Tag Archives: Neck

Neck: Come Out Fighting

January 4, 2010

Anyone who’s been a long time reader of S’n’O will know that we here at Shite’n’Onions towers have been long time fans of the London based underdogs. In fact we nicked our bloody name from a Neck instrumental. So it’s with confidence we can say that not only is “Come Out Fighting” Neck’s best to date but it’s also one of the best Celtic-punk releases ever! In fact I could argue that both the band Neck and release “Come Out Fighting” defines what Celtic-punk is. Neck are rooted with one foot in Celtic music and one foot in punk unlike any other group. The attitude is punk, the guitars are strung with razor wire and so feckin incredibly loud!!!!!!!!! the band is steeped at the same time in traditional music – this isn’t a case of a band looking up the Clancy Brother on iTunes for material – this stuff is in their blood. If you’ve never heard Celtic Punk before and wonder what the fuss is about then there isn’t a better introduction then  “Come Out Fighting” (and oh yeah Pat Collier did an amazing job on the production)

NECK: Everybody’s Welcome at the Hooley!

A hooley is a huge Irish party and with “Welcome…” Neck are clearly stating everyone is welcome at a Neck show – Black, White, Brown and even Green (how ’bout Orange? Leeson?). “Welcome….” was recorded as a response to some trouble Neck had with boneheads in Germany and the US. It’s all very punkie but not the best think Neck has every recorded. The b-side is a new version of “On The Night (That) The Shamrock Was Drowned” especially for all the Neck fanatics and a newish recording of their instrumental ‘Shite’n’Onions’ (familiar?) previously only available on “Shite’n’Onions” volume 1″



Neck: Sod ‘em & Begorrah

If the 6-song “Psycho Ceilidh” is considered an EP, and “Here’s Mud in your Eye” is essentially the same as a remixed “Necked,” than an argument could be made that “Sod ‘em & Begorrah” is the second actual release from the band Neck. As such, it proves to be a strong sophomore release.
As in all of their previous CDs, one of Neck’s strongest identifying characteristics is the arrangement. The band plays in many layers; the solid, rock rhythm section is sharply accented by the fiddle, banjo, and occasionally, the Uilleann pipes, providing an elaborate and consistent backdrop for O’Keefe’s vocals. Marie McCormack’s wandering whistle completes Neck’s sound with its continuous exploration of the melody.
The new CD maintains a level of rowdiness just a notch or so above the band’s usual approach with the electric guitar occupying a more prominent role in the majority of the songs than it has in past releases. Although this obscures the clarity of the vocals in some cases, it provides the overall feel of the disc with a fuller, edgier sound
“Sod ‘em…” does, however, contain a few slower numbers, (“May the Road Rise With You,” “Caoineadh/Blood on the Streets,” and an Uilleann pipe-infused “I’ll Take Me Back.”) These are approached with a degree of emotion that really draws out the passionate capacities of Leeson O’Keefe’s voice, and makes these songs standouts on the disc.
Of the traditional tracks on the disc “The ‘Psycho-Ceilidh’ Mayhem Set” is an eight and a half minute long set of traditional jigs and reels that starts innocently enough, but soon snowballs into an intensity akin to that of riding a rollercoaster holding an armful of cats! (As soon as this track ended, I caught my breath, and played it again! It’s that good.)
Bean-counters should be pleased as the disc clocks in at a hair shy of one full hour from start to finish with no weak “filler” tracks included.
As a second release, it clearly surpasses the dreaded “Follow-up” stigma that plagues many second discs. As a fourth release, it continues to combine great song-writing with excellent orchestration. However you count it, “Sod ‘em and Begorrah” is a CD that any visitor to the Shite ‘n’ Onion site should have.

February 2005

Review by: Christopher Toler, The Blathering Gommel

Neck: Here’s Mud In Yer Eye! – A Pscyho-Ceilidh Retrospective

If you haven’t heard Neck yet, now is a great time to start. In fact this latest Neck release “Here’s Mud In Yer Eye!” makes a perfect introduction to these “County Holloway” locals. Formed by lead vocalist/guitarist, Leeson OKeeffe, (Who at one time was a member of Shane MacGowan’s Popes), NECK are a London-Irish band playing their own brand of Celt-Punk described as “PSYCHO-CEILMDH” Their songs reflect 2nd-generation Irish life, (Known to some as Plastic Paddy) Neck combines the rip-roaring spiritual abandon of Irish songs and tunes with the vibrant electric guitar driven energy of punk rock, (Regular Shite’n’Onions readers might know a little about this genre.) Speaking of the term ‘Shite’n’Onions’, The name of the website itself comes from a Neck song off the original “Necked” album. The term has been described as James Joyce’s fathers’ favorite quote!

