Tag Archives: Paddy McHugh and the Goldminers

ALBUM REVIEW: THE DEAD MAGGIES- ‘Well Hanged’ (2015)

Raucous cow punk and folk punk mixed with haunting murder ballads, timeless story telling and foot-stompin’, heart pounding rhythms from a bunch of beer swilling, shanty singing, flannle shirt wearing, mohawk-bearing musical peasants.

4WT1Kt_140x125x4mm_FMV

The Dead Maggies come from Tasmania, the island at the bottom of Australia. As is the way with these kind of places a different kind of culture and existence develops to the ‘mother’ country. Found 240 km (150 mi) to the south of the Australian mainland almost half of the country is still in the same natural state it was when the British invaded back in 1803 and christened the island Van Diemons Land. At the time the land was populated by the native Aboriginal people but within thirty years, a time known as the ‘Black Wars’, they were wiped out by a combination of infectious diseases brought by the invaders, to which they had no immunity, and acts of genocide carried out by the British army. Martial law, disease and resistance to British rule saw the Aboriginal population fall to just 300 at one point from around 5,000. Historians have described it thus

“The colonial government from 1832 to 1838 ethnically cleansed the western half of Van Diemen’s Land and then callously left the exiled people to their fate”

Tassie, as its known to its residents, was used primarily as a natural prison state to house convicts brought from Britain and Ireland convicted of crimes that ranged from murder and assault to stealing sheep or even bread. These penal colonies were run on extremely harsh lines and many many convicts died or went mad at the barbaric hands of their jailers. It was in Tasmania that the government implemented a shift from the physical (i.e. whipping) to more psychological punishment. A structure of punishment called the ‘Silent System’ was implemented where prisoners were hooded and ordered silent. This was supposed to allow time for the prisoner to reflect upon the actions which had brought them there but instead resulted in many of the prisoners developing mental illness from the lack of light and sound. Eventually this led to an asylum being built right next to the Prison. Many prisoners, though also escaped and roamed the land as bandits and highwaymen. Giving rise to ballads and songs in their honour and it is to this tradition that The Dead Maggies get their inspiration from.

Dead MaggiesThe Dead Maggies already have one record behind them, the excellent , ‘The Dead Maggies Sing About Dead People’ in which they do indeed sing about dead people. Seven songs where they tell the history of the various sad endings of colourful characters from Tasmania’s history. Now this to me is what celtic-punk or folk-punk is all about. Now I love songs about getting pissed on Guinness as much as the next person but I need just a bit more sometimes and its bands like The Dead Maggies or, the sadly recently deceased, Chicago band Kevin Flynn And The Avondale Ramblers that are passing down and keeping our history alive and relevant. The history of the rich is there for all to see but the history of the poor and the downtrodden and the defeated in war or battle was passed down mainly in song and my oh my Tasmania is a well stocked pit for The Dead Maggies to mine from.

(you can have a listen to the whole of The Dead Maggies debut album here simply by pressing play on the Bandcamp player below)

Formed in 2013 shortly after the death of our beloved (!) despot Margaret Thatcher, The Dead Maggies have taken the scene by storm. The Australian celtic-punk scene is second to none and The Dead Maggies stand out proud amongst the many other brilliant bands in it. Mixing the fascinating folk story of Tasmania as well as the energy and the attitude of punk the band have come up with their own genre ‘Tasmanian Convict Punk’ and it suits them far better than calling it celtic or folk punk ever could!

‘Well Hanged’ kicks off with ‘Black Mary’ a rollicking great tune that from the first sounds of the ocean will have you bouncing on  your feet.

Great vocals atop of equally great music and a story that tells of open revolution in the early days of Van Diemons Land.

