Category Archives: Sea Shanties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download Still Groggin’

Contact The Groggy Dogs WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

ALBUM REVIEW: FEROCIOUS DOG – ‘The Hope’ (2021)

Having gone to see Ken and the boys live in Edinburgh this year, it seems only right that we review Ferocious Dog’s new album before the year’s out. Enjoy The Hope, a triumphant slice of folk-punk from a band at the top of their game.

The Hope by Ferocious Dog. Don’t forget to spin this one!

From the epic opening seconds of “Port Isaac”, it’s clear that this is an album that the band put a lot of thought and work into. With a sense of foreboding we’re chucked on board a ship, with Cap’n Flint barking the orders (not really) and the opening lines of “Haul Away Joe” chiming into view. After that, the band’s cover of this sea shanty gets going properly, and we knew it wouldn’t be long before the Dog’s familiar brand of folk-punk and polka beats came to kick us in the ass. Some o’ the lyrics are also a fresh deviation from other versions of the song out there.

Follow-up track “Pentrich Rising” continues in the same vein. The band filmed a video for this one, which reconstructs the failed Pentrich rising of 1817. To check out the video, and a “making of” that the band put together, go HERE and HERE. Or just watch it below:

“Pentrich Rising”. About the workers’ uprising of 1817 that foundered due to an inside job.

Plenty to dance to

Following the trend set by “Joe” and “Rising”, there’s plenty more to dance to on this record. Take your pick from some o’ the ones below ☘

“Born Under Punches” is about the sad story of a broken home, where the youngest runs away to follow their dreams in London, only to end up “on the old main drag”, as Shane MacGowan might have put it. But bleak or not, the song’s danceable from the start. So too are the equally-themed “Slayed The Traveller” and “Sea Shepherd”. The latter of these shows direct support for Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd charity who promotes an Earth-centred (rather than human-centred) view of the world. And if “Haul Away Joe” was a re-imagining of a trad song, so too is the band’s take on “The Parting Glass”. To quote Billy Bragg, they really put the power drill on this tune, to see what would come out.

Born Under Punches” talks about homelessness on the dark streets of London.

Music of the heart

The picture we’ve painted so far is of a fast-paced jumper of an album. But don’t be fooled – there are plenty of sombre moments on this record too. The first of these is “Broken Soldier”, a beautifully sad song about war, inspired no doubt by the sad fate of Ken’s son Lee Bonsall, who had served in Afghanistan. The line “it’s a far cry from the blue skies” particularly strikes you – it hints at the fact that war is horrific, but that our Western society can be ugly and unkind too.

“1914” is another example. Here, lead vocals are taken by fiddler Dan Booth, whose delivery of the line “there was whiskey on Sundays and love in the wings” is definitely reminiscent of “The Broad Majestic Shannon”, another MacGowan masterpiece. If this song takes a look back at WWI, “Khatyn” is about WWII, and a village in Belarus that in March 1943 was all but wiped out by the Nazis. Credit to the Dog here for not being afraid to bring in events and countries from outside the Celtic world.

The masterpiece of the album, however, has to be “The Hope”, an outstanding title track that is worthy of being a title track. A strong ballad, featuring beautiful singing from Ken, this one slowly builds to a wonderful choir-like singalong at the end, bringing a tear to the ol’ eye. This is music of the heart, written for those struggling to find any joy in life, walking around thinking, “I hope one day happiness comes my way.” If you’re reading this and you feel that way, then we hope you find happiness too. There are different answers that work for different people, so never stop searching for solutions.

“The Hope” – an outstanding and moving title track if ever there were one.

Go check it out!

With 17 songs, you won’t be shortchanged (or disappointed) by what’s on offer here. The album is a success, a masterclass in folk-punk with top-notch production values. The band put a lot of graft in here, so well done to them on reaching #1 in the UK Folk charts, and even #31 in the mainstream charts. Not that charts always matter, but it’s nice to let the mainstream know that there’s more music out there than just what gets played on national radio. There’s a wealth of great underground music out there, and it’s good when some of it succeeds on its own terms.

Now, as Jack Nicholson famously said after his wife locked him in a storage cupboard: “GO CHECK IT OUT!” 😁 If ye have the money, buy “The Hope” from Amazon (it’s not available from the band’s website until after Christmas, ye ken). If money’s a wee bit tight, then the album’s up on the major streaming platforms too. And whatever ye do, be sure to follow the Dog on Instagram or Facebook.

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!)

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

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

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

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

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

Download Sail  MadButcherRecords (Vinyl) Amazon (Download)

Contact The Pokes  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

 

SINGLE REVIEW: THE ROYAL SPUDS – ‘The Couch Potato Specials’ (2021)

A bit of Punk, a pinch of good old rock music and whole load of folkie tunes. In the studio, festival or concert venue The Royal Spuds are at home everywhere. So, if you want a party, you know where to go!  

Oh we got so damn close to getting The Royal Spuds over to London last year. We had even booked the iconic Dublin Castle in Camden for a Dutch Celtic-Punk double header with Pyrolysis but then the dreaded lockdown and despite my prayers and promises to never miss mass again the gig was eventually cancelled. Still hope remains that it will happen again. After all nothing is off. It is only put off for now!

The Bhoys have kept themselves busy through lockdown and just recently have released a couple of singles. It’s been a couple of years since their full length studio album Forgotten Lore was reviewed on these pages so it’s time to re-visit Leiden in the south Netherlands and see what The Royal Spuds are up to. ‘Alien’ came out in February and is available as a ‘Name Your Price’ download. Fast, furious and happy Celtic-Punk with plenty of gang ‘ooooooo oooooo’s’ throughout. Accordion Punk-Rock with a sense of humour. It isn’t illegal yet to have a laugh but you never know in these strange times!

They followed this up last month with the release of The Couch Potato Specials. A two track single also available as a ‘name your price’ download. This basically means if you’re skint then download for free but if you’re rich like a politician then you have no excuses not to send a few beer tokens to the guys. The first track is ‘The Wellerman’ a sea-shanty about the workers on board whaling ships owned by the Weller Brothers. Just recently the se-shanty has seen somewhat of a renaissance with it’s discovery by hipsters on Tik-Tok but Celtic-Punk bands have been singing these songs for decades now. The Royal Spuds describe it perfectly as

“what happens when six couch potatoes miss the hype train but still run to catch the bandwagon.”

Only two songs here but both quality and ‘The Scotsman’ is another cover lovingly covered by the Spuds. Also known as ‘The Drunk Scotsman’ it was originally written by Tennessee singer-songwriter Mike Cross, in or about 1981 but this somewhat bawdy (!) ballad has become a bit of a folk staple, covered by countless folk singers most famously I suppose by American Bluegrass artist Brian Bowers and is performed by Brian as an acapello song.

Well a Scotsman clad in kilt left the bar one evening fair
One could tell by how he walked that he’d drunk more than his share
He fumbled round until he could no longer keep his feet
Then he stumbled off into the grass asleep beside the street
*
Ring-ding-did-a-little-la-di-oh, ring-di-diddly-eye-oh
He stumbled off into the grass asleep beside the street
*
About that time two young n’ lovely girls just happened by
One says to the other with a twinkle in her eye
“See yon sleeping Scotsman so strong and handsome built
I wonder if it’s true what they don’t wear beneath the kilt”
*
Ring-ding-did-a-little-la-di-oh, ring-di-diddly-eye-oh
I wonder if it’s true what they don’t wear beneath the kilt
*
They crept up on that sleeping Scotsman quiet as could be
Lifted up his kilt about an inch so they could see
And there behold for them to view beneath his Scottish skirt
Was nothing more than God had graced him with upon his birth
*
Ring-ding-did-a-little-la-di-oh, ring-di-diddly-eye-oh
Was nothing more than God had graced him with upon his birth
*
They marveled for a moment then one said, “We must be gone
Let’s leave a present for our friend before we move along”
As a gift they left a blue silk ribbon tied into a bow
Around the bonnie star the Scot’s kilt did lift and show
*
Ring-ding-did-a-little-la-di-oh, ring-di-diddly-eye-oh
Around the bonnie star the Scot’s kilt did lift and show
*
Now the Scotsman woke to nature’s call and stumbled towards the trees
Behind a bush he lift his kilt and gawks at what he sees
And in a startled voice he says to what’s before his eyes
“Ah, lad I don’t know where you’ve been but I see you won first prize”
*
Ring-ding-did-a-little-la-di-oh, ring-di-diddly-eye-oh
“Ah, lad I don’t know where you’ve been but I see you won first prize”

*

So a fantastic wee single from The Royal Spuds. Two auld songs updated and brought back to life so get straight onto the downloads and hopefully look forward to seeing them in the flesh sooner rather than later!

(stream or download The Couch Potato Specials on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy The Couch Potato Specials  FromTheBand

Contact The Royal Spuds WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Bandcamp

NEW SINGLE FROM MEDUSA’S WAKE ‘War Of Independence’. LATEST IN A LONG LINE OF CLASS AUSSIE CELTIC-PUNK BANDS!

Sydney based Celtic-Folk-Rockers Medusa’s Wake new single ‘War Of Independence’ has dropped over the weekend and as expected is bloody amazing!

Ryan and McGrath polish up their Guns,
 As we sit and wait for the English Huns
 The hills alive with Summer a beauty to be seen,
*
Washed and fed by the Dunnes
Prayed for by Priest and Nuns
Quigley gently whistles the ‘Wearing of the Green.’
(The best you’ve ever seen)
*
 Chorus
 Tipperary’s banner flying,may you rise and never fall
Wedger Meagher Marched them “One by One” from Toome to Moneygall.
*
 Singing songs to raise your spirits of dear Ireland brave and bold
 To keep the will of living in your heart and Soul.
 To keep the will of living in your heart and your Soul.
*
 Black and Tan’s sent by the crown
 A plague in every village and town
Brave Son’s of Erin stand bravely now and fight,
*
Dan Breen say’s We’ll not lie down”,
Shoot from the hip of your Sam Brown,
Round the valley at nightime
gun fire’s burning bright (With Delight)
*
Chorus 
Tipperary banner flying,may you rise and never fall
Wedger Meagher Marched them “One by One” from Toome to Moneygall.
*
Singing songs to raise your spirits of dear Ireland brave and bold,
 To keep the will of living in your heart and soul.
 To keep the will of living in your heart and soul.

If there was a World Cup to work out the best country for Celtic-Punk music, then without a doubt Australia would win it hands down every time. Not sure what they put in the water down under, but they continue to churn out the best Celtic-Punk bands over and over again! The latest band on every bodies lips is Medusa’s Wake from Sydney town. They released their debut album in 2018 and made waves immediately across the whole scene making all the Celtic-Punk end of year Best Of lists reaching #2 in the London Celtic Punks list, #3 for The Celtic Punkcast, #8 for Celtic-Folk-Punk And More, #9 for Mersey Celt Punks, #13 for Paddyrock and #17 for MacSlons so obviously a highly acclaimed album that even though it’s not a recent release I still find myself playing regularly. The album is still available for download below for the princely sum of $12 Aussie dollars which translates to a lot cheaper in the States , UK and Euros.

The song written by Medusa’s vocalist and native of the best county in Ireland at everything (Tipperary of course!) Eddie Lawlor, and tells of the Irish War Of Independence fought between 1919 and 1921. Just a couple of years after the failed Easter Rising and with An Gorta Mór (the so called ‘famine’) still in living memory when the British Government attempted to erase the Irish Catholic from the island of Ireland. Anger at British misrule reached a crescendo one night in January 1919 with the Solohead Ambush when members of the Tipperary Irish Republican Army ambushed the Royal Irish Constabulary. Two RIC officers were killed and their weapons and the explosives were seized. The Volunteers had not sought permission for their action and it is seen as the first engagement of the Irish War of Independence.

