Tag Archives: Steve White And The Protest Family

ALBUM REVIEW: STEVE WHITE AND THE PROTEST FAMILY- ‘Protest For Dummies’ (2016)

Protest For Dummies is an unashamedly political album that doesn’t hector or bully or lecture but will make you laugh, cry, tap your foot and sing along.

stevewhiteprotestfamily

Welcome one and all to the third studio album from one of London Celtic Punks favourite bands Steve White & The Protest Family. It’s been two years since the release of last LP, This Band’s Sick and it’s been a long two years for anyone of a socialist persuasion. The Tories election win, Brexit, Trump and the increasing scourge of the poison of identity politics have ravaged the left and has not seen us so seperated from the working class in decades. It’s hard to be left-wing at the moment and certainly there is no joy in being so… except that is for Steve White And The Protest Family! New release Protest For Dummies is that rare thing in left-wing circles. It’s a laugh and a bloody good one at that too. Growing up I use to hear this kind of music in the working men’s clubs around where I was born. Satirical folk music that was bawdy, risqué and near, and sometimes well over, the knuckle, most definitly not ‘PC’ but was also solid, full of pride and fiercly socialist. Those days are gone sadly and X Factor all but dominates, folk and punk music has gone soft and the real left are demoralised with the only possible ray of light being Jeremy Corbyn for all he’s worth. I’m as down as the rest are but soon as I slipped Protest For Dummies into the stereo I felt that fire burning up in me and by half way through I was ready for the picket line!

steve-white-2

Steve White And The Protest Family (left to right): Steve White- Vocals/Guitars/Harmonica/Percussion * Funky Lol Ross- Guitars/Mandolins/Melodica/Percussion * Doug E.Harper- Bass/Vocals * Russ Chandler- Banjo/Vocals

The album begins with ‘God Save The Queen’s Speech’ and your first impressions are of a Cockney rhyming away over some laid back acoustic folk and no drums! Yes they have no drummer. Never had and never will for as they announced on their debut album ‘Drums Ruin Everything’. Its all humorous and tongue in cheek on the surface but their’s an anger raging underneath.

“She lives in the biggest council house I’ve ever seen”

Next up is ‘Tag Team Time’ and if you’re looking for a wrestling metaphor involving Jeremy Corbyn that this is the one for you. ‘George Of The Jungle’ starts off with that much under used instrument in celtic-punk the harmonica. The song tells of Saint George, the patron Saint of England who was thought to be born in Syria on 23rd April 303 and imagines him being stuck in the Calais refugee centre, nicknamed the Jungle, trying to get out.

‘Cheer Up Mate’ brings out some electric guitar while trying to get us to blame the real enemy not some

“poor bloke running from the bombs”

while ‘Victoria Says’ namechecks some right-wing media commenters while taking the P out of UKIP parliamentary candidate Victoria Ayling who last year asked the question

“what happens when renewable energy runs out?”

‘Hardwork’ leaves the instruments behind and the band go it acapello with each band member sharing the singiong and instantly reminds me of Attila The Stockbroker. ‘IDS Land’ is about that most unpopular of Tory politicians Iain Duncan Smith. He’s the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green on the East fringe of London. Before him was Thatcher’s rottweiller Norman Tebbitt and before him Winston Churchill. It was also the birthplace of such notables as David Beckham, Carry On star Leslie Phillips and guitarist Steve Hillage and it’s also where The Kray twins are buried. hard to fathom how the people there could be conned into voting for these scumbags but their you go. Some more electric guitar and I get the feeling someone in the band is an old rocker! ‘None Of The Above’ is next and refers to the possibility of putting none of the above on the ballot paper at elections. One thing you can say about Protest For Dummies is that its all very lively and with Steve’s vocals as clear as a cockney bell it doesn’t matter there’s no lyrics included on the CD cover. These songs are very London-centric and close to the bands heart as they live on the eastern fringe of London themselves in Walthamstow. I use to work there and loved the area but slowly the yuppies are closing in. ‘Pop-Up Punx’ rips the piss out of that punk sacred cow Johnny Rotten among others. How the establishment is now getting into punk and the true conservative (little ‘c’ and big ‘C’) nature of the old time punks who are now trying to deny the things they once said (and never really) believed in. All a joke. I love ‘The Side Of The Fox’ as it’s one of the rockiest off the album. Fox hunting is still happening and Steve and his bandmates are on the side of the fox against the Cameron’s and the Clarkson’s of this country.

