SINGLE REVIEW: Grass Mud Horse – “The Hill I Chose To Die On”

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For all the history that is intertwined with Liverpool and the Emerald Isle, it’s inevitable that the music passed down the years and played in the pubs for generations would influence the steady stream of bands and songwriters from the banks of the Mersey. Now, one of the sons of that grand auld city is making waves in the celt-punk scene with Grass Mud Horse, although the band doesn’t come from Scottie Road or Toxteth, but from the northern regions of China.

Liverpudlians, just like the Irish that populated the city, get all over the world, and Grass Mud Horse are a perfect example of this wanderlust. Fronted by Liverpool native and songwriter Chris Barry (guitars, mandolin, tin whistle, and more), GMH are completed by Rocco Desta (bass) from Glasgow and Will Wyld (drums) from Texas; and are based in the city of Qinhuangdao, at the end of the Great Wall. GMH have already released two singles in the humorously observant “Christmas Time In China” and the pirate punk “No Prey, No Pay” (with the music video being exclusively launched by our good mates London Celtic Punks). Chris has recently found time to record an acoustic EP, “The Quarantine Sessions” despite being in lockdown with only a few instruments and a small 8-track to record on. With this impressively stubborn creative streak, they’re about to unleash their new single “The Hill I Chose To Die On”, and it’s a belter.

Taking all the best ingredients of celtic punk, they effortlessly create nearly two and a half minutes of high energy and an infectious melody that gets stuck in your head for days; with the blend of guitars, drums, tin whistle and accordion producing a track that would fit seamlessly into the repertoire of any of the best bands in the scene. Inspired by an online argument Chris had seen, and delivered perfectly by his snarling vocals, the song looks at the current generational war being raged across social media from the perspective of an older fella who feels that his surroundings are changing too quickly and he isn’t getting the respect he deserves from the young ‘uns:

“…It was a facebook fight! Two keyboard warriors where going at it, calling each other “millenial”, “boomer”, “gammon” etc.  Somehow that whole thing with the bakery refusing to make a cake for a gay couple had come up again and the “millenial” posted about how he was amazed that this was the hill so many “gammon”, “boomers”…(or whatever I can’t remember exactly)….chose to die on. I’d heard the phrase before, but it hit me that in the context of this “generation war” that’s going on, it was very poetic and I grabbed me notebook and starting writing…. ” 
Chris on the inspiration for The Hill I Chose to Die on – Apr 2020

Despite the song being written from this viewpoint, it’s not intended to endorse or condemn either side of the argument, it’s an attempt to document the current generational tensions that are evident all over social media every day. It’s this sort of insight from Chris’ songwriting, along with the brilliant musicianship of the band as a whole, that shows that Grass Mud Horse could well be a major contender for the next big breakout band in the celt-punk scene. A full length album release would be eagerly awaited.

“The Hill I Chose To Die On” is on early bird release this Wednesday (13/05/2020) exclusively on Bandcamp, and on general release everywhere else on Friday (15/05/2020)

Early bird release

www.grassmudhorse.bandcamp.com

www.grassmudhorsepunk.com

General release

https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/grassmudhorse/the-hill-i-chose-to-die-on

(Click the Spotify link to automatically save it to your playlist)

Merch

https://grassmudhorsepunk.com/shop

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/MerseyCeltPunks/

 

TOP 25 FOLK PUNK ALBUMS OF THE DECADE

First up, Happy New Decade!!!

So, 2019 was a bit of a manic year us and we have let the website slip. So over the next few days I am hoping to get it back and running again with hopefully more regular posts.

Now at the start of a new decade I felt it was important to reflect on the decade that I went from a casual folk punk fan to an obsessive folk punk fan.

With that in mind I present to you in reverse order my Top 25 Folk Punk albums from 2010 – 2019 please bare in mind we started Mersey Celt Punks around 2016 so there is abit of a bias from that point forward.

#25 Matildas Scoundrels – As the Tide Turns

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#24 Sir Reg – Modern Day Disgrace

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#23 Paddy and the Rats – Lonely Hearts Boulavard

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#22 Rumjacks – Saints Preserve Us

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#21 Roughneck Riot – This Is Our Day

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#20 Bootscraper – s/t

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#19 Flatfoot 56 – Odd Boat

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#18 The Narrowbacks – By Hook Or By Crook

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#17 Mischief Brew – This Is Not For Children

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#16 The Go Set – One Fine Day

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#15 The Dreadnoughts – Polkas Not Dead

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#14 The O’Riellys and The Paddyhats – Sign of the Fighter

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#13 Biblecode Sundays – Walk Like Kings

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#12 Dropkick Murphys – Going Out In Style

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#11 Killigans – Another Round For The Strong Of Heart

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#10 Krakin Kellys – Promised Lands

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#9 Black Water County – Taking Chances

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#8 Bastard Bearded Irishmen – Drinkin To The Dead

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#7 Mickey Rickshaw – No Heavan For Heroes

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#6 Fiddlers Green – Hey Day

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#5 Ferocious Dog – s/t

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#4 Flatfoot 56 – Toil

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#3 Rumjacks – Sober and Godless

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#2 The Lagan – Wheres Your Messiah Now?

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#1 The Dreadnoughts – Foreign Skies

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Playlist to my favourite song from each album below.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/4jknQRMCRU0AnBMYfDRQBW

 

I hope you enjoyed the list. let us know what you think we missed out and what we have got wrong. I know this list also contradicts previous lists we have done but its done on reflection and with an ever changing taste.

Have a great 2020.

Much Love

Elliott

Mersey Celt Punks

 

 

 

 

The Best of 2018

Last year we did a countdown of our top albums of 2017 with Odd Boat by Flatfoot 56 taking the top spot.

That was loads of fun so now it is time for the Best of 2018. This has been a friggin tough one to call. This list started in February this year and has been changed so many times I can’t count. The top spot I was convinced was set for a long time and then it changed and changed back and then back again. Every release would cause more debate because the standard of music has been unbelievably good.

Without anymore rambling in reverse order:

FOLK PUNK ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2018

10) The Clan – Here to Stay

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9) Medusa Wake – Rascals and Rogues (Review)

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8) The Rumpled – Ashes and Wishes

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7) Mr Irish Bastard – The Desire for Revenge

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6) Sir Reg – The Underdogs

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5) 1916 – Far Beyond the Pale

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4) The Muckers – One More Stout

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3) Krakin Kellys – Promised Land (Review)

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2) Bastard Bearded Irishmen – Drinkin’ to the Dead (Review)

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1) The Rumjacks – Saints Preserve Us (Review)

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Well there is my favourites albums of the last year so many other came in and out of the top 10 over the year but a final decision had to be made. Once again in in pyramid form.

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Thanks to Jason Billing for the photo.

Playlist of my favourite song from each of the Top 10 album:

 

FOLK PUNK E.P. OF THE YEAR 2018

First year counting down E.P.’s due to being a bit more organised. Some great releases this year. So in reverse order

5) Raise My Kilt – A New Tartan

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4) The Grinning Barretts – The St Padraig’s EP

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3) Two Man Travelling Medicine Show – A Snake’s A Snake (Review)

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2) Scotch – Last in the Bar 

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1) In For A Penny – Sometimes its Better to Not (Review)

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Well it has been an awesome year again for folk punk we have had a huge amount of fun going on about it. Feel free to let us know what you think or come argue the toss with us on facebook and twitter.

Hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year and/or whatever else you may be celebrating around now.

More lists coming next year.

Over and out.

Elliott xxx

 

Review: The Rumjacks – Saints Preserve Us (2018)

So this year marks 10 years of the Rumjacks. Arguably the most excited band in celtic punk today and well possibly ever. There debut album “Gang of New Holland” (2008) was voted best celtic punk album ever by London Celtic Punks (People who actually know what they are talking about. Link at the bottom) and since then have released 2 more exception albums “Sober and Godless” (2015) and “Sleepin Rough” (2016). If you take a second to take that in. Better than any Dropkicks album; better than any Flogging Molly album; better than any POGUES album. It is a pretty bold statement that took me a while to come to terms with and then you press play again, ready to argue and realise that they were right all along.

This year sees the bands fourth album “Saints Preserve Us” an album that has a lot to live up to based on the high standards set and true to form it smashes all expectations. Massively varied throughout but still fitting perfectly into that Rumjacks bracket.

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The album kicks off with the title track and first single “Saints Preserve Us” a bouncy track with an underlying cynicism that captures that signature Rumjacks approach to folk / ska punk. It eases you in and sets the tone for the rest of the album. In the first week of it being on youtube the video is averaging 10,000 views a day so im guessing im not the only one who likes it.

Then the other side of the Rumjacks is the rowdy full steam ahead celtic punk joy that you may be more familiar and that is exactly where “Billy Mckinley” kicks in. The tin whistle comes out and you instantly want to be back in the Irish pub with your pint raised high and covering anyone everyone who enters your radius. Seems like its soon to be favourite in the live setting.

“Bus Floor Bottles” the band gets down to some serious punk rock with faster paced vocal than any other Rumjacks song to date as far as I can tell. Definite grower, great track.

Something a bit different next with “An Poc Ar Buile (The Mad Pluck Goat)” a reworking of a poem by Donal O’Mullain about a goat that kicked off on Cromwell’s Army. Sung almost completely in Gaelic and quite different to The Chieftains version of the same poem and there are bagpipes. BAGPIPES! Wasn’t expecting that, its bloody brilliant!

“Last Orders” starts off slowly and kicks in with some great mandolin/bouzouki I struggle telling them apart, either way Adam has smashed it. Massive sing along track if you not singing “for all the tea in china” by the end clearly were not listening to the same track as the rest of us.

“Cold London Rain” from first listen is one of the big stand out tracks from the album. Imagine Rancid mixed with Frank Turner. You want to listen to it now! Superb storytelling lyrics and a one of the best blending of folk and punk in a song that I have heard in a long time.

I have read a few reviews of previous Rumjacks album which mention them sounding like a mix of The Clash and The Pogues. Cant argue with that but it has always been the two sounds blended into one. “Fare Evader” take those two sounds and switches between the 2 extremes. Starting off in an almost dub reggae style for the verses and then kicks in to full celtic stomping before going seamlessly back to the reggae.

