Crock of Bones are a North London band and, with a growing and increasingly acclaimed set of live performances behind them, have recently released Celtic Crossbones, their first full-length CD.
Until I heard the CD, the band were unknown to me, but this is one of the times when you take a punt on something and are glad you did. Their genre, ‘Contemporary and Traditional Folk’ is perhaps better described, if less formally, as celtic, folk-ish, punk-ish – the kind of mix where you expect an energised live performance and a fun evening.
But you can probably guess that from the artwork on the CD. More importantly, from what I’ve seen on video and heard on the album, it’s also what Crock of Bones deliver. The line-up is fiddles, banjo, guitar, double bass, drum and vocal harmonies.
There are ten tracks on the album – five self-penned and Celtic Crossbones has a nice mix of originals, standards, jigs and reels from full-pelt foot-stompers to sing-along ballads.
The opening track, ‘Just One Of Those Things’ is the first of the originals, a joining-in tune about the break-up of a previous band which starts with “Thanks for making a balls of it” and takes us through various verses to the phlegmatic chorus “I suppose it was just one of those things”. ‘The Magnificent Eight’ reminisces about life in a band. ‘Ferry’ is lovely – a track about long distance relationships, saying goodbye at the port and catching the ferry home. This is one of the tracks you could listen to as an introduction to the band, something that’s entirely in the genre and simultaneously suggests that there is more to come from Crock of Bones. ‘Nothin Worse’ would be another good introduction, an up-tempo reminiscence about people you meet but fall out of touch with as life progresses along different paths. The final original is ‘TASTHTGP’ (Talk About Shit Things Happening To Good People’, musically playful but lyrically about the loss of a close friend.
Intermingled with these originals are: Behan’s ‘Hot Asphalt’, ‘Swallowtail Jig’ (traditional, I think?), MacColl’s ‘McAlpine’s Fusiliers’, ‘Follow Me Up To Carlow’ (an old tune with words by Patrick Joseph McCall) and ‘Cooley’s Reel/Mountain Road’.
I gather the band are particularly building a name around North London, but they have played festivals more widely. I’ve not seen them live and since winter is coming, the number of festivals lessening and I’m some miles aways, the chances of this are small in the next few months. However, if I were in their part of the world and wanting to put someone on for a lively session to warm a winter evening, I reckon Crock of Bones would be worth the punt.
Give Celtic Crossbones a listen and decide for yourself.
Artist’s website: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063497172575
‘Ferry’ – official video: