Category Archives: Traditional

ALBUM REVIEW: THE MAHONES – Jameson Street (2022)

Love, drinking, fighting, hope are the topics that occupy Celtic-Punk giants The Mahones on their brand new album Jameson Street. Their first studio album in three years.

Probably the most prolific of Celtic-Punk bands whether it comes to recording and releasing new material or indeed playing in your local neighbourhood it’s the welcome return of The Mahones. A while ago lead singer and main man Finny McConnell announced on Facebook that The Mahones were going to forego major touring and from now on only play prestige and local gigs. Well I thought who can bloody blame them. We have all recently seen the effects that constant touring can have on a band and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody so if a break was needed then they made the right decision… but the clamour to get back on stage was too great and soon enough the announcement came of another massive tour and the release of this album, Jameson Street.

The Mahones Promo 2019

What to say about The Mahones then? Well not a lot I suspect that the vast majority of you don’t already know. They are one of the world’s most popular and successful Celtic-Punk bands with a career stretching back over thirty years to the 17th March 1990. What once  began as a one-off band for a St. Patrick’s Day party, quickly became a global touring phenomenon and a figure head for an entire genre. The Mahones have since gone on to release fifteen albums, including 2020’s 30th Anniversary double album This Is All We’ve Got To Show For It.

Jameson Street is their first studio album since 2019 and the list of friends and ex-band members who have popped by to take part is massive. The core of the band remains the same with Nicole Kaiser on fiddle, Finny on guitar, Michael O’Grady on tin whistle and Sean ‘Riot’ Ryan on bass but an astounding seventeen other musicians are listed on the sleeve notes so some of whom will have to forgive us for not mentioning them so here’s just a select few – Dave Barton of The Peelers, Nicholas Smyth of The Dreadnoughts and the Crash Test Dummies Stuart Cameron! With such a prolific output you may expect The Mahones to be running out of steam by now but low and behold this ranks up there with their very best albums from their early days. 

The album begins with the title song and ‘Jameson Street’ takes the pub céilí sound out the pub and into your living room. The origins of this song can be found on a short You Tube video recorded live at Sir John Eh’z Nose Ring Circus two-day music festival in 1993. A couple of minutes of pure unadulterated speedy trad Irish Folk peppered with shouts and “yaarrrrs” before leading into a classic Mahones style song of ‘Rise Up (Be Strong)’. Finny has always used his writing to uplift folk and while he may have sometimes put his foot in it over on that damn Facebook he did say

 “Jameson Street is meant to make you feel like you’re having a night out. No politics, no religion, just good times, and everybody having fun. Unity is the underlying message.”

Written with Greg from Husker Du who Finny has recently been playing, recording and touring with in the Punk band Ultrabomb , along with the UK Subs Jamie Oliver. A full-blooded rousing anthem of which their is one or two more to come!

“Let’s get along, no-one gets left behind, the healing has begun”

Now I don’t know who wrote the blueprint for Celtic-Punk but every album needs a drinking song or two and The Mahones open up with ‘A Devil In Every Bottle’ and are joined by Dave Barton of fellow Canadian-Irish Celtic-Punks The Peelers on vocals. It’s unmistakable Mahones, jolly and jig-worthy and a tribute (of sorts) to Irish whiskey. ‘Freeway Toll’ takes it down a bit with a more Folk-Rock approach that gives Finny a real chance to stretch them vocal chords. A song that you’d not be surprised to see picked up by someone of mega-star status later on. It’s a nice song that slots in well among the Irish-Punk and Trad. ‘Watch Me Fall’ steams past in 130 seconds before one of the album highlights the instrumental ‘Lonesome Boatman’. Now I think for most of us we first heard this song on a compilation album More Green Velvet that we bought for our Mums in the early 80’s. Hidden away in between Dana and Philomena Begley belting out the best of Irish in Country’n’Irish style was The Fureys And Davey Arthur playing ‘Lonesome Boatman’ and it fair blew my mind as a young angry Punk-Rocker. An incredible song that passed by unnoticed for many years until it finally began to receive its due plaudits. Picked up by the Dropkick Murphys after a couple of Euro Celtic-Punk bands had already recorded it The Mahones play a version that sits nicely in the middle of the Fureys and the Dropkicks. Holloway Road in north London use to be the epicentre of north London Irish life and it’s still called by many County Holloway. Not sure if  ‘Holloway Jack’ has anything to do with that but it does feature lyrics by the late Paddy Cuncanon, an old friend of the band and they have turned his words into an evocative stirring sea shanty. ‘Fiddle On Fire’ is the albums second instrumental and unsurprisingly, from the title, Nicole lets her fiddle do the talking with a speedy fast as feck Irish hoe-down. We are coming up towards the end and there’s been no filler here as we continue with ‘She Comes For Love’. Finny has always worn his heart on his sleeve even when it’s perhaps been questionable but it’s one of the reasons we still love him. ‘Last Call At The Bar’ sees the sound drop into ‘Country-Irish’ and we just don’t mind. A singalong that will have bartenders across the world giving a wry smile.

“It’ is a song that bartenders can relate to – that feeling you get when you tell everybody to bug off and go home. It’s a fun song that sticks in your head, and it fits the Jameson Street theme.”

The album ends with a bonus track a boisterous live version of what Finny says is his favourite Pogues song ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’. Recorded live at the Horseshoe Tavern In Toronto 2003 The Mahones are joined on stage by the legendary Phil Chevron and Terry Woods of The Pogues. It’s the first time they have even recorded / released a Pogues track, astonishing considering how often they are compared to the Celtic-Punk pioneers. 

Well if Jameson Street was meant to make you feel like you’re having a great night out then they have certainly achieved that. Like has been said it’s one of the best Mahones releases for a long time. From the start to the finish I love this album striking a chord with me that I’m sure will also with even the most casual of Celtic-Punk fans. The album has been released on True North Records as well as every streaming site you can think of but really you should order from the label to not only ensure they have the money to continue but to put out more Celtic-Punk releases and, especially, from The Mahones!

(Stream Jameson Street but don’t buy from vultures. Get it from the record label below)

So, Jameson Street awaits, and there’s a drink at the bar with your name on it. Go for it!

Buy Jameson Street  True North Records (CD / Download)

Contact The Mahones   FacebookPage  FacebookGroup YouTube  Instagram

ALBUM REVIEW: THE ENDINGS – ‘Completely Pickled’ (2022)

We have discovered a new English Celtic-Punk band from Telford in the Midlands and The Endings have only been together for twelve years! Today we review their recently released new album of Celtic-Folk-Punk with an Irish flavour. 

The Endings are a new band. Well new to me but not I dare say to the good people of Telford in the English midlands. Telford was conceived only in 1963 as part of post-war reconstruction. A time that saw a succession towns built from scratch. Named after road builder, civil engineer and architect Thomas Telford who, contrary to popular belief, was not responsible for Ironbridge Gorge, which gave its name to the World Heritage Site beside the River Severn, but he was Shropshire’s Surveyor of Public Works in 1787, which seems a long stretch to name the town after him! So all in all a fairly typical English town. A town like many across England that it’s residents are proud of. So proud indeed are The Endings that they nearly also get a mention as The Endings Telford. In these times where any sort of love of place or home is written off as chauvinism I love the idea of The Endings showing this pride in where they come from.

The Endings left to right (top): Verna – Drums / Vocals * Paul Mandolin / Banjo / Vocals * (bottom) Harry – Fiddle / Vocals * Rob – Guitar / Lead Vocalist * Kev – Bass / Vocals *

As I say The Endings may be new to me but they have been around over a decade playing the pub circuit around Shropshire and occasionally a little further afield. New blood in the band and a bit of inspiration has the last couple of years though seen them spending most weekends on the road gigging and with regular performances at festivals the opportunity to support bands such as Ferocious Dog and Mad Dog McCrea has arrived. They play their own style of uptempo Irish music that is designed purely only to keep the dance floors occupied. They have one previous release, Coda from 2019, which marked the start of their move away from being purely background noise for busy pubs into a band that people will aim to go and watch. Even so 2 albums in over 10 years may sound mean but isn’t unheard of when bands are caught in the cycle of gig-gig-gig-gig. If you want to show yourselves off to the bigger world then you do need to make time to record but then you also need to make those recordings available and these days that means making downloading an option. These are things that The Endings need to think about as their music deserves a much bigger audience and with more than half the readers of this site from overseas it’s a must-do.

Completely Pickled (an English euphemism for being drunk in case you didn’t know) opens with ‘Gemini’ and tells the story of a night out on the lash at the 1970’s-80’s Shropshire nightclub Gemini. If anyone remembers our review of Pronghorn (“Kings of Cowpunk”) a few weeks back then this isn’t too dissimilar except with a definite Celtic edge to it. Catchy and with a real foot tapping beat to it. Next we have ‘Time & Tide’ and the song carries on in the same vein with some excellent musicianship on display. Rob’s vocals are clear and precise and sit on the fence between Punk and Folk where he can shout if he likes but also do a wee bit of ‘proper’ singing as well! Next up is ‘Water Gypsy’ and a number about the Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood who said his families generation was the first to be born on dry land with a lineage dating back to the 1700’s of working on the water.  His family were English ‘‘bargees’ (river or canal barge workers) and Ronnie affectionately referred to them as ‘water gypsies’.

(‘Water Gypsy’ Live at Farmer Phil’s August 2021)

The mandolin here leads the way as Rob introduces us to a little known part of Ronnie’s life and I hope he gets to hear the song. ‘Press Ganged’ is a standout track here as it introduces a couple of other influences to the mix as it reminds me of The Men They Couldn’t Hang at their peak in the 80’s in both style and subject matter. This could so easily have made Waiting For Bonaparte especially when the song suddenly speeds up halfway through. Next up is a song close to my own heart with ‘Importance Of Guinness’ and a proper good auld instrumental Irish romp in tribute to the black stuff. Truth be told though Guinness doesn’t hold a candle to Beamish!

(‘Importance Of Guinness’ Live September 2022)

‘New Lands’ is a about buying a one way ticket to Australia, another subject that The Men touched on. Stories of the sea are quite the feature of Celtic-Punk and The Endings seem to be fond of them too with ‘Raise The Sails’ up next. I must say though that it’s been quite the while since a more ‘folky’ album landed with all original compositions and I’m motre than happy not to have to sit through another version of ‘Drunken Sailor’, as good a song as it is! While a lot of the songs here could be decades old (‘against modern football – against modern music’) on ‘Ragged Man’ the sound is more recent but if I did have one point to make on the album it would be that the sound here could have been beefed right up. With the pounding beat it needed a more heavy touch. ‘Madness’ tells of the er.. well er… madness of those couple of years where the world closed down. Looking back now it seems like such a long time ago.

(‘Juggling Time’ Live September 2022)

‘Smuggler’s Cove’ starts with some rather nifty mandolin and I think this where I keep getting TMTCH in my head while I’m listening. Another great song with a real thigh slapper / head nodder of a beat. We are nearly at the end and ‘Juggling Time’ and while I find juggling quite an amazing spectacle I also find jugglers very irritating so it’s a good job this isn’t about juggler then! This I think could just about be the albums standout track with its catchy danceable sound. ‘Gallons Of Pale’ is another tribute to alcohol this time to the wonders of Pale Ale. The CD rounds off with what is described on the sleeve notes as a bonus track, with an excellent instrumental version of ‘Juggling Time’ and then the curtain comes down.

(You can hear the whole of Completely Pickled via the You Tube play-list below)

Completely Pickled was recorded and produced by Tom Carter at The Riff Factory just up the road from them in Stoke and singer-songwriter Jess Silk supplied the album artwork. Like their debut album it has been produced and self-funded by the band themselves though I’m sure they open to offers. Their are bands like The Endings in many English towns and cities fusing Irish / Celtic music and English Folk and Rock and Punk influences and while many are content to simply drift from pub gig to pub gig playing covers its great to see a band like The Endings trying to develop their sound, write their own songs and reach out. The success of bands like Ferocious Dog and the bands that have followed in their wake over the last few years show their is an audience for music from the likes of The Endings and with a decade long start over most then they ought to be near the top of the list to listen to.

 Buy Completely Pickled  Spotify

Contact The Endings  Facebook

ONE NIGHT IN CAMDEN! THE SCRATCH Vs. THE MARY WALLOPERS

In a months time two of Ireland’s most interesting bands go head to head on the same night in north London. Aye some eejit has booked them both to play 15th December in Camden only a few hundred yards apart. We are caught in a dilemma of which one to go to ourselves so here we present the evidence and leave it for you to decide!

Aye that’s right two bands with crossover audience and fan base and mutual appeal be will playing just up the road from each other. The Scratch are at the Camden Underworld and The Mary Wallopers just the other side of the tube station at the (still Irish owned) Electric Ballroom. I looked it up and it’s all of 459 feet that according to Google takes one minute to walk would you believe! The usual practise in these circumstances, according to Greenford Bhoy, is to go and see who you’ve seen the least but as none of us have ever seen either band before that’s not a option. Never mind it’s the week before Christmas and there’s gigs galore in London but to put these two fantastic bands up against each other is a crime against music! So in act of supreme impartiality here’s a potted history of the bands, a recent video and a live stream performance to help you make up your minds and wherever you choose to be on December 15th we’ll meet you half way up by the tube station for a can of beer/s before the show!

THE SCRATCH

Started as a fun experiment in the kitchen of a house in Perrystown, The Scratch are a 4-piece acoustic act from Dublin. Born from a shared love of acoustic guitar, metal and trad Irish music, The Scratch have moulded triumphant melodies with the groove and intensity of metal.

A 2017 busking trip to Rory Gallagher festival in Ballyshannon kick-started the journey, as a video of the band busking racked up an astonishing one million views in just a week and was shared around the world. An invitation to play Dublin’s Whelan’s followed, and then a string of Dublin headliners in increasingly bigger venues, each one sold out before doors. Most recently their Academy Dublin show sold out in just four days. Their first UK show in The Camden Assembly was also sold out ahead of time.

Their first EP Old Songs was released in 2018, a collection of older instrumental material. Next came stand-alone singles and crowd favourites ‘Get It Right Up’ and ‘Punisher’ that summer. 2019 saw the release of The Whole Buzz EP as well as singles ‘Cúnla’ and ‘Flaker’, with a marked development of their songwriting style and sound. The Whole Buzz further cemented The Scratch as one of the best trad revival/metal crossover acts in the country and one of the most exciting acoustic acts in the world with high energy acoustic riffs and soaring melodies

2020 saw them tour the UK for the first time, play their biggest shows to date around Ireland, as well as some of Europe’s biggest festivals. With Covid-19 changing the industry and indeed the world for a large portion of the year, the band released their debut album Couldn’t Give A Rats. The album received critical acclaim, scoring top 10 album in Ireland, a 4 star review from The Irish Times and Hot Press describing it as one of the “boldest Irish debuts in recent memory”. The band finished their rescheduled UK/Irish tour and was almost entirely sold out, including a date at London’s Boston Music Room and an unforgettable sold out show at the Olympia Theatre Dublin, their biggest headline gig to date.

It is impossible to fully understand this band without seeing them in the live environment, where they challenge anybody to come to a show and not leave with a smile on their face.

UNDERWORLD TICKETS

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THE MARY WALLOPERS

Ahead of the release of their debut album – expected this autumn – The Mary Wallopers are back with a new single, ‘Frost Is All Over’, as well as an accompanying music video.

To coincide with the release, the raucous Dundalk folk group have also announced a major tour, with new Irish dates in November and December – including a headline show at The National Stadium in Dublin on November 17. Tickets go on sale this Friday.

‘Frost is All Over’ is a traditional Irish song about taking everything in your stride and not caring about what everyone says you should care about,” The Mary Wallopers say of the new single. “We added the verse about landlords as we feel they are a sensitive sort who need reminding of how much we care about them. It was recorded by Chris Barry in his Dublin studio in 2021. It’s an old song made famous by Planxty.

“The video was shot by Sean McMahon and the set was designed by Mark Sheridan,” they continue. “Sean is from Dundalk like us and has worked on our livestreams before. It was shot in the old AOH Hall in Blackrock, Dundalk, which local music legend Conor Hughes allowed us to use. The video is our way of introducing the new band and how sexy we have become over lockdown. Our home studio / pub was too small to fit everyone in so we had to branch out but still keep it Dundalk.”

Originally made up of brothers Andrew and Charles Hendy and their friend Sean McKenna, The Mary Wallopers have recently expanded to a seven-piece for live performances.

With their trademark combination of charm, irreverence, staggering talent and a fiercely DIY ethos, the group have rapidly established themselves as a captivating force in Irish music. In 2019, they released their acclaimed debut EP, A Mouthful of The Mary Wallopers.

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INTERVIEW WITH MARC ORRELL OF THE WALKER ROADERS

Marc Orrell was only 17 years old when he joined his favourite Punk band, the Dropkick Murphys, as lead guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. Marc has continued to write and play innovative music since his Murphys departure. Most recently alongside ex- Flogging Molly Ted Hutt and The Pogues James Fearnley in the Celtic-Punk supergroup The Walker Roaders. Ray Ball our man in NY had the pleasure of speaking to Marc and our thanks go to them both.

How to start this off-My first concert was Dropkick Murphys. They played at the Town Ballroom during the Warriors Code tour in 2004. Far From Finished opened, followed by Big D and the Kids Table. I think by the time they played LAX everyone had already bought all the Big D merch (none of us had heard of them yet). But me and the two friends that I came with were there to see DKM. I had passed my Jimmy Page and Angus Young phases of guitar heroes, but was really focusing in on Irish music, and my guitar hero if you will, at least lead, in that realm was Marc Orrell.

Flash forward a fair bit, I sent a message to Marc, who I’ve followed for a fair bit in social media, seeing if he’d be willing to do an interview for us. I figured what the hell, nothing ventured nothing gained. I was floored he agreed and we got a chance to talk on the phone yesterday. Marc is really an easy guy to talk to. I could have spent three times as long on the phone talking as I had time to. He greeting me “Hey, Ray, what’s up?” Like we were friends and really kept just going the whole time. He seemed genuinely interested in having a story to tell.
One of the first things we obviously had to talk about was his start in Dropkick Murphys.  According to Marc, James (Lynch) and he were huge fans of the band from day one, essentially. I don’t know the exact timing of Rick (Burton, founding guitarist) and his departure from the group, but when James got the job as DKM guitarist, Marc was stunned. They both had been huge fans and James was now part of the group. We talked a bit about James’ playing. I compared it to Malcolm Young if AC/DC, and I don’t think Marc objected. Strong, steady, solid. I compared them to truly having a strong Angus/Malcolm thing going on. Marc attributes a lot of his influence to to Chuck Berry’s bluesy playing, along with The Rolling Stones. Marc’s solos and playing with DKM are really as blues as punk, to me at least, and I can really see that over the discography.

Despite the obvious career we all know and love with DKM, it seems like Marc has no shortage of irons in the fire after his departure from the band. The Wild Roses were brought up to me a number of years ago as his next project. I asked him a bit about it. It seems that the Roses are as much as a revolving group of friends who make music together, again in that same Rock / Rockabilly / Punk vein we see reoccurring.

The Walker Roaders were my next topic. To me, at least, they were the Celtic group I never knew I needed to hear until I heard them. Ted (Hutt) is a master producer and musician. We all know and love the Pogues. James Fearnley, accordion and vocals on the record, is unparalleled in his playing prowess. Someday I’ll strive to achieve even figuring out a snippet of what’s going on in London Girl. But as much of the walker Roaders is a band, it seems like it’s an entity. It’s the traditional group we all needed with a rock twist that we all didn’t know we wanted. There’s more music to come, according to Marc, but not something on a dead set schedule as of yet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, though.

Marc as a few other irons in the fire in terms of playing and producing. I’ll pass on some links when we get them and we hope to hear soon from him and his projects soon.

*
Thanks to Ray Ball for the interview. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys covers was one of the most viewed of the year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board our team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcamp site.

ALBUM REVIEW: THE WINTER CODES – ‘Set The Darkness Reeling’ (2022)

Debut album from The Winter Codes an Irish Folk duo formed by David Walshe and Barney Murray who found fame as the original, and distinctive singer, of legendary and ground breaking Celtic-Punk band Blood Or Whiskey.

Back in June we posted a review announcing the debut single from Irish band The Winter Codes. The song was utterly fantastic and instantly made me think ” Jeez, that sounds like that fella from Blood Or Whiskey” but as the press release made no mention of it I thought no more. After all if you were the singer in one of the most popular and influential Celtic-Punk band in history surely you’d give it a mention? Well it seems the guys were just being modest and it was indeed Barney from Blood Or Whiskey! For The Winter Codes Barney has teamed up with virtuoso musician David Walshe, brother of the late Paul who was also a founding member of Blood Or Whiskey, and a handful of guests to record their debut album, Set The Darkness Reeling.

The Winter Codes are based in Tullamore, the county town of Offaly in the Irish midlands. The town is famous above all else for the wonderful Irish whiskey Tullamore Dew, which since 2010 is being produced in the town again after decades away. Offaly also have the nicest shirts in Gaelic games which is why I had their pictures on my wall as a kid despite having no connection with the county! With Barney’s unmistakable voice it will come as no surprise that comparisons to Blood Or Whiskey come easy but we will try our best to avoid them, after all this is a Winter Codes review not Blood Or Whiskey.

Originally planned as as a five track EP but when the creative juices began to flow it soon developed into the full length album Set The Darkness Reeling. The duo recorded at the famous Grouse Lodge studio, which once housed Michael Jackson where he recorded and lived for a time! The album begins with ‘NCR’, short for North Circular Road which could be Dublin or London or maybe it could be anywhere but is packed with imagery about a terrible relationship and the bitterness that comes with it. Spicing up the song with mariachi trumpets alongside some cool Irish trad and we are in the same territory that Barney left us with with his old band but how he hits them low notes is beyond me!

“rather die all alone in a bedsit room on the North Circular Road than go back to you”

‘Long Time She’s Been Gone’ is a catchy number that again talks of regret though this time in a lost love way. ‘Troublesome Girl’ stars Irish Folk singer Lisa Loughrey on vocals and after recording originally with Barney the bhoys thought it needed something different so asked Lisa to recommend someone and that person ended up being Lisa herself! A soft-poppy Folk/ Country number her voice fits perfectly. The title of the album from a line in the song.

The music is definitely Irish Folk but comes with a pop edge to it that brings in elements of Country too. Barney flexes his vocal chords next on the moving ’30 Years Of Tears’ a poem half sung/ half half spoken with no accompaniment that really makes you sit up and listen. For Barney it is the next song ‘Friend In Tullamore’ that means the most. Moving from his home town Leixlip to Tullamore after leaving Blood Or Whiskey and years of relentless touring and almost burnt out he settled in easily

“I feel that it was the town that gave me a second chance and maybe the song is my way of saying thanks for that.”

‘Erin’s Lovely Lee’ is a Rebel song whose origins are a bit obscure despite having been recorded by Willy Clancy in the mid-60’s. The story tells of a Irish immigrant arriving by boat in New York in 1863 who are met by Americans who curious and want to know more about important figures of Irish rebellion like the Manchester Martyrs, Wolfe Tone’s, Captain Mackey and Michael Dwyer. He then thinks “to float a Fenian boat down Erin’s lovely Lee”. One of the album’s highlights.

‘Satellite Town’ is another moving song about a young girl moving from home in search of fame and glory. The album has a mournful feel to it and, of course, Barneys voice is the perfect fit for such songs. Maybe it’s not surprising seeing as the album is an emotional tribute to the late Paul Walshe who is immortalised within the album that even features him on banjo on several of the tracks thanks to some rough demos of the songs that Sean Montgomery Dietz was able to adapt and mix into some of the tracks. ‘Dublin Girl’ rings of The Pogues track ‘London Girl’. We’re back in Rebel territory again with ‘Ovidstown’. Not sure if this is a cover or not, it certainly has an ancient ring to it. The song tells of the battle of Ovidstown, between Irish forces and the during the 1798. It took place at 19 June 1798 at Ovidstown Hill not far from Barneys hometown of Leixlip in County Kildare.

His home town pops up again next in ‘Last Night In Leixlip’ and another standout track. With electric guitar (could been a bit louder) and then them trumpets again make for a great song., The trumpets reminding me of ‘Ring Of Fire’ ironic considering the hilarious name check Johnny Cash gets in the song! The album has a great choice of covers and ‘Skibereen’ is no different. Thought to originate from the 1880’s the songs tells of a son asking his father why they had left the village of Skibbereen, in County Cork to live in America. The father tells him of the hardship he faced at home. Of An Gorta Mór / The Great Hunger and of the oppression the British rained down on the Irish after the Young Irelander rebellion of 1848. The song ends with the son promising his father

“O father dear, the day will come when vengeance loud will call,
And we will rise with Erin’s boys to rally one and all.
I’ll be the man to lead the van beneath our flag of green,
And loud and high will raise the cry ‘Revenge for Skibbereen”

Next up is the track that announced The Winter Codes to the Celtic-Punk world back in June and ‘Too Sly To Die’ went down a storm. The video was filmed in the landmark Dublin pub The Cobblestones, located in one of Dublin’s oldest neighbourhoods and famous for hosting traditional Irish music for decades. A rousing number that we went into detail back in June if you care to look up. ‘Dearthairin O Mo Chroi’ (Irish for brother of my heart) written and recorded originally by Pauline Scanlon it’s a beautiful ballad which leads us onto the album’s final song, fittingly, ‘And Then No More’.

Sadly The Winter Codes have no intention of ever playing live. In a recent interview this was put down to

“The problems with playing live is that you are at the mercy of the local sound person. If they are good then the gig might go well but if not the whole night is ruined. In a studio, you have almost complete control and that’s the way I like it.”

I’m done with gigging so he says but I hope he changes his mind. Maybe they can be persuaded to do a live stream or something but it’s still absolutely fantastic to hear those dulcet tones again taking me back a few years when everything was a lot simpler. Thanks for the memories but it’s time to make some more now fella’s.

Buy Set The Darkness Reeling  Spotify

The Winter Codes  WebSite  Facebook YouTube

ALBUM REVIEW: FLOGGING MOLLY – ‘Anthem’ (2022)

What a year this is going to be for all you Celtic-Punk aficionados out there with the two major players in the scene both releasing new albums within just a few weeks of each other. Later in the month sees the Dropkick Murphys but today our man back on the auld sod Shane O’Neill runs the rule over seven piece Irish-American giants Flogging Molly and their first album since 2017’s Life Is Good.

lIt’s been a long hard five years since we have had a new album from the Celtic punk institution that is Flogging Molly. Was it worth the wait – Most definitely!! We have been lucky to get a preview with the release of singles such as These Times Have Got Me Drinking / Tripping Up the Stairs which is the opening track on the album. This sets the scene nicely for the upbeat hard-hitting theme of the album.

The second song on the album, A Song of Liberty pays tribute to the gallant men who fought the British Empire in Ireland at Easter 1916. This isn’t your traditional Irish rebel song but delivers the message effectively illustrating the determination and fight displayed by the volunteers to seek the liberation of our country.

(Flogging Molly have joined forces with renowned Ukrainian animators/filmmakers, The Mad Twins, for the band’s ‘A Song Of Liberty’ video. The clip highlights humanity’s ongoing struggle against oppression, from Ireland’s Easter Uprising through several 20th century moments including both World Wars, to the current occupation of Ukraine.)

Anthem is a bit different (in a good way) to any of the bands previous releases. They have unleashed a new sound and reached back to the more traditional Irish music such as The Dubliners and The Chieftains whilst maintaining the kick arse punk edge. The more traditional sounds are evident on The Croppy Boy and (Try) Keep The Man Down. It can be difficult to cross genres like Irish Traditional music and punk while keeping original but Flogging Molly have hit the target on Anthem. Musically, I think the band have gone from strength to strength.

Some of us from the London Celtic Punk crew were lucky enough to catch the bands last gig of the European tour in Dublin a few weeks ago….. What a performance. We were treated to a few tunes from the Anthem album which were very well received. Every time we see them, we think they it’s the best performance ever, yet they continue to impress. Just like an old wine, improving with age. It took almost a week for my body to recover and get my hearing back, but it was worth every single bruise and cut. We did manage to sneak in backstage after the gig but that’s a story for another day!!!! Anthem is the bands sixth album coming 22 years after their debut release Swagger. We’ve been listening to it since it was released earlier this week and cannot find fault with it at all. To pick the best song on the album is a difficult task however if pushed I think The Croppy Boy, A Song Of Liberty and Life Begins and Ends (But Never Fails) are up there with the best Celtic Punk tunes out there. This is the type of album you can stick on anytime and it will lift your mood.

Hats off to Flogging Molly for this album and hopefully we don’t have to wait another five years for the next one. “These Croppies Wont Lie Down.”

Buy Anthem  CD/ Vinyl/ Tape – From The Band

Contact Flogging Molly  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  

EP REVIEW: KRAKIN’ KELLYS – ‘Old Ways, New Days’ (2022)

Belgians Celtic-Skate Punks Krakin’ Kellys are back with six new songs!  

Regular readers could be forgiven for thinking that I have about 1000 favourite Celtic-Punk bands but if I had to pick just five then Belgium’s Krakin’ Kellys would definitely make it. Taking their lead from the first Dropkick Murphys album for pure Punk-Rock energy and throwing in some nice Celtic touches. Krakin’ Kellys are a band with an incredible set up. For a start they have some brilliant songs. Catchy as hell and packed with interesting influences. Then you have their videos which are constantly great fun to watch and far beyond the usual ‘filmed in a pub’ Celtic-Punk videos we see. Lastly we have Matthieu one of the best bagpipers in the scene and who Krakin’ Kellys put to great use throughout their songs.

(Recorded live at L’entrepôt Arlon, Belgium on St-Patrick’s day 2022

Kicking off with ‘1985 (Celtic Skate Punk)’ which was the first video / single from the album it’s a look back in time to better (?) days when we were young, fun and full of… never mind. I’ll try not to overuse the word catchy in this review but it’ll be hard. A real stomper of an opener with the guys reminiscing of the days when you could dance at a gig all night without stopping for a breather after one song! ‘Olympia, WA.’ is a cover of the Rancid track taken from their classic 1985 album Out Come The Wolves and the piping slots in so easy that after a few plays it no longer stands out. The songs talks about loneliness in a big city and how Tim yearns for the days he was a normal Punk back in his home town. ‘Start Over Again’ is a great song perhaps the albums standout. Great lyrics and melodic Punk sound that captures all the best bits of what was Skate-Punk. Sadly the genre would become completely lame as bands realised they could put out and old crap and the kids would lap it up. That’s not to say that it’s early days weren’t incredible with bands like Bad Religion, Lagwagon, NOFX. That is what is summed up next in ‘Old Ways, New Days’. I may be wrong as it’s not as easy to read these songs as our usual drinking and rebel songs!

So almost on cue is a cover of Bad Religion’s ‘American Jesus’ taken from their 1993 album Recipe For Hate. One of BR’s greatest songs and certainly long before they all started to sound the same Kellys give it a great treatment playing it the same but the different instrumentation and vocal style really add to it. The EP comes to an end with ‘Women Are Go !’ and played at breakneck speed it sees the release out in style.

Another craic-ing release from Krakin’ Kellys but Old Ways, New Days was released back on July 1st so it’s taken us a while to get around to it but in all that time it’s seen more than it’s fair share of plays in LCP towers. It was recorded at Gate Of Sound, Noise Factory, Coal and Rock’s Cool studios throughout Belguim by Jean-Louis Masuy, Nicola Lomartire and Matthieu and mixed and mastered by Nicola Lomartire. Along with his filming and piping talents Matthieu also supplied the artwork and we recently featured a Q and A with him that makes interesting reading.

(You can stream Old Ways, New Days and download it via the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Old Ways, New Days  FromTheBand

Contact Krakin’ Kellys  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram  Twitter

THE POGUESTRA LATEST RELEASE ‘Young Ned Of The Hill’

The PoguestrA are back for the first time since Christmas with one of the highlights from The Pogues fourth album Peace And Love about the persecution of the Irish by the ‘protector of the faith’ Oliver Cromwell.
The PoguestrA are a group of musicians united by a love of The Pogues playing together remotely. Listen on as they continue their quest to cover all our favourite Pogues songs!
Young Ned Of The Hill’ is an adaptation of an old Irish folk song that The Pogues recorded in 1989 for Peace And Love. Adapted from the song ‘Éamonn Ó Chnoic’ (Ned Of The Hill) traditionally performed slower and without a chorus. ‘Éamonn Ó Chnoic’ is about a man who comes to a woman’s door seeking shelter. He has been travelling and has lost his team of horses and now has nowhere to go. The last stanza of the song says that he “must go eastward across the sea” which suggests that he is either going to England or perhaps to the prison colony of Australia. It stands in stark contrast to The Pogues’ version of the song.

The original Gaelic version of the song is well-represented by the legendary Wolfe Tones above. Translated directly from the Irish the lyrics are :

“Who’s that outside
whose voice is urgent,
pounding on my closed door?”
“I’m Éamonn of the hill,
drowned, cold and wet,
from endlessly traveling mountains and glens.”

“Dearest love and treasure,
what can I do for you
but cover you with the lap of my dress?”
And black gunpowder will be
fired endlessly at us,
and we will both perish!”

“I’ve long been outside
in snow and in frost,
not daring to approach anyone.
My fallow unplanted,
my team in need of unyoking,
and I no longer have them at all!

I have no friend—
how that grieves me—
who’d take me in, early or late.
And so I must go
eastward across the sea,
for it’s there I have no kindred.”

