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LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS THE BEST OF 2022!

It’s that time of year again for the London Celtic Punks annual Best Of list. Has it really been a year since The Peelers waltzed (or should that be jigged) off with album of the year? It’s been possibly the best year for Celtic-Punk since we started doing this site and this was easily the closest it has ever been in that time. Pretty much all the big hitters, with one or two one notable exception (The Tossers where were you!), released records and on top of that a bunch of debut albums that were top class too.

so without further ado…

CLICK ON THE GREEN LINK TO BE FORWARDED TO REVIEW

2022’s #1 was the amazing new album from THE MAHONES. That they are as prolific as they are and yet can still put out quality like this 30 + years on is incredible. Well done Finny & co. FLOGGING MOLLY won the battle of the big Celtic-Punk 2 with the DROPKICKS and were also the best gig of the year for me personally (August in Dublin with Ferocious Dog). THE LUCKY TROLLS followed on from their Best EP award from 2019 with the highest place for any ‘outsider’ this year while Scandinavian stalwarts SIR REG gave us possibly their best album yet. REINA ROJA from Spain were another highly placed new band and their were several others among the Top 30. Their were also a handful of albums that didn’t qualify for the chart but were worth noting including a couple of greatest hits albums THE REAL McKENZIES Float Me Boat and UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS The Story So Far that were both superb introductions to the bands, the second volume of the Black 47 covers compilation AFTER HOURS VOL. 2 and finally the HEADSTICKS 10th anniversary album of the best songs of their career to date re-recorded.

1. THE MAHONES – Jameson Street

2. FLOGGING MOLLY – Anthem

3. DROPKICK MURPHYS – This Machine Still Kills Fascists

4. THE LUCKY TROLLS – Raised Fist And Rebel Songs

5. SIR REG – Kings Of Sweet Feck All

6. REINA ROJA – Hooligan Folk

7. FINNEGAN’S HELL – One Finger Salute

8. REAL McKENZIES – Songs Of The Highlands, Songs Of The Sea

9. HOIST THE COLOURS – When Daylight Breaks

10. SHANGHAI TREASON – Shanghai Treason

11. PADDY’S PUNK – With Full Horse

12. THE TAN AND SOBER GENTLEMEN – Regressive Folk Music

13. ZECKYBOYS – Dirty Brands

14. THE MOORINGS – March On

15. THE MULLINS – Gold In Our Hands

16. PADDY AND THE RATS – From Wasteland To Wonderland

17. SYRSentinel 

18. MAN THE LIFEBOATS – Soul Of Albion

19. THE GROGGY DOGS – Still Groggin’

20. WHISKEY’S WAKE – Wake Up Whiskey

21. JAMIE CLARKE’S PERFECT – Monkey See Monkey Do

22. O’HAMSTERS – From Green Hills To Raging Sea

23. SLAINTE – Up Down 95

24. THE ENDINGS – Completely Pickled

25. THE CUNDEEZ – Geez It

26. THE ROYAL SPUDS – Roots Of Life

27. THE DREADNOUGHTS – Roll And Go

28. THE SCARLET – Freedom Call 

29. TEMPLARS OF DOOM – Rising Of The Doom!

30. DRUNKEN FIGHTERS – Someday

Bubbling over: THEIGNS AND THRALLS – Theigns And Thralls 

As funny as it may seem the Best Debut Album award for 2022 was decided way back in January last year when the long awaited self titled debut album from Yorkshire banjo Punks SHANGHAI TREASON arrived in the post. Eleven original songs of high tempo energetic Celtic-Punk with some of the best banjo we heard all year long! On top of that later in the year they released a 3-track EP of songs that didn’t make the album that was also superb!  That’s not to say it was a easy choice as by the end of the year REINA ROJA, THE LUCKY TROLLS and ZECKYBOYS all put out albums that challenged the Treason and in any other year could easily have won the award themselves.

A well deserved top two for THE RUMJACKS and their new singer Mikee. The split EP with FLATFOOT 56 in particular was absolutely flawless! Their were fantastic debut releases from THE DEAD IRISH, THE GALLOWGATE MURDERS and THE RAMSTAMPITS out of the Celtic nations of Ireland and Scotland that completely blew us away and were eagerly anticipated. A word here for BOG IRON from California who I found completely by accident and been playing ever since.