“No bush ranger we But guerrilla army. In open rebellion Against the machine”

It’s the story of Mary Cockerill, ‘Black Mary’, who along with her partner Michael Howe and an army of over one hundred bushrangers in the early 19th Century nearly brought down the Tasmanian government in open warfare. The interesting thing about The Dead Maggies is their ability to meld celtic, country, bluegrass, folk into something that very clearly defines themselves. ‘Tommy Pieman’ is a perfect example of all these influences coming together in a story of cannibalism that I’m sure you can pick up from the songs title! ‘Matthew Brady’ was a notorious 19th century bushranger born in Manchester in 1799. He was transported in 1820 and constantly rebelled while in Tasmania against the treatment meted out to the prisoners. He received over 400 lashes over time and eventually escaped but was captured two years later trying to sail to mainland Australia. He was executed in 1826 and was known as ‘Gentleman Brady’ due to his impeccable manners whilst robbing from the rich.

“Don’t rape any women, Don’t steal from the poor, But as for the rich… you can fuck them all”

A fantastic tune with lyrics really worthy of your time. In 1830 ‘Mary McLaughlin’ was the first woman to be executed in Tasmania. A convict, she was assigned as a servant and within two months she had been impregnated by

“a person of better education and higher rank in society than herself”

After her baby was born and found dead she was charged with murder. Pronounced guilty, she was sentenced to both death and dissection. Even in death she found no peace. The song introduces the clarinet into proceedings for the first time and though not yer typical folk punk instrument it certainly works and fits in well with what The Dead Maggies are up to. ‘Billy Hunt’ sees the band in full cow-punk territory with a country’n’western song that would put the shits up any Dolly Parton fans! Again the story told is both gripping and engaging and this time shows that its not all doom and darkness in the Maggies world. Billy Hunt was a convict who hit upon the great idea to disguise himself as a kangaroo and attempt to hop to freedom. His plan was brought to an abrupt end when a soldier decided to shoot the large boomer. Billy was then forced to reveal his true identity.

“We said you’ll just get caught again you stupid Billy Hunt”

‘Jørgen Jørgenson’ is the tale of a Danish adventurer who became the ruler of Iceland for a short time. He was accused of piracy, jailed for theft and eventually was transported to Tasmania after a death sentence was commuted.

He married an Irish convict in 1831 and died in the Colonial Hospital on 20 January 1841. A pirate, a convict, a king and a drunkard. The song is a riot of folk-punk instruments and as fast as you like. The great video was filmed aboard The Yukon, a fully restored Danish tall ship that sails upon the Huon Valley in Tasmania. As says vocalist/guitarist GT Mongrel

“He was an adventurer who wrote his own legends while drinking, gambling, spying and pirating, he took on armies. He took on whole countries. He faced the executioners block and survived. He lived life as hard as life can be lived. He was a punk.”

‘Ghost On The Hellfire Bluff’ steams past you in a frantic 90 seconds while ‘Tin Miner’ brings in a spot of celtic-ness with the banjo leading the first half of the song until accordion takes over and the song swirls and builds up into a angry pissed off polemic against the treatment of the miners. The albums shortest song ‘Snakebite’ starts off slowly but soon builds up and with the clarinet out of the box again and before you know it it is gone in just 76 seconds. ‘Truckdrivers Last Waltz’ reminds me somewhat of the great Paddy McHugh And The Goldminers (well worth checking out this fellow Aussie band. Writer of the saddest song EVER written here). A jazzy, accordion led mess of a song where all the bands influences clash together with both gang vocals and GT’s vocals as powerful as ever. ‘Savage River’ has the band in Tom Waits-y country and the album comes to a suitable sad end with ‘Bound In Chains’. A hauntingly beautiful tale telling of those poor convicts ripped from home and transported across to the other side of the world to a foreign environment to be treated worse than slaves and be worked to death.

“I would rather die than wear those chains”

The uileann pipes come together with the band’s usual fare and again The Dead Maggies hit just the right spot in this emotional ballad tribute to the losers in their countries past.

Twelve tracks that explore the lives, battles, deaths and loves of ordinary people. The people whose history is being written out of the books. The history children don’t learn at school. History that is an embarrassment to the people who rule us and who are scared stiff of the inspiration it could once again provide to the ancestors of the original folk these stories are written about. Music to dance to, love to, cry to and rejoice. The Dead Maggies provide all this in spades and by telling of the dark and oppressive past of Tasmania that history will never leave us. Bands like this should be an inspiration to us all in the celtic-punk scene. Story telling is at the very core of our music. We have a glorious past and if indeed our music has any connection to the past we are forced to retell it in song. Thanks to The Dead Maggies for doing that and doing it so well.
Buy The Album

FolkTilYouPunkRecords

Contact The Band

WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Bandcamp  Soundcloud  Instagram

you can find a host of other amazing Australian bands on the ‘Folk ’Til Ya Punk Records’ web site here.