They turn their hands to a bit of blues-rock next with ‘Sniffin’ Gluten’ about those said yuppies that are on the march to E17 (Walthamstow’s post-code) to take over the shops and the close down the pubs. The album comes to an end with the sweary epic ‘A Song For Sonja’ with the words written by a dear friend and comrade of the band who died last year. That is not the end though as the real end comes shortly after with a song I fecking love and have been waiting for a reference to for the entire album. A little clue to what I mean can be found in the review we did of This Band Is Sick here.

Steve White And The Protest familyAnd that is that. Twelve songs clocking in at forty-six minutes and right up their with their previous releases though I can’t help feeling that if they weren’t so concerned on getting their message across they could properly ROCK-OUT a bit. The lyrics are multi-layered in the same way a band like Half Man Half Biscuit’s are in that you may listen as close as you can but you’ll always discover a line you never heard before that will raise a smile or two. Musically they occupy the space that’s neither punk nor folk but at the same time both. Is it just for grizzled, working class, left-wingers who drink real ale and watch lower league (soon to be the top echelons of non-league perhaps…) football like me? Well yes and no. It could well be the soundtrack to our lives but if I thought that good music like this didn’t have the power to go beyond the converted then I think I would chuck my lot in with the X-Factorists and that must never happen!

(have a listen to Protest For Dummies below before you send them your fiver)

Buy The Album

FourDogsMusic  FromTheBand

Contact The Band

Facebook  Bandcamp

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS OUR BEST OF 2014!

TOP TWENTY CELTIC PUNK ALBUMS OF 2014

Last year our ‘Best Of’ list was completely dominated by bands from these shores but this time there’s a much more international flavour to 2014’s Best Album’s list. Again Irish influenced bands dominate but the absolute standout album for me was without a doubt Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards from Italy who nailed their fusion of punk rock and traditional music completely. With their own roots and influences included along with some amazing uilleann piping they are deserved winners of the Best Album spot. Kitchen Implosion join them in what has been a great year for Italian bands. Sure not all of these twenty bands are celtic-punk in the dictionary definition of the phrase but sod that anyway. These are what we liked and they all fit in in some way. Twenty bands from thirteen countries (Italy, England, Sweden, Brittany, Canada, Ireland, USA, Australia, Brazil, Catalonia, Germany, Switzerland and Belguim) which only goes to show the international appeal of the celtic-punk scene these days. A special mention for London Irish band Creeds Cross superb debut album. Only just caught them live and they were awesome so hoping to see much more of them around town in 2015.
As ever we have reviewed some, though not all of these albums, so click (here) after the title and you will be re-directed to our review.
We compiled the ‘Best Of’ lists together from the scraps of paper handed to me by the various admins from the London Celtic Punks facebook page.
1. UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS- ‘Get The Folk Out!’ (here)
2. CREEDS CROSS- ‘Gods And Fighting Men (here)
3. ROVERS AHEAD- Always The Sinner, Never The Saint (here)
4. LES RAMONEURS DE MENHIRS- Tan Ar Bobl (here)
5. THE MAHONES- The Hunger And The Fight
6. BLOOD OR WHISKEY- Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil (here)
7. THE ROUGHNECK RIOT- Out Of Anger
8. BASTARD BEARDED IRISHMEN- Rise Of The Bastard (here)
9. JAY WARS- Carry Me Home (here)
10. THE RAMSHACKLE ARMY- Letters from the Road Less Travelled
11. 6’10- The Humble Beginnings Of A Rovin’ Soul (here)
12. LUGH- Quando Os Canecos Batem (here)
13. SIGELPA- TerraMorte (here)
14. KITCHEN IMPLOSION- Pretty Work Brave Boys! (here)
15. THE KILKENNY KNIGHTS- Bradys Pub Tales (here)
16. BEYOND THE FIELDS- The Falcon Lives (here)
17. THE YOUNG DUBLINERS- ‘Nine (here)
18. KELTIKON- Agenbite Of Inwit (here)
19. FM 359- Truth, Love And Liberty (here)
20. THE BLACK TARTAN CLAN – Scotland in Our Hearts
a special special mention for three absolutely brilliant compilation albums too. Can’t really include them in the Best of charts so heres all three in no particular order at all as they are all 11 out of 10!
a class album with 4 songs per band and an absolutely beautifully put together record. THE PORTERS/ THE JUDAS BUNCH/ THE MAHONES/ MALASANERS 4-WAY SPLIT DOUBLE ALBUM- ‘Welcome To The Folk Punk Show’ (2014)  here
a mostly Russian compilation paying tribute to all (lets just face it they are!) our favourite celtic-punk band- ‘Ex-USSR Tribute To The Dropkick Murphys’ (2014)  here
this ought to be the number one album of the year to be honest. a fecking amazing compilation of Indonesian celtic-punk bands.the quality is amazing throughout.absolutely stunning. I cannot recommend enough!! ‘Wind From The Foreign Land- Indonesian Celtic-Punk Compilation’ (2014)  here