If you have heard Neck before, you’ll want to know that the new album “Here’s Mud In Yer Eye!” mainly contains previous releases.(With the exception of “Spancil Hill” & “To Win Just Once” The difference is they are produced WAY BETTER than earlier efforts. And in my opinion, is the main reason for releasing this album. In fact, just think of those previous albums, as mass produced demos! Another great thing about “Here’s Mud In Yer Eye” is the County Holloway slang” glossary located inside the liner notes.

“Here’s Mud In Yer Eye!” is a toast given while drinking, as favored by Willie O’Keefe!
“Jackey” is a name for the people who habitually drink alcohol in the street in Scotland!
“Sassenach” is an Englishman!
There’s plenty more. Reason enough to check it out, right?
As you can probably tell, Neck is a favorite among the Shite’n’Onions staff, and that should be reason enough to familiarize yourself to the London-Irish Psycho-Ceilidh! I don’t really have anything else to tell you. I’m honestly too busy listening to the album…

Track Listing: (Complete with classic definitions provided by: Barnacle Brian Gillespie)
1. McAlpine’s Fusileers (Irish manual workers tale)
2. Loud ‘n’ Proud ‘n’ Bold (A song about drinkin’ in Dublin)
3. Spancil Hill (This is a great version of the traditional ditty)
4. To Win Just Once (Let’s hear it for the underdog!)
5. Here’s Mud In Yer Eye! (Cheers! Ya Bastards!)
6. The Maid Behind The Bar / The Sally Gardens (Another traditional)
7. Suzie MacGroovie (Can’t cheat on that lass back home)
8. I’m A Man You Don’t Met Everyday (Yep, the Jacobite song made popular by The Pogues)
9. A Fistfull Of Shamrock (Worse than getting hit by brass knuckles)
10. Hello Jackey! (AKA-What’s up, ya Scottish lush, get outta the bloody street!)
11. Topless Mary Poppins (A twisted Neck nursery rhyme)
12. The Feilds Of Athenry (This is the best version around.)
12.A Ole Hooley (Ole, Ole Ole……football fever, only 2 more years ’till the cup!!)

November 2004

Review by: Barnacle Brian “Jackey” Gillespie


Neck: Here’s Mud In Yer Eye!

I going to keep this quick as everything on “Here’s Mud In Yer Eye!” has previously been covered in Shite’n’Onions. Basically Neck have taken the best of the “Necked” CD plus the “Field of Athenry” single and a couple of newies (“Spancil Hill” and “To Win Just Once” – by the Sawdoctors!!!), remastered the shit out of them and release it over in Germany on the Core-Tex label. The sound is top notch and its the best thing Neck has done to date. Recommended, if you can get your hands on it.

March 2004

NECK : Fields of Athenry + Ole Hooley (CDS)

The Irish team is back home now from the World Cup after a great performance and unlucky defeat to Spain. “Fields of Athenry + Ole Hooley” was released in celebration of the Irish World Cup appearance and NECK have certainly paid a fine tribute to the Irish team and fans.

This is a far better version of “Fields..” then previously recorded on “Necked” and even better then Brush Shields version if I dare say so. The production is great and the football terrace chorus and the Ole Hooley tacked on at the end turn this into a true football anthem.

The other two tracks are:
“May the Road Rise to Meet You”, a NECK original and a slow and powerful tribute to the fans of Irish Soccer worldwide.

“McAlpines Fusileers”, is a rocker. Originally written by Dominic Behan (Brendan’s brother), made famous by the Dubliners and never played like this before. The ultimate song about the Irish in Britain by the ultimate Plastic Paddies.

July 2002

Neck: 2001 Demo

Pull me a Guinness, boys and make sure to put a shamrock in the foam for kitsch value – the band from the Big Smoke are at it again. Listen up as Leeson O’Keefe marches his ragged and ready troops into sure-fire victory. Who better to lead them I ask, than one who, as John noted in a previous review, lived near Rotten, studied under Shane and is blessed with God’s gift to English accents, the Cockney.

