traditional and original music played on

acoustic and electric instruments

Who can say!!


for details see the 'ceilidhs' page



Ironmasters have released 3 CD's, Say I am Dancing, Spirits of Another Sort, and A Thousand Twangling Instruments. You can buy these below online via PayPal - you don't have to be a member of PayPal as they take credit and debit cards direct.




Two tracks from each of the CD's are in the music player below the covers and there are some reviews below for your enjoyment..........


All Blacked Up - A Thousand Twangling Instruments (Coughing Dog Music)

All Blacked Up is one of the country's premier ceilidh bands, with over 20 years' experience of playing at most of the main folk festivals and ceilidh clubs in England.


Theirs is a particularly distinctive sound, and their ranks include original members melodeonists Lisa McDermott and Baz Parkes and sax supremo Alistair Gillies, with the estimable Bill Caddick recently added on sundry guitars and vocals, all bolstered by a sturdy rhythm section (Ray Archer and Nick Beck).

What an interesting and satisfyingly full sound they make too, with the traditional ceilidh-band squeezery (and harmonica, recorders and whistles) spicily supplemented by more jazzy saxophonics and from time to time some not-so-subtle R&B-type inflections.


Their stock-in-trade inevitably contains some of the well-worn ceilidh favourites such as Off To California, Pepper In The Brandy and Scan Tester's, but for every well-known tune there's likely to be appended a delightful new composition by the likes of Messrs Gillies or McDermott.


Another feature new to this latest incarnation of All Blacked Up is the Caddick-steered pairings of Soldier's Joy with Over The Hills And Far Away and Tufty Swift's Gaspe Reel with Rambling Soldier (“shame to waste such vocal talent”!), while the slide-geetar-led Homecroft marks a departure from the accepted ceilidh-band norm.


A further refreshing feature of the ABU sound is the spruceness of the rhythms, always great fun and decidedly non-lumpy - and there's even an almost Cajun feel to the Oxbol Polka, despite its Danish origin! The provenance of the various tunes is discussed entertainingly in the liner notes (mostly the work of caller Baz, we're told).


By the way, those allergic to “twangling instruments” need have no fears, for although some guitars (and a hammered dulcimer!) were used in the making of this record, none were harmed in any way and the disc shouldn't damage delicate sensibilities: the “tempestuous” (in the Shakespearean sense) title of this disc is definitely tongue-in-cheek!


David Kidman November 2007



Green Man Review


All Blacked Up's Spirits of Another Sort is from a band that says of itself ...


'[a]lthough we still think of ourselves as an English country dance band, a quick glance at the source of these tunes reveals an eclecticism that would appear to belie this. What is English music anyway? We found our best answer in a novel by Peter Ackroyd (called, surprisingly enough, English Music) where he tells us '...It is perfectly clear to me now that English music rarely changes. The instruments may alter and the form may vary, but the spirit seems always to remain the same.''


And the title of Spirits of Another Sort 'tis rather fitting as that is what Oberon says to Puck in A Midsommer Nights Dreame when asked what they, the fey ones, are. This is fey music for a midsummers eve -- light, bouncy, and quite spirited!


What you get is a mix of trad tunes ('Ballyvournie Polka/Johnnie Mickie Barries' and 'Mazurka') and material of a more modern nature such as 'The Beano Annual General Meeting.'

If Kick Shins comes off as something that the Beatles might have thought up if they'd been slightly older, All Blacked Up comes off as a band aware that there is really no such creature that can be rigidly English music, but rather everything is in one form or another English music!     Green Man Review


“When it comes to infectious ceilidh music guaranteed to get even the most reluctant feet tapping, if not dancing, All Blacked Up are among the best

Folk London Magazine


“...driving, full-bodied yet eminently danceable music

What’s Afoot Magazine

Spirits cover All Blacked Up

1. Two for Joy / The Arkansas Schottish   parkes / trad

2. Church St / St Mary's   trad / trad

3. The Beano Annual General Meeting / The Redesdale Hornpipe

baker / trad

4.The Hogmanay, Blackjack   rankine / baker

5. Machyncleth   trad

6. The Swan   gillies / gillies

7. The Ballyvournie Polka / Johnny Mickies   trad / trad

8. Mazurka / Valse d'Hiver   trad / trad

9. FGB / Known Him Years   gillies / gillies

10. Indian Queen   trad

11. Marc Perrone's 1&2 / Two Sisters   trad / trad / trad

12. Not in the Mood   gillies

13. The Kissing Dance / The Goulash Archipeggio   trad / gillies

14. Jacob / The Gypsy's Hornpipe   trad / trad

1. La Bastringue / Pepper in the Brandy   trad / kirkpatrick

2. Off to California / Rory's Hornpipe   trad / parkes

3. Soldier's Joy / Over the Hills   trad / trad

4. The Long Haired Field   gillies / gillies

5. Mr Garner's / Beetle in the Wine   mcdermott / whetstone  

6. Homecroft / La Caleta  britten / mcdermott

7. Oxbol Polka / Scan Tester's   jenson / trad

8. Star Above the Garter / Spirit of the Dance trad / trad

9. A Morris Dance   trad

10. Gaspe Reel / Rambling   trad / trad

11. John Wayne's Jig / Cardington Girls   Tiomkin:webster / shepherd

12. Around the World for Sport   trad

£12.50 inc post and packing

£12.50 inc post and packing