Return To Main
Jugopunch: Cold/A fiver on the horses
“Trad Irish with balls”, that’s how Stoke-on-Trent’s Jugopunch describe themselves in the press pack that accompanies their new single – Cold/A fiver on the horses – and I’m not going to disagree. The three tracks presented here while strongly rooted in Irish folk like the Clancy’s also nod in the direction of fellow Anglo-Irish men, The Pogues. Think “Dirty Old Town” and “A Pair of Brown Eyes” and you get an idea of the direction the band is going in.

The Street Dogs: Back To The World
Like a blast of fresh air over that steaming pile of shit some people like to call the music industry, The Street Dogs are welcomed like an animal lover with a fenced yard, walking into the pound with a smile on their face. This has to be the greatest way to start off the new year! Hell, I was still shaking off the cobwebs of New Year's Eve, when I stumbled down to the mailbox, and opened up a package containing The new Street Dogs album. I guess you could say I was caught odd guard. (You should have heard how loud I barked "Holy Shit" when I saw the album!) Speaking of being caught off guard, that could explain my reaction when I first heard the early demos that eventually became "Savin Hill." All I could say for the rest of the day was "McColgan's Back!!!"

When The Street Dogs came to town last fall, I was more prepared. It was their first time coming to Portland. Playing moments after Boston won the World Series, The Street Dogs were in high spirits, and it showed. (Hell, after the Briggs played, there was about a 45 minute break between bands... We were all downstairs in the bar, watching the game on the big screen!) I never got around to writing a concert review of that gig. (The Briggs, Street Dogs, Flogging Molly) I think I was too busy listening to "Savin Hill"... The greatest record of 2003.

Well guess what, "Back To The World" is even better!

Sticking to the same formula as their previous efforts. "Back To The World" covers all the important subjects. Sounding more polished than ever, The Street Dogs have once again, lit the fuse and blew the God-Damned roof off.

Here's a quick teaser, until the album hits stores Jan. 25th.

1. Strike A Blow:
An assult on the current state of music. A song about bringing new life to the radio.

2. You Alone:
A song dedicated to Greg Riley A.K.A. Chickenman.

3. In Defense Of Dorchester:
Hometown pride. You can hear this one on The Street Dogs website. One of my favorites.

4. Back To The World:
Obviously the title track, "Back To The World" is a soldiers tale about the current mess in the Middle East, wishing he could get back to his wife, & kids. This one really hits home.

5. Tale Of Mass Deception:
After telling us a tale about a soldier's story in the previous track, The Street Dogs blast our current so-called "leaders".With a bit of the accordian mixed in for good measure, "Tale Of Mass Deception" starts out like this: "An elaborate con on the common man,
Propelled by your massive media plan.
And I can see your hostile takeover, greed and your lies.
Turning what I love, into what I despise."
(You can also hear this one on The Street Dogs website)

6. Drink Tonight:
After the last couple of songs, it's time to take a break and have a drink or two. "Drink Tonight" is obviously a drinkin' song, a very good drinking song. Turn up the volume to 11, and hold on, it's the hardest hitting track on the record!

7. Stagger:
A song about a crusty old WWII Vet sitting at the end of the bar, bitter & drunk. I can almost picture this guy.

8. White Collar Fraud:
Ever worked in an office (Or anywhere for that matter!) with a backstabbing asshole who sucks up to the boss, and does anything they possibly can to get ahead. Well, this is a song about that guy. (I hate that guy...)

9. Patrick:
Remember that guy in school that aced every test with ease, and had the whole world in the palm of his hand, only to blow it on drugs, drinking, and general fast lane living? Well, this is a song about that guy.

10. Pull The Pin:
I very well could have missed the entire point, but what I got outta this one was it's about a guy at the end of his rope with a gernade, and he's about to pull the pin.(Or something to that effect.)

11. Hands Down:
A real man doesn't strike a woman. It's about keeping your hands down, and talking about it peacefully. A real man doesn't beat his wife. No matter what!

12. Union & The Law:
What's wrong with being treated fairly? You knew it was coming eventually, this is a Pro-Union song giving a voice for the working man. "Union & The Law" is about exposing the current problems with "company downsizing."

Holy shit, 3 days into 2005, and I have already heard the best album of the year! The Street Dogs will be touring this winter with Social Distortion. I'm sure you all will have tickets.