TOP FIVE CELTIC PUNK EP’S OF 2015

No question which EP deserved this and Russia’s Middle Class Bastards just blasted us away with their follow up to their 2013 album. Superb use of bagpipes and brass instruments combined with fast but tuneful punk rock. A bit unfortunate for Black Water County who looked nailed on to win this for most of the year with their fantastic 2nd EP. The Breton band The Maggie Whackers released their EP back at the start of the year while The South Sea Ramblers from South Africa literally released theirs just a couple of weeks ago while LQR from Holland slipped theirs out in time for St Patricks Day… ooh err missus! So spread out across the year but these are the ones that left their mark. Looking forward to hearing more from them all and long players must be arriving soon I hope.
1. MIDDLE CLASS BASTARD- Rebel To The Core (here)
2. BLACK WATER COUNTY- Fellowship Of the Craic (here)
3. THE MAGGIE WHACKERS- Naoned Whisky (here)
4. LQR- A Touch Of Liquor (here)
5. SOUTH SHORE RAMBLERS- Bare Knuckle Blackout

TOP FIVE TRAD ALBUMS OF 2014

As the blog is for (mostly) celtic punk so it is that we only review stuff that isn’t celtic punk if we really really (really!!) like it. All these rocked our boat and we loved them all to bits. Hard to decide which order they should go in but this is how we ended up. Turned out to be an all Irish list with I DRAW SLOW from Dublin with beautiful alternative country sounds and both Cork’s THE BUACHAILLS and London’s THE CRAICHEADS going head to head with both bands playing similar styles of music while Irish-American supergroup THE ALT’s debut album was a worthy runner-up to fellow Irish-Americans RUNA’s brillliant fourth album.
1. RUNA- Current Affairs (here)
2. THE ALT- ‘The Alt (here)
3. THE CRAICHEADS- Brewed in London (here) 
3. THE BUACHAILLS- At Your Call (here)
5. I DRAW SLOW- ‘WhiteWave Chapel (here)

BEST CELTIC PUNK WEB-SITE OF 2014

Celtic Folk Punk And More Blogonce again there is no question who gets this
CELTIC FOLK PUNK AND MORE
 keeping the whole wide world up to date with what’s going on and who is doing who within celtic punk (and more!) while also supplying us with regular free downloads and free compilations. Waldo you’re great. Keep it up mate!

BEST GIGS

Apart from the ones we put on which were all amazing and showcased some amazing performances from JAY WARS and THE DEAD MAGGIES from Aus, THE GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS from Norway, a couple of benefit gigs for Mad Dog out The Popes (hope youre back on your guitar highkicking soon pal!), BLACK WATER COUNTY played their London debut and went down a fecking storm, me O’s mates STEVE WHITE AND THE PROTEST FAMILY were as superb as ever and released a fantastic album. One of the major highlights was discovering the quintessential London Celtic Punk in ANTO MORRA and we look forward to working with him again in the future. We teamed up with fellow Londoners of Urbankelt and will be doing so again too.

I also saw DAVID ROVICS for the first time, THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG’s amazing 30th anniversary show was incredible, NECK and their sadly ended residency at TChances which had us all pissed on Polish lager on Sunday afternoons for the first 6 months of the year, FLOGGING MOLLY in Reading in June which showed they havent lost a thing and are as great as ever, THE POGUE TRADERS were the best Pogues tribute band I ever seen. Disappointing was missing so many gigs where I just didnt have the cash especially The Pogues various outings. THE STANFIELDS from Canada seemed like a decent bunch of lads but their London gig was a total rip-off. The pre-gig ticket price was £7-50 which more than doubled to £15 on the door on the night. Oi bands watch out for charlaten promoters won’t you? Rebellion music fest brings loads of decent bands over to play but that means that they all end up playing in the same week so I had to forgo THE GO-SET’s return to London. Missed out on THE WOLFE TONES London gigs too due to work. All three of them! THE LAGAN have been brilliant. Far far too many of their gigs to go into detail so we have choosen the whole of St Patricks Weekend as our Number One! With NECK playing three gigs over the weekend and both THE BIBLE CODE SUNDAYS and THE LAGAN playing on the same day as well it seen a clean sweep of all the London bands done. Afterwards sick days were phoned in, headache pills were taken and the best St Patricks in donkeys was had.
Now were just looking forward to catching THE DROPKICK MURPHYS ‘Celtic Invasion ‘ Tour in Dublin and London this year round St Patricks Day.
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- 2015
 London Celtic Punks
Of course all these things are very subjective so don’t be dismayed if your album ain’t here. What appeals to one don’t neccessarily appeal to another. It would be impossible to keep up with the multitude of celtic-punk related releases so these are the best of of what we actually did get to hear. All the various sites in the celtic-punk family had different winners so to see what they thought check out the Best Of lists of the following sites…
click on the blog logo at the top of the page to find more of this kind of stuff…