*

Ron Kavana and Terry Woods version of ‘Young Ned Of The Hill’ is a song about the 1640’s brutal conquest of Ireland by Oliver Cromwell and those who fought against him. It tells of the brave Irishmen with “wills of iron” marching to fight the English invaders with “gaelic honour held high.”  The last verse of song discusses how they were robbed and drove away from their land, but they”ll never understand the “love of old dear Ireland.”

Rapparee- ‘freebooter’ 1680’s, originally ‘pikeman’ from the Irish rapairidhe, plural of rapaire ‘half-pike’. Soldier prominent in the war of 1688-92.

Éamonn Ó Riain (Edmund O’Ryan) was one of many Irish Catholic landholders forcibly dispossessed by English and Scottish Protestant settlers in the seventeenth century. Rather than fleeing to the continent, many chose to remain in Ireland, hoping to frustrate the invaders. Living the lives of political bandits – harassing British troops, robbing Protestant planters and landlords and aiding the Irish poor. These guerillas were known variously as ceithearnaigh choille (‘wood kernes’), toraidhe (pursuer- the origin of the modern term ‘Tory’) or ropaire (‘pike-man’). After his death, ballads, books and legend immortalised him as a Robin Hood-like resistance fighter and nationalist folk hero. It’s an interesting song because it is so reminiscent of the old Irish rebel folk songs about defeat in war that promised Ireland will rise again stronger and better than before. ‘Young Ned Of The Hill’ is the kind of song that if written a few decades earlier, Padraig Pearse would have used to inspire people to join the rebellion.

‘Young Ned Of The Hill’ performed by The PoguestrA

Written by Ron Kavana and Terry Woods

Have you ever walked the lonesome hills and heard the curlews cry?
Or seen the raven black as night upon a windswept sky?
To walk the purple heather and hear the west wind cry
To know that’s where the rapparee must die
*
Since Cromwell pushed us westward to live our lowly lives
Some of us have deemed to fight from Tipperary mountains high
Noble men with wills of iron who are not afraid to die
And who’ll fight with Gaelic honour held on high
*
A curse upon you Oliver Cromwell, you who raped our Motherland
I hope you’re rotting down in hell for the horrors that you sent
To our misfortunate forefathers whom you robbed of their birthright
“To hell or Connaught” may you burn in hell tonight
*
Of one such man I’d like to speak a rapparee by name and deed
His family dispossessed and slaughtered they put a price upon his head
His name is known in song and story and his deeds are legends still
And murdered for blood money was young Ned of the hill
*
And you’ve robbed our homes and fortunes, even drove us from the land
You tried to break our spirit but you’ll never understand
The love of dear old Ireland that will forge an iron will
As long as there are gallant men like young Ned of the hill
*
A curse upon you Oliver Cromwell, you who raped our Motherland
I hope you’re rotting down in hell for the horrors that you sent
To our misfortunate forefathers whom you robbed of their birthright
“To hell or Connaught” may you burn in hell tonight
If you are interested in joining the PoguestrA for future songs then get in touch with the gang viaYouTube orFacebook

CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW: FOLK FRIENDS 2 (1980)

The latest in our series of reviews of albums from the past that deserve to be aired again! Folk Friends was two volumes of music released in 1978 and 1980 featuring a wealth of Folk music artists live in session in Germany. Almost four hours of music and all available to download for free. The first volume was published last week and today is Volume Two.

FREE DOWNLOAD

Folk Friends was a series of two albums recorded live in Germany and featuring a broad selection of artists from Ireland, Germany, England, Scotland and the USA. The music here takes in traditional Celtic Folk, American Blues-inspired Folk and even some German traditional music. Both volumes of the albums were recorded at Hannes Wader’s home and studio, Windmühle ‘Fortuna’, Struckum near Husum, North Friesland, which was a renovated windmill. The sessions would produce two 90-minute double vinyl albums with the first volume released in 1978 and then Volume 2 appearing two years later. While most compilation albums of this type would feature songs from different times and releases this is a historic record of all the artists playing either solo or together over a few days and is a truly unique recording of these sessions of outstanding musicians and friends.

Folk Friends 2 are

Derroll Adams * Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (USA) * Davey Arthur * Finbar Furey * Andy Irvine * Dolores Keane (Ireland) * Alex Campbell * Dick Gaughan (Scotland) * Guy Carawan * Candie Carawan * Werner Lämmerhirt * Hannes Wader (Germany) * Wizz Jones * John Faulkner Danny Thompson (England) *

Folk Friends Volume two was recorded between 16-28 October 1980 at the ‘windmühle’ and was again produced by Carsten Linde and recorded and mastered by Günter Pauler.

Tracklist : 1. Wizz Jones & Andy Irvine – Two Hundred Miles Away 0:00 2. Dick Gaughan – The World Turned Upside Down 4:06 3. Andy Irvine – Seamen Three 6:45 4. Derroll Adams, Wizz Jones, Danny Thompson & Davey Arthur – Columbus Georgia 10:09 5. Werner Lämmerhirt & Wizz Jones – Born To Live With The Blues 14:32 6. Dick Gaughan – The Father’s Song 18:36 7. Finbar Furey & Danny Thompson – Yesterday’s People 22:20 8. Guy Carawan, Candie Carawan, Danny Thompson & Werner Lämmerhirt – Take The Children And Run 24:58 9. Andy Irvine & Dick Gaughan – Thousands Are Sailing To Amerikay 28:18 10. Hannes Wader, Werner Lämmerhirt & Danny Thompson – Es Ist Ein Schnee Gefallen 32:49 11. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott – Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right 35:38 12. Candie Carawan & Guy Carawan – Voices From The Mountains 39:22 13. John Faulkner & Finbar Furey – Bloody Sunday 41:13 14. Finbar Furey, Davey Arthur, Dick Gaughan, John Faulkner, Jörg Suckow & Lydie Slopianka-Auvray – Siege Of A Nation 45:44 15. Dick Gaughan – Lassie Lie Near Me 49:51 16. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott & Werner Lämmerhirt – Me And Bobby McGee 54:32 17. Alex Campbell, Finbar Furey, Dick Gaughan& John Faulkner – The John MacLean March 57:35 18. Dolores Keane & John Faulkner – Jamie Foyers 1:01:47 19. Dolores Keane, John Faulkner & Andy Irvine – Green Grows The Laurel 1:05:32 20. Finbar Furey, Dolores Keane, Andy Irvine, Dick Gaughan, Davey Arthur & John Faulkner – The Waterford Waltz 1:08:58 21. Wizz Jones & Danny Thompson – Planet Without Plan 1:11:53

*This CD edition is an abridged version of the original vinyl release, lacking three tracks (“The Green Fields Of France / No Man’s Land / E Ist”, “Es Lebte Eine Gräfin Im Schwedischen Land” and “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”).

ALBUM LINER NOTES

“Folk Friends” isn’t just the name of a folk group. They are not a permanent formation, but a friendly network of folk singers and musicians from different countries. The “Folk Friends” come from Germany, the USA, Ireland, Scotland and England. They know each other very well, some of their friendships have lasted for decades. Despite different backgrounds and languages, they still have a lot in common.

They are all professional singers. They live from the income they earn through performances, their own concerts, records, books, radio and television programs and their own compositions, texts and arrangements. They sing their own songs or folk songs and are paid for it. They play the folk music of their home countries and receive fees from the promoters who engage them. That was not always so.
Each of them was an amateur to begin with. Everyone started out making music because they liked it. In those times they couldn’t make a living from their songs or folk music. There were hardly any opportunities to perform and only a few professional folk musicians in each country. Each of the “Folk Friends” was once a street singer, singing on a busy corner, in front of cinemas or in squares for passers-by who threw a few coins into their hats or guitar cases.
Guy Carawan was already singing at the crossroads of Los Angeles and other Californian cities in the 1950s. Derroll Adams and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott hitchhiked through the USA and came to Europe as traveling singers, where they sang to the people on the street every evening between 1957 and 1962, mainly in the Paris bohemian district of Monmartre. Finbar Furey was already playing Irish gypsy music in small pubs and at carnivals with his father Ted when he was 12 years old. Alex Campbell and Wizz Jones sang folk songs in front of London Underground stations. Hannes Wader and Werner Lämmerhirt made street music on the Kurfürstendamm before they were allowed to play in Berlin’s artist and student pubs for little money.
They all crossed paths at different times. They met at festivals or after concerts. They met each other by chance on the street in Basel or Copenhagen. They sat down together, made music together, talked about their lives, talked about friends and acquaintances, about politics and art. Despite occasional language difficulties, they got along well. Thus, from the intersection of their encounters and similar living conditions, trust and friendships developed, which deepened more and more. They received musical inspiration from each other, some of whom occasionally performed together or helped each other with record productions. They speak a very similar musical language.
What connects them all is the conception of their work and their music. They do not understand folk music or folk music as romantic “field, forest and meadow folklore”. They not only sing love songs or songs from ancient times that touch the heart, but also songs that tell of people’s struggle for democracy and freedom. They sing traditional songs against oppression and paternalism. They sing songs that still ring shrill in the ears of the powerful and they don’t like because they take sides for the interests of the so-called “little man”. So they see their songs as political songs. They stand in a long tradition, which they creatively develop for today’s times and circumstances. They also sing because they believe in progress that consists in
And they have something else in common: they belong to the generation of musicians who, over the years and decades since the Second World War, have helped to establish folk music as a separate genre alongside rock, jazz, classical and pop music. Most of them have had a great influence on many younger – and in some cases more commercially successful – musicians and singers and have helped to establish and keep alive the so-called “folk scene” in their countries. Of course, this is the work of many and not a few folk friends.
The 15 musicians, who performed some of their favorite songs with a lot of personal commitment and audible joy of playing in changing groups or solo, had complete control over the repertoire selection, the arrangements and the sound of the recordings in this production.

Carsten Linde, 1980

For your free download click below

FolkFriends2

ALBUM REVIEW: THE DREADNOUGHTS – ‘Roll And Go’ (2022)

The folk-punkers from Vancouver are back, with a new collection o’ songs to get ya up and dancing. Following our review of 2019’s Into The North, we now present some o’ the finest moments from the band’s latest offering, Roll And Go. Let’s get into it!

Roll And Go by The Dreadnoughts. Out on Stomp Records, home to most of the band’s material.

In case ye don’t know ’em so well, The Dreadnoughts are a 6-piece band hailing from the West coast of Canada. They refer to their brand of Celtic punk as “world-core cluster folk”, and these humorous songs are brought to you by a cast of musicians with equally humorous nicknames. Examples include Wormley Wangersnitch on fiddle, Drew Sexsmith (aka. Dread Pirate Druzil) on mandolin and banjo, and – perhaps best of all – The Stupid Swedish Bastard on drums. I wonder what fellow Celtic punkers Sir Reg would make of that one…😁

On a more serious note, The Dreadnoughts have toured and recorded pretty relentlessly since they started out in 2006. This new record gives the band another chance to showcase their experience. We kick off with “Cider Jar”, a short and unnerving intro complete with glockenspiel, of all things, and a bastardisation of “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star”. This is, of course, only the quiet before the storm.

Soon, we’re launched into “Cider Holiday”, which kinda speaks for itself 🍺 Everything that the Celtic punk fan knows and loves is on offer here – the 2/4 polka rhythm, the band’s street punk attitude, a chorus singalong and – of course – a nod to the ol’ West Country influences (i.e. Bristol way, to anyone outside the UK). Sean Astin pulled off a decent West Country accent in Lord of the Rings. In my estimation, these North American dudes aren’t too bad at it either.

Track #2 “Cider Holiday”. Gets the record going and the fans dancin’.

Problem?

One of the standout tracks on Roll And Go has to be track #4 “Problem”. Not to be confused with the Sex Pistols song of [almost] the same name, the band get the klezmer/polka punk out here, and to brilliant effect. Slow Ride’s accordion and Wangersnitch’s fiddle link up well, and the lyrics are witty, funny, and very catchy. So call some mates, get some drinks in, and get dancing round the room to this one. There’s a “trippy” break in the middle of the song, if you need to catch your breath!

Don’t forget to check out the official YouTube video to this song too. In contrast to the energy of polka punk, this clip features the band doing absolutely nothing 😁 Fortunately, the fans in the video more than make up for it.

The official video to track #4 “Problem”. Try to stay in your seat – how the band managed to is beyond me.

“Battleford 1885” is more of a straightforward, hard rock song. It does have its Celtic influences, however, and I quite enjoyed this number meself. For those of us interested in history, the song refers to a wee town in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It was looted in the late 19th century by a party of Cree Native Americans, who were short on food supplies at that time.

Love music…with a difference

To sample the band’s own polka-powered take on a love song, try “Vicki’s Polka”. This is a touching, but bouncy tune with some sweet accordion passages to break it up. The Dreadnoughts regularly perform as a trad polka band at certain festivals, under the name of Polka Time. This song is a nod to that factor. Next time you’re thinkin’ of ideas for a date, don’t take your other half to a club. Go polka with them ☘️ As we all know, it’s a barrel o’ fun and you’ll both love it.

“Scrumpy-O” is a different kind of, er, love song, as it’s another dedication to the band’s favourite beverage. Scrumpy, for those who ain’t sampled it yet, is a cider originating in the good ol’ West Country of England. An angry-sounding bass intro by Squid Vicious (great name there) leads us into another Celtic punk thrash rhythm, complete with a West Country “Cider!” growl. I quite fancy a trip back to Bristol and a pint in the pub after listenin’ to this one. Make mine a Guinness though, please, my wife’s the cider fan 🍻

The loveliest song of all, though, is saved till last (well, second from last). Track #12 is the band’s take on traditional sea shanty “Bold Riley” – or “Reilly”, by their own spelling. Many a musician has covered this one, from Kate Rusby to fellow Canadians The Wailin’ Jennys. The ‘Nought’s rendition is similarly beautiful, while a soft percussive tap keeps time. One of my favourites on the album, and a song that puts me fondly in mind of “John Kanaka”, another sea shanty.

Track #12 “Bold Reilly”. Brings a tear to the ol’ eye.

Roll And Go

Last of all, we’re treated to the epic title track. The band pack everything they’ve got into this finale: a quiet acoustic intro, a build-up on drums, and then the heavy guitars to kick our ears into gear. The klezmer-polka influence makes a final return during the instrumental breaks. But it’s interesting how the band dial back the typical 2/4 thrash rhythm on this one. A well-worked ending to a well-worked album, and The Fang’s closing lyric made a particular impression upon me:

I’ve never known a better bunch of bully lads than you. And we’ll be back some fine and lucky day.

– The Dreadnoughts, “Roll And Go”

Give the title track a spin here:

“Roll And Go”, the title and closing track to the album.

So…

What The Dreadnoughts have delivered here is a strong collection of songs, with clean and crisp mixing and mastering values. The six-piece continues to show its experience, but they’ve lost none of their Celtic punk grit on this latest offering.

Now…to support the band directly, buy yourself a copy of Roll And Go on the band’s Bandcamp page. If your CD or vinyl player’s long been consigned to the ocean floor (or the local dump), then you can get the album in digital format as well, from the same link above. If streaming’s your thing, then listen to it on Spotify or via Apple Music.

Last of all, communication is key as they say, so stay in touch with the band on their social media channels. They’ll tell ya what’s next, and when they’ll be appearin’ in your neck of the woods. Find ’em on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Folk on, me hearties!

Andy x

ALBUM REVIEW: THE TAN AND SOBER GENTLEMEN – ‘ Regressive Folk Music’ (2022)

Celtic-Punk-Grass played by some Hillbilly Irish. The Tan And Sober Gentlemen explore the Gaelic roots of North Carolinian music, and to play it with as much energy as possible. Their new album out this week sees their sound developing into something really special.

Since we reviewed The Tan And Sober Gentlemen’s debut album Veracity four years ago I reckon we have received maybe 400+ releases here so I don’t get the chance to regularly revisit albums once they are reviewed. Veracity is one of a handful though that often gets a play. We described it back then as

” Raw and unfiltered, a blend of hard-driving, danceable roots delivered with a punk edge and whisky-fuelled abandon they call ‘Celtic-Punk-Grass’.”

Recorded in the woods of Chatham County, North Carolina, Veracity is a riotous take on ‘Scotch-Irish hillbilly music’. North Carolina has a rich history of Irish, Scotch and Scotch-Irish history going back generations and the Tan And Sober Gentlemen are rightly proud of their state’s Celtic musical heritage. Musically they embrace the glorious foot stomping sound of their home while welding to it Irish and Scots tunes and melodies. Totally acoustic this is the kind of wide-open-throttle, no-holds-barred band that could drown out most Punk bands with their passion, energy and sheer ruggedness.

So four years on and with just a couple of singles inbetween it’s hard to keep a track of bands over there from over here but they have kept plugging away and playing whenever they could do or were allowed to. Founded in Snow camp their music is Irish-folk-music-meets-the-American-South sound of the North Carolina backcountry where  they were born and raised. The State has over a quarter of a million people of Scotch-Irish ancestry (second only to Texas) and coupled with those of just Irish ancestry the number is almost a million residents. The States traditional Folk music can be traced right back to those who started arriving in North Carolina long before the ‘famine’ and to those who came in it’s aftermath. And The Tan And Sober gentlemen play it with as much energy as humanly possible!

Regressive meaning “returning to a former or less developed state; characterised by regression” kinda sums up the sound of The Tan And Sober Gentlemen and they even downplay what they do

“You know our deal-we ain’t lighting the world on fire with songwriting or anything, we’re just a bunch of rednecks that like playing fiddle music real dadgum fast.”
but the truth is that music is a major way for people to find their identity and to keep culture alive and their are times when I think the Yanks are doing a better job at doing it then modern Ireland is.
The fella’s raised the necessary to record and release Regressive Folk Music with a very successful Kickstarter campaign where they sailed past their target. The album kicks off with ‘Kelly Sullivan’ and bursts through the speakers at you. Fast and furious from the very start and utterly brilliant too! The fiddle work is amazing and being a bit of a auld rocker I really enjoyed the sound of the thump-thump of the double bass too. The Celticness of the tune is unmistakable while next they play the first of a handful of covers. They turn to their local roots for ‘Corn Likker’, also known as ‘Old Corn Liquor’, a song that’s roots are obscure but found favour in the early days of recording in the repertoire of African-American musicians. On ‘Happiness Ain’t Happening’ they get the first chance to properly combine both traditions and chuck in some great humour and the song infectious tune would see the stiffest Joe clapping along and stamping his feet. After three songs it’s time for a breather and ‘All The Time’ sees Courtney take on vocals with a tender and tuneful song. It’s fair to say that the best Celtic-Punk bands out there, no matter how Punky they are can also knock out some great slow songs and ballads and I’m always a bit disappointed to hear an album without one. I thought on first listen this was the album high point and while I have changed my mind a little I think it is still up there. Another cover is up next and the Irish war song ‘The Foggy Dew’ has become very popular these days on the Celtic-Punk scene and several band shave already recorded it this year already. Set during the 1916 Easter Rising when a small group of Irish rebels rose against the might of the British Empire. The rebellion was crushed and it’s leaders executed but the event lit a fire in the hearts of the Irish people that would see them rise again only a few years later.

Unusually the song is delivered with female vocals and the rather un-straight forward version is uplifted by Courtney’s beautiful and emotional vocals. As impossible as it would seem to breathe new life into a song you’ve heard a 1000 times it’s managed here. An outstanding version. ‘Banks Of The Roses’ is dates from 18th century Ireland and is an perfect opportunity for Eli Howells to really let fly on the fiddle. Eli was born and raised in the hills of Burke County, North Carolina, and learned from master fiddlers such as Jane Macmorren at an early age. Honing his skill at fiddlers’ conventions, barrooms, and back porches across the state. His distinctive Scotch-Irish fiddle stylings provide the core of the Tan and Sober sound. ‘Mickey’s Grave’ and ‘Heart Is Haunted’ highlight their two wings with the former a rowdy shouty Irish Larkin-esque riot while the latter is a jolly uplifting County-ish / Bluegrass romp. Along with the slow songs another thing I look for is a bit of trad Folk. ‘Miss Shephard’s / The High Drive’ is a chance for the whole band to flex their collective muscles and prove to detractors that Celtic-Punk does have some real musicians in it and is even helping keep trad music alive and relevant. ‘Barbed Wire’ takes the Country route again and some quite stunning banjo leading into Courtney’s delivery of the Rockabilly swing of ‘You’ll Never Know’. We nearing the end and next up is the popular ‘Leaving Of Liverpool’. Again it’s roots go back much further than the first time it was recorded but it has became part of Irish musical history. There’s no way of course it wouldn’t find favour in the Celtic-Punk scene as well with a chorus that has always cried out to be turned up to 11 and belted out at the top of your voice.

Played as expected with wild abandon and absolutely guaranteed to make you lose your voice with all the band getting a chance to solo their instruments, it really does rock your socks off!  Only a couple more left and ’30 Years Of Farming’ is up now. Written by Fred Eaglesmith, who as a teenager, hopped a freight train to western Canada and began his career as a musician. Specialising in ‘twist’ songs, where there’s a twist in the tale in the final verse ranging from “tear at your heartstrings” to tongue in cheek. This song is the former. A real tear jerker.  The curtain comes down on Regressive Folk Music with ‘Samhain’s March’ and a beautiful lament played led mainly by Eli on fiddle and Tucker’s banjo picking. The best album ‘outro’ I’ve heard in such a long time and with a album packed with so much energy a very clever way to end things.

Another triumph for The Tan And Sober Gentlemen and their legendarily rowdy live shows will be winging it back across the broad Atlantic, from whence their forefathers left, in the Summer with the band looking forward to playing some Irish festivals and club shows. We will include dates and infos in our month Odds ‘n’ Sods Celtic-Punk news round up so be sure to subscribe (you need to do this on a laptop).  A riotous encapsulation of the band’s Irish roots and it’s members ancestry. Hard- driving, danceable roots music delivered with Punk edge and wild abandon. They are quite simply the best drinking and dancing band in Celtic-Punk.

Buy Regressive Folk Music  Bandcamp   EverywhereElse

Contact The Tan And Sober Gentlemen  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

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

IRISH BAND THE WINTER CODES RELEASE FIRST SINGLE FROM NEW ALBUM

Irish folk duo The Winter Codes release the first single, ‘Too Sly To Die’, from their upcoming new album Set The Darkness Reeling. Led by Barney Murray of Blood Or Whiskey fame the song is fuelled by classic Irish folk influences.

Just the other day we received a track in the mail from The Winter Codes, a duo based in the capital town of county Offaly, Tullamore, almost bang centre in the middle of Ireland. Now sorry local folk but Tullamore is only known for one thing. A big thing admittedly mind, the Irish whiskey Tullamore Dew. Traced back to 1828 the original distillery closed in the 1950’s only for the brand to be bought by Powers and resurrected at their Midleton Distillery in Cork, until 2010 when the brand was sold to new owners, William Grant & Sons,  who brought whiskey production back to the town when a new distillery was opened back in Tullamore. Now I’m fond of a bit of waffle (see above for prime example!) but it surprised me that The Winter Codes neglected to make any mention of their ‘heritage’ in one of Celtic-Punk’s all time greatest bands. Now this is a Winter Codes review not Blood Or Whiskey review but you simply cannot understate the effect and influence Blood Or Whiskey had upon Celtic-Punk and it’s development. Here the sound is uncannily similar to BorW and no surprise with Barney Murrray with his unmistakable vocals having teamed up with David Walshe, brother of the late Paul who was also a founding member of Blood Or Whiskey. With a new album, Set The Darkness Reeling, to be released for the 1st August they have put out lead single ‘Too Sly To Die’ this week. The album is an emotional tribute to Paul Walshe who passed away ten years ago. With this release he is immortalised with the album even features some of his expert banjo musicianship on some of the tracks.

Saw you on the high stool holding court I know you ruled by pain and fear
Dishing out the suffering for the sport I’m glad I never got too near
All that unease you couldn’t show you had a conscience like a sieve
Anyone who crossed you came to know you didn’t forget or forgive
Chorus :
I thought you were too sly to die
I thought you were too sly to die
I thought you were too sly to die
But you bought it still
You were no stranger to revenge I know you gave more than you took
Half of the time it made no sense you would avenge a crooked look
Paranoid feelings in your heart though you ignored them come what may
Many had tried to take your part but you held the tide at bay
One cold night one simple mistake they had the whole thing organised
Didn’t feel sad or go to the wake but I really was surprised

(David Walshe and Barney Murray)

On the strength of this single I cannot wait to hear the album August 1st roll round quickly please. The lads are joined on the album by a wealth of Irish music expertise including Daithi Meila from the Irish/Bluegrass band Jig Jam, folk singer Lisa Loughrey, and engineer Sean Montgomery. The album saw the duo travel to the famous Grouse Lodge recording studio in Westmeath, which famously housed Michael Jackson when he recorded there.

“We got the idea to record an EP of five of our songs which then became the Set The Darkness Reeling album.”

‘With Too Sly To Die’ the band stick to their roots of trad Irish folk but with an uplifting and positive twist. The single’s accompanying video was filmed in landmark Dublin pub The Cobblestones. Having hosted traditional Irish music for decades, and being located in one of Dublin’s oldest neighbourhoods, the bar is synonymous with music from the region and with Too Sly to Die, The Winter Codes join the annuls of such musical greats.

Too Sly to Die available across all platforms now. 

The Winter Codes  WebSite  YouTube

CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW: RAY & COLLUNEY – ‘Tyrants Of England’ (1971)

The latest in our series of reviews of albums from the past that deserve to be aired again! An extremely rare English Folk album from Ray & Colluney a duo using sparse guitar, mandolin and banjo but with flagolet on a few tracks helping to add atmosphere.

FREE DOWNLOAD

Every time I hear a outstanding Folk album I think that would be just perfect for the Classic Album Series. First thing to do is to sort out a safe download link and then after that look up the album and the people who recorded it and write up a wee history of the album. Today we have chosen an album that is an amazing 50 (fifty!) years old this year and yet I could hardly find a thing about it. I was drawn to the Ray & Colluney album Tyrants Of England because it was likened somewhere else to another album, the Irish duo Callinan-Flynn’s Freedom’s Lament, was featured in the very last Classic Album Review in October. With similar instrumentation and vocal styles and even recorded around the same time the similarity is definitely there. The early 70’s were halcyon saw in the Folk clubs of the British (and Irish) isles with them bristling with duos and artists singing tales and songs of the auld days. I did read that at the time Ray & Colluney were considered pretty standard Folk club fare but in this day and age when this style of music is much less common we can look back and see it for how good it actually was.

“You tyrants of England! Your race may soon be run.
You may be brought unto account for what you’ve sorely done.”

So what scant details did I find out about this album then? It was recorded in 1971, with only 200 vinyl copies issued and it was the first album released on the highly collectable Westwood Records which has since become a bit of a cult label with releases now reaching £50+. It was engineered By Alan Green and manufactured by Folk Heritage Recordings in Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire.

“‘Tis advertised in Boston, New York and Buffalo,
Five hundred brave Americans, a-whaling for to go, singing
Blow, ye winds in the morning, And blow, ye winds, high-i!
Clear away your running gear, And blow, ye winds, high-o!”

Several of the songs featured here are pretty much Folk standards of the time and you may recognise a handful made popular by The Dubliners but under different song titles. The title song ‘Tyrants Of England’ is also known as ‘The Hand-Loom Weaver’s Lament’ and dates from the beginning of the industrialisation of the textile trade in Lancashire. It tells of the black period when supply outstripped the market due to increasing mechanisation. This caused a scarcity of jobs for the weavers and a decline in wages for those still fortunate enough to be employed. Ian Robb and Hang the Piper recorded the song in 1979 and Ian wrote of the song on the sleeve notes.

“The ‘gentlemen and tradesmen’ of the song followed the official propaganda line in blaming the Napoleonic wars and Bonaparte himself for much of the starvation and hardship which resulted. Apparently, however, the working men and women of the factories and mills were not so easily taken in, and many of them, seeing little decline in the comforts of the ruling and merchant classes, held a sneaking respect and admiration for ‘Boney’, whom they regarded as a champion of the poor.”

This is exactly the reason why we run this series to remember albums that are slowly passing out of memory. If anyone knows more about this album or what became of Ray and Trevor we’d love to hear.

1 Tyrants Of England – 3:21

2 Bogies Bonnie Belle – 2:22

3 Jack Hall – 2:44

4 Rambling Soldier – 1:58

5 Blow Ye Winds – 3:24

6 Calico Printers Clerk – 3:30

7 Cock Fight – 2:16

8 To The Begging – 2:28

9 A Sailor’s Life – 3:51

10 Farewell Nancy – 3:50

11 Rakish Young Sailor – 3:17

Ray Haslam – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar * Trevor Colluney – Vocals, Banjo, Mandolin

with Malcolm McDonald – Bass and John Hampson – Flageolet

flageolet, wind instrument closely related to the recorder. Like the recorder, it is a fipple, or whistle, flute—i.e., one sounded by a stream of breath directed through a duct to strike the sharp edge of a hole cut in the side of the pipe. The name flageolet—which comes from the Old French flageol, meaning ‘pipe’ or ‘tabor pipe’—was applied to such flutes at least from the 13th century, but from the late 16th century it has referred most specifically to a form of the instrument developed at that time in Paris.

DOWNLOAD HERE or HERE

“In Manchester, fine city of cotton twist and twills,
There lived the subject of my song, the cause of all my ills.
She was handsome, young and twenty, her eyes were azure blue
Admirers she had plenty: and her name was Dorothy Drew.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy March On!​?​  Bandcamp

Contact The Moorings  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Giving up will be the last thing I do”

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

 

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

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

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

Buy Roots Of Life  FromTheBand  (CD / Download)

Contact The Royal Spuds WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Bandcamp

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

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

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

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

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

‘Hope Like Hell’

’10 TeraOhm’

‘Star Of The County Down’

‘The Foggy Dew’

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

Download Hope Like Hell  Bandcamp

Contact The Grinning Barretts  WebSite  Facebook  Soundcloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FINBAR FUREY – ‘Mychal’

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

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

BARLEYJUICE – ‘Celtic Rocker’

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

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

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

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BANGERS AND MASH – ‘Izzy’s Irish Rose’

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

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THE POGUESTRA – ‘Green Suede Shoes’

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

THE MUCKERS – ‘Five Points’

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

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

Buy After Hours  Fanlink  ValleyEntertainent  Bandcamp

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

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AFTER HOURS VOLUME ONE COMPILATION

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

Further Recommended Reading:

Let Ireland Remember

Irish National Famine Memorial Day

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 10

First pints of the tour!

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

Friday, March 11 | Dublin, Ireland

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

Saturday, March 12

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

Sunday, March 13 | Slieve League Sea Cliffs Donegal

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

Monday, March 14 | Donegal to Sligo and Westport

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

Tuesday, March 15 | Achill Island

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

Wednesday 16 | Westport to Waterford via Kilkenny

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

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

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

Friday, March 18 | Waterford to Dublin

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

Saturday, March 19

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

Sunday, March 20

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

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

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

Wild Colonial Bhoys  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Star Of The County Down  FromTheBand

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

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

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

Live in Prague – 19.03.2022 * Photo – @crishfoot

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

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

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

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

Buy Still Pissed  Bandcamp

Contact The Cloverhearts  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Brigade 77  E-Mail  YouTube

THE ROCKAWAY REBEL OF THE EASTER RISING – JOHN ‘THE YANK’ KILGALLON

“Of all the Irish-American towns in America, it had to be a Rockaway guy that wound up in the middle of the bloody battle at the Post Office” 

Often on these pages we have spoken of the Easter Rising. A somewhat mythical event doomed to failure when heavily outnumbered Irishmen and women rose up against the full might of the most powerful empire in the world. Even now over 100 years later it remains an event unparalleled in Irish history. The rebellion began on Easter Monday and the spark would soon ignite a nation and it’s people.

Here our friend ‘cross the broad Atlantic’ Kevin Rooney writes of the involvement in the Easter Rising of one John Kilgannon, better known as ‘The Yank’.

JOHN ‘THE YANK’ KILGALLON
The Rebel Of The Rising From Rockaway
John Aloysius Kilgallon was born in Queens, New York on September 5, 1891. His father Luke came from Coogue, Co. Mayo. His mother Nora (née) Walsh came from Knock, Co. Mayo. The family lived in Far Rockaway. His father ran a blacksmith shop, which became a successful auto repair shop on Beach 19th Street. He also owned Real Estate. John was their only son.
On 20 August, 1912 John attended a Chauffeur’s Ball in the Imperial Hotel in Far Rockaway. He took a customer’s car from his father’s garage without permission to give his friends a ride home on a rainy night. Ten young people were piled in the car when it struck a farm wagon in the Springfield Gardens neighbourhood in Queens at 2am. Seventeen year old Cecelia Wellstead was crippled after being thrown from the car. She initiated a lawsuit against John for $50,000 amid much publicity. She was awarded $20,000 by Justice Scudder of the Queens County Supreme Court. In the meantime between the accident and the judgement, John had gone to Ireland.

Patrick Pearce

It is believed the family attended a speech given by Pádraig Pearse at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on March 2, 1914. It was attended by about 2,500 people despite being in the midst of a terrible snowstorm. Pearse was on a speaking tour to raise much needed funds for Scoil Éanna/St. Enda’s School in Rathfarnham, Dublin. It was a secondary school for boys emphasising Irish cultural identity; particularly history, mythology, poetry, and most especially the Irish language. Pearse believed passionately that the existing system of education sought to eradicate Irish identity in favour of obedience to Britain.

