While this side of the broad Atlantic all the writers for London Celtic Punks are musically illiterate over in the US of A there is no end to the musical talents of our North America editor Ray Ball! Ray’s band Ravenswalk have a aptly titled six track EP out just in time for St. Patrick’s Day 2023.
Alongside being a great writer and a Celtic-Punk obsessive like the rest of us Ray recognises that Celtic-Punk is much much more than music. While some write the genre off as corny and just drinking music it is musicians like Ray that bring to mind the ancient seanchai. A traditional Gaelic storyteller and historian who passes on his knowledge through both music and song. So with all that in mind we asked Ray to go into the songs and give us a wee potted history of the songs.
‘Shipping Up To Boston’
This song needs no introduction. I arranged this for two bagpipes which I just played on different tracks, bass and drums. Just a little change of pace for a tune we all know.
A track from The Cranberries that I love Clare singing on that really encapsulates the troubles.
‘The World Turned Upside Down’
This tells of is a commune started in 1649 in England that didn’t last long due to the monarchy but was a huge stepping stone towards more contemporary socialist values. Not to make a huge political stance but a good song. The British army also played this tune on fife and drum when they surrendered to the allied French and continental army at the final battle of the American revolution, because it was a bitter irony.
‘Thatcherites By Name’
Sung to the tune of ‘Jacobites By Name’ originally by Robert Burns to criticise the British government under Maggie Thatcher. Not a super Irishy song but one I also love Clare’s vocals on and has the Rabbie Burns tie in.
This traces back to before the American Civil War, and was a popular tune then. It’s really about creating mayhem in a small Irish town lyrically but in it’s day was also a favourite amongst soldiers, particularly Irish ones.
‘The Irish Volunteer’
This is also a Civil War era tune, which celebrates an Irish immigrants story of his father dying on Vinegar Hill in 1798 to his fighting for his new country that allowed him a new life. All biases aside, by the 1860’s there were huge amounts of Irish immigrants fighting for both sides during the war. Some accounts actually state that soldiers on opposite sides that were all Irish would stop firing at each other because they all recognised that they were brethren caught up in a different fight. At the battle of Fredericksburg one confederate soldier crossed lines during the night and went to give water to his Irish union brethren who were wounded and dying in the cold. He is known as “the Angel of Mayres Heights” and there is a large monument to him on the battlefield today.
(Stream / download St. Patrick’s Day 2023 via the Bandcamp player below)
The album cover is based on the flag of the 7th Buffalo Regt., Irish Army of Liberation. The flag was carried into battle during the Fenian raids, which took place in the 1860’s after the war and consisted of veterans of both sides deciding they would fight to invade Canada via Buffalo and hold it in ransom for Ireland’s freedom, or even to start a “new Ireland” there. The battle showed a swift and distinct Irish victory but was short lived. The regiment was of volunteers from the heavily Irish south side of Buffalo, but saw heavy action. Two casualties of the battle were recovered and brought to their final resting place near to that south Buffalo area. Though their attempts failed ultimately, it presented the groundwork for the Easter 1916 rising in many ways.
Ravenswalk are the classically trained Clare Elizabeth on vocals and the aforementioned Ray Ball on all the other many instruments and they are based in the heavily Irish-American city of Buffalo in New York state. They have already amassed a back catalogue that much more established bands would be jealous of and it’s all freely available alongside the St. Patrick’s Day 202 six track EP as ‘name your price’ downloads from Bandcamp. We never get tired of saying that these downloads are completely free and their is absolutely no obligation to pay anything but their is an option if you do feel and can afford to send over a couple of pints. After all Guinness is expensive stuff in the States.
2022 is nearly over and hasn’t it gone quickly blah, blah, blah. But it has hasn’t it? November already and almost time to raise a beer to the freedom fighter Guy Fawkes. The only person to enter parliament with good intentions!
A brand new Odds’n’Sods round-up of all this months Celtic-Punk entertainment from the scene’s bands big and small, established or just starting out.
Irish sensation (that’s the only word possible!) THE MARY WALLOPERS released their debut album a couple of days ago. The self titled album is eleven songs and forty minutes and is a collection of both unusual and rare and a some pretty well worn covers but brought to life in the unique Wallopers way. Looking forward to them visiting London in December as they head off on a major tour of the UK and Ireland.