ALBUM REVIEW: STEVE WHITE AND THE PROTEST FAMILY- ‘This Band Is Sick’ (2014)

The world’s favourite east London semi-acoustic singalong political folk punk group

Steve White And The Protest Family- 'This Band Is Sick' (2014)

Similar to them Tories who end up investigating companies that they have in fact got £100,000 worth of shares in, I feel I must own up to something before my review begins. Arriving in London 24 years ago I did my best to follow my home team but it just wasn’t enough for this football addict so I began to cast my net out for someone else to go to watch. Without going into all the details (but it did all start with free tickets!!!) I began going to see Leyton Orient. Back then they were in Division Three and in the years since they’ve had a couple of promotions and relegation’s but have never risen above that third tier of english footy. Standing on the terraces back then I never imagined that eventually they would become my first team, eclipsing both my home team and Celtic. There’s been ups and down. Few more of one than the other but that’s football for you. We can’t all support Chelsea or Manchester City. One of the many things that drew me to Orient was the supporters (I save the term ‘fans’ for yer barstoolers or schoolkids who support teams hundreds of miles away from them that they’ll never get to see). On the terraces back then were people from all over England in the same boat as me. Miles from home and washed up at the at a not so wee ground in London E10. Punks, hippies and metallers were dotted about the ground as were lefties everywhere. Once I said hello to a young lad wearing a James Connolly t-shirt. That’s how I was sucked in and the O’s are a part of me now…

Steve White And The Protest familySo why the hell am I waxing on about a lower league football team that can’t even get 5,000 in to watch them when they were (briefly) top of the league? Well the reason my friends is Steve White And The Protest Family. A quick glance at the band logo will give some of you the answer. These boys are full on Leyton Orient supporters and can be found propping up the bar in the Supporters Club at the ground before and after O’s games and even away games too, though whether or not they went to Bradford City that time I do not know. Meeting Steve many times and having checked out their videos I determined to draw them into London Celtic Punks orbit. We booked them for a couple of gigs and they went down a storm with their distinctive brand of English folk-punk and socialist and football anthems.

The bands official beginning was at Tommy Flynn’s in Camden on the 3rd December 2009 and ‘This Band Is Sick’ is their third release after a live album ‘One Night In Walthamstow’ recorded in 2010 at the Rose And Crown the day after the 2010 general election. With the Tories about to wage war on the working classes and finish off what Thatcher had started its a great record full of bile and humour and anger. Sadly they’ve been proved right about everything they predicted…

‘One Night’ was followed by the studio mini-album  ‘Drums Ruin Everything’ from 2012. ‘Drums Ruin Everything’ gets it title because they don’t and never have had a drummer. Eight tracks that set the style for this new album. Football, politics, football, politics and politics. All done with lashings of humour and personality. To download either album click on the links below the respective album covers above. Its £1 for both and one of them is free!!!

The band consists of Steve- Guitar, Irish bouzouki, harmonica, vocals, Doug- Bass, vocals, Russ- Banjo, vocals, Funky Lol- Mandolin, guitars, violin, piano, vocals. Though you’d never really be sure as they have people guesting for them regularly and even though there’s officially only four members I’ve seen them play with more than double that!

L-R: Steve, Doug, Russ, Funky Lol

L-R: Steve, Doug, Russ, Funky Lol

So now I’ve come clean on my connection to the band I cannot be accused of bias when I tell you that ‘This Band Is Sick’ is the proverbial bee’s knees! It kicks off, literally, with ‘No Pasaran In E17’ which tells the story of the far-right English Defence League’s ill fated trip to Walthamstow to hold a demonstration. The vast majority of EDL members made the sensible decision to bottle it and never come but those that did were met with a huge force of locals determined to prevent them from marching and they were harried and harassed at every turn and afterwards slunk off back to where they came from having had been well and truly embarrassed. As with all the following tracks the vocals are extremely clear and as east London (or should that be “east east east London”?) as you can get with the bands up front and forthright views.

