin (aka Ange Oliver) : keyboards, backing vocals. -Jérémy (aka Edward Kidd) : bass guitar, backing vocals

Toutes les Routes Mènent au Rhum begins with ‘Bienvenue à B’O’R’ and the sound of waves crashing into rocks and slow military style drumming drum up an evocative scene in your head while accordion and bagpipes join in and soon as you get use to that ‘Coeur de l’Océan’ blasts out and is much more your typical celtic ‘punk’ fare.

I say that as it has some massive metal overtones too but without being particularly metal sounding. Like a laid back and more tuneful Alestorm. All the songs here are sung in French and Mathieu has a wonderfully strong voice that is an absolute perfect fit for this music. It doesn’t bother us one bit and if anything prefer a band to sing in their native tongue. After all what would be the point in promoting the celtic languages and then expect everyone else to sing in English! Next up is ‘La République Pirate’ and for me the album highlight. Not one of Barbar’O’Rhum’s fastest songs but the word catchy does not do it justice one bit.

The song tells the interesting tale of the Pirate Republic established at Nassau in the Bahama from 1703 to 1718. With no governor installed the sparsely settled Bahamas become a pirate haven. It was claimed there were over 1,000 pirates in Nassau and that they easily outnumbered inhabitants of the town. The pirates proclaimed Nassau a pirate republic, establishing themselves as ‘governors’. Maany famous pirates used Nassau as their base such as Charles Vane, Thomas Barrow, Benjamin Hornigold, Calico Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and the infamous Edward Teach, known as ‘Blackbeard’. The republic was smashed by 1720 and the pirates returned to plunder the sea. ‘Notre Terre’ is another standout track that again begins with waves and the lonesome sound of a tin whistle that soon enough explodes with rapid and excellent drumming into some kind of celtic-folk-metal masterpiece. This must surely be the one that gets the audience out of their chairs at live gigs I would say. Steel drum kicks off ‘Fille de Joie, Gourgandine’ and the list of instruments here just grows and grows. Keyboards, Fiddle, Electric, Bass, Tin whistle, Irish Bouzouki, Galician Bagpipe and finally drums. Don’t think I have missed anything. ‘Le Trésor Maudit de Barbe-Noire’ and ‘La Danse du Gibet continue in much the same vein with the pirate theme to the fore and the acoustic instruments put to the back and the rockier sound coming out. Next up is ‘La Véritable Histoire du Capitaine Crochet’ and one thing about Barbar’O’Rhum I can tell from listening to them is the amount of lyrics in each song. Obviously these Bhoys have a story to tell that unfortunately I cannot understand. I can hazard a guess that its tales of the sea and of pirates and death and debauchery all presented with crystal clear vocals and bloomin’ brilliant music.

We are nearing the end of our voyage with Barbar’O’Rhum and amazingly the last three songs of the album clock in at over just under twenty minutes but the energy doesn’t let up for a minute. ‘Le Hollandais Volant’ and ‘Dernière Bataille’ steer clear of any prog-rock pretensions while the album’s biggest epic song is saved to close Toutes les Routes Mènent au Rhum and ‘La Gigue du Pêcheur Pendu’ is well worthy of the word epic. Eleven songs all penned by the band themselves that comes in at a very healthy fifty-nine minutes which gives the songs plenty of time to develop and they also manage that without them becoming overblown like plenty of folk-metal bands seem to do all too easily. Barbar’O’Rhum draw their inspiration from the ocean and their songs are peppered with the sounds of ancient, and not so ancient, sea shanties and the traditional folk music of the Celtic nations. A quick look at the videos may mark them down as just a happy-go-lucky band dressing up as pirates and though I am sure they are enjoying themselves its also clear, even to myself who cannot iunderstand a word of what they are saying, that they are telling a story of days gone by while wrapping it all up in a modern style they themselves have labelled ‘Rock and Rhum!’ Long may they sail and i hope one day they set sail for London too.

(Listen to the whole of the album below on the Soundcloud player)

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