We often repeat the mantra that Celtic-Punk man cannot live by Dropkick Murphys alone but we are as guilty as anyone with being obsessed with them! With their new album out a month now here’s the guys with a short eleven minute set recorded live at The Boch Center Wang Theatre by the The Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame.
During the recording Ken mentions the new video they filmed of ‘The Last One’ that features Evan Felker of TURNPIKE TROUBADOURS who will be supporting the Murphys in Boston on March 16.
In case you missed them we recently had the pleasure of interviewing a couple of Dropkick Murphys with ex-member Marc Orrell and drummer Matt Kelly gracing these pages.
We featured MADIGAN’S WAKE and their debut single last month and here is their follow up a song written after the night terrors and they can be added to the list of great Aussie Celtic-Punk bands in my head! Available on Spotify or to pre-order.
Ukrainian band O’HAMSTERS have a 13-track album out soon and available for download as a pre-order from Bandcamp for $7. A band we have followed for a few years always great music and we look forward to more. All money raised from this album pre-order will go to HMV.UA– the team of volunteers headed by our friend Alex Sedov helping the army of Ukraine.
Another band we have been huge fans of over the years is ZUNAME Punk-Rock with bagpipes from Moscow. They just released a new album as well called Vertigo. Their fifth album and is on all streaming platforms https://band.link/vertigo. Recording of Vertigo began four years ago and events since then no one could have ever foreseen so they decided to stop postponing the release again and again and hope it will give folk the strength to get through these hard times and the best way for the band to support you.
The Black Tartan Clan were onew of the best and most popular Celtic-Punk bands in Europe with their McKenzies-ish bagpipe heavy Scots Celtic Rock’n’Roll so we were all saddened to hear they were non more but they re-surfaced and began life again as THE BLACK TARTANS and have been recording and playing live. They have a new song called ‘F’Corona’.
Even as this is ready to publish I’m still adding to it and THE MULLINS from the South of France have a new album, Gold In Our Hands, that I am writing the review to at the moment. It’s a cracking 40+ minutes of uptempo Celtic Punk’n’Roll I can’t wait to share with you. In the meantime here’s the latest single from the album.
This is an incredible live performance from French Celtic-Punk band CelKILT recorded live at this years Hellfest Open Air Festival in Clisson, France. Fifty glorious minutes!!
Great video from the Horslips influenced THE POXMEN. Formed in the bogs of Donegal thousands of years ago and recently ventured out into the cold modern air, with a bag of songs and a wheelbarrow full of instruments. Fuelled by Poitín, mushrooms and spuds, roaring and shouting and singing and playin, about the horses, the wee folk, the witches, the turf, the thunder and lightnin’, and the silver tractors of ancient times.
Not quite a new video from SWAINN but I only just rediscovered it so here it is again. It is from their awesome Under A Willow Tree album which we did review last year.
Brilliant Argentinian Celtic-Punk band RAISE MY KILT were on the telly last week. It’s all in Spanish of course but there’s a wee interview and the music starts about a minute in. They have 2 (two!) pipers!!!
Kings of Cow-Punk PRONGHORN still out there entertaining the masses in the South-West of England. This is them with an old traditional Ukrainian Folk song just a few days ago as I’m writing this.
THE REAL McKENZIES – Songs Of The Highlands, Songs Of The Sea
THE MAHONES – Jameson Street
MARCUS MUMFORD – (self-titled)
ZUNAME – Vertigo
MAN THE LIFEBOATS – Soul Of Albion
ZECKYBOYS – Dirty Brands (reviewed last week)
THE MULLINS – Gold In Our Hands (review coming!)
THE MARY WALLOPERS – The Mary Wallopers
Remember we can’t review it if we don’t hear it!
We’ve been doing this now for nearly 10 years and in that time we have covered 100’s of bands and musicians but still plenty of bands have passed us by. We can’t see everything after all so this column is to remind us of bands that never made these pages at the time but deserve another mention. These hopefully come with a free download like today so you can help yourself to some free music. DOOZER McDOOZE is a singer songwriter from Essex with a passion to play everywhere and anywhere! This is his debut album from 2014 but look a little closer and all his music is available for ‘name your price’ download from Bandcamp. In a download world of media solitude, Doozer likes to give music back to the people. He has a new single out now ‘Pirate Captain‘ and as usual if you can afford to leave him enough for a Guinness or two as a tip please do so.