Here’s the bands official video tour diary of their journey through Europe last year. Look closely and you’ll see quite a few London Celtic Punks cheering them on!

ALBUM REVIEW: PADDY McHUGH AND THE GOLDMINERS- ‘Trials And Cape Tribulation’ (2013)

honest no bullshit country

PADDY McHUGH AND THE GOLDMINERS- 'Trials And Cape Tribulation'

By Glyn Harries

So when my old mate Donny Mark put a link on my facebook for a track called Snowmen by Paddy McHugh a while back i did not hesitate to check it out knowing his similar taste in Irish/celtic folk/country punk!

And what a stormer, angrily yet melodically telling the story for the men who worked in the James Hardy Asbestos factory in Parramatta, a few miles inland from Sydney in the 6ts and 7ts. Specifically it tells the story of Bernie Banton, who after suffering from Asbestosis and Mesothelioma, led a national campaign to stop the use of asbestos and get compensation for the workers afflicted. Banton died in 2007 aged only 61 but having won much of the fight .. The song grabbed me straight away with it’s beautiful simple banjo and brutal but clear lyrics, building to the chorus of

” .. and we’ll sing to our last breath James Hardie caused our death!”

So I was straight onto Amazon and buying McHughs album and EP, where he is accompanied by his band The Goldminers. And thru cyberpsace it came, at the tap of a key, and I was listening to them. It’s was all good stuff, as his website says, “honest no bullshit country ” .. but then the song “Dan O’Halloran” came on.

Now I’ve heard plenty of tough songs in my time, from Folk to Blues to Oi and Rap, but this is one of the toughest saddest songs I’ve ever heard. It’s a tale of a young man who never had the breaks, then made the fatal mistake of ripping off a biker gang .. some mistake … get it, listen to it .. trust me you won’t ever forget it ..

” … nobody knows what happened to Dan O’Halloran,

except it makes me shiver,

but his ghost can be heard screaming on the banks of the Daintree River”

This is great music. No pretence. So simple yet telling great stories with great music.

And turns out unsurprisingly Paddy McHugh has a great mash-up background. Born into the ‘Country Music Capital’ of Australia [yes they have one!] Tamworth NSW, he started as a young country busker but soon moved onto being a punk in Sydney and fronting folk punk band Sydney City Trash.

PADDY McHUGH AND THE GOLDMINERS

After that he decided to slow it down and I for one am glad he did.

You can buy or donate or get for free his records at

Bandcamp

and link up on facebook here.

EP REVIEW: STANDARD UNION- ‘The Myth Of Terra Nullius’ (2014)

Folk inspired tales of love, life and culture. Working Class Street Rock’n’Roll

STANDARD UNION EP COVER

Anyone who reads my reviews will know I have a thing for Aussie celtic-punk bands (here and here) and these fella’s from Adelaide are no exception. Keeping up the extremely high quality of the other leading bands from the scene Standard Union definitely lean towards the more punky side of things. With their only full-length album coming out in 2002 they have been hardly prolific but 3 singles since 2013 must mean another is due shortly.

If not the music then one thing that Standard Union do have in common with those other top Oz bands is that they are a ‘lyrics band’.

 “We write story songs, Just like all the good ones do. Like Johnny Cash did, like Shane McGowan.”

Standard Union Acoustic Set 2013so states Owen Foley band’s principle lyricist and mandolin player. Those 11 years since that first album have seen Standard Union mature as songwriters, with a uniquely Australian working class theme, allowing their influences to transition seamlessly from one song to the next. Their live sound is as relevant and aggressive as any punk band you’ll hear, and yet it stirs feelings of nostalgia, of convict ships and bushrangers, of the old bush bands from a time gone by.