“The Foreman O’Rouke” featuring the legend that is Paul McKenzie of The Real Mckenzies splitting the vocal duties with Frankie. Originally performed by Matt McGinn this is a million miles from the slow meandering folk in its purest form but instead is brought right upto date. Fast paced loads of fun and you know the second the bagpipes (yes, more bagpipes curtesy of Mickey Rickshaw) kick in you know that standing still is no longer an option. If they ever tour together and plan to do this live come see me I’m pretty sure I will be down the front. The track is also planned to be on the next Real McKenzies album. Check out the original for the compare and contrast.

The tin whistle at the start of “A Smugglers Song” sound like it is about to go into version of The Auld Triangle and then from out of nowhere turns into Jolly Executioner and the Rumjacks party starts again. Great song, just what you want and expect from The Rumjacks.

Well then, “A Dozen Good Reasons To Weep” features my favourite lyric on the album “I’ve got a lots of teeth for a smart arse” and also the most unexpected point in the album in the form of an almost mariachi style breakdown.

“If it kills me” could well be a Pogues song. Put “If I should fall from the Grace of God” (1988) on, play this in the middle and it would not be questioned. I don’t like to say it because the word is overused and loses meaning but it is incredible, flawless and beautiful friggin masterpiece.

Saints Preserves us wraps up with my favourite track on the album “Cupcakes”. A full on, tongue in cheek meltdown directed at the punk scene and probably soon to knock “Blow and Unkind Words” of the top spot of my favourite Rumjacks Songs.

So if there is a better way to say you NEED this album in your life I don’t currently know it. Buy it then go see them live a monster tour going all over the place kicks off in the next few weeks. UK tour starts early next year.

Best Rumjacks album yet? Its a tough one.

Saints Preserve Us is out worldwide 12th October 2018. Order from MacSlons. (link below)

  • Elliott (Mersey Celt Punks)

www.therumjacks.com

https://macslons-shop.com/product_info.php?info=p562_rumjacks–saints-preserve-us–cd—vorbestellung–.html

www.facebook.com/merseyceltpunks

www.twitter.com/merseyceltpunks

https://londoncelticpunks.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/30492-london-celtic-punks-top-twenty-celtic-punk-albums-of-all-time%E2%80%8F/

Review: MacSlon’s Irish Pub Radio – Raise Your Pints Vol. 3 (2018)

When I think of compilation albums, it usually conjures up a vision of being subjected to the type of shite that is regularly pumped out by the likes of Now! That’s What I Call Music (ha ha), with it’s latest pop fluff assaulting the airwaves (and my ears). The only respite I found over the years was in samplers from punk labels, or the occasional “traditional pub songs” folk CD. Recently though, the good folk at MacSlon’s Irish Pub Radio have cracked the magic formula to produce compilations that will sit nicely with anyone of a celt-punk persuasion.

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The online streaming station based in Germany should already be essential listening if you like your music whiskey-soaked and raucous, and “Raise Your Pints Vol. III” demonstrates the type of fare they offer up every day perfectly. 20 handpicked tracks of some of the best bands around at the moment, it’s one hell of a showcase of how far and wide the scene has gone.

 

Understandably, there’s a lot of bands from MacSlon’s neck of the woods featured, with Kings & Boozers, Hellraisers & Beerdrinkers, Muirsheen Durkin & Friends, Airs & Graces, Paddy’s Funeral and The Ceili Family demonstrating the Teutonic talent for Guinness fuelled sing-and-stomp-a-longs. Hailing from the U S of A, Orange County natives Brick Top Blaggers, Baltimore’s The Lucky Pistols, and The Kilmaine Saints from central Pennsylvania show that the States continue to produce top quality celtic punk from all over.

 

MacSlon’s has flung the net far and wide to find the best the rest of Europe has to offer, and doesn’t disappoint with Italy’s Uncle Bard & The Dirty Bastards, Serbian heavyweights Irish Stew of Sindidun and Orthodox Celts, ShamRocks from Ukraine, Swiss celt-punkers Tortilla Flat, Spain’s The Fatty Farmers, and France represented by Sons Of O’Flaherty and Sophy Ann Pudwell (whose version of “Galway Girl” far outdoes any certain red-headed pop warblers).

 

Getting closer to home, there’s the all-conquering Ferocious Dog and the brilliant Black Water County from the UK. Finally, there’s Ireland’s own The Logues, with one of the highlights of the entire runtime with “Yvonne John”. Overall, it’s a cracking collection and shows that MacSlon’s Irish Pub Radio is one of the best purveyors of celtic punk around.

 

Grab a beer, stick this on and have yourself a party without risk of some autotuned nonsense unexpectedly polluting the speakers.

 

Cheers!

 

  • Mike (Mersey Celt Punks)

 

MacSlon’s Irish Pub Radio

http://www.macslons-irish-pub-radio.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MacSlonsRadio/

http://www.macslons-irish-pub-radio.com/html/macslon_s_player.html

 

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