Review by: Brian Gillespie

Jackdaw: Triple Crown
I was a big fan of Jackdaws last CD – “Jackdaw” – so to be honest the follow-up “Triple Crown” is a bit of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a top shelf album of Celtic-Rock, it’s just that the guitars (and bag pipes) seem to be missing in the mix. Imagine Malcolm Young being replaced by The Edge – yeah you get my drift.

The Duncan McFarlane Band: Woodshed Boys
My weakness has always been English folk music. Everything from English folk-rock, to traditional English folk, I know next to nothing! (Some people would say Ewan MacColl is English folk, but like Duncan McFarlane, his folks were from Scotland.) ,Anyway, I'm quite thankful a little ditty came in the mail from Leeds to help me expand my musical horizons. To explain the Duncan McFarlane Band's sound goes something like this: Roaring Jack walks into a pub & meets Warblefly for a few pints, then decide to leave together to watch a Fairport Convention gig. It also helps that Alistair Hulett, (Roaring Jack) contributes to the vocals on half a dozen tracks. Add on top of that, contributions from ex-Battlefield Band member, Alistair Russell, and you have your self some talented Alistairs here.

Even though this is the debut album from the band, Mr. McFarlane has been around since the early 70's. In 1974 he formed a pub-rock/college circuit band called Luigi Ana Da Boys, and caught the ear of the late, great, John Peel. The song "Feeling The Ceiling" received some decent airplay on BBC Radio One. After playing in numerous bands, such as: Sharp Practice, A New Opera, & Another Way. Duncan retired from the rock circuit in 1994, (Due to back problems) and within a year started attending various folk festivals.(No need to carry amps!)

The album, "The Woodshed Boys" contain twelve tracks, & the running time clocks in a roughly sixty minutes. Stand out tracks include: "Bring 'Em Down", "The Woodshed Boys", "Canadee-I-O" & "A Jug O This". The album can be heard on the BBC, and other radio stations across Britain. (So when you're not listening to the Shite'n'Onions radio station, tune into BBC and check them out.) For more detail on the lyrics to "The Woodshed Boys" & other albums, check out the website

Review by: Brian Gillespie

The Popes: Release The Beast
Just a quick review here. The Popes (Without Shane) have released a double album. Disc 1 is live. Disc 2 is the previously released "Holloway Boulevard". Don't know about you, but I already have the fantastic "Holloway Boulevard" and I have a few bootlegs of The Popes, so this album wasn't exactly a priority. If you never got around to buying "Holloway Boulevard" the first time around, now is a good time to do so, cuz with the additional live album it's more than worth it.

Review by: Brian Gillespie

The Peelers: Liquordale
I know this album has previously been reviewed here awhile ago, but it's too fucking good to only have had one S'n'O review! One of the biggest surprises all year, I will simply call "Liquordale" an epic album. I knew after hearing their 1st mini-album "Boots & Suits" that these guys were good, but damn, I had no idea they'd be this good!! On "Boots & Suits" they mainly played traditionals and random Pogue covers. You could tell that The Peelers were a talented band still trying to develop their own distinct sound. I remember there was an original on that album that had me begging for more. Well, my wish has finally been granted.

"Liquordale" Opens up with one of my favorite instruments, the Uilleann pipe. Imagine bowing your head and taking a moment of silence while you listen to the smooth sound of the elbow pipe, when suddenly, on "The Glen Will Rise Again" the galloping drums kick in and next thing you know, you're running halfway up the wall, and slamming into everything in sight! Your dog starts barking at you, and snaps at that favorite hard-to-find Pogues T-shirt you're wearing, before you finally calm down and return to a normal sane level of reality, and remind the dog to only bark & snap at the jackass neighbor kids across the street who enjoy asking me on a daily basis what I think of that watered-down pop-punk band, A Simple Plan...(For the record, They fucking suck, now quit talking to me, and wait patiently for your fucking school bus!) Err--Sorry 'bout that! Back to the album review...

The third track, "Katie Bar The Door" Has more or less, a nautical theme regarding coffin ships bound for Australia. Another standout is "The Sons Of Molly" obviously a Molly Maguire song that blends into "Catharsis" that for the record contains some kick ass fiddle work that had me stomping my foot so hard, I had to board up the hole I made in the floor. The thing I really noticed about the new version of "I'll Meet You At The Bottle Of A Bottle" is how quickly these guys are becoming a top-notch Celt-Punk band. It probably helps that the main man behind the band, Dave Barton, was raised on a steady diet of The Pogues & The Clash. Not to leave any of the other band members out, the entire band sound about as tight as a ducks ass floating down some white water rapids 3 minutes after those jackass neighbor kids gave it an alka-seltzer.. Err-- sorry 'bout that...