The BIBLECODE SUNDAYS are at the Powerhaus in Camden (formerly Dingwalls) on Saturday November 5th. NEW MODEL ARMY play 3 Christmas dates ending at the Roundhouse starting on the 10th. SHEELANAGIG play groove heady traditional folk and have quite the following and play November 18 at their regular haunt in Brixton, the Hootananny. An interesting night in store on Decem,ber 15 with both THE SCRATCH and THE MARY WALLOPERS playing in Camden (mad I know!) so if you’re stuck check out our preview, One Night In Camden, to help you make your mind up which way to jump on the day itself! DROPKICK MURPHYS have announced THE RUMJACKS, PENNYWISE and JESSE AHEARNE as support for their Euro tour starting in Jan. One for the diary now and DAMIEN DEMPSEY is back at the Electric Ballroom in Camden the day after St. Patrick’s day which means he’ll probably be at the St. Patrick’s Parade in the afternoon though that is now shite and I promised myself I would never go again after last years abomination!
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 woolly 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/
It’s been great watching MAN THE LIFEBOATS career and we played ever such a tiny tiny part in it having put them on a couple of times but they truly are a great band. Funny, fast and raucous Folk-Punk with a few Celtic style flourishes. We’d call them Celtic-Punk though I doubt they would themselves still whatever they are their new album is tremendous. 11 songs but check out the first couple of songs here for an idea of the scope of their songs.
London Celtic Punks north-American writer Ray has a new EP out with his band RAVENSWALK out for Halloween. All-Hallows is 5 songs of his typical eclectic taste with spirited versions of Echo And The Bunnymen, The Rocky Horor Picture Show among 2!
RADARNA were founded by Rikard Falk after joining forces with José MiguelMartinez to write their debut album. With all the artists living in different countries live shows are unlikely to happen but they continue to record and just released a 3-track EP of FINNTROLL inspired Folk-Metal.
Accomplished multi-instrumentalist DAMIEN O’NEILL of legendary bands The Undertones and That Petrol Emotion has a solo project and has just released his third album, a collection of largely instrumental tracks, mixed by veteran producer Paul Tipler. The title ‘an crann’ is Irish for ‘The Tree’, a symbol of growth and inspiration.
I don’t know much about TIM LOUD except some people whose musical taste I respect are huge fans of his. He describes his new release as “These are some tunes I wrote for what was going to be an album but now it won’t be”. It’s available as a ‘name your price’ download via Bandcamp.
The re-released and re-mixed second album from DEXY’S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS (now just to be called DEXY’S) Too-Rye-Aye from 1982 is out now on vinyl, CD, download and a beautiful 3 disc box set packed with extras. I have compared it to the original and yes it is much improved. It’s down with the treble and strip back the echo and give Kevin Rowland’s vocals room to breathe. As my mate said “it’s like they have taken off the polish and added wood stain”.
Finnish Celtic flavoured Punk band THE LORETTA PROBLEM have a new single Green ‘n Gray out in a couple of weeks. Expect a feature here of this fantastic innovative band.
Facebook is rubbish and I can’t wait to see it fold. It has a stranglehold on all forms of expression that is not good and it’s no surprise to see people leaving in droves. Don’t despair though if you are one of them as you can keep up with London Celtic Punks posts via group on the phone app Telegram. Similar to What’s App but 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/
Well we have been blown away by the response to the new London Celtic Punk badge. Not surprising really as they are so bloomin’ gorgeous. Just about the nicest bit of merchandise in Celtic-Punk if you ask me! Comes with butterfly clip and made in Ireland (Guaranteed Irish!) It’s available for just £5 – UK and £7 – EU post-paid and we’ll throw in a few stickers and a button badge too. For further overseas contact us and we’ll work it out. Send to Paypal (friends & family) to email@example.com
Even though we hate it Facebook does supply the (very) 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 Fansare 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!
Finally a message to bands. Its Christmas soon (yes I know!) and if you are planning on doing a Christmas release then be sure to get the details to us by the beginning of December. Last year we could hardly keep up so give us a chance folks!
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.
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