(‘Easter Mourn’ by In For A Penny. Beginning with the words of Patrick Pearce)

Pearse’s speech was for an annual commemoration of Robert Emmet marking his birth on 4 March, 1778. The young, courageous and eloquent Irish rebel martyr, who was hanged in 1803; holds a place in the hearts of all Irish patriots, but especially that of Pearse. In fact, St. Enda’s site in Rathfarnham, Dublin was much associated with Emmet. The school was relocated there in 1910 from Ranelagh; where it was founded in 1908. Emmet walked its grounds as he courted Sarah Curran, and sat in the same room and was inspired by the same scenery as Pearse a century later. Along with much needed funds to keep the school running, he returned to Dublin with a young Irish-American student from Brooklyn named Eugene Cronin. Pearse wrote to a friend in July, 1914:
“I have got another Irish-American for next term. His name is Kilgallon, his father owns real estate in Far Rockaway and he is quite a young man. He will rank as a university resident.”
Kilgallon is said to have been well-liked and to have thrived in this environment, which included honor and discipline of an increasingly military nature; as well as academics.

Photograph of John ‘The Yank’ Kilgallon in what looks like a Fianna Eireann uniform at St. Enda’s, Maundy Thursday, 1916.

Kilgallon appears to have belonged to Na Fianna Éireann youth organization, and the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), an oath-bound organization dedicated to establishing an Irish Republic by force. He was closely associated with many fellow students who shared this joint membership and was photographed in a Fianna uniform. He became a member of E Company, 4th Battalion, Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteers. The company was called “Pearse’s Own” as it contained his former students. They made preparations for the Rising by making grenades, filling cartridges with shot, and making batons.

On Easter Monday, 24 April 1916, E Company arrived at the rebel headquarters at the General Post Office (GPO) on O’Connell Street. Kilgallon, who was nicknamed ‘The Yank’ was quoted by Desmond Ryan to have exclaimed in his American accent:
“Holy Gee! This ain’t no half-arsed revolution! This is the business. Thousands of troops and siege guns outside. The whole country is ablaze. Twenty transports are coming in when the submarines have sunk the rest of the warships. We have our own mint. Light your pipes with Treasury notes and fling all but the gold away. When we do things, we do things.”

After reading the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, Pearse ordered them to take up positions on the roof; where they fired and were fired upon by British troops, and took artillery fire from the British gunboat Helga, positioned in the Liffey. Among his comrades there was Éamonn Bulfin, who was born and raised in Argentina. It was Bulfin who raised the green “Irish Republic” flag on the roof of the GPO. Bulfin later remembered: “One of the pictures that stands out in my mind, is seeing Kilgallon running round on the roof trying to stop fires.” Kilgallon was also said to have saved Bulfin’s life by pulling him from a window in the GPO, which was under heavy fire.

(The most famous of all the many Easter Rising songs ‘The Foggy Dew’ played here by The Chieftains with Sinead O’Connor. It was written by Father (later Canon) Charles O’Neill from Portglenone, County Antrim)

Kilgallon is also remembered for a humorous event that occurred during the week. E Company members crossed Henry Street into Henry Place and Moore Lane and battered an evacuation and escape route through the houses, so that they could access all the houses while remaining sheltered indoors. Bulfin said:
“Myself, Desmond Ryan, Kilgallon, and all of the St Enda’s boys proceeded to break the divisions between the houses for about half the length of the street. The walls were quite thin, and there was no bother breaking them. We reached as far as Price’s or O’Hanlon’s which was a fish shop”.
This included the Henry St. Waxworks, where Kilgallon; who stood 6’2 returned wearing a costume looted from a wax figure of Queen Elizabeth I!
When the order to surrender was given on Saturday 29 April, E Company was huddled together to the Rotunda Gardens. Sunday, they were marched to Richmond Barracks. Kilgallon was sent first to Stafford Jail in England, then to Frongoch internment Camp in Wales with many other rebel prisoners. He gave his address at Stafford as The Heritage, Rathfarnham, Dublin; St. Enda’s. He appears in a group photograph taken at Stafford with a young Michael Collins. He had written to his parents before the Rising that he saw that trouble was coming. When they heard no news from him for a while they feared he might have been killed in the fighting. Bulfin’s sister was able to smuggle out a letter from Frongoch for him which read:
“The authorities said they would release some of us if we would sign a form promising not to take arms against His Majesty’s forces and give bonds to that effect. You know there are none of us here who could do that without betraying the cause we fought for, so I suppose we will have to stay. But it is worth it after all for if we signed these forms they would say they were justified in shooting our leaders as we were only dupes who did not know what we were fighting for. But they will never get us to do that, if they keep us here until we rot.”
The US Consul in Dublin, Edward L. Adams inquired as to the treatment of American citizens Kilgallon, Diarmuid Lynch (who became a naturalised citizen) and Éamon de Valera, who was also born in New York City. How much influence this actually carried is still a matter of debate, particularly in the case of de Valera; who had actually been sentenced to be executed. He held a position of command at Boland’s Mill. Some believe his American birth did save him, on diplomatic grounds. Others believe by the time his turn had come, they had decided the executions had become counter-productive and finished with executing the last two signatories; Seán MacDiarmada and James Connolly. Tom Clarke was a naturalised US citizen, and no issue was raised on his behalf. He and Pearse were among the first to be executed.

Part of the legacy of John ‘The Yank’ Kilgallon’s participation in the Easter Rising was a series of photographs he took at St Enda’s of comrades the day before the Rising begun.

Kilgallon was released before Christmas of 1916 and returned back to the US as part of a general amnesty. The following poem was published in The Brooklyn Eagle newspaper 28 December 1916:
“Under a spreading chestnut tree
The village blacksmith stands
The Smith a mighty man is he
With strong and sinewy hands
Yet worried Luke Kilgallon felt
And mourned since Easter Day
His son, a fine uprising Celt
Was far from Rockaway
For John had been at school with Pearse
That Dublin patriot grim
And when Pearse led his outbreak fierce
The Lion seized on him
Since then poor John, locked up in Wales
And even wails suppressed
Had shared the fare of British jails
Not quite a merry jest
‘A Merry Christmas I am free’
Flashed ‘neath the ocean foam
The smith a jolly man is he
His John is coming home.”
On his return, Kilgallon joined the US Navy and served as a machinist during World War I; though he doesn’t appear to have served overseas. He lived a quiet, apparently uneventful life afterwards managing the family business on Beach 19th Street. He died on 30 January, 1972, coincidentally an important date in Irish history known as ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Derry. The Rockaway peninsula, with its long strip of beaches on the Atlantic Ocean has often been called ‘The Irish Riviera’ and maintains a strong Irish presence to this day.
John Kilgannon Commeration, St. Mary Star of the Sea Cemetery in Cedarhurst, New York.
Online Sources:

(‘Who Fears To Speak Of Easter Week’ written and sung by famed Irish writer Brendan Behan – ‘Ireland’s laughing boy and resident working-class Dublin genius’)

 *
Our thanks go out to Kevin Rooney for this fascinating article. You can hear more from Kevin over at the Irish History 1916 through to 1923 and Everything Irish Facebook pages where he is an admin. Kevin also contributed to the Happy Birthday Mr Bob book, a celebration of Bob Dylan’s 80th Birthday, with submissions from Irish poets, writers, singers, songwriters, artists, photographers and an eclectic mix of admirers! Kevin is an excellent writer and earlier in the year we published Irish Born And Irish Americans : Separated By Common Heritage? about the sometimes troublesome relationship between the two.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download Dread Naught  Bandcamp

Contact The Killigans  YouTube  Facebook  Instagram

INTRODUCING RAVENSWALK. NEW BAND FROM BUFFALO

There is nothing better than coming across a new band you instantly fall for. Ravenswalk hail from Buffalo in New York State and while they have just started out they already have out some great sounding demos.

“though the crime rate may be bad and the snowstorms may be inconvenient, the cities friendly locals and beautiful scenery make Buffalo a good place to live.”

Buffalo is a strange city. Between the old steel plant and old industrial areas, yuppie lofts, Irish south Buffalo where street signs are still in Irish Gaelic, it’s a weird mix of blue collar laborers content with “Genny” (a local beer that’s pretty awful) and up and coming twenty-something’s drinking craft beer.

Buffalo Irish Centre mural

I was able to catch up with two friends playing at a local coffee shop on the WASPier north end of the suburbs playing some interesting stuff, outside the normal spectrum Of coffee house music. Ray and Clare make up “Ravenswalk”, a somewhat Celtic, somewhat protest, I think they threw an obscure Cohen song in there once. Weird stuff to hear in the realms of “Wagon Wheel” and “Hallelujah”, respectively by great artists, but cmon. We need to hear that like I need a hole in my head. Ray, acoustic guitar, some vocals here and there, had been playing Irish music since the get-go. He carried on “The Fighting 69th” for a number of years, he said, before taking a backseat to “weirder projects”. His taste is an enigma. One day he’s going from Gaslight Anthem there to The Dubliners and back to Social D.
Clare, to be fair, is an enigma unto herself. Classically trained, jazz lounge, the works. I’ve heard about 7 people there who said “she sings like an Angel”. All truth told, she does. Killer range, gorgeous but controlled vibrato, and a repertoire different but as random as Ray’s. Not as familiar to me, but hey, I like to think of myself as an aged punk who still listens to “Spirit of 77” sort of stuff.
According to both, Ray did a set on mandolin of “London Calling” (it was weird, just roll with it) and then went into a couple jigs. Clare I didn’t catch that night, but evidently she waved him down asking where he’d learned the jigs. Apparently they had zig zagged around the same Irish session music in Buffalo for a couple years but never met. Which is weird. It’s a damn small town.
They’ve done a few demo quality recording sessions, they said, and have about a dozen tunes at that quality on their Bandcamp site.

Bands, at least in my own experience, are a matter of the stars aligning in just the right way at the right time. I can’t tell you how much in my own experiences playing it’s just a matter of the right people in the same spot at just the right point.

3/24 Sessions

3/18 Sessions

3/16 Sessions

Their demos cover some interesting spans and arrangements. Are they brilliant?  Maybe not, but I see some cool potential in these two. We will see what comes out of it, but fingers crossed there will be something new and interesting I’ll pay attention to locally. It’s refreshing, I haven’t been able to say that in a fair while.

https://ravenswalk1.bandcamp.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download Still Groggin’

Contact The Groggy Dogs WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

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

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

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

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

Contact The Scratch  WebSite   Facebook  YouTube

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

ALBUM REVIEW: SIR REG – ‘Kings of Sweet Feck All’ (2022)

Swedish-Irish rockers Sir Reg are back with a new album, due out on April 1st. Anyone who loved 2018’s The Underdogs won’t be disappointed, as Brendan & Co. stay true to their solid reputation. Here we get yer tastebuds wet (have a Guinness to tide you over).

Kings of Sweet Feck All. Album #6 by the formidable Sir Reg – out April 1st 2022.

Not every Celtic punk band can sing about supermarkets, COVID-19, iPhones and fake news and get it to work. But one band that can, almost effortlessly, is Sir Reg. The upcoming album, entitled Kings of Sweet Feck All, boasts the band’s slick Celtic punk sound but is relentlessly modern at the same time.

Surprisingly then, the opening track is about history. “The Kings of Sweet Feck All” takes us back to the British rule that pervaded all of Ireland for many centuries. And yet, it comes at it from an unusual perspective – compassion. The band explain in the YouTube video description (see below) that some soldiers really were “the kings of sweet fuck all”, because they didn’t want to be there in the first place, and they knew what they were doing was wrong. But as the song says, if they’d stepped out of line, they’d have been treated just like their victims.

Lyric video to “The Kings of Sweet Feck All”, the title track.

After the opening track, the album takes a giant leap into the present day with “Goodbye To All Your Freedom”. With references to the coronavirus and pandemic, it’s pretty clear what loss of freedom Brendan Sheehy’s singing about here. He’s also encouraging the listener to sift through the fake news and make up their own mind. During a health crisis that’s shaken society right up, the amount of misinformation being banded about as truth was disappointing to see. Fortunately then, it’s not all doom and gloom as the choruses to this song give the listener a lift.

Another reaction – albeit more fun – to the pandemic is track #3 “Open The Pubs”. This was the first song from the new album to be revealed. It starts off slowly, before jumping into a rhythm that reminds me of The Real McKenzies’ “Bugger Off”…which is ironic, because “Open The Pubs” is trying to get people in the pub rather than out 😁 But how many Celtic folk/punk singers can sing about Netflix and get away with it? Well frontman Brendan, armed with his unmistakable voice, can. The band made a video for this one too, with a humorous quality to it, so check it out below if ye don’t know it yet.

“Open The Pubs”, track #3 from the new album. Liking the green violin, Karin! ☘️

Let down (and hangin’ around)

The band’s humour continues to show with the strangely titled “Tosspot City”. Another thrasher in A minor, the interplay between the drums and instruments is well done here, especially in the choruses. This lends the song a rhythm and beat that reminded me of another Reg favourite, 2018’s “Giving It Up (The Drink)”. Things then quieten down a wee bit for “Thank You For Your Lies”, led by the tin whistle and Karin Ullvin’s fiddle. The line We’re killin’ time and sippin’ wine, and prayin’ for this nightmare to go away seems to be about COVID again. But the song also laments the fact that various people – from online influencers to certain government figures – have let the people down during the pandemic.

This theme of “abusing the people” continues on heavier track #6 “This Coming Regime”, and this is a song that stands out. With an interesting use of samples, and another uplift that shifts the chorus up a few semitones, this was one of my favourite listens from the album. It’s definitely one of the more experimental, interesting tracks on the new record.

Teamwork

If the album hasn’t had enough o’ the drinking songs for your taste yet, then wait no longer: “Sober Up To Drink” is next 🍺 The Celtic instruments make a welcome return here, with the tin, fiddle and mandolin combining to form a strong team. Add to that a dose of the usual humour, with lines like Singin’ a song to a big crowded room, and I don’t think I know all the words / I fall off the stage and I piss me own jocks. A nightmare for any live musician 😂

Next, we come to the other song for which a video was made on YouTube, namely “Kick Out The Scum”. This one boasts another quality Sir Reg riff, one that reminds me of “FOOL (Fight Of Our Lives)”, one of my personal favourites by the band. Filip Burgman and Karin team up again on the mandolin and fiddle, and the band invites the listener/crowd to join in on a singalong chorus. Check out the video below, which boasts too much energy for society to handle 😁

“Kick Out The Scum”, track #8 and the third song for which a video was made.

Looking out for the little man

We round the album off with a few tracks more sombre in nature. “The Stinking Mattress” discusses supermarkets and homelessness, and a man who loses his job and his life to end up out on the streets. Keeping it relentlessly modern? Yep. On the penultimate track, the band aren’t telling people to give up the drink, but to “Give Up The Drugs”. And unlike “Giving It Up (The Drink)”, this song is deadly serious, with a clear message: find the help you need. Stay away from the people who deal and supply / They don’t give a rat’s ass if you live or die. Brutal and true.

One last ballad rounds the album off, in “The Story’s Been Told”. Sheehy’s lyrics about working-class life take us back to the roots of Celtic punk – and to Dublin in the ’80s as well. Modern technology gets another swipe (no pun intended!) here on the line We didn’t have iPhones, we played in the fields, and the title “The Story’s Been Told” seems to be lamenting how formulaic life can be these days, especially on social media. People nowadays have a lot compared to what they had in the past, and there are advantages to that. But as Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath once put it, “everybody knew each other in the street [when I was young] and everybody used to help each other out.” You don’t always get that nowadays, and life isn’t much better for it. So always acknowledge the little man, and keep looking out for him.

Line ’em up: Sir Reg, photo courtesy of Johan Lundsten.

11 pieces o’ gold

With explosive riffs, clever lyrics and plenty of the usual underdog spirit, Sir Reg emerge from the pandemic with a vengeance. Watch out for Kings of Sweet Feck All when it drops on April 1st, via Despotz Records. We’re sure you’ll enjoy these 11 pieces o’ gold. To get it, head to the band’s official webpage HERE. Or you can drop ’em a message on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter if ye have any questions or just want to chat to the band.

If money’s a bit tight at the moment (thanks, energy prices), then the album will also be available on the band’s Spotify, where they’ve built themselves an impressive following since their 2009 inception.

Sláinte! 🍻 Or as they say in Sweden, släng dig i väggen 😉

Andy x

ALBUM REVIEW: ROUGHNECK RIOT – ‘Burn It To The Ground’ (2022)

UK Folk-rockers Roughneck Riot return from a 4-year break with a loud and angry new album Burn It To The Ground.

Roughneck Riot have returned from an extended pandemic induced siesta to hit us with their latest album release Burn It To The Ground. This is the first release from the Warrington based hardcore folk punk outfit since Out Of Anger was released in 2014.

The past few years have been tough on us all and here at London Celtic Punks HQ we are delighted to see the influx of new music coming from every angle. We have taken this as a sign of normality returning. Burn It To The Ground certainly marks the return of Roughneck Riot to the scene.

The band are known for their hardcore edge whilst keeping touch with the folk punk sound. The album is well balanced, and the results are impressive. The album opens with the suitably titled tune “We’re Still Here” reminding us that they haven’t gone away y’know!! With a total of 12 tracks the album has something for everyone. The stand out tracks are “Cognitive Dissonance”, “No Cure For Us” and the title track “Burn It To The Ground”.

Often when bands take a break it’s hard to gauge what will happen on the other side. Roughneck Riot have come through their four year intermission sounding as good as ever. They are back on the road and no doubt we will be hearing much more of them. Hopefully we don’t have to wait 8 years for the next release.

TRACK LISTING

1. We’re Still Here
2. Stay Awake
3. A New Day Is Dawning
4. Don’t Count Me Out

5. Lampedusa
6. Cognitive Dissonance
7. Burn It To The Ground
8. Tired Eyes
9. We’ve Already Lost
10. The Reckoning
11. No Cure For Us
12. Fucks Sake

Burn It To The Ground is available on all streaming platforms and available to order in CD and vinyl wherever you are. It has been released on SBAM Records and is also available from them.

Buy Burn It To The Ground  FromTheBand

Contact The Roughneck Riot  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube 

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

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

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

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

“A disease of hate reminds of the seventies”

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Someday  Bandcamp

Contact Drunken Fighters  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

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

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

SIR REG – ‘Kick Out The Scum’

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

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

THE DREADNOUGHTS – ‘Cider Holiday’

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

THE FOGGY DUDE – ‘Bella Ciao’

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

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

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

SHANGHAI TREASON – ‘Failure To Launch’

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

FLATFOOT 56 – ‘Mud’

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

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

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

LCP INTERVIEW WITH THE AWARD WINNING TED HUTT!!

We are incredibly pleased to be able to bring you a interview with a man who has given so much to music but in particular to our wonderful Celtic-Punk scene. Our fella in the States Ray Ball chatted to Ted Hutt just the other day, Grammy Award-winning record producer, musician and songwriter and original guitarist and founding member of Flogging Molly. Ted is currently part of the Walker Roaders alongside The Pogues James Fearnley and Marc Orrell of Dropkick Murphys.

So I got the chance to talk to award winning producer, Flogging Molly founding member, and Walker Roaders guitarist Ted Hutt. Ted has worked with some of the the artists we all know and love and I am so thankful he took the time to talk to me on his approach to music production and working with those groups.

(The Walker Roaders- Smokestack Lightning – 2021)

Here’s the Q&A. I asked him a little bit to introduce himself. Here’s what he had to say-

“I have always loved music.  I have always loved collaboration where the sum is bigger than the parts (at least hopefully). I have always been thankful for music as a constant companion through good time and bad, and the constant reinvention to be creative and challenge to be creative. I have always felt stuck in bands, always a bit restricting?  I like a lot of things musically and producing gives me a way to dig into different parts of my record collection, to try different things from project to project. It’s interesting as I look through a body of work, that there are common themes and threads that come from the music that we grow up with.”

(Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies – 2002)

(Couple of years after Ted left Flogging Molly he returned on the Drunken Lullabies album as producer and mixer and also as co-writer for a few songs including the title track)

I mentioned again that the last person I saw him talk to was KT Tunstall, which I think was a little outside his usual spectrum. Here are his thoughts-
“Well, interestingly KT contacted me because she was working with a guy named Chris Leonard in Dublin, they were looking for someone to produce them. I guess the long story short was the names and artists they wanted to inspired by and the common denominator was me. I also know James Fearnley (Accordion Pogues, Accordion and Vocals Walker Roaders) and Marc Orrell (guitar, piano, a slew of instruments between DKM, Wild Roses, Walker Roaders, and a slew of other projects as well). I wouldn’t work on a project I didn’t think I couldn’t add something to…but there’s this thread of Irish/Scottish music…with the obvious others like Old Crow Medicine Show for example. I was a fan and thought it would be fun to work with them. I called their manager and next thing you know I’m recording with them at the Sound Emporium in Nashville. I asked them why they agreed and the pointed out the Link between the Celtic music I had made with Flogging Molly.  Interestingly enough there’s also that story telling element with Gaslight Anthem. Bruce Springsteen loved ‘59 Sound’ and sang in a Dropkick Murphys record (Peg o’ My Heart). Once you start digging, that Celtic thread is everywhere!

(KT Tunstall and Chris Leonard – Run Rudolph Run – 2021

Produced by Ted Hutt)

I actually started working on an outline for a book or movie or something about how much of the music we love today had Celtic roots.”

I asked a little bit about that story telling aspect, it obviously plays a huge role in Celtic tradition, but also in his productions. I pointed out the link in ‘59 Sound using “Great Expectations” “Estella” and “Marley’s chains we forged in life”-pulled directly from 19th British author Charles Dickens.
“I loved that lyric”, he said. “Mary I worried and stalled every night of my life/better safe than making the party”, and so many others on that record. I felt like I unearthed another layer, which is something I’m very interested in. It’s an attempt to draw the listener in immediately, but also layers, texture and subliminal stuff that keeps revealing the more they Listen.
The story, when all told, provides a sort of companionship with the listener and artist, it reminds the listener they’re not alone!”
He concluded-“That someone else has similar experiences, that they had similar feelings!  It reminds us “we are not alone in our struggles”. It’s always been important to me as a fan. Maybe we need that more than ever”.

Email: worldsendamerica info@worldsend.com

Instagram: Ted Hutt @tedhutt •Instagram

Facebook: Ted Hutt

Twitter: Ted Hutt (@Ted Hutt)|twitter

Thanks to Ray Ball for the interview. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys covers was one of the most viewed of the year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board the London Celtic Punks team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcamp site.

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

Sláinte (slahn-chuh): Irish for cheers. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Slainte  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

NEW ST. PATRICKS TUNE FROM GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS

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

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

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

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

ST. PATRICK’S DAY DRINKING

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

Contact Greenland Whalefishers  WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Spotify

EP REVIEW: WHISKEY’S WAKE – ‘Wake Up, Whiskey’ (2022)

Wake up, folks! It’s nearly time for Paddy’s Day ☘️ With THE day for Irish music just around the corner, we’re proud to feature a band whose new EP drops on March 11th, just in time for the celebrations. Grab yer favourite drink, put this one on and turn the volume up.

Whiskey’s Wake from Salt Lake City, Utah return with a new EP.

Today’s band goes by the name of Whiskey’s Wake. A self-described “Celtic-leaning rock band” from Salt Lake City, Utah, these six friends play a mixture of modern drinking songs, friendship anthems, and songs about…zombies 🧟🧟‍♀️ They’ve been inspired by the Misfits, the Dubliners and Rancid to name but a few. The boys actually made their first record a long time ago, when they were in their teens. But then life and school got in the way, and the band was on and off for many years. It wasn’t until the pandemic happened that they decided to take the band more seriously again – and we’re very glad they did 👍

On the EP, entitled Wake Up, Whiskey, we get right into the action on opening track “Whiskey Back”. This energetic song welcomes the listener with the familiar romp of Celtic rock/punk. With a week to go until March 17th, lead vocalist Adam Blair sings some very appropriate lyrics about enjoyin’ yer favourite drink. The sense of community spirit in this song is palpable too, as we continue to emerge from the pandemic and enjoy some real parties again! Let’s make some fucking noise, you say? I’ll drink to that 🥃

Music we enjoy

“We like to write music we enjoy, and think is worth listening to,” the band’s guitarist Patrick Reimherr told me. “And we do try to write songs that would make for fun live shows.” The latter statement certainly shows on track #2 “He’s Alive”. This one boasts more o’ those shout-out-loud barroom moments. The band put the song out ahead of time as a single, and I like how it moves effortlessly from chord to chord, underpinned nicely by Joel Pack’s slick basslines. The doo-wop singing towards the end made me grin as well 😁 More importantly, the song is proof of how hard the band worked on the EP as a whole, achieving a clean sound where the instruments all have space to breathe. So give “He’s Alive” a spin, ye lovable fecks:

“He’s Alive”, track #2 off Wake Up, Whiskey. This one has a good Celtic rock groove to it.

Red Haired Mary

“You Don’t Have to Run” is another energy-laden one, with a slower and more experimental passage halfway through. The rhythm section of Andreas Petersen (accordion), Danny Houpt (banjo) and Derek Julio (drums) combines to good effect here, making for a generally enjoyable listen. The standout track in the latter half of the EP has to be the band’s dynamic take on “Red Haired Mary”, though. We start off slow, before the pace builds for the rest of the song. The band are especially stoked about this modern rock version of the Irish standard, so be sure to check it out when the record drops this week!

All in all, Wake Up, Whiskey is a welcome return to Celtic music for the Wake, as the band nickname themselves. It’s a well-produced record, with the instruments working nicely together, and there are signs of more to come. “We actually have lots of material ready to go,” Patrick confirmed. “And we hope to release another, longer album this year.” Bring it on. Some shows could also be on the cards, so keep yer eyes peeled, especially if you live in the Intermountain region (that’s Utah, Nevada and Idaho to anyone who doesn’t know).

So where can I hear the record?

You can get the EP when it drops tomorrow, on March 11th! Follow the band on Instagram or Facebook, they’ll tell you where it’s available. If money’s a wee bit short, there’s also the band’s Spotify or Apple Music profiles, where you can even hear the band’s early high-school material if ye like.

Bring on St. Paddy’s week!

Andy x

BOOK REVIEW: MICHAEL CROLAND – ‘Celtic Punk Superfan’ (2022)

Anyone up for the history of Celtic Punk in 42 pages? We’re not kidding 🙂 We review a lot of albums, but sometimes books come our way too. This one is for die-hard fans, by a die-hard fan. Add in a dose of Judaism and Latin America, and you’ve got a unique take on Celtic punk. Check this out!

Celtic Punk Superfan by Michael Croland.. A must-read for any Celtic punk fan!

Celtic Punk Superfan is a neatly presented little chapbook (i.e. about 40 pages), and the title describes the author accurately ☘️ Though Michael started out writing about Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys for his college newspaper, the book’s preface carries a dedication to Neck – an early sign that Michael doesn’t just discuss the big names. “Every day’s St. Patrick’s Day”, the band once said. And if you’re Irish at heart, with an understanding and respect for the music, then the door’s open for you to discover more.

Neck get a mention in the book. Here’s their cracker of a tune “Always Upsettin’ Somebody”.

Introduction: Context

Celtic Punk Superfan starts by looking at the role Celtic punk has played in representing the Irish as a group of people. Shane and the Pogues get an early mention, and we’re happy to announce that a few webzines do too – including yours truly, London Celtic Punks 🙂☘️ So thanks for that, Michael!

The author explains how and why bands like Flogging Molly and the Dropkicks originated in the US, rather than in Ireland and Scotland. Their roots in the British Isles are obvious, but then so is the Irishness of Boston, for example. We’re reminded of how Celtic people throughout the world have put their voices and feelings into music. Plus, a lot of references from other literature are included here, proof that the author has definitely done his homework 👍

Foundation: The Two Heavyweights

Back in 2002, Michael was a student at Carnegie Mellon uni. He was as keen on writing Celtic punk articles as he was on writing assignments ☘️ He interviewed Bridget from Flogging Molly, and went to see the band live. The result was two articles that make up half of chapter 1. We look at Dave King’s exile from Ireland, the impact this had on Flogging Molly’s early music, and we’re treated to a quote by the man himself:

“Anyone who has a beating heart in their chest can relate to what I’m singing.”

– Dave King

We then move on to the Dropkick Murphys. Michael sees these guys as a different beast, one fuelled by working class pride and sport, e.g. the Boston Bruins (pictured below). The author was there in 2004 when the Murphys played to a sold-out Pittsburgh crowd, one that didn’t hesitate to rush the stage, if they weren’t just invited up by the band anyway.

Ice hockey team the Boston Bruins, supported by the Dropkick Murphys.

It’s always good to read about gigs where you can feel the energy coming off the page. Chapter 1 gives us plenty of that, and it reminds me fondly of the heart and soul I poured into Folk Springs Eternal. Now we move on to chapter 2…

JewIrish: Connections as a Jew

Now we all know that a book about Celtic punk is anything but boring. But chapter 2 gives us an angle that most people wouldn’t think of. Michael is Jewish, and he talks about the holy Yom Kippur and Purim holidays. But what about Celtic punk? Michael asked himself, “is there such thing as a Jewish-Irish music connection?”

Well, klezmer punk exists, so maybe yes. Michael looks at bands who’ve tried to blend the two influences. There’s Josh Lederman y Los Diablos and the White Shabbos, to name two examples. The Shabbos only recorded one album as far as I’m aware (2004’s Shabbos Holy Shabbos), and the production quality could have been a bit better. But these bands were capable of making a noise as good as any Celtic punk band, make no mistake about that.

The White Shabbos played a blend of Jewish, bluegrass and country music. Give this a listen!

Somehow, Celtic music seems to attract Jewish people. And if there really is a common thread, then two words sum it up: tradition and persecution. The former is something that both Jews and Celtic punks carry with them. The latter, sadly, is something that both have been victims of. And if they survived, they were often displaced, longing for their homelands.

But Saints and Tzadiks are another good example of a band who tried it. So are Black ’47 actually, with their song “Izzy’s Irish Rose” (see below). These guys aimed to mix klezmer with Irish folk. While it’s not quite Celtic punk, it does sometimes feature singing in both Yiddish and Irish. And it’s mixing the old with the new, which is exactly what Celtic punk does! Finally, Jem Finer from the Pogues (Jewish on his dad’s side) gets a mention as the chapter rounds out.

“Izzy’s Irish Rose” by Black ’47 takes an interesting turn from 3:08 onwards 🙂

This is a groundbreaking chapter by Michael, and one that I feel has postgraduate potential to it. Ian Prowse did a Master’s in Irish Studies, so why not? ☘️ But now for the rest of the book…

Ethnic Punk, Celtic Punk

The remaining chapters are a wee bit shorter, as we arrive at Michael’s blog. Michael ultimately draws the conclusion that he likes Celtic punk for its own sake, although there might be an aspect of his Jewish pride to it as well. He continues to discuss the different takes on the music, whether it’s Yidcore (punk first, Jewish second) or Golem (Jewish first, punk second).

Finally, we arrive in the year 2021, in the midst of that pesky COVID-19 pandemic. St. Patrick’s week is underway, bringing us livestreams across different continents, with the Dropkicks, Flogging Molly, the Real McKenzies, Flatfoot 56 and the Fighting Jamesons all checkin’ in. There was an online Latin American festival too, with South American bands using a lot of the instruments we’re used to seeing in Celtic punk. If the music has made it around the world, then so has the dress sense, clearly 😊

The last 2022 postscript brings us right up to date. Now people are starting to go to gigs again. Alas, some shows are still getting cancelled, and some people are still hesitant to go until we get further out of the woods. But the only way is up from here! Michael has the final word with a wee poem he penned for the Celtic punk fan. It contains tributes to various Celtic punk acts, including Vanilla Ice (okay I’m joking, but he does get a mention!)

So…

All in all, it was never just about The Pogues, or Flogging Molly, or the Dropkicks. Celtic punk has reached far and wide, and the scene remains healthy with different bands and fans springing up all over the world. Michael has put his heart and soul into a book about his love of the genre, and his own personal take on it. The book is also well edited and presented; as such, we wish Michael the best of luck with it!

Get your copy of Celtic Punk Superfan by Michael Croland from the author HERE.

Sláinte and l’chaim!

Andy x

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Jamie Clarke’s Perfect WebSite Facebook YouTube Instagram

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

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

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

THE POGUE TRADERS 2022 ST. PATRICK’S TOUR

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

Leeds – Brudenell Social Club Friday March 11th

Holmfirth – Picturedrome Saturday March 12th

London – Half Moon Putney, Thursday 17th March

Glasgow, – McChuills Saturday, March 19th

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

The Pogue Traders  Facebook WebSite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DRUNKEN FIGHTERS – Someday

WHISKEYS WAKE – Wake Up Whiskey

THE KINGS PIPERS – Tradition

SLAINTE – Up Down 95

THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG – Red Kite Rising

THE ROUGHNECK RIOT – Burn It To The Ground

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALBUM REVIEW: OYSTERBAND – ‘Read The Sky’ (2022)

The stars-and-skies theme of 2022 continues with the 12th studio album by award-winning folk rock legends Oysterband. With Read The Sky, the band emerges from pandemic and lockdown hell with ten new songs, and proof that there’s plenty left in the tank yet, both musically and politically.

Read The Sky. The 12th studio effort by folk rock legends Oysterband. Out March 4th!

Like with Ian Prowse’s One Hand on the Starry Plough, what we have here is a collection of songs that aren’t typically Celtic punk. But while the music might not be similar to the likes of “Granite Years” or “The Road to Santiago”, you can never question the impact that John and the boys have had on the UK folk scene since their ’70s inception. Let’s kick things off with “Born Under the Same Sun”; this opener introduces the album’s slick production values, and discusses the changes that our society has seen in recent years. So is the music relevant? You bet. The song is a fine reminder of the socially aware attitude that the band have often embraced, particularly back in the ’90s, and taken into their recording sessions, which this time were done under COVID conditions.

Next up we have “The Corner of the Room”, track #2. This was released as a single just recently, and in my view it was a good choice. The song is a personal tale of hope and ambition, one sure to be popular among devoted fans of the band. The upbeat mood continues here, and I had to smile at the reference to the Isle of Skye, not too far from my now-home of Glasgow.

Reinventing the fiddle (sort of)

From the album booklet, track 3 “Roll Away” looks like it might be a tune (due to the lack of lyrics). Don’t be fooled – it’s a Back Door Slam cover, written by the hands of Davy Knowles. This is where the fiddle, that archetypal Celtic punk instrument, comes to the fore in a somewhat unorthodox way. Many Celtic punk fans are used to hearing the instrument lead the way, in the form of various jigs and reels (think Dan Booth’s work with Ferocious Dog, for instance). But here, the fiddle takes on a different role. Ian Telfer gives the strings more of a twitch on “Roll Away”, in a way that reminded me of some of Hilary Hahn’s work. Ian is one of three remaining members from Oysterband’s early recording line-up, with lead vocalist John Jones and guitarist Alan Prosser being the other two.

The interesting violin work continues during “Wonders Are Passing”. This reflective, Earth-centred track features a solo in the middle, but what struck me was that the fiddle never truly seems to take off. It sounds more restrained than freeform, though this isn’t a bad thing. In fact it would seem intentional, as if it were done to match the mood of the lyrics. “Fly or Fall” has more of the same – some excellent fiddle runs and a catchy chorus, but again, the fiddle still doesn’t steal the limelight.

“Wonders Are Passing”. Track #4 of Read The Sky, and available on YouTube with a beautiful wee video.

The fiddle finally does blossom out towards the end of track #6, “My Son”. The moral behind this track is with great power comes great responsibility, just like in the famous film 😉 In that sense, there’s no better time for Ian to step forward and showcase his skills than during the beautiful outro to this song.

The reeds and the pipes

It might not be your typical Celtic punk album, but Read The Sky doesn’t omit the other familiar folk instruments completely. “Star of the Sea” marks the welcome return of the accordion that fans will know and love from the likes of 1995’s “Put Out the Lights”. “Sea” whisks us away on a brief journey to the far-flung reaches of Hong Kong, and I did wonder if the Dolores in question is the sadly missed Dolores O’Riordan. But the Cranberries frontwoman passed away in London, though she did play in Hong Kong several times.

If “Star of the Sea” didn’t copy “Put Out the Lights” in featuring the uilleann pipes, track #9 “Streams of Innocence” makes up for this. The penultimate track boasts some o’ those piping passages, underpinned by a strong, rolling rhythm. But what about track #7, “Hungry For That Water”? This one is one of the album’s more mystic moments, especially in terms of the lyrical imagery. Add to this some intriguing acoustic soloing that brings to mind Shane MacGowan’s “Lorca’s Novena”, and you’ve got a song whose impact stays with you for longer than you’ll initially realise.

The time is now

The band close the album out in a similar vein to how they opened it; they make another clear socio-political statement with the title track. “The Time Is Now” was the first single released to radio, and fittingly the band performed it during COP26 on BBC Radio 2. The song has a catchy hook to it, underlined by bassist and producer Al Scott’s work on the four-string. John’s lyrics point to the changes we’re seeing near and far in Mother Nature. And the message rings true; in an age where we all need to do something to protect the one world we’ve got, the time really is now. Leave the car at home where possible. Avoid single-use plastic where possible. Sign a petition where possible. We the people have more power than we think on this one. And that’s exactly how it should be.

“The Time Is Now”. The band’s personal statement amid the COP26 conference of late 2021.

“The Time Is Now” puts a thoughtful finishing touch to a well-conceived and well-rounded record. When my wife asked me to describe the album as a whole, one comparison I drew was with another group of British folk-rock legends, namely Fairport Convention. We saw them in Oysterband’s native Canterbury just before the pandemic hit, and perhaps the comparison is fitting, as Oysterband have performed at Fairport’s Cropredy festival on a number of occasions. Either way, we are reminded fondly that folk music knows no barriers. Groups young and old[er] are embracing the genre and working hard, year after year, to keep the music and life’s important messages alive.

Right…where can I get it?

Read The Sky is out on Friday 4th March on Running Man Records. One way to pre-order it is HERE. Give the album a spin, and see what thoughts of your own come to mind. The lyrics are included in the booklet, along with a beautiful wee quote by Emily Dickinson, THAT famous reclusive 19th-century poet.

Alternatively, if ya ditched your CD player years ago in favour o’ streaming, then keep an eye on the band’s Spotify profile HERE or Apple Music profile HERE, where you can refresh your memory of the band’s previous material while awaiting the March 4th release date. Lastly, whatever your choice of listening format, make sure you catch the band on their UK tour commencing April 2022.

ALBUM REVIEW: BURBRIDGE AND BOOTH – ‘Icons’ (2021)

Make way for a Celtic punk superduo! When the highly respected and prolific Nick Burbridge contacted Ferocious Dog’s Dan Booth, he suggested making an album together. Dan quickly agreed, and the project was on. The result is Icons, an unorthodox folk-punk album that showcases more fine work from these two men. Check it out!

Icons by Nick Burbridge (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Dan Booth (fiddle).

As we all know, Celtic punk often boasts the crunch of an electric guitar and the crack of a drum head. That’s why Icons is not your typical Celtic punk record. The album is entirely acoustic, a stripped-back undertaking that sounds like it could be played at a spontaneous pub session. But don’t be fooled: Nick Burbridge has lost none of his musical competence from the days of McDermott’s Two Hours. His wit is as sharp as ever too, with an onslaught of clever, poetic and politically aware lyrics. The album launches us straight into the action with the title track. “Icons” points the finger at imperialist figures of the past, and the human rights atrocities that wouldn’t be tolerated today. If we all pull together, we can tear these figures down, begins the chorus. Together with the line We stand as one and take the knee, this song makes a clear statement for the current times. The use of the word “icons” is meant in a disdainful, rather than respectful manner.

“Icons” is the title track, and sets the tone for the record.

Nick has struggled with depression over the years, and as such, he uses his work to call attention to people who feel (or simply are) rejected by mainstream society. This theme continues on “Soldier’s Heart”, a song that provides a grim insight into the day-to-day horrors of war, and its ugly brother, war crimes. This creates an atmosphere that only lets up during the mid-section, where a drop in pitch makes way for the warmer tones of Nick’s voice. Another track that provides a temporary break from the hard-hitting lyrics is “Judgement Day”. I had to smile at lyrics like My friend Flynn’s on the last train in, and the line about a sex worker who describes her male customer as “awful small”, to which he replies: I’m gettin’ old now, you’re lucky there’s anythin’ there at all.

Dan Booth, Ferocious Dog and The Levellers

So far, we’ve praised Nick’s contributions highly. But the other half of this record is Dan Booth, fiddler and founding member of Ferocious Dog, no strangers to the Celtic punk fan. Dan takes over the proceedings towards the end of “Cover Me”, which the Dog themselves recorded on 2019’s Fake News and Propaganda. It’s got working down the pit, it’s got prostitution, it’s got fighting. And it’s got wounded souls, who are longing for some protection from the world. As I listened to Dan’s jig, I was transported straight to a pub in Ireland, watching an evening session in an intimate setting. Dan regales us with more slick, fast-paced interludes in “Living on Thin Air”, another Dog number, and if ye’ve never seen the version where Dan, Ken and the lads were joined by Nick on stage, take a look ‘ere, ye ken:

Living on Thin Air, played live by Ferocious Dog featuring Nick Burbridge.

“Dirty Davey” is another title you might recognise. None other than The Levellers covered this one way back in ’93, on their self-titled effort that went all the way to #2 in the UK. The band have cited Nick and McDermott’s Two Hours as a key influence, and the opening piss-take of English Country Garden here is sure to make you smirk. The song then continues in its verbal abuse of political corruption, and the associated treatment of suspects and prisoners.

Nick on guitar and vocals, Dan folkin’ the fiddle, and a collaborative album to match.

Corruption and oppression

When Nick released War Without Honour, a collaborative non-fiction book from 1989, it kicked up a storm. This album might achieve the same, if the intended political targets were to listen to it (it’d be good music for a party). Sadly, it’s doubtful that they will, but the twelve tracks here are still fine examples of Nick’s poetic prowess and Dan’s signature fiddle runs. Icons is a protest album that relentlessly goes for the bollocks, but is sensitive at the same time, looking out for the oppressed and lamenting the corruption of the masters, whatever their various guises may be.

It’s clear that the main goal of the Nick’n’Dan project is not commercial success, but to remind people that corruption and greed are always present. And that it’s up to us individuals to keep them in check. In that sense, congratulations to Nick and Dan on conceiving this unique album, and an additional “thank you” goes to Sarah Huson-Whyte and Tim Cotterell, two more greatly skilled musicians who supplied additional instrumentation to the record.

You can get your copy of “Icons” by going HERE. You’ll also find A3 prints of the artwork that Jez from the Levellers produced for the album! Alternatively, if ye need to support the artists for free, the album is also available for streaming on YouTube, Spotify and the like.

Stay folky,

Andy x

ALBUM REVIEW: SYR- ‘Sentinel’ (2022)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Sentinel  From The Band-CD  Download

Contact Syr  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

INTERVIEW: IAN PROWSE – ‘One Hand on the Starry Plough’

In part 2 of our Ian Prowse special, we’ve interviewed the man himself. Ian’s fourth solo record One Hand on the Starry Plough comes out on February 11th, which is mere days away! If you’re familiar with Ian’s back catalogue, or ya wanna know more about him and his contributions to Celtic music, then check the interview further down ☘️

One Hand on the Starry Plough. The fourth solo effort from Ian Prowse, out February 11th.

If ya missed our very recent review of Ian’s upcoming album One Hand on the Starry Plough, be sure to check that out HERE. Other than that, let’s get into the interview, and see what Ian himself has to say about the new record! Here it is…

London Celtic Punks sit down with Ian Prowse on the eve of his fourth studio album.

We would like to congratulate Ian on a job well done, especially during the terrible lockdowns that have affected so many musicians’ lives. One Hand on the Starry Plough is available now on Kitchen Disco Records, you can get it HERE. You can also get a taster of what the album has to offer, by checking out the official YouTube video to track #1 “Battle” below:

“Battle”, track #1 from One Hand on the Starry Plough by Ian Prowse.

Sláinte mhaith! 🥃 And enjoy the music ☘️

ALBUM TEASER: IAN PROWSE – ‘One Hand on the Starry Plough’ (2022)

One album we’ve been looking forward to in 2022 is the new offering by Ian Prowse. The seasoned singer-songwriter is known for his work in rock genres. But his contributions to Celtic music can’t be underestimated, and he hasn’t forgotten those influences on his upcoming record.

One Hand on the Starry Plough by Ian Prowse. Out 11th February 2022.
One Hand on the Starry Plough by Ian Prowse. Out 11th February 2022.

Released off the back of a tough time for musicians and artists, One Hand on the Starry Plough will be Ian’s fourth solo record. We’ve been granted an early listen, and the album has all the right people behind it. Long-time pal and bandmate Tony Kiley was chosen as producer, and a wide range of guest musicians lend their instruments and voices to the record. The result is a diverse and exciting album, where bluesy rock, choir singalongs and – of course – folk music all turn up for it.

Now…Ian is perhaps best known for his work with Liverpool-based band Amsterdam, whose single “The Journey” hit #32 in the UK charts back in 2005. But he’s no stranger to the Celtic music that we all know and love. Ian has participated in the Irish Sea Sessions, and he holds an MA in Irish Studies from the University of Liverpool. While at uni, he concentrated his work on the role of Christy Moore in Irish folk music, which I bet was an interesting and rewarding write-up ☘️ Both Moore and Elvis Costello have given Prowse their seal of approval, and Ian’s first band Pele supported The Pogues back in the day too.

So while Starry Plough ain’t your typical Celtic punk record, it’s well worthy of a closer look. We’re gonna keep things Celtic by focusing in on some of the album’s folky moments.

Holy, Holy River

It’s not long before the album makes its mark in terms of the Celtic influences. Track #2 “Holy, Holy River” is arguably the strongest song on the album. The fiddles and tin whistles that burst into view remind us of the warm, romantic feeling that Irish music brings to every heart. The song then grows into a stomping rock track, with some tin whistle soloing in the middle and the eponymous one hand on the starry plough lyric repeating during the outro.

Ian has said that the album, as a whole, is about hope. It’s about looking up at The Plough in the starry night sky, and realising that we DO have one hand on it. As long as there is hope in life, we’re not lost 🙂 So “Holy, Holy River” is a worthy centrepiece to the album, and is reminiscent in places of another popular Prowse piece, “Does This Train Stop On Merseyside?“, which was covered by none other than Christy Moore on his successful album Listen.

Ian Prowse. A seasoned singer-songwriter with a lot of support behind him.

Dan

Another song to stomp around to is track 8, entitled “Dan”. The catchy, attention-grabbing lyrics here are bolstered by the fiddles in the background, and again the tin whistle is along for the ride. These familiar instruments come to the fore in another folky interlude, and they stick around for the second half of the song.

Interestingly, this song also mentions Cork City and Michael Collins at one point. Now Collins wasn’t born in Cork City (though he was born in Co. Cork), but he did go to the city to speak, and he was there during the Irish Civil War. The “Dan” in question doesn’t appear to be Dan Breen, though – it seems to refer to a musician, not a politician. Maybe it’s the singer-songwriter Dan Donnelly? Ian himself can surely tell us more next week. So in other words, watch this space…😉

My Old Black Tie

The final song to highlight is “My Old Black Tie”, a beautiful, melancholy ballad found in the middle of the record. The fiddle gels well with the electric guitar here, but perhaps it’s the lovely wee flute solo at the end that steals the show. Proof – as if we needed it – that Irish music can be quiet or loud, and still powerful in both cases. Drawing the listener back to the album’s main theme is always a good way to round off the first half of a record, and Ian does that as he sings: Do you remember the starry sky? / Do you remember all our lives?

Bring on the release!

“Diego” and “Big Feelings” have Celtic elements to them too. But give the album a spin yourself when it comes out on February 11th – which ain’t all that far away now! 😉 With an imaginative new record on offer, Ian’s back, and he’s taking on the world once again. If ye really can’t wait until Feb 11th and you need a sneak peek of the album right now, then check out the official video to track #1 “Battle”. Here it is:

“Battle”, track #1 from One Hand on the Starry Plough by Ian Prowse.

One Hand on the Starry Plough is available for pre-order HERE. To check out Ian’s previous work via the streaming platforms, look him up on Spotify or Apple Music. Or catch up with him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram too.

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS 2021 READERS CHOICE WINNER ANNOUNCED

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

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018 – KRAKIN’ KELLYS 169 votes  (524 total)

2019 – MICKEY RICKSHAW 94 Votes  (476 total)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READERS 2018 * READERS 2019 * READERS 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: SHANGHAI TREASON – ‘Shanghai Treason’ (2022)

2 years ago, Sheffield-based Shanghai Treason played their first gig. Now the wait is over…January ’21 sees the release of their self-titled debut album! If you’re partial to a bit o’ Dropkicks, Flogging and Roughneck Riot (and if you’re reading this, you probably are), then these “Yorkshire banjo punks” should be to yer liking. This record sounds like a band working hard, having fun, and determined to make a difference.

Shanghai Treason. From Sheffield, and keen to keep the local music scene going.

As we all know, the banjo is a firm favourite in any Celtic punk line-up. And on this record, the instrument makes its mark immediately. “Emerald Causeway” is a cracking tune to start things off, an energetic number where banjoist Tom Hardy leads the way.

This is a sign of a band that shows promise, and we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed. The boys have been picked up by none other than The Rumjacks, who’ve taken them out on their current UK tour. Sadly, some shows have been cancelled – including Glasgow, dammit – but it’s a great early opportunity for the band in any case.

Now, the music might make an impression on the listener, but so too do the lyrics. In next track “Gatling Gun”, which has been released as a single, we hear clever lines from singer Sam Christie such as The city sucked me in, and moved the goalposts. A better one is Would you sew my eyes shut? I got a needle – you got any thread? That one’s from “The Fiendish Blue”, and I had to grin when I heard it. It’s always good to see a band using words in an intriguing way, right down to their band name.