1. THE RUMJACKS / FLATFOOT 56 Split EP

2. THE RUMJACKS – Brass For Gold

3. THE DEAD IRISH – Four Corners Of Hell

4. THE GALLOWGATE MURDERS – ‘ Dead, Gone And Living On’

5. BRICK TOP BLAGGERS – Obey The Tyrant

6. BOG IRON – Star Of The County Down

7. DISTILLERY RATS – We Are Rats

8.  THE KILLIGANS – Dread Naught

9. KRAKIN’ KELLYS – Old Ways New Days

10. THE RAMSTAMPITS – Light The Beacon

Bubbling Under: THE CLOVERHEARTS – Still Pissed / JAMESTOWN BROTHERS – Just Is

In what is usually the hardest category to choose from we actually had a very easy choice this year with the new album from Boston singer-songwriter BRYAN McPHERSON never off our play list all year long. The great news is that Bryan is heading to these shores in the Summer and we are very happy to be helping out. Dundalk’s THE MARY WALLOPERS were busy all year round and ended 2022 with a sell out London show and a debut album in December. The debut album from THE WINTER CODES saw a welcome return to the wider music scene for Barney the original vocalist for Blood Or Whiskey. Some may be surprised to find the first solo album from MARCUS MUMFORD listed but it really was a great album both musically but especially lyrically. 

1. BRYAN McPHERSON – How To Draw Everything

2. THE MARY WALLOPERS – The Mary Wallopers

3. OYSTERBAND – Read The Sky

4. IAN PROWSE – One Hand On The Starry Plough

5. PRONGHORN – Welcome To Pronghorn Country

6. BODH’AKTAN – Valcourt Sessions

7. BURBRIDGE AND BOOTH – Icons

8. THE WINTER CODES – Set The Darkness Reeling

9. THE ALT – Day Is Come

10. MARCUS MUMFORD – (self-titled)

A new section this year and the first winner is THE OUTCAST CREW out of Laois in the Irish midlands. A new single and video directed, filmed and edited by Thomas Moyles that came out at the end of the Summer. Laois is famous for an abbey, some gardens, a castle and a couple of lakes and now a kickarse class Celtic-Celtic-Punk. They won the 2020 Celtic Punk debut album of the year and it’s about time we heard some more guys!

The competition for best Celtic-Punk video of the year was incredible so next year (which will be our 10th anniversary) we will make a bit more effort and maybe even include you in the decision!!

There were several people involved in the collation of these results and so it is that some of those people may not have heard every album listed or released through the year. If you’re album is not listed maybe you didn’t send it us or not all the folks here heard it so couldn’t give a opinion so really don’t feel too put out. We’re not perfect but we do try our best.

This is the ninth year we’ve been doing these Best Of lists. It seems incredible looking back at some of the previous winners and also-ran’s just how many bands are still with us from Year 1. Have a look for yourselves just click on the year below to redirect.

*  2013  *  2014  *  2015  *  2016  *  2017  *  2018  *  2019  *  2020  * 2021 *

THE LONDON CELTIC PUNKS SHOP

If you like what we do then why not visit our  shop where you can buy all manner of Celtic-Punk tatt including t-shirts, badges, stickers, CD’s, fridge magnets, patches, Celtic nations flags and we just got in new for ’22 some bobble hats and polo shirts.

https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

Alongside the Best Of polls we also run a special Readers Choice poll where you get to pick your favourite release of the year. This will be the fifth year it’s been running with Krakin’ Kellys, Mickey Rickshaw, The Go-Set and Ferocious Dog our previously champions! Last year we had well over 1500 votes (the most ever!) so remember the auld Irish adage ‘Vote Early – Vote Often’. There is only room on the form to list the Top Ten albums but there is an option for YOU to write in your favourite release (album or EP) of the year.

Poll will run until midnight on Tuesday 31st January 2023. You can vote twice. If the release you want to vote for is not listed then you can write it in.

Keep up to date with London Celtic Punks web-zine for all the latest news, record reviews, features and plenty more. Find all our social media here

https://linktr.ee/londoncelticpunks

to subscribe to the web-zine email londoncelticpunk@hotmail.co.uk

The poll will close at midnight on Tuesday 31st January 2023 with the result to be announced soon afterwards.

Dedicated to our good friend Scott Chrystal

Slainte, The London Celtic Punks Bhoys – January 2023

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

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