The Winter Codes (ex-Blood or Whiskey) have just made their first video. Check it out here:
Always good to get a CD in the mail from Walter Wouk. The Winter Codes, humm; arty prog looking cover, hummm; orange sticky note with a message from Walter – “the new release from Barney Murray“, feckin’ ace!!! Long time scenesters will remember Barney as the near legendary front man of Blood or Whiskey who left the band and essentially disappeared from music after the second BoW full length. Delighted to report The Winter Codes five track EP is classic Barney harking back to the debut BoW CD though stripped down acoustic with just Barney on voice and accordion and fellow ex-Bow David Walshe on guitar and mandola. The voice has that familiar growl and the FU attitude of old is still there. Welcome back lads and looking forward to more.
Running a little late with the list but whatever, great music doesn’t go stale. So without further adieu.
The top five:
#1 The Mahones: The Hunger & The Fight (Part 1)
Twenty five years on and more tour miles driven then the rest of the entire Celtic-punk scene combined, The Mahones on The Hunger & The Fight still have the enthusiasm of a band in the studio for the first time (but thankfully the 25 years and many albums under their belt studio experience).
I’ll go out on a limb and say McCarthy has the finest voice in Celtic-punk (and that includes Dave King), maybe Van the Moan threw in a few vocal lessons to boot. Of course a good voice won’t do it alone, the band are tight as f#*k, loud and fast and the songs first class and while still fast and trashy
Pissed and angry but still a party. Its great to have’em back.
Honestly not a bad song over the entire almost hour of music and more then a few that could wake the dead and induce them into jig.
#5 (joint) Black 47: Last Call
Black 47 hung up their green suede shoes in November, 2014 after 25 years of hard jigging and gigging. Two albums were released in 2014; Last Call, their final original album, full of fresh and originals ideas and, Rise Up – The Political Songs, a collection of, well, political songs as a reminder of how good this band was.
Rise Up – Read the full review here
Last Call – Read the full review here
The best of the rest (in no particular order):
The Pourmen: Too Old to Die Young
Finnegan’s Hell: Drunk, Sick And Blue
Craic: Amongst the Mischief and Malarkey
Wages of Sin: Queensbury Rules
Bastard Bearded Irishmen: Rise of the Bastard
The Biblecode Sundays: Live Near Abbey Road (Park Royal)
Bodh’aktan: Against Winds and Tides
Best of ballads and folk:
Irish Whispa: Irish Whispa
The Canny Brothers Band: The Guinness Situation
Hugh Morrison: Scotland is Free
The Fenian Sons: 617
Punk rock shout out
The Hex Bombs: Everything Earned
Greenland Whalefishers: 20 Years Of Waiting (DVD)
And a very special shout out.
Radiators from Space: Sound City Beat
Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil is Blood or Whiskey’s first full length album in eight years. The band have been though a hell of a time over the last few years with the tragic deaths of tin whistle player Alan Confrey and former banjo player Paul Walshe as well is the serious illness (though now thankfully in remission) of vocalist Duggs and some record label shit if that was not enough. Lesser bands would have folded but not Blood or Whiskey.
Honestly if BorW made a crap album I’d be happy ‘cos they were just still around. Fortunately not only am I happy they made another album they made another great album. Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil follows in the vein of the last Blood or Whiskey album Cashed Out On Culture with the much harder, punkier sound then their legendary debut and it’s follow-up No Time To Explain. These bhoys are pissed off and they are not taking any shite, but if that was not enough the band have incorporated their love of Ska which they hinted at in Rudy but now have gone the whole hog with added horns and the like – Celtic-punk with a big P meets The Specials or even The Mighty Might Paddy-Tones.
Pissed and angry but still a party. Its great to have’em back.
It’s been a while since we spoke to Blood or Whiskey so with Paddy’s Day coming up we took the opportunity to speak with founding members Dugs (guitar and vocals) and Chris (drums) about their new album Tell The Truth & Shame The Devil and the struggles of the last few years. Hat’s off to the toughest band on the planet.
Shite’n’Onions: It’s been a while since the last the Blood or Whiskey album studio album, Cashed Out On Culture, about 8 years I’m thinking and I know the band has had many struggles over the last few years with your health, Alan Confrey’s (tin whistle) tragic death, line up changes and record label shit. Can you share with us some of the going ons with the band over the last few years?
Dugs: Yes its been a while alright since Cashed Out on Culture our last studio album, too long in fact! But as you said various reasons where contributing factors to that, poor Alan’s untimely death back in 2006 and legal issues with our last record company kind of stopped us in our tracks because we were building up a nice head of steam back then and then all these problems started to manifest themselves and it halted us in our tracks. When you lose a band member due to death its a bitter pill to swallow because it opens up a lot of doors inside of yourself that you wouldn’t usually think of but when you lose a band member and a friend I may add, its kind of hard to put rhyme or reason on a lot of things not just band stuff but life in general as he left a young family behind and also his parents and brothers and sisters so you do ask yourself all sorts of questions like should we carry on? should we keep going? A lot of “what if’s?” and so on ,so we carried on and started to tour again playing big supports, tours and big festivals, the Reading and Leeds festivals, Rebellion etc and just when things started to look good again I got diagnosed with cancer and that stopped us again in our tracks which was a battle for 2 years and in a way in those two years I learned a lot of stuff I didn’t know about myself and about life, so before I got cancer we had a bunch of songs ready to go to record in the studio but the cancer put a stop to that. But now when I look at it clearly, I would have got cancer even if I wasn’t in this band, but shitty things happen in this life to all and sundry and that’s the painting from the cradle to the grave such is this big mountain we climb we call life and when life hits you hard and you fall down you just got to take it, get back up and move on because you never know what tomorrow brings some good and bad that’s just the way it is, and we have a song on our new album called ‘Rutland’ about that, but the lads in the band showed their metal by sticking around and seeing this album out as we are all very excited about it but to say it wasn’t easy to keep it all together is an understatement but I’m so glad we roughed it out and it now seems to be getting back on track again, fingers crossed.
Chris: Yes it has been way too long but with all that has happened we are delighted to have had this chance to get this new album ready for release. What happened to Al and Paul was a tragedy for us because when you are in a band on tour with friends you become much more than just band mates you become a family, so it hurts when something happens to any of us.
Things like the record label shit as you put it are insignificant when it comes to life, so then when Dugs got back on his feet we knew the only thing to do was keep going at what we love and are lucky enough to do and give it another real hard shot for Al, Paul and thank god, Dugs.
It wasn’t hard to hold the band together because we had a common goal and that was when Dugs gets better to get this album out so we were in studio a lot over those dark days and got this album to where it is now.
Shite’n’Onions: Tell The Truth & Shame The Devil is the title of the new album. I haven’t heard it so can you describe the sound of the album and how does it compare to the previous releases? Cashed Out on Culture had a much harder punkie sound then the previous two albums have you continued in that direction?
Dugs: Yes the new album is called “Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil”, an old Irish saying I picked up from the old school in pubs and hanging out a lot down the west of Ireland. To describe its sound from previous B.O.W Albums its our most advanced work in terms of different styles of music and sonically, a lot of ska , punk, Irish , I like to think a cross breed of the Dubliners / Clash / Pogues / Specials etc in places, would describe the new albums direction best. I honestly think its our best work by far for me personally because as you say Cashed Out on Culture was a lot harder than the previous two albums by Bow, the first two albums were from their time and for various reasons line up changes etc that’s why they sounded like that but we have evolved in our music as each album progressed , no band is going to write the same album over and over again because of various reasons, who is going to write the same song as they did when they were a teenager to when they become an adult? Because you don’t think the same way for one and secondly you meet a lot of hurdles in life that you have to cross when you get older, so of course your music is going to change, develop and mature.
So this album is a different direction from all our previous releases. I know one thing I’m sure of, change is inevitable regardless of what you do in life, that’s just the way it is. But I’m very proud of this album because it took a lot of hard work to get this on the table after what we have been through as a band, but if you like punk, and ska with a topical feel I think people will like this one, there is even a Johnny Cash sounding song on it called ‘Montpelier Hill’, about the devils appearance at a card game in the hellfire club in the Dublin mountains, hence why the album title fitted so well, I think most styles that influenced us all to be in a band is on this album, we hope you all enjoy it.
Chris: The sound of “Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil” is a progression from “Cashed Out” in my eyes and ears, our usual influences are still in there beating there way out: (The Pogues, The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Specials etc). We collectively as BOW love similar music, yet have very different tastes at times and when that all comes together, BOW is what comes out the other side. As for how does this album compare to our previous releases, to me its the best we have ever done which is not in any way knocking our previous albums, it is just where we are now. As musicians you always try to create something you can be proud of and stand over which is what we have done again. “Cashed Out” had its differences alright but at the end of the day it was still very much be BOW to us. To answer your question, yes we have continued to progress in this direction and really feel we’ve nailed it again.
Shite’n’Onions: One of the things that always struck me about Blood or Whiskey was the attitude and realism in the lyrics. Given the shit the band has been through in the last few years how are the songs/lyrics on the album influence by what’s happened to the band.