Dynamic music

Shanghai Treason stays true to the Celtic punk tradition, by boasting its fair share of speedy, 2/4-time songs. Listen to “On The Ropes”, where the accordion takes over and gives the banjo a wee rest. “Wildfire” sounds like it’ll be another thrasher, but a break in the middle saves it, before we’re plunged back into the fast-paced fun. Importantly, “Wildfire” also features Dan Booth, well known for his work with Ferocious Dog. Dan played fiddle on the track, and also co-handled production of the album. For Shanghai’s take on FD’s “Crime And Punishment”,

Despite the faster numbers, the band is apt at writing slower tunes too. “Uphill Battle” is a good example, with a steady jig rhythm commencing halfway through, making the song one of my favourites on the album. A much sadder example is “Hero’s Welcome”, a song about a POW returning home from war, only to be suspected of being a spy and tragically killed. Closing track “Boatman” is the other acoustic-led one, where the eponymous boatman could be literal, or maybe a metaphor, leaving it up to interpretation.

Where can I hear the album?

The best way to show these lads some support is to head to their Bandcamp page. There, you’ll find not only the album but some kick-ass merch. If ye fancy a listen first, there’s a wealth of videos on the band’s YouTube page for you to try, and be sure to subscribe!

If streaming’s your thing, and ye wanna contribute some royalties to the band, you can also give them a listen on Spotify or Apple Music. Last of all, be sure to drop ’em a message and stay in touch on either Facebook or Instagram. Their Facebook page lists lots of upcoming shows as the world slowly gets back to gigging ways.

Thanks for readin’! Or as they say in Scotland…slàn leat agus pòg mo thòin 😁☘️

Andy x

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

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

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

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

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

CHRISTY MOORE – Flying Into Mystery   (Here)

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

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

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

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

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

JIM LINDBERG – Songs From The Elkhorn Trail (Here)       

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

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

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

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

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

DAN WALSH – Live at the Floodgate   (Here)

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

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

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

WATCH OUT FOR PART 2 COMING THIS WEEKEND!

IRISH-BORN AND IRISH-AMERICANS; SEPERATED BY COMMON HERITAGE?

by Kevin Rooney

Before I became active on social media; I had noticed a lot of hostility, even abuse directed toward Irish-Americans on Irish groups and pages. I even experienced a bit myself. Before that I suppose I was aware of how unpopular Americans are abroad, but had hoped the relationship of the Irish with their American cousins would somehow have overridden that.

      Here, I would like to sincerely and sensitively (as objectively as I can) examine what I have observed about Irish-American attitudes toward Ireland and native Irish attitudes toward Irish-Americans. My purpose is for understanding and bringing together the branches of our worldwide diaspora. In trying to see both sides of the issues, I am not trying to be patronising, derogatory or offensive. The opinions and observations here are mine alone. I speak for nobody else.
       More than blood, I believe the millions all over the world who love Ireland makes a worldwide family. I mention that for the sake of members of that family with no Irish blood. The blood thing really hit home for me, though when I visited my cousins in Yorkshire, England. There we were with our different accents; English-born Irish, American-born Irish, Irish-born Irish. The distinctions disappeared into the common denominator, our shared heritage. My cousin in England is a gifted musician. I make some noise myself. When we play Irish music together, we instantly can read each other’s minds. It’s an instinct. American or English birth doesn’t undo that.

DIASPORA

      Four out of five children born in Ireland in the 1930’s, emigrated in the 1950’s, including my parents who came to the US. Of course, untold numbers fled here from the genocide of the Great Hunger in the 1840’s and afterward and spread pretty thoroughly so that one isn’t surprised to hear anyone here say that they have Irish heritage. The US version of the show “Who Do You Think You Are” featured many US celebrities who had Irish heritage of which they didn’t even know. A big part of tourism to Ireland is genealogy from Americans wanting to trace their Irish roots. With the popularity of ancestral DNA, many people are discovering they have Irish ancestry.  I have seen much of this myself.

CONNECTION 

        There is a wide variance of connection to Ireland among the over 33 million Americans who claim Irish ancestry. Some, like myself; were born of Irish parents (first generation), have been to Ireland many times, keep up with current events there, and maintain close ties with relatives there. It’s important to know and remember that I grew up in New York, a city with a large Irish community.
        That community enabled me to grow up with a strong sense of what it was to have Irish heritage. Having spent summers in Ireland as kid made me fall in love with Ireland in my own personal way. This also made me take a strong interest in Irish history and what was then happening in the North. I read Irish-American newspapers such as The Irish Echo that kept its American readers well-informed on events there. We even got a Republican newspaper called The Irish People. I rubbed elbows in pubs drinking and singing with Irish immigrants. We had Gaelic Park in The Bronx where my dad took my brother and I to see hurling and Gaelic football played. I went to Irish fairs and festivals where I was able to hear lots of good live Irish music and buy lots of books and videos of historical interest.
       All these things I mention would not have been accessible years ago to probably most of the number in America who call themselves Irish, that did not live in places with large Irish communities. This information is all available to them now that we have the internet, and Facebook, which is the purpose of our pages; to promote Irish history and culture. I have known people who are several generations removed from Ireland that have an instinct, or a calling for their heritage that even they don’t understand.
       Their link may be only that they have an Irish last name, red hair, freckles, oral family tradition, or have recently discovered that an ancestor came from Ireland. My brother lives in a city in the southern US where there is no Irish community to speak of, nor many catholics. When I have gone to visit, I meet people who think or suspect they may have Irish heritage. I am amazed at how one wouldn’t know that, but this is what happened over the course of generations in the US. The people there know so little about Ireland that they would probably believe anything they heard about it.  I recently met a nurse here in New York named Megan who wore a shamrock on her name tag, identifying herself as Irish. When I asked where her family was from, she said “Cork, I think. Not sure.”

NATIONALITY/ETHNICITY 

         Why would she call herself Irish? Because in the States, many of us tend to define ourselves by whence our families came. Remember, the US is a nation made up of people who came from everywhere else. Every language on earth is spoken in my county of Queens, NY. American is a nationality, not an ethnicity. For a person of Irish heritage who is born in Ireland, his nationality and ethnicity are one and the same. One does not have “American” blood or an “American” family name (except Native Americans, of course. That’s a whole other story…).  Here in the states we tend to confuse the term nationality with ethnicity, which is ironic considering it is a nation of multiple ethnicities.
“What nationality are you?”
“Irish” (This is how an Irish-American would respond in the US.)
“Why? What are you?”
“Half Irish/half Italian”.
That’s another thing I think people in Ireland couldn’t understand; how someone could be “half Irish”.  My neighbourhood was full of such Irish-Italian and Irish-German kids.
          A bartender I knew was nicknamed Scotty for his Glasgow accent. The subject of nationalities came up and referring to himself he said; “You figure it out. I’m from Scotland. My parents were from Kerry, I was raised in Canada, and now I’m an American citizen.”
I saw it this way:
He was born in Scotland, with Irish blood.
He was raised in Canada, with Irish blood.
He will likely die in the USA, with Irish blood.
Your nationality can change, but your ethnicity doesn’t change. Ironically in Ireland now, because of the immigration that came from The Celtic Tiger, there are lots of people who are Irish by birth, but not by blood. I believe this serves well to expand the idea of an inclusive Irishness, “cherishing all children of the nation equally”.
       I hear people from Ireland say that they feel that their nationality is being watered down or cheapened by Americans calling themselves Irish, particularly those with only a remote connection. I must admit at times I have been disgusted with the ignorance of many of my fellow Americans who call themselves Irish, who know or care nothing about Ireland. That is, except for one day of the year. I have been accused of being arrogant in my attitude about my own Irishness. I have strong opinions on Irish things because of my familiarity with them. I have little tolerance for fools and bullshit in general, but most especially when it comes to Ireland. So I do understand the irritation.
      However, those who do care about Ireland (to varying degrees) see her as our Motherland, that instinct again. People from Ireland don’t seem to understand this feeling that’s widely felt all over the diaspora…until they leave Ireland. Just as one fails to see the forest for the trees. That’s who our parents and grandparents are, the ones who left and subconsciously passed along their homesickness. Christy Moore described this longing of which I speak quite beautifully:
“In the City of Chicago
As the evening shadows fall
There are people dreaming
Of the hills of Donegal.”
       I have a friend I have known for 30 years since he came to New York from Ireland. When he first met me, I don’t think he understood how I felt about Ireland. In the years since, he has married a woman from Ireland and had a son, whom they had baptised in Ireland. He totally gets it now. His son is an American, but I’m sure he will also know he is Irish and be proud of it.

KNOWLEDGE/PERCEPTION 

      As I mentioned earlier, people without close ties to Ireland or who have never been there may not know very much about Ireland. Something I would ask people to remember is that Ireland is a country you hear nearly nothing about in the US. No more than you’d hear about Finland. So, many Irish-Americans have never heard of Dáil Éireann, Fine Gael or Fianna  Fáil, etc. Contrast this to how much the Irish hear about US politics, quite a lot.
       Even during the conflict in the North, the mainstream media in the US reported little and it was one-sided. Proportionally very few Americans were knowledgeable about the North, though let it be said the few who were were active in taking a role in putting pressure on the US Government to get involved in the peace process. They were also very supportive of the Republican movement. This lead to another perception that Irish-Americans are naive and romantic on the subject. I have recently seen venomous hatred directed at Irish-Americans from Loyalists for their reputation of support for the Republicans, which actually made me quite proud.
        A lot of misconceptions about Ireland were put out by terrible Hollywood movies. Also a lot of misconceptions about Ireland survive because of folk memory; the Irish grandparents fill them with the image of the land they left, not as it is now. I have seen this with my own eyes. People who return after many years are total strangers in their own hometown and don’t recognise the place.
       The image of the backward, superstitious, strictly catholic country is dying hard. When I predicted confidently and correctly that the Gay Marriage referendum would pass in Ireland, Americans were astonished, could hardly believe it. Some  don’t realise, (or maybe don’t want to realise) that Ireland is no longer as it was depicted in “The Quiet Man”.

SOCIAL MEDIA 

         The invention of Social Media has definitely added a new dimension to this discussion. It has put Americans who would normally not interact with anyone from Ireland, let alone someone in Ireland; conversing with Irish people who only meet the Americans who go there, some of whom are just tourists. Of course, so many Irish have relatives here that return to visit. I would hope the Irish with a negative image of Americans make exceptions for or overlook their own cousins. I hope mine do. But even if not, they’re still my cousins.
        Social Media is where I first became aware of this hostility toward Irish-Americans and experienced it a bit myself. It was usually to the effect of that I’m not Irish because I wasn’t born there. Of course I wasn’t, but I feel that doesn’t negate my right to claim it as my heritage, to take an interest or contribute my knowledge where it is helpful or informative.
       I don’t claim to be Irish in the same way as someone who was born there, did live there or does live there, but I do claim to be Irish. How are you not what your parents are? One guy commented to me “You may have an Irish passport, but it doesn’t mean you’re an Irish citizen!” To which I responded “Actually, it does. One must be a citizen to obtain a passport.”
         I was well able for it, but who wants to subject themselves to that? I thought then about how discouraging that is to Americans who visit sites and pages to learn about their heritage who didn’t have access to the stuff I did. What bothers me is that I have heard more than one American tell me they have reconsidered going to Ireland because the abuse they get on some pages makes them feel that they wouldn’t be welcome. That’s the damage that does, and it is sad. That is something about which I have sought to do what I can, and why I’ve written this piece.
           Many Americans sometimes do also fail to appreciate or understand Irish humour, in which sometimes insults are terms of endearment. Many Irish also enjoy doing the “wind-up”; provoking an argument to flare tempers purely for entertainment. We see this especially on Social Media. Also, the word “Yank” applies to all Americans, even Americans from the South. Being called a Yank can be affectionate or insulting, depending how it’s used. Normally, no offense is meant. I take no offence to it. But if you choose to always take offense, then prepare to be constantly insulted. I say own it.
         To be honest, I never personally experienced any hostility about being an American in Ireland. But then, I have relatives all over and know my way around pretty well. I used to visit regularly until 2000. My next and last visit was in 2005. The political climate had changed a lot in those few years. After a few days, I had noticed that nobody said anything political pertaining to the US around me, which was unusual. I broke the ice by saying “Say what you will. You will not offend me.” There’s nothing so uncomfortable as feeling like you have to watch what you say. Once I said that, the hair came down, and shoes came off, so to speak. That being said, perhaps in general, a change in the political climate is a source of this gap.

WORLD VIEW 

        Here I will discuss politics in the general, historical sense. I will not comment on current US or Irish politics or personalities. I think there is a huge difference in how the US perceives itself as opposed to how it is perceived around the world, including Ireland. Americans believe their troops are protecting them, and keeping the world safe for democracy and from terrorism. Many people in Ireland see the US as an imperialist power that goes to war for oil and business in which thousands are being slaughtered. The Irish have suffered from occupation by an imperialist power, so their natural sympathy is for those who are occupied or oppressed. Many Irish see the Middle East, particularly the Palestinian/Israeli conflict very differently than Americans; sympathising with the Palestinians.  Many Irish, particularly Republicans admired Gaddafi of Libya, whereas Americans saw him an a crazy tyrant.
        Americans believe Communism was a great evil that was necessary to eradicate with great loss of life. Many Irish sympathised with the people of Vietnam during the war with the US. Ho Chi Minh, the Vietnamese leader was inspired by Irish revolutionaries, particularly Tom Barry; who commanded the Third (West) Cork Brigade of the IRA in the Irish War of Independence. Recently, we saw another example of the disparity of opinion about Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who now graces an Irish stamp. Americans couldn’t fathom that they would put Che on a stamp. Americans consider him an evil communist tyrant fanatic. The Irish consider him a freedom fighter (of Irish descent) who was killed by the CIA. Ireland was neutral during the Cold War and did not share American paranoia about communism.
       A key thing for Americans to remember about Ireland is that it is a small, peaceful European nation. It has a history of neutrality going back to World War II. Ireland did not join NATO. It does not have nuclear weapons nor does it want them. But, if huge world power nations like the US destroy the world with nuclear weapons, that would include Ireland. This is why they hear a lot about the US in Ireland, but very little vice versa. There is a certain amount of resentment about that as well as the fact that US military aircraft stop and refuel in Shannon Airport. I for one wish they would do so elsewhere, as I don’t want Ireland involved in any other nation’s disputes or to become a target for terrorism for this reason.

SUGGESTIONS

Irish-Americans: Go to Ireland. Don’t live up to negative expectations about Americans. Visit Irish sites and pages on-line. Let your love for Ireland be based on truth, not misconception. Learn about your roots. Learn especially about where your people are from in Ireland. Learn about the history and culture. Remember that people from Ireland have a very different view of the world. Don’t let anyone stop you.
Irish-born: Try to to understand why we call ourselves Irish. Try to understand how little we may know. When we do ask dumb questions, please try to educate or advise, rather than abuse. That way you will be strengthening the diaspora, spreading knowledge instead of misinformation, correcting misconceptions, contributing to her “exaltation among the nations”. These people have a calling for their Irish heritage Please don’t discourage them.

Our thanks go out to Kevin Rooney for this fascinating article. Hopefully it will help educate those that make disparaging remarks about the foreign born Irish. A 2nd generation Mayo American Irish writer and musician living in Queens, New York. You can hear more from Kevin over at the Irish History 1916 through to 1923 and Everything Irish Facebook pages where he is an admin. Kevin also contributed to the Happy Birthday Mr Bob book, a celebration of Bob Dylan’s 80th Birthday, with submissions from Irish poets, writers, singers, songwriters, artists, photographers and an eclectic mix of admirers!

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.

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

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

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

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

Contact Walker Riders  WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram

CELEBRATING A CELTIC CHRISTMAS

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

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

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

SCOTLAND

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

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

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

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

IRELAND

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

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

WALES

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

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

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

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

ISLE OF MAN

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

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

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

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

CORNWALL

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

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

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

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

BRITTANY

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

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

GALICIA

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

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

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

Nollick Ghennal as Blein Vie Noa (Manx Gaelic)

Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath ùr (Scottish Gaelic)

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

Nedeleg Laouen na Bloavezh Mat  (Breton)

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda (Welsh)

Nadelik Lowen ha Bledhen Nowyth Da (Cornish)

Further Christmas themed fun with this London Celtic Punks Top Twenty

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

CLICK HERE

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

Contact Jolly Roger  Facebook  YouTube  Instagram Bandcamp

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

🎵🎵 Ding Dong Merrily On High 🎵🎵

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

FINNEGAN’S HELL – ‘Christmas Day’

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

YE BANISHED PRIVATEERS – Carol Of Bellows

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

MISSING THE FERRY – Home For Christmas

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

SONS OF CLOGGER – In Time For Christmas

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

HELLRAISERS & BEERDRINKERS – Warmes Schwarzes Faxe

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

MICK THE BUSKER – Fairytale Of New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Ain’t Less begins with ‘Raise Your Glass’ and Ilia, the fiddle player takes on the main vocal in a tribute to The Dreadnoughts. So impressed by the Canadians love of sea-shanties (they recorded a whole album not long back) they decided to write one themselves to open shows so only right it should open here too. Next up is bass player Jirka and a song he wrote in the Hima