1990 – 2020 means 30 years (!!!) of one of the original and greatest of all the Celtic-punk bands, The Mahones. Starting out from the back room of a pub in Kingston, Ontario, The Mahones have brought their own brand of Celtic-punk to a world wide fan base. To celebrate reaching middle age, The Mahones have released, This Is All We Got To Show For It, on glorious green vinyl. While this is not the first best of….. from The Mahones, it is the first on wax and the first opportunity we have to hear almost all of the songs here on vinyl.
Side one opens with the monstrous Shakespeare Road and its classic after classic till Celtic Pride closes-out side B. While long time fans may argue about what songs were included and what were excluded (where is The Queen and Tequila?), the 10 tracks here perfectly sum up the best of 30 years. This is a limited edition release so get it before it’s gone and hopefully the entire back catalog gets a vinyl release someday.
Too Cow to Punk is a 37 track digital career retrospective from original Nashville cowpunk, Pete Berwick. I’ve reviewed Pete a few times before and I’m a big fan of his stuff – if you like your country to be outlaw with a big dose of punk rock attitude and sound then Pete’s the man. I’ve said before, that Pete Berwick is the soundtrack to a honky-tonk brawl and not only has he brought the sound but he’s packing the big city knuckledusters.
So this CD has been sitting in my review pile for quite a bit and for whatever reason I wasn’t enthused about giving it a spin – I don’t know why, but I must have been judging the CD by the cover and expecting some pedestrian folk rock. Well today I finally cracked Veracity open and gave it a spin. 10 seconds into the opener, Rabbit, and my jaw had dropped and I’m totally stunned by the explosion of folk-punk I’ve just been battered about the head by. I can only describe this as the banjo kid from the movie Deliverance supping moonshine with the MacManus Gang (aka The Pogues) from Alex Cox’s Straight to Hell while raising plain ol’ hell. A great debut and I’m kicking myself for not playing sooner.
Now from Brisbane, Australia, we have some serious DIY stuff from the Dangerous Folk – a CDR and typed up track listing. The 5 songs on offer on #1 are also seriously good old school punk with strong folk undercurrents. Check out their ode to their hometown (and the Dropkick Murphys), Shipping up to Brisbane
Rascals & Rogues is the debut album from Aussie band Medusa’s Wake. What we have here is very solid DIY folk punk with influences from both the Irish and Australian tradition as well as seafaring shanties. Fellow Sydney band The Rumjacks are an obvious comparison but these guys are not Johnny-come-latelies as I hear The Pogues, The Dubliners and especially the much missed 80s Celt-punks and Sydneysider, Roaring Jack in their sound. Looking forward to hearing more Medusa’s Wake.
Is it really 20 years!! Seriously? To me Swagger is the album that started the Celtic punk scene. Sure the Pogues were the first Celtic-punk band but there was not a real scene before Flogging Molly exploded with Swagger. Even the Dropkick Murphys were still a street punk band in scally caps back then. The 20th Anniversary Edition box set is a really nice package – Swagger as a double LP on red and white colored vinyl including the bonus Juan El Sentimental. A six track live EP on blue splatter vinyl from 2001 with mostly previously unreleased traditional stuff. A DVD of Swagger live from 2000 and various goodies – lyric book, buttons, record player pad. In all a very, very nice package.
The Aussie version of Of Bright Futures…..and Broken Pasts, was released as two separate EPs. I was lucky enough to get my grubby paws on the German vinyl version where each EP becomes a side of the LP. The “Of Bright Futures”, side is The Go Set rocking out at their very best Weddings Parties Anything inspired blue-collar bagpipe infused punk’n’roll. The flip side “…and Broken Pasts”, is more introspective acoustic flavored folk punk. I’ve been a big fan of pretty much everything The Go Set has release over the last 15 year yet Of Bright Futures…and Broken Past might be to these ears the best thing these guys have ever done (at least since their mighty Sing A Song Of Revolution debut).
Live at Rock City was recorded in 2015 (released in 2016 and I just picked it up in 2020). Rock City is a legendary 2,000 capacity rock club in the band’s hometown of Nottingham, England. Ferocious Dog has the distinction of being the first independent band to ever sell out the venue (in 22 minutes). If you haven’t heard Ferocious Dog, they play folk-punk that takes its start from The Levellers, New Model Army and The Pogues yet have their own distinct speedy English folk punk sound. If Live At Rock City is an indication of the band live, then I really, really want to see them play.
My favorite lawn killers are back with another slab of bagpipe wailing, hardcore punk rock. Alternative Ulster straddle old school punk and more hardcore sounds. Opener, “It Took A Lot of Love (To Hate You The Way I Do), even has some great melodies – shock, horror. Vocals are nicely split between Wendy Henry on the more (melodic) old school punk sounds and the growling Todd Henry on the hardcore stuff. Alternative Ulster are not for the faint hearted but always a fun listen.
Another RSD release this year on vinyl is The Pogues, BBC Sessions 1984 – 85, a collection of sessions that The Pogues recorded for various BBC radio shows during their early years. Most, if not all of these tracks were released on 2007’s excellent box set, Just Look The Straight In The Eye and Say Pogue Mahone, and have been floating around on various bootlegs prior to that. Nevertheless, it’s nice to have these songs on vinyl and nice to be able to buy something kind of new from The Pogues.
Tracklisting: Broadcast April 17, 1984 (as Pogue Mahone) – The John Peel Show 1) Streams Of Whiskey 2) Greenland Whale Fisheries 3) Boys From The County Hell 4) The Auld Triangle
Broadcast 9th July 1984 – David ‘Kid’ Jensen 5) Dingle Regatta 6) Poor Paddy On The Railway 7) Boys From The County Hell 8) Connemara, Let’s Go
Broadcast 16th December 1984 – John Peel Show 9) Whiskey You’re The Devil 10) Navigator 11) Sally MacLennane 16) Danny Boy
Broadcast 11th July 1985 – Janice Long Show 16) Wild Cats Of Kilkenny 17) Billy’s Bones 18) The Old Main Drag 19) Dirty Old Town