The 2001 Demo opens with a grand, bouncing sing-along called “Everyday is St. Patrick’s Day” which reels around with the speed and tempo of Leeson’s boyhood heroes of ’77. It’s held together by the familiar Neck sound that, to me, is instantly recognizable from the rest of the crop, and is becoming their trademark. I particularly like the trad. ‘breakdown’ in the middle. That’s “breakdown” in the spirit of old school hardcore (picture something Springa might’ve wrote if 1) He was Irish 2) He ever got shitty drunk and 3) He could play the whistle or fiddle). I can see it now, step-dancing in the circle pit because this one’s a pit-jig wonder. The plot of the tune seems to relate a tale of Leeson’s pal, Paddy Johnny in the drunk tank. While singing tunes of Ireland at a very high volume, our hero is reprimanded by the guard thusly: “Oi, Paddy – Shut yer gob! It ain’t St. Patrick’s day!” His brilliant, two fingers in-the-air reply names the tune. What a corker.
The cover of “Star of the County Down” is very well done, and, in parts, guitar heavy, heavy, heavy. If old Bon Scott era AC/DC ever did the Pogues, I’d imagine it would come out like this.
Things spill over into Luke Kelly ballad-style on “The Night That The Shamrock Was Drowned.” It tells of the bond between songs from the old country and the feelings we all get when hearing them, (even if it’s “Danny Boy” done by an old Bollocks) it still has that power. It’s done so incredibly well that once you have listened to it, and to the varying styles of the first three songs alone, you’ll see why I put these guys right behind Shane and the Popes as the best in the business today.
The tone remains serious for “Diaspora”, a semi-rocker about the great Irish Diaspora, which reminds me slightly of the boys from my own neck of the woods, the Tossers, which is a good thing.
Things pick right back up for “Blue Sky Over Nenagh” that is sure to get your new Irish Spring Aran sweater mighty stained if you’re anywhere near the stage when it fires up, and you’ll be hard pressed to get that bastard clean as a whistle ever again.
“I Turn my Face to the Four Winds” might well be my favorite cut on the album, and to me, has almost a country-ish backbone to it all. It’s a tale of redemption and loss. Gunfighter O’Keefe squints his eyes in the sun, reflects, and wails like a killer who’s tired of killing…or is he a lover spurned, and who’s situation is of his own doing? “I turn my face to the four winds/once again I stand alone/crucified for my sins/the cross I carry is my own.” Nice touch, that.….very nice. If Marty Robbins or Hank Williams were from Dublin, either would’ve been proud to pen this one.
“Down Where the River Bends” ends the demo like popping pills after a night on the booze – gets the heart back pumping top speed.

All in all, although the 2001 Demo might just be a demo, it’s nothing short of breathtaking. Get in line, boys, cause my beer’s almost gone and Neck are almost on. Shout at the top of your lungs “I’m plastic and I’m proud!” and don’t take your eyes of the band – that grand Goddamn band.

November 2001

By Sean Holland

Neck: Necked (A Few Odds From The Oul’ Sods)

Neck is easily one of the best Folk-Punk bands presently on the scene today. Leeson O’Keeffe has almost the perfect pedigree, an ex-Punk right down to the authentic Cockney accent (the real thing not the phony Green Day accent), was raised on the same street as Johnny Rotten, in the same North London neighborhood as the Pogues and apprenticed under the master himself Shane MacGowan as a member of the Popes.
Necked (A Few Odds From The Oul’ Sods), is really just a compilation of tracks taken from the “Psycho Ceilidh” EP and various demo’s and out-takes recorded over the last couple of years, specially pressed to help finance the just completed US tour and as a stop gap till the first real album is released.

It’s really great to now have some of my live favorites on CD – “Hello Jakey!” is fast punkie and Irish, “Loud ’n’ Proud ’n’ Bold” is Loud ’n’ Proud ’n’ Bold, “Shite’n’Onions” (where I nicked the zine name from) is a frantic jig/reel and “I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day” is played loud, fast and totally different from the Pogues version of the old Jacobite song. “Fields of Athenry” is good, but Brush Shields does it better – sorry guys. “Topless Mary Poppins” (the best song title of the year) is again Irish in a Flogging Molly style and the excellent and strangely titled “Here’s Mud In Yer Eye” is a tale of an old Rebel and a classic in the style of Luke Kelly or Shane MacGowan.

If you haven’t already picked this up at one of their recent gigs then I strongly urge you to get in touch and order a copy before they disappear.

October 2001