the legend Dan Breen

The War would only last a couple of years but would be a bloody and hard fought nominal victory for the Irish given that that victory would lead to the partition of Ireland and to a even more bloody Civil War that would see brother set against brother and comrade set against comrade. Tipperary where the song is set was the home to some of the most fierce battles and most loved figures of the War who fought tooth and nail to remove any trace of the British flag from Irish soil. Wedger Meagher was in fact the great gran uncle of Eddie and my own family were related to the Ryans much to my Grandad’s delight. How he use to regale me as a kid with stories and figures of the time and often my bedtime stories would be of exciting ambushes and battles that happened not in the Wild West and between cowboys and indians but between Irishmen and the British just a short walk from our family farm. The bravery of these men who were often farmers and students who fought against the best trained army in the world cannot be doubted and ought to be celebrated and remembered proudly just like in Eddie’s marvelous modern day rebel indie folk ballad.

Medusa’s Wake from left to right: Elise Capiro- Fiddle * Frank Sallie – Acoustic Guitar *   Eddie Lawlor- vocals/Mandola *Zane Mc Rae – Bass * Liam Ó Faoláin – Electric Guitar * Owen Watson – Accordion *

The song is available on all digital streaming platforms. Have a listen, subscribe and share it around. 👍☘. You can stay informed with all the best in Australian Celtic-Punk and Folk-Punk by joining these two excellent Aussie Facebook groups AUSSIE CELTIC PUNKS andAUSTRALIAN FOLK PUNK SCENE where you will find some of the best Celtic-Punk out there.

Download War Of Independence  HERE

Contact Medusa’s Wake  WebSite  Bandcamp  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

YE BANISHED PRIVATEERS NEW SINGLE ‘ROWING WITH ONE HAND’

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

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

PIRATE CODE OF CONDUCT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pre-order the new album NapalmRecords  Here

Contact Ye Banished Privateers  WebSite  Facebook  Bandcamp  YouTube

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

ALBUM REVIEW: THE DREADNOUGHTS- ‘Into the North’ (2019)

Ever since 2007 The Dreadnoughts have been an ‘tour-de-force’ upon the Celtic/Folk-Punk scene. Thrashing their way around the world blending Punk-Rock with a bunch of European Folk traditions with a power and range that few others can match. Now though they have returned to their roots with their fifth studio album Into The North, a collection of traditional and original sea shanties recorded deep in the Canadian hinterland.

Its been a long road for The Dreadnoughts. Not only because they have probably played in more countries than any other Folk-Punk band but that they have a come along way since their singer’s early days in the famed Ontario, Canadian band Siobhan. I say famed but at the time the Celtic-Punk scene was tiny but they still managed to make a name for themselves with their two studio albums The Patron Saints of Debauchery and Welfare State and legendary stage shows. When Siobhan split a couple of years went by before they dived straight back in with The Dreadnoughts. Those early days spent playing in Vancouver’s notoriously seedy Ivanhoe Hotel saw them build up a large and loyal following and later they would be recognized as one of the best live bands in the city. Embracing the old-school destructive chaos of live Punk, their gigs were hot and sweaty and full of joy and went on till the audience was exhausted, happy and pissed to the gills. Fast forward to 2019 and with a host of critically claimed studio albums behind them The Dreadnoughts have again taken us by surprise and have stripped their sound right back and when I say right back I mean right back!!

Always with a fondness for sea-shanties their version of ‘Roll The Woodpile Down’ can be credited for starting a trend amongst the scene for bands in the middle of their sets to lay down their instruments and test their harmonies with an acapello song. The haunting thunder of sea shanties has long been the backbone for The Dreadnoughts sound and on their new album here they have fully embraced the genre for a whole album that is the greatest collection of original and reworked traditional sea-shanties in modern times! Tasked with recording the songs the band decided early on in the process that they didn’t want to go for that slick produced ‘studio’ sound so they

Holed up for a week in a small wooden cabin with nothing but whiskey in our glasses, four microphones in front of us, and hordes of mosquitoes outside singing along, we belted these damn songs over and over until we had them just right, and the result is the album we’ve always wanted to make.

With their last album, 2017’s a multi-genre, historically themed concept album Foreign Skies also stepping outside the box, being a raw and emotional ride through the horrors of the First World War it only shows that The Dreadnoughts are without a doubt both a band that is unafraid to take risks and the most innovative bands in our or any other scene. Stories of love and loss, war and strife, redemption and sorrow from a band that up till then only sang songs about gin and scrumpy cider… this was new territory and also a massive success with fans and critics alike.

(see for yourselves by streaming/downloading Foreign Skies on Bandcamp below)

Now first off I have to say that bar a few of the more obvious ones I know not what, if any, of the songs here are originals. You can never be too sure with anything The Dreadnoughts do as their mischievousness could always have you believing the opposite! The album opens with ‘Rosibella’ and considering I was expecting some Folk-Punk fury I was shocked to find in its place a stripped down sea-shanty with only occasional squeezebox to accompany the words. ‘Fire Marengo’ was found by The Young Traditions Royston Wood in an old book called Shanties From The Seven Seas, where a few of the songs here were first documented, and after changing some verses and adding the tune went on to release it on their 1967 EP Chicken On A Raft. Most of the songs here hover around the two minute mark as without the padding of music it’s mainly the vocal harmonies, and a bit of foot stompin’, that rule here. ‘Pique La Baleine’ is a traditional Breton whaling song sung in French and dates back to the early 19th century. Again it is accompanied only by squeezebox while mournful fiddle makes an appearance on the relatively modern ‘Roll Northumbria’ a song about the building of a war ship in the Tyne in 1965. ‘Joli Rouge’ is an Dreadnought original devoted to Cidre Joli Rouge, a company dedicated to the production of real cider not the syrupy, corporate, mass-produced, prison wine that passes for it in most pubs. The company has even made a Dreadnought Cider!

“she’s called the Dreadnought cider
she’s proper and she’s fine
and when the day is over how I wish that she were mine
or in the dark of winter, or on a summer’s eve
one hand giveth while the other doth receive

So you can have a Mangers and pour it over ice
or you can have a Strongbow if it’s sadness that you like
or join us up the river and we’ll set your heart aglow
and how you’ll feel when the real cider starts to flow”

One of the album’s highlights without a doubt! Anyone who has seen them play over the last couple of years will recognise a couple of the songs here and if not then will be familiar with the style of the songs. I’m not sure if I saw them giving ‘Lifeboat Man’ a run through at their outstanding gig at the Cursus Festival last year or not but its familiarity is nice even if they didn’t play it! ‘Shallow Brown’ is pure sea shanty at its best. A typical call and response song with The Fang, otherwise known as Nicholas Smyth, singing the verses while the rest of the band sing the chorus. The song is a sad tale of a man leaving a woman on shore, pretty much a standard subject for a shanty, though this time its the story of a man being sold into slavery.

Sad and mournful and perfect for a good bass voice like Nicholas’. ‘Whup! Jamboree’ is an auld song and like most here no one is sure quite how old. It’s a cheeky number and shows workers at their most risque!

“And soon we’ll see old Holyhead
No more salt beef, no salt bread
I catch my Jinny and it’s off to bed
Come and get your oats me son”

Accompanied by very low key squeezebox and the solitary slow beat of a drum it’s another highlight. A.L. Lloyd sang ‘Whup Jamboree’ in 1957 on his and the great Ewan MacColl’s album Blow Boys Blow. He commented in the sleeve notes:

Whup Jamboree is one of the wildest and most exultant of homeward-bound shanties. The progress through the English Channel and into London River goes as a fast clip, and all hand are looking forward eagerly to what the girls ashore have to offer. From its references to Blackwell Dock, this shanty, used for work at the capstan, apparently rose among sailors in the Far East run.”