“you can stick your racist hatred up your arse”

Acoustic guitar and mandolin lead the music but really its Steve voice that really dominates proceedings. ‘Do Something About It’ name checks the bands influences and is a plea for the left to stop its sectarianism and work together. A lovely thought but something the left is incapable of doing unfortunately. Who knows what we could achieve if we were united and all worked as equals together. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians is the phrase that fits the Brit Left perfectly with all the various groups and sects putting themselves above the class they pretend to serve. ‘Home Rule For Awesomestow’ brings in the harmonica and is lovely wee ditty about the home of the band, even bigging up their local Labour MP. ‘Ecstasy Death Girl’ proves the band can do serious with Lol taking over vocal duties for the story of a young lass who had died and the medias portrayal of her death and the prejudices they hold against the working classes in general. Quite rightly the song tells us not to buy the Daily Mail and ends with the sad and poignant line “poor Isabelle”.  Two whispered words more poignant than the 100’s of acres of news coverage the Daily Mail printed on the subject. Electric guitars pop in ‘Smash It Up (And Start Again)’ a song that tries to tell explain what we’ll do when the revolution comes. ‘Bad Day For Bojo’ is about the RMT, unions and everyone’s least favourite Eton boy (after Frank Turner that is!). A upbeat tune it’s banjo led and a real toe tapper. ‘Funky Lol’s Picket Line’ is about the necessity of NEVER crossing picket lines…EVER! ‘Never Mind Your Bollocks’ is that unusual song subject of testicular cancer and extolling the virtues of

“having a quick feel it aint worth ignoring”

‘(When An) Anarchist (Helps You Across The Road)’ begins with loud punky guitars and soon racks up the volume with a typical Family tune and lyrics. The stand out track of the album for me. Very funny with brilliant lyrics and music. Next is ‘Which Side Are You On?’, a song readers of this blog will be most familiar with due to the likes of The Dropkick Murphys and Billy Bragg , among others, covering it over the years. Written back in 1931 by Florence Reece and made most popular by the late and great Pete Seeger its a song bursting with both class hatred and class pride.  Steve’s updated lyrics are in the tradition of those mentioned and are a welcome addition to the song’s grand history

“I’m on the side of the unions,

on the side of the strikers

On the side of the bloggers,

the protest song writers

On the side of the disabled,

fighting against ATOS

On the side of the worker,

not the side of the boss

I’m on the side of the sick,

the benefits claimants

The folk who can’t make their Wonga repayments

I’m on the side of the kids on zero hours contracts

On the side of council workers who had their jobs axed

On the side of Uncut,

I’m on the side of Occupy

It’s rich versus poor if you just open your eyes

I hear people say a change is gonna come

So ask yourself which side are you on”

The final track (and hidden track- sorry for spoiling the surprise!) is The Family’s legendary anthem ‘Brisbane Road’. A story of love, unrequited love, hatred, dreams, dashed dreams and football. Yeah Brisbane Road is of course the home of Leyton Orient and close your eyes and a listen to this song will whisk you over to East London at 2-45pm running across Coronation Gardens. Whether its the drinks with no lids or getting The Orientear fanzine and a pint in the South Stand Bar at half-time and then missing the first five minutes of the second half but its that thing of praying to hear Status Quo at quarter to five that brings a smile to this face.

Twelve tracks in all and only a few seconds short of forty minutes. ‘This Band Is Sick’ may not have instant appeal for many of our European readers but you’d be wise to give it a chance. The lyrics are multi-layered in the same way Half Man Half Biscuit’s are in that you may listen as close as you can to the words but you’ll always discover a line you never heard before that will raise a smile or two. Shame the CD comes in a pretty basic cardboard cover but thats a small gripe as i already mentioned there’s no need for the lyrics as its very easy to understand Steve even when he really gets going! The album is released today so hightail it over to their Bandcamp page (link below) and get ‘This Band Is Sick’ as this band may be sick but they are fecking brilliant too!

here’s the recently released double-A side with Graham Larkbey And The Escapers. It’s all free but limited to 200 copies so when their gone contact the band…

Contact The Band

Facebook  Bandcamp  Reverbnation

Buy The Album (released 13th October 2014)

Physical copies from FourDogsMusic  Bookmarks and the Leyton Orient Supporters Club!

Download from Bandcamp

here’s the band recorded just a couple of weeks ago with some John Otway at the end you lucky things!

%d bloggers like this: