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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). 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 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

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.

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