Dugs: Yes our lyrics on this album are pretty true to life and very self autobiographical in places, so in that aspect yes the new album doesn’t change in that respect, we basically write about what affects us from a personal point of view to what happens in our country and the world around us, there are songs about sickness a song about cancer diagnoses (Rutsy), our old unwelcome friend called emigration that has been a blight on Ireland from day one both of the past and today pop up in places on this album with Seanie o Keeffe, Emigrant, Cannibal Economy, Gone and Forgotten, to world issues in Dirty Auld War, Gernika, to some light-hearted tales of the devils appearance in Dublin at a card game in the hellfire club where the rich and the elite used to get up to all sorts of skullduggery back in the day (Montpelier Hill), so yes I think we touch on a lot of important issues but we also like telling a tale or two as well but yes nothing has changed in that regard of Blood or Whiskey with the lyrics.
Shite’n’Onions: BoW are one of the longest running bands on the Celtic-punk scene and in fact predate the scene. Are Blood or Whiskey part of a Celtic-punk scene and does the scene influence you? As a band from Ireland what are your thoughts on the scene? What hasn’t there been any other bands from Ireland playing Celtic-punk?
Dugs: Yes, thanks for reminding us were ancient hahahaha , when we started there was no term for this music, I certainly didn’t hear the term Celtic Punk, or Paddy Punk, I think folk punk was the most consistent when people labelled it, and there was only a handful of bands doing this, but did the scene influence us??? , Well hell yeah there would be no BOW if we hadn’t heard The Pogues, but it wasn’t a movement back then like it is now, The Pogues, The Men They Couldn’t Hang, I suppose are the first that spring to mind, but as I said it wasn’t a big deal like it is now, The Pogues were regarded as more of an alternative act because the term Celtic Punk hadn’t really been invented then and if it had we didn’t hear it much in the media, but also I have to say there would be no Blood or Whiskey without the punk scene and ska movements from the Pistols, Clash, to The Specials who were equally as important to us as The Pogues were as making us want to be in a band in the first place, regardless of what style we were playing, because in Blood or Whiskey we always wrote about personal stuff or stuff that effected our lives, we just happened to be Irish and could play those instruments like the tin whistle, accordion etc because we were force fed them at a young age either in school or by our parents, it was just part of growing up in Ireland, so we basically used what we knew and started to play this kind of music with a punk attitude and that’s how we started to play this celtic punk which now kind of reminds me a bit of the 2 tone movement or punk explosion all of a sudden there is loads of bands doing this music from all over the world which is pretty cool as it shows are little isle has touched many hearts around this globe with its songs , but I don’t really think about it too much to be honest, I like some of the bands in this scene and don’t like others but in general that goes across the board in all types of music, some songs you like some you don’t but in general I don’t have a real view on it ,as I’m a big fan of all types of music from across the world, but hey if people want to be in an Irish celtic punk/ rock/ folk/ band well good luck to them enjoy the music but your right in Ireland there is not many paddy punk bands as people were brought up with this kind of music at a very young age and its ingrained in their psyche at this stage they would rather be in bands that don’t celebrate their Irishness because they know their Irish if that makes any sense.
Chris: Yes we have been at it a long time kind of makes you feel a little old, in saying that we have just arrived home from watching the mighty SLF in Dublin tonight and they proved yet again that age doesn’t matter whatsoever when you love what you do, they are around a good few years more than ourselves and you wouldn’t tell from looking at them tonight they were brilliant.
Yes we are without doubt a part of the Celtic Punk scene simply by the instruments that we have in the group and that is a good thing, it always makes me smile when I see how far Irish music and our culture has travelled, we have played everywhere from the US to Japan and all over Europe and every where we go there is a love for this small nation it makes you proud to be Irish and proud of all the great music and musicians from Ireland that came before us and managed to influence people all over the world. Going from what I have just said the Celtic punk scene makes me personally proud to be Irish as it shows me how the rest of the world loves and enjoys Irish music and culture. I’m not sure why there has not been many other bands from Ireland playing Celtic Punk because you do get other bands mixing folk with rock etc just not so many doing the Celtic Punk thing. Maybe it’s because the Punk scene isn’t as big here in Ireland as it is in the likes of the US and Europe, mainly due to the size of our population I suppose.
Shite’n’Onions: Is Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil going to be available in the US and on what label?
Dugs: At this initial stage ‘Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil will be available by download on iTunes etc as we were talking to various labels that wanted to take this album but we decided to bring this out ourselves on BOW records and its 100 percent self-funded by our own personal pockets, we could have gone down the pledge route that a lot of bands seem to be doing these days, but for various reasons we didn’t feel comfortable with that alternative, so we scraped what little savings we had and recorded this album ourselves. But I am sure in time you will be able to buy this album in whatever record shops that are left these days as the music landscape has dramatically changed since we last released a record, but you will be able to buy the album via iTunes and the other digital download sites and if you want to buy physical copies you can buy directly from BOW records or catch us on the road at gigs.
Chris: We absolutely want to release this album in the US and are working hard to make it happen, not just for download but also physical copies in the shops, because lets face it there is nothing like having the CD or Vinyl. We have great fans in the US who come out to see us anytime we make it over to play, so we want to make it as easy as possible for them to get there hands on Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil.
Shite’n’Onions: Can we expect Blood or Whiskey back on the road in support of Tell The Truth & Shame The Devil and especially the US as it been a while?
Dugs: Yes of course we are going to tour this album as much as possible , and we hope to be back in America as well hopefully all going well, hope you enjoy the new record first and foremost and we get to play it to you all in a city or town near you, peace and love, Dugs.
Chris: One thing I can say for definite is that we (Blood or Whiskey), want to tour the hell out of this album, we love touring and want to play this new material and the old classics to as many people as we can reach. As for getting back to the US if we were told the flights were booked for tomorrow morning we’d be on them. So here’s hoping we see you very soon in a town near you. Securing the right booker would speed up getting back to the US.
Press Release from Blood or Whiskey:
Celtic punks, Blood or Whiskey who hail from Kildare and Dublin launch their 4th album, ‘Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil’, which drops on March 14th round it’s a self-financed and released album with no label involvement. Its a remarkably up-tempo sounding album considering it’s all about struggle (recession / war / ill health / emigration), with a matured sound and the addition of ska being clearly evident, although retaining their unique take on the celtic punk genre.
They have toured the US twice (once with Dropkick Murphy’s), toured Japan, have been around Europe literally countless times, toured with Stiff Little Fingers, have opened for legends like The Pogues (4 times), Manu Chao / Rancid / Misfits and have played the Reading & Leeds , Rebellion and Oxegen festivals. Memorably
Blood or Whiskey played the original CBGB’s in New York and even had Topper Headon (The Clash), join them on stage at a Canterbury show.
The album is available on iTunes and from Tower Records, Freebird and Spin Dizzy in Dublin or at their gigs from March 14th
FFO: The Dubliners / The Pogues / Dropkick Murphy’s / Flogging Molly & The Clash.
Renowned for their raucous shows, the re-energized band deliver their signature blend of
Celtic punk like their lives depended on it! Go see ….
Festivals and album launch dates:
17.03.14 Blood or Whiskey, St Patrick’s Festival, Lavery’s, Belfast
19.03.14 All Time Low, support, Olympia, Dublin
21.06.14 Romaember Against Racism Festival , At Alte Kaserne, Zurich
08.08.14 Boomtown Fair, Matterly Estate, England
09.08.14 Rebellion Festival, Winter Gardens, Blackpool, England
Confirmed dates for the Shame The Devil tour:
03.04.14 – DE-Essen, Panic Room
04.04.14 – DE-Fürth, Kopf und Kragen
05.04.14 – DE-Waiblingen, Villa Roller
07.04.14 – CZ-Kladno, Auto Da Fé
08.04.14 – CZ-Teplice – 3ozak club
09.04.14 – AT-Vienna, Viper Room
10.04.14 – HR-Zagreb, Vintage Industrial Bar
11.04.14 – SI-Ravne na Koroškem, Kompleks
12.04.14 – IT-Bologna, Freakout Club
14.04.14 – CH-Zürich, Dynamo
15.04.14 – FR-Saint-Étienne, Thunderbird Lounge
16.04.14 – FR-Dijon, Les Tanneries
17.04.14 – DE-Mannheim, Kulturbrücken Jungbusch
19.04.14 – DE-Bonn, Kult 41
Ireland’s Blood or Whiskey (wow Celtic-punk from Ireland – though they just liked Garth Brooks there) have a new album out in March. We will be running an interview with main man Dug’s soon.
Shite’n’Onions Podcast#68 – We’ll take a break from our history of Ireland series with this podcast and spin some tracks from recently received CDs and a few of old ones.
Blood Or Whiskey – Frank
A great track from the bands 2nd album – No Time to Explain. Don’t know who Frank is and I don’t fancy finding out.
The Authority!-If I Should Fall From Grace With God
From the Scene Kill 2 compilation. Know nothing about these guys but it’s a killer street punk cover of The Pogues – If I Should Fall From Grace With God
Charm City Saints – Dicey Riley
From the bands debut full length – Hooligans & Saints. Fist pumping, Punk’n’Pipes from the mean streets of Baltimore.
Nogoodnix – Untimely Blessings
From 2001’s Pub Punks United. The band only made one album but if you can track it down its worth the effort and the $$$
JackDaw – Hogjaw
Another great band that is no more – AC/DC meets Celtic punk from the mean and cold streets of Buffalo.
The Mahones – The Amsterdam Song
Finny’s tribute to Amsterdam. The Mahones will be around for ever…..God willing.
Circle J – Molly Maguires
From a couple of year back from Amsterdam’s Circle J, we have a tribute to the Irish miners of the 1800 who didn’t take any shit from the bosses. The album is Weekend Warriors
Handsome Young Strangers – Jog Along Til Shearing
From the HYS’s new EP. Don’t know what it is the put in the water or is it the Fosters but I’ve never heard a bad band from Auss and that goes for Handsome Young Strangers. 100% Aussie.
In Search Of A Rose – Shamrocknroll
German Celtic-folk-punk. Familiar melody? I’ll let you tell me.
Gerard Smith – Cruiscin Lan
Per-Bill Grogans Goat from Gerard Smith. The loudest player in Celtic rock.
Uncle Hamish & The Hooligans – Fanfare (For The Common Scotsman)
John Bowles described them as “sticking Genesis and Enter The Haggis in a blender and adding a extra pinch of The Sandcarvers”. I’d be happy just to put Phil Collins in a blender (feet first of course just to watch the expression on his face)
Prydein – Devil’s In the Kitchen
From the mean streets of Vermont (if there are streets there)
The Krusty Moores – Highwayman
German based / Irish fronted and Moores rhymes with Whor….
Black Friday – Mason Apron & Drowsy Maggy
From Cornwall, the only band we’ve ever featured that is in the Guinness Book of World Records. Everyone else is just in the Guinness.
Blackwater Jukebox – Carousel
“– sourced from a Carpathian Romani wedding anthem known as “Janissary Hora.” Based on an Ottoman fanfare popular amongst dervishes and death squads.”
The Bog Hoppers – Die Hard
From Seattle and not a plaid shirt in sight (or shite). From the album TOP SHELF
Shite’n’Onions Podcast#61: Featuring the best of Celtic and folk punk. We have new music from The Mahones and Tomfooligans as well as some deep dives into the Shite’n’Onions vault with classics from Blood Or Whiskey and Neck plus the best of the latest releases.We also have a very unusual cover and to protect the guilty the name of the band is to be withheld.
Surfin’ Turnips – Scrumpy Swillin Time Again
The Mahones – Angels & Devils
Handsome Young Strangers – Augathela Station
Tomfooligans – McGregor’s Pipes
Blood Or Whiskey – Your Majesty
Bastards on Parade – St Patrick’s Day
The Langer’s Ball – Mackey’s Daughter
The Gobshites – Guinness Boys
The Dreadnoughts – Grace O’Malley
The Fighting Jamesons – Johnny On The Island
Siobhan – Jakey’s Gone To Germany
Across The Border – Soldier John
Auld Corn Brigade – A Mother’s Heart
Bodh’aktan – La ballade de Jonathan Lewis
Charm City Saints – Dicey Riley
The Mighty Regis – Real Deal Irish
Neck – A Fistful Of Shamrock
Not Revealed – to protect the guilty
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from us here at Shite’n’Onions. On podcast #52 we got plenty of standards both old and new.
Neck – Every Day’s St Patrick’s Day
Big Bad Bollocks – Guinness
The Gobshites – I Only Drink Stout
Blaggard – Bog Songs
Blood Or Whiskey – Follow Me up to Carlow-Holt’s Way
Lexington Field – Galway Bay
Circle J – Marry Mcqueen
The Rumjacks – I’ll Tell Me Ma!
Black 47 – Vinegar Hill
The Skels – Young Roddy McCorley -Kelly the Boy from Killan
The Porters – The Rising Of The Moon
Auld Corn Brigade – Sean South from Garryowen
Smokey Bastards – My Son John
The Mahones – Give It All Ya Got (Or Forget About It)
Fiddler’s Green – Highland Road
Nogoodnix – Muirsheen Durkin
The Mighty Regis – Paddy Don’t Live In Hollywood
Devil’s Advocates – The Ones Behind the Wire
Luke Kelly – A Nation Once Again
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