‘Paddy Lay Back’ is probably the best known of the songs here as it has been recorded by many famous Irish artists including The Wolfe Tones (here) and the Dublin City Ramblers (here). It’s earliest date is 1898 and tells of a poor Irish lad who goes to sea to earn his fortune but suffers at the hands of foreign sailors, poor conditions and the long voyage. ‘Dear Old Stan’ is dedicated to the memory of Stan Rogers the acclaimed Canadian Folk singer-songwriter who passed away in 1983 but is till remembered fondly for his Celtic influenced Folk songs many telling of his parents days working off the sea and tales of the lives of ordinary working people.

Some really wonderful lyrics here that fair bring a tear to the eye and explain the high esteem that Stan Rogers is held in Canada and around the world.

“The Yanks have Woodie Guthrie, The British Ralph McTell
The Celts have got the Corries, aye and Ronnie Drew as well
Adge Cuter sings of cider out in the west country
but I am a Canadian, and so I say to thee

Arise and be merry
and sing out while you can
The world will never see the likes
of dear old Stan”

Following this tribute is ‘Northwest Passage’ one of Stan Rogers best-known songs and my favourite song on Into The North. An acappella song, originally released in 1981 it is now considered one of the best songs in Canadian music history.

Take a moment also to watch this tribute to Stan Rogers version here. ‘Sacramento’ is a catchy foot stomper while the only song here that gives a hint of what The Dreadnoughts are famous here are the instrumental trad songs ‘Harper’s Frolic / Bonny Kate’. Showing the bands mastery of traditional Folk and how easily the Bhoys can turn their hand to anything while still be able to give it a distinctive Dreadnoughts stamp. We are near the end of Into The Norths forty-two minutes and ‘Shiloh’ is another up lifting foot stomper while the curtain comes down with ‘Starbuck’s Complaint’, a great song to end with as Drew’s voice and harmony brings the album to a melancholy close and how else could an album of sea shanties end. The work was without a doubt hard and often tyrannical under many a vicious Captain’s rule. The workers would say that “a song is as good as ten men”. The songs were used in the manner of field work song’s and these shanties tell the tales of loneliness, the families these men left behind, the daily hardships of an unkind sea and adventure on the seven seas.

Celtic-Punk is more than just getting your girlfriend to play fiddle over a punk song (just as Folk-Punk is more than a trendy hipster achingly singing over an acoustic guitar). It has a past and that link to the past has to be explored and celebrated. There are certain values I think to be associated to whatever it is that passes as a Celtic-Punk scene and to celebrate the music that inspired it is surely at the top of the list. Here The Dreadnoughts do just that. If you are expecting their breakneck Punk-Folk then you may be disappointed on first listen but by the second or third you’ll come to really appreciate what it is they have done here. In fact I look forward to seeing them placed in our Top Ten Folk and Trad releases of the year rather than their usual spot in the  Celtic-Punk Top Ten! Celtic folk music and Punk can form a perfect union and while on Into The North they take a more traditional route with these wonderful songs I’m sure it won’t be long before they’re back breaking stages around the world, scoffing down the ciders and spreading their gospel to anyone and everyone who will listen.

(stream Into The North from Bandcamp below before you buy!)

Buy Into The North  FromTheBand

Contact The Dreadnoughts  WebSite  Facebook  Bandcamp  YouTube

Stoked. A documentary about The Dreadnoughts by Adam PW Smith

|  | 17 November 2017 (Canada)

Vancouver legends The Dreadnought returned from a six year hiatus in 2017 to record a new album. Filmed in the recording studio, and drawing from an archive of photos and film clips that go right back to their second ever live show, this low budget documentary rises above its station with great characters and stories that range from enlightening to hilarious (and occasionally dubious). These liquor soaked musical heroes prove themselves to be thoughtful, as well as entertaining. Everything you ever wanted to know about the Vancouver-based Celtic-Punk band – and perhaps things you didn’t – can now be found in Stoked: The Dreadnoughts Return. Watch the film here.

%d bloggers like this: