McDermott’s 2 Hours announce final album with Nick Burbridge

Besieged

When writers wax lyrical about the rugged Celtic beauty that came to fruition with The Pogues and Shane MacGowan, they often seem to suggest that time has stood still and that Irish music had been sitting, waiting since the mid sixties ballad boom of The Dubliners et al for something suddenly to connect the urgency of punk with the heart and soul of traditional music. But out in the rough and ready bars of Hamburg and a hundred other German hostelries a band was carving out and whittling  its  own take on the beauty of Irish folk music; adding fire, vitality and punk-style energy while handling the travails of fights and frolics, women, dark streets and the drink.

This was before it was trendy or cool to take Irish folk music and add a rock edge, long before Pogue Mahone turned it all upside down. The band morphed into McDermotts 2 Hours in 1986 (named after a wonderfully unexpected happening on pirate radio during the Battle Of The Bogside as recalled in Eamonn McCann’s War And An Irish Town) ‘being Irish and in the wrong place and at the wrong time’ – to paraphrase MacGowan. In the pubs and clubs of Brighton and London they built a reputation for their incendiary live performances that have become legend.

Among their wild and youthful admirers were a gaggle of friends who, a few years down the line, influenced by the spirit, fire and camaraderie of Nick Burbridge and McDermott’s 2 Hours, would strap on guitars and call themselves The Levellers. Those in the know realise that Nick Burbridge has been, and continues to be one of the best songwriters in the Anglo-Irish tradition. He fashions songs that as well as perfectly capturing the gritty underbelly of the Irish experience in 60s/70s mainland UK, they beautifully capture the longing for home and reality of the Troubles with all the evocative magnificence of Beckett or Joyce.

But that was then and this is now.

Besieged is not so much a final curtain as a magnificent encore.

Serving as the last installment of a magnificent career singer, songwriter, poet, playwright and frontman with folk, rock, roots and punk outfit McDermott’s 2 Hours, Nick Burbridge releases his final album with the band on 8 February. Besieged sees Nick again team up with members of The Levellers (Jeremy Cunningham and Simon Friend), Oysterband (Dil Davies and Al Scott), Ben Paley (son of the late folk music giant Tom Paley), plus Tim Cotterell and friends for the album’s twelve tracks. Released via The Levellers’ On The Fiddle Recordings, advance orders will also secure a bonus CD, Anticlockwise, featuring a fourteen-track ‘best of’ McDermott’s 2 Hours.

I left in the autumn and settled in Camden, Two in a room with a flute and accordion, Site-work was hard and the foreman a bastard, But we’d rakes in our pocket and hours our own, At the end of a long day we’d wander round Archway, Fit for the tunes and the women as well, When I called home I lied for now I knew why, I always believed I’d bid Erin farewell – ‘Erin Farewell’ – McDermott’s 2 Hours

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Artists’ website: www.burbridgearts.org

‘Dirty Davey’ – one of the tracks on Anticlockwise:

Last but not least,’Fox on the Run’ – one of our favourites from The folking Archive:

Folk Legend Nick Burbridge Releases McDermotts 2 Hours Best Of Album

Anticlockwise - McDermotts 2 HoursNick Burbridge, the mastermind behind legendary Brighton-based folk-punk-poetry pioneers McDermott’s 2 Hours has announced an extensive partnership with the Levellers’ and their “On The Fiddle Recordings”. In celebration of this event, the McDermott’s back catalogue will be released digitally via iTunes and Spotify for first time, alongside some new material. Nick has also signed past and future song-writing to the band’s On The Fiddle Publishing enterprise.

This marks the climax to a long and fruitful association between Nick, McDermott’s and The Levellers dating back over twenty years, from the time the Lev’s put out a CD version of the original 1989 vinyl classic The Enemy Within, through several collaborations and other recordings, to Besieged, the forthcoming Levellers album that award-winning producer Al Scott (June Tabor/ Oysterband) is busy arranging and producing, which will emerge early in 2014.

This pre-existing two decade old musical relationship has previously seen Nick’s songs covered by The Levellers themselves, notably ‘Dirty Davey’ and ‘Prisoner’, as well as All Kinds of Disorder CD, which was a highly original set of compositions that fiddle player Jon Sevink came up with to accompany Nick’s reading of his own poetry.

However, this bit of folking news is all about Anticlockwise, a fourteen-track Best Of compilation hand-picked from McDermott’s long musical history.

I’ve been a fan of Nick words and music since first getting my hands on a copy of “Claws and Wings” back in 2003. The whole idea of the McDermotts 2 Hours project has always fascinated me and “Anticlockwise” is 14 tracks of handpicked gems that really makes this statement case in point. Darren Beech folking.com

The selection was made to highlight McDermott’s dynamism as a full band whilst also featuring acoustic tracks, to give the first-time listener a powerful and lasting impression of their versatility, and the seasoned enthusiast a single recording that best exemplifies the endeavours of the many different musicians involved over the years.

All those tempted to explore or rediscover the source albums will then be able to find them in digital form, along with the highly acclaimed 2012 acoustic album, Gathered, made with multi-instrumentalist and producer Tim Cotterell.

As the 2013 Spiral Earth Awards Best Songwriter – an award Nick won convincingly, despite obstinately remaining on the fringe of the music industry and, for the most part, eschewing live performances through a combination of ongoing mental disorder and unceasing work in other forms (he has been published or produced as a novelist, playwright, poet, short story writer and journalist) – he continues to compose songs prolifically, and, these will now be part of the ongoing “On The Fiddle” publishing deal.

After so many years crossing paths, this seems a fitting trail to take now, on both sides.

For more details visit Nick’s website http://www.burbridgearts.org/