This country is harsh, if you let it, it will break you and that’s the struggle,” states Owen “but y’know the struggle’s what makes this land and the people in it so incredible and that’s the story. Those are the stories we wanna tell.”

Standard Union

There’s quite a electric rock’n’roll twang to this EP and although sounding a wee bit rough and ready maybe on your first listen it grows on you straight away. High energy and plenty of fist (or pint!) in the air moments make the EP fly by far too quickly and its only leaving us at 30492 eagerly awaiting a full lengther!

Buy The EP here from Arrest Records and pick up some of their previous releases too. They also released the Paddy McHugh And The Goldminers album too so do yourself a favour and get that too!

Contact The Band

Facebook  MySpace

there’s a very interesting interview with Owen from the band here from Bombshell zine.

Discography

Bruised Egos and Blood (2002/12 tracks) Bruised Egos and Blood re-issue (2003/14 tracks)  The Lonely Victories (2006/9 tracks)  Self-Titled promo (2010/5 tracks)  Born For Hangin’ sampler (2012/2 tracks)  Grand Gestures And Empty Promises (2013/4 tracks)

if looking on a mobile click on the blog logo at the top of the page to find out more from us…

INTERVIEW WITH JAY STEVENS FROM AUSTRALIAN BAND ‘BETWEEN THE WARS’

gig flyer
When we heard that Jay Stevens from the fantastic Aussie celtic-folk-punk band BETWEEN THE WARS was coming over to these shores to play a few solo shows we jumped at the chance to do the London leg of his tour. so we thought we’d ask him some stuff so we did and he answered it all and here it is now for you…
BTW
How long have you been playing with BTW? have you played with other bands previous? Between The Wars is a four year old band that I started, along with (ukulele player) Jason. He and I have played in plenty of bands before this one, but this is the longest I’ve ever been in a band. So many lineup changes, but we’ve been pretty solid for the last couple years. I started this band after hearing “Irish Londoner” by the Bible Code Sundays, who I get to play with on this upcoming tour!
jay5
Looks like the tour is shaping up into something special now. Who are you looking forward to playing with and any places youre looking forward to going? Being a Aussie have you been over here before? As I said before, Bible Code Sundays are a massive influence on me and our band, so I’m keen as hell to see them. Have also been a huge Neck fan for years so I’m excited to play a show with Leeson! Over the years I’ve made some good “internet” friends in England so with that in mind, I’m stoked to be playing a few shows with my boys from the Lagan and Three Sheets T’Wind – and swapping Office quotes in real life with Brendan O’Prey. I’ve been to England before, but not as an adult. Really excited to see London, watch a Blades game in Sheffield (lifelong Sheffield United fan) and to also see the Scottish villages of Stranraer & Portpatrick, where I will also be attending my cousin’s wedding! If you’re looking for a decent League One side to watch you should get along to Leyton Orient. At time of writing we’re top of the league! If I was looking for a decent League One side to watch, I wouldn’t be a Blades fan.