The Peelers do a great version of the traditional ditty, "The Little Beggarman" I especially enjoyed the squeezebox. On the tenth track, "Savannah (You've Been Good To Me)" I couldn't agree more! After spending some time down there recently, I agree completely! (No, I don't work for the Savannah Chamber Of Commerce, but if you've never been to "The Jewel of the South" before, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out!) On St. Paddy's Day, Savannah grows from 200,000 to well over 450,000, claiming to hold the nation's 2nd largest (per capita) Paddy's Day festivities. It might just be southern folklore, but fuck it, the place is great anyway. Lyrically, my favorite track has to be "Plastic Paddy" Which is basically a song about being a drunken plastic paddy. Great stuff indeed.

So there you have it, The Peelers great album "Liqourdale". An album so great it had to reviewed twice for Shite'n'Onions! If that doesn't give you at least some sort of clue that this album is worth it, then maybe you should smack yourself silly in the face with a bat that has a crooked rusty nail sticking out of it and read this review again. Better yet, let me do it. Because after I raise the Jolly Roger flag & chase those jackass neighbor kids away from my front lawn with an 18th century cannonball blast I attached to my porch, I'll be all warmed up & ready to go!

Review by: Brian "Grumpy Neighbor" Gillespie

Toad In The Hole: Alleyway Rover
One thing about the Pacific Northwest (& anywhere else for that matter) that always irritates me are all those new-age, tarot card reading bands, that dress up like medeval pixies and play "celtic" music. I don't care about star signs, & colored rocks, or whatever. I care about the music, I care about the jigs, reels, & ballads. Maybe I'm just an asshole, or maybe I just can't stand Tarot cards.Either way, I'll worry about that later, because I should probably start reviewing the album "Alleyway Rover" I received from the band Toad In The Hole.

Now I may be wrong, but I think the band Toad In The Hole, may be named after the traditional dish of the same name that contain sausages in a Yorkshire pudding mix. Hailing from the Eugene, Oregon, Toad In The Hole play the type of music I do enjoy... A high-energy mix of rowdy post-Poguesish originals, traditional jigs and reels, and heartfelt ballads. Formed in 2001, Toad In The Hole's second album, "Alleyway Rover" is a very fine album indeed. The sound is produced just about right, and the music itself flows along nicley like a continuous flow of whisky into a pint glass. Now if that description doesn't grab your attention, I don't know what will.

I haven't had enough time to review the lyrics, but some common subjects include: drinking, Ireland, Scotland, Cuchulainn, & have I mentioned drinking yet? I hear some Robert Burns influences in songs like "Raise A Glass" and "Bonnie Doone" (A Burns original). A little "Sally MacIellanne" influence in "Kiss The Ruddy". I should mention that in the medley "Warhorse" you'll hear a nice little ditty from Flogging Molly's "Black Friday Rule". So as you can tell, there's some great stuff here. I agree with the lyrics in the last track "Druthers" I won't give away the story, but I will say that I can't stand bourbon! Click here for the lyrics to "Druthers"

Musically, Toad In The Hole is top-notch. I could sit and listen to them for hours, and the next time they roll though town, I most likely will! Some of the traditionals include: Congress Reel, Hunter's Purse, After The Battle Of Aughrim, Bunch Of Keys, Red-Haired Boy, Toss The Feathers, Mick Maguire, and many, many more!

Here's what the bio on their website says: The compelling voice and style of founder and lead singer Matthew Hayward-McDonald bring a unique presence to the stage. The accessible and finely crafted lyrics are enhanced by accomplished vocal accompaniment that often utilizes four-part harmony. Guitarist Jason Kelly (Used to play in the Eugene ska band, The Varicoasters, and in a jug band where he met Matty) plays with driving rhythm and technical finesse that serves as a solid base for this lively music.Kathryn Claire sings and plays fiddle with grace and charm that draws the audience in and leaves them spellbound. This is beautifully complimented by the nimble fingers of Liz Myers whose musical versatility includes soaring tin whistles, flute and crowd pleasing bagpipes. Driving the rhythm is bass player Jon Dresdner (Used to be in the band Sodajerk) and bodhran player Joel Kenney. Dresdner's rich tone adds fullness to the sounds and his dynamic bass lines create the backbone to the music. Kenney's energetic and lively playing is as fun to watch as it is to hear. The high energy and versatility of Toad in the Hole may at one moment bring you to tears and at the next moment have you dancing a jig with the best of them.

Check these guys out. It's some quality stuff. If someone has a copy of their first album, "Piss Away Your Charms" lemme know!

Review By: Brian "Pissin' in the Bourbon" Gillespie

Saint Bushmill's Choir: Saint Bushmill's Choir
I've been waiting for something new from Saint Bushmill's Choir since 2000, when they released their first EP (That I know of) "Give 'Em Enough Booze". It only contained a 5 songs, but it did the job as far as I was concerned. Containing former members of Seattle punk bands such as The Gits, Subvert, Alcohol Funnycar, and The Pinkos, Saint Bushmill's Choir is a band that quite simply enjoys playing the songs that they play. In fact, if you're ever in Seattle and get a chance to seem them live, make sure you do it, because they only play a couple of times a year, and you've seriously gotta be in the right place at the right time. Known to the world as a "Clash band that likes to play Pogues songs". The Choir formed back in 1994 (Before celt-punk was cool) on a drunken dare, and by all accounts, I'd have to say the mission has been accomplished. So far, they have only been responible for 15 injuries. Oh yeah, for those of you keeping track, the total drinking time of the album clocks in at 51:31, and contains 14 fan-fucking-tastic tracks.(4, or maybe it was 5 of them previously appear on the now hard to find "Give 'Em Enough Booze" EP)

Check out their website more answers to this "mystery band from "Capital Hill" Don't forget to click on the big red letters in the middle of the page for bonus coverage. By far, this is my pick for album of the year. In fact, the Saint Bushmill's Choir are one of my all time favorite Celt-punk bands. They just do everything so perfectly, they don't try to hard to sound "ethnic" or "Irish" or whatever, and even better than that, they don't care what you fucking think either way.They've been though the whole game before in previous bands. It's really quite simple, they just enjoy having a few pints & playing traditional songs the way they wanna play them, and what else can possibly top that?

1.Molly Maguires
2. Goddamn Shame
3. The Secret Set
4. Mineshaft
5. Three Jigs
6. Whiskey In The Jar
7. Just To Get Away
8. The Greenland Whale Fisheries
9. Three Polkas
10. The Leaving Of Liverpool
11. Black & Tans
12. Sam Hall
13. John Hardy
14. The Foggy Dew

Review By: "Barnacle" Brian Gillespie

Enter the Haggis: Casualties of Retail
Like much of the folk-rock emanating from Canada, Enter the Haggis combines a smorgasbord of influences like country, bluegrass, Scottish folk and alternative rock. This is their fourth release and most assuredly won’t disappoint their growing legions of North American fans. Similar in sound to Slainte Mhath, Enter the Haggis incorporates a heavier electric guitar and bass than their compatriots. In fact, at times their aggressive electric vibe brings to mind what Muse might sound like if they included folk instruments. Listen to “Gasoline” and “Martha Stuart” for insight into this outrageous analogy. “Minstrel Boy” will likely appeal to folk-punkers given its fuzzy, distorted rhythm guitar. More importantly Enter the Haggis should satisfy both alternative and mainstream Celtic-rockers alike as it forwards elements from across the Celtic-rock spectrum. CASUALTIES OF RETAIL is definitely one of the finest and most interesting releases of 2004.

Review By: Dave Sleger

Fairport Convention: Over the next Hill
By strictly unofficial count this is Fairport’s 30th studio release. While not their most impressive release in recent years (in fact, it could be said that this is their most lackluster effort of the last 15 years or so) this album is still reflective of the perseverance and willingness to adapt that this band has adopted for decades. For those inquisitive few who’ve heard the name repeatedly but were never formally introduced to this band, Fairport have been in existence since 1967 and in ’69 introduced to the world a brand new genre of music called British folk-rock via their seminal album LIEGE AND LIEF. That, in turn, opened the door for Irish folk-rock, thanks to (then) fiddler Dave Swarbrick’s inclusion of the occasional Irish jig in his repertoire. Well, 35 years have since passed and this band is still legit. This may not be to the liking of strict alternative and punk folkers, as this is more accurately described as acoustic-based folk rock. However, every release in Fairport’s vast catalog is noteworthy simply because they have never slipped into the dark and outlandish abyss that many of their contemporaries have experienced in desperate efforts to appear relevant. Anchored by longtime bassist Dave Pegg and guitarist Simon Nicol, Fairport has most recently added multi-stringed instrumentalist Chris Leslie to the family. He compliments fiddler Ric Sanders nicely and has filled the role of chief songwriter as well. Highlights in clued the instrumental “Canny Capers,” the upbeat “Willow Creek” and the country-tinged “Westward.”

Review By: Dave Sleger

The Town Pants: Weight of Words
“Weight of Words” is the third outing by Vancouver based Celtic-Folk group - The Town Pants - and the first with new fiddler, Virginia Schwartz (if there is ever a case of Beauty and the Beasts it’s here). The music is still the same spunky and infectious Irish/Scottish influenced folk as before but now with the addition of Virginia we have a touch of an alt-country to the sound. Standout tracks included – “The Old Landlord”, “Breakfast with St. Swithin” (originally by Jimmy George) and the very mushy “Ships made of Wood”.

McDermott's 2 Hours v Levellers: Disorder
Brighton based McDermotts Two Hours are 80’s UK folk rock legends and also one of the most influential bands on the scene – so influential infact that The Levellers are constantly tipping their hats collectively in McDermotts direction. During the 90’s the band went on hiatus but in 2000 Levellers bass player Jeremy Cunningham persuaded McDermott’s signer Nick Burbridge to start recording again under the McDermotts Two Hours moniker. Joining Nick was fellow McDermott, fiddler Tim O'Leary and Levellers, Jeremy Cunningham and Charlie Heather (drums).

Disorder is the third collaborative with members of The Levellers (though the first I’ve heard) and it’s a very polished and passionate effort, the music is solid Celtic influenced folk-rock with a distinctly English (I don’t meant that in a bad way at all, The Levellers defined the English folk-rock sound and McDermotts defined the sound of The Levellers) fokie feel. The lyrics are very political yet never preachy though always thought provoking. Good stuff

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 fever, only 2 more years 'till the cup!!)

  Review by: Barnacle Brian "Jackey" Gillespie

Paddy Goes to Holyhead: Acoustic Nights
On their tenth album this veteran German folk-rock band revisits some of their old favorites with new singer Mark Patrick at the helm. Evidently Patrick felt the need to rework those old tunes (made popular by previous front man Harald Schmidt) in an effort to gain acceptance with the disgruntled fanbase. Risky move perhaps, but if this revamped band is to carry on the tradition of this top-notch German pseudo-Celtic folk-rock outfit they will have to connect with the fans and prove that the past is not forgotten. Patrick’s squeaky-clean vocal style is in stark contrast to Schmidt’s gruff, boozy style but Patrick does an admirable job particularly on the gypsy-inflected “Johnny Went to the War” and “Lady from Athina,” thanks in part to fiddler Jens Kempgens meticulous playing. Their rendition of the Charlie Daniels classic “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” is the highlight, mainly due to it’s unlikely inclusion. Why this band opted to include two tracks “Troubadour” and “Cornerstone” (which appeared on their 2002 Mark Patrick debut, RED-LETTER DAYS) is beyond me. Those songs haven’t changed at all in the two years since their release. “Nice” sums up this album accurately. It’s neither dismal nor exceptional and far from the best work Paddy Goes to Holyhead has produced over the years.

  Review by: Dave Sleger

Shooglenifty: The Arms Dealer’s Daughter
The fourth album by this Scottish outfit continues in much the same fashion as their previous. Moody, rhythmic and highly textured instrumental music influenced by traditional Scottish fiddle tunes and judiciously accented with other worldbeat snippets. The brassy “Nordal Rumba” might be the most engaging selection on this album as it is accompanied by the Salsa Celtica horn section giving it a slight island feel. Actually, this record contains far less of the reggae, bluegrass and Mid-eastern motifs that peppered their previous efforts. However, Shooglenifty remains one of the more interesting bands in the loosely defined Celtic-rock arena.

  Review by: Dave Sleger

Slainte Mhath: VA
Nova Scotia’s Slainte Mhath blends straightforward renderings of traditional Scottish tunes with modern applications like sampling, loops and groove-laden rhythms. With virtually no singing Slainte Mhath allows their impeccable instrumental prowess convey their message. Alternating between traditional and modern music ideals they are driven by a duo of fiddler players, Boyd MacNeil and Lisa Gallant, Scottish piper John MacPhee and keyboardist Ryan MacNeil who injects a jazzy and sometimes R&B flavor into their repertoire. Flanked by a funky rhythm section of drummer Brian Talbot and bassist Jamie Gatti, Slainte Mhath is North America’s answer to Shooglenifty and Tartan Amoebas. While their traditional approach is by-and-large flawless and can easily rival that of the genre’s major players, this band is at its best when it permits the collision and intermingling of styles.

  Review by: Dave Sleger