As the singer and main songwriter of the excellent Between The Wars how did you get into celtic-punk music? Was it through family or other music? I have to hand it to old mate John McCullagh, actually. I was in a bit of a hole, musically. After having kids and whilst I was watching my marriage go down the drain, I didn’t know what to do, I just knew I wanted to be in a band again. I was teaching John’s son (John Lennon McCullagh, now signed to Alan McGee’s label 359 Music in the UK) to play guitar, and John and I would always have banter about Bob Dylan, Celtic, Arctic Monkeys, Oasis etc after the lessons. He showed me a few songs he’d written and we got together a few times and played them. One of those songs was Ride On by Christy Moore. I hadn’t heard Christy before but I am in love with him now. From there, I looked up as much celtic folk, and then celtic folk punk, as I could – I’d been a fan of the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly for ages but never looked outside of that. I came across the Biblecode Sundays, and my musical life changed.
jay4
I’ve always thought that Australian celtic-punk has been a cut above, both musically and lyrically, bands from Europe and the States. I cant put me finger on it but does the Oz celtic diaspora experience contribute to this or are you all just better writers and musicians? I think we bring our own style to it. There have been a bunch of amazing Australian artists over the years, both in folk, punk and rock music. Personally I’m a huge fan of an old Aussie band called Weddings Parties Anything. I’ve always looked to them for influence, as well as celtic bands that tell stories – and not just stories of drinking. The difference between listening to the Wolfe Tones rather than the Dropkick Murphys means perhaps a little bit more storytelling in the writing. I suppose any country with the legendary Ned Kelly as its symbol of resistance is gonna produce cracking music! Who are the Aussie celtic/folk-punk bands we should look out for? Heard any news on The Rumjacks getting back together? Yep, that’s definitely happening. Caught up with Johnny McKelvey at a show we played with the Real McKenzies and it looks like the album that was made at the start of last year will show its head. As for Aussie bands, you can never go past our good mates the Ramshackle Army. They are just finishing up their new record which should be a cracker. Also a fan of Paddy McHugh and the Goldminers, Handsome Young Strangers and our old mates in Mutiny who have just released a twenty year retrospective.
jay2Theres always been a lot of debate in celtic punk circles about so-called ‘foreign’ bands playing (stealing?) traditional folk music without respecting where it comes from. Do you think it matters much or at all? I don’t know too much about bands that steal or play traditional folk without the respect. We try to pay respect as much as we can to those that have come before – we’ve played the traditional folk song Barbara Allen, for example. I think ultimately music belongs to everyone – the more people that play or listen has got to be a good thing for music in general. No-one has any right to claim music as their own personal property. Providing you know where it comes from, I can’t see an issue – i’m well aware that our music represents bands that have come before like the Wolfe Tones, Dubliners and the Pogues. I know the stories behind most of the songs I listen to, in regards to rebel songs and the like. There is a lot of snobbery around especially about the drinking songs. I mean its not like The Dubliners ever wrote a song about getting pissed is it? i think celtic-punk reflects the good and bad things in the lives of ordinary people. This could be both getting pissed and being a alcoholic and lets face it it very much part of celtic culture whether we approve of it or not.

Without giving the game away too much what can we expect to look forward to on this tour? who are your influences as both a solo artist and as BTWs frontman? I’ve sat down with all of our songs and played around with them acoustically. Expect some songs to be a lot softer, and some songs to remain that raucous way that we’re known for. Influences – hmm, this is a tough one. I have a huge list of influences ranging from the Wolfe Tones, Dubliners and Christy Moore, through to Frank Turner, Matt Pryor, The Boy Least Likely To. Of course, Bruce Springsteen is probably one of my bigger influences – but more in lyrics than anything else. Too many bands these days try to ape Springsteen’s voice and it kind of shits me. I take a lot of influence from literature as well as stories of war. Anything where I can be on the side of the underdog makes me write.
 When you get back home after the tour what you going to be up to with the band? Any plans to keep up the solo stuff? The solo stuff is actually my priority at the moment, I’m in the studio recording a solo record, which will be a collection of songs – some originals, some covers, and a Between The Wars song. I’m really looking forward to that being released early next year. When I get back from the UK, I’m going to sit down with Jason and we’re going to write the next batch of Between The Wars songs. I’m keen on getting back to the roots of our sound after the last record. There’s a band from Melbourne that has actually just got back together called Catgut Mary and I think I’m looking to them as well as mates like the Lagan and Three Sheets T’Wind to give me some influence on the next lot. I’d like the band to get back into the studio early to mid-next year, with a view to a late 2014 release. Looking forward to meeting friends that I only know via facebook, and making new friends. Can’t wait to teach you all the shoey!
jayDiscography:
Carried Away- 2010
The Rats- 2011
The Aces Are Coming- 2011
New Ruins- 2012
Won’t Go Quietly-2013
Tour Details Here:
The ‘I Hear You’re In For A Cold One…’ Tour traverses the land from London to Glasgow throughout October providing solo acoustic  re-imaginings of Between The Wars songs.
Come along for a night of fun folk music about drinking, heartbreak, regret, drinking, drinking and drinking…
Between The Wars:
%d bloggers like this: