CD liner notes:
In 2000, we were looking for a special release to mark the 15th Anniversary of The Whisky Priests…
An equipment malfunction, resulting in loss of material on the night, had led to our second live release ‘“Here Come the Ranting Lads” - Live!’ in 1999, being issued as a single CD, instead of the planned double CD, which was to have featured the entire show. Following this disappointment, we cast our minds back to our first live release, ‘Bloody Well Live!’, which had been successfully recorded in its entirety on New Years Eve 1992/3 to a 1500 strong sell-out crowd at the Markthalle, Hamburg. Suddenly, the germ of a plan to re-assess the ‘Bloody Well Live!’ recordings was born.
As the original 17-track single CD version of ‘Bloody Well Live!’ had been deleted for a number of years, and there was still a big demand for this landmark release, now seemed the perfect opportunity to go back to the original master tapes and restore this recording to its full glory.
Following a four-year apprenticeship performing throughout the UK’s underground rock venues, The Whisky Priests had ventured to the European mainland for the first time in 1989, with a highly successful 7-date tour of Germany. Further tours to Germany and the rest of Europe quickly ensued. By the end of 1992 The Whisky Priests had graduated into a well-oiled (in more ways than one!) live machine. This recording perfectly captures the live essence of the band during that period, and in fact the original Bloody Well Live! proved to be a landmark for The Whisky Priests on its release in 1993.
The Bloody Well Live! Tour, running from the end of March to the middle of June 1993 was a whirlwind experience, with 72 concerts in 12 weeks throughout Europe. The Bloody Well Live! Again! Tour followed later in the year, consolidating both the album’s and the band’s general success at the time.
Now, in our 15th Anniversary year, this unedited Special Collector’s Edition of ‘Bloody Well Live!’ presents for the first time ever the entire concert recording, remixed and remastered from the original master tapes, and including previously unissued tracks as well as all the re-inserted between song dialogue, warts and all.
Isn’t it grand boys, to be even more Bloody Well Live!
(Gary Miller & Glenn Miller, August 2000)
“Hard to credit that while the A & R community currently works so hard to sign so little, there should be tales of gross neglect to tell. The Whisky Priests’ DIY-ethic tells that story in some detail. To celebrate the band’s 15th anniversary their long-deleted 1993 release ‘Bloody Well Live!’ has been remixed, remastered and re-issued as a double CD featuring the entire concert recording from Hamburg’s Markthalle.
It’s interesting to compare and contrast this edition with its predecessor – Fred Purser has returned to the original master tapes and re-mixed the performance as an unedited, warts and all set. Consequently we now get all the between song dialogue, none of the fade-outs and the previously edited out musical moments reinstated into one definitive document. The gig was greeted with religious zeal from a venue packed full of swinging fans and it’s easy to understand why. The band’s joy and vitality positively leap out of the speakers and the listener is immediately transported back to sweaty nights in 1993. Indeed, their folk oeuvre is so stripped down; you can almost spot the chrome tendons rippling beneath their brilliantly realised, folk-rock posturing. This is the sort of high seriousness that fills stadiums. It might be an anti-climax when the Priests return to trudge round the toilet venues of the nation. But they should take heart. It might not be long before the stadiums claim them as their own.”
Geoff Wall, ‘Folk On Tap’, UK, Issue 86, Jan-Mar 2001.
“‘Bloody Well Live!’ is a remixed and remastered double-CD issue of the long-deleted (originally single) CD of the classic, landmark New Year concert with which the Priests all but demolished Hamburg some seven years back. This is intended as the pukka 15th Anniversary celebration for the Priests, to atone for the equipment malfunction that severely curtailed the planned 'Ranting Lads' live release last year. Here we get the entire concert, 23 tracks as opposed to the original 17, and an already great existing release is transformed into something bloody tremendous (no other word for it). The Priests are on a real high here; their uncompromising thrash is in full flow here with no let-up, replete with that impressive, omnipresent freshly honed dramatic and energetic delivery. Hear that whippet run!”
David Kidman, ‘Rock 'N' Reel’, UK, Issue 35, Winter 2000.
“This year marks the 15th Anniversary of one of the North East’s top bands, The Whisky Priests, and to celebrate, the band have released two CD’s.
The Priests are twins, Gary and Glenn Miller, who grew up in Sherburn near Durham City, deep in the county’s mining territory.
Images from the industry and what it means to the region and the Millers themselves litter The Whisky Priests music. Even their sound, a whirling dervish of folk-rock, has its roots in the region’s tradition.
The second release of the anniversary year is a special edition of Bloody Well Live!, their first live album from 1993. Deleted for many years, it has been remixed, re-edited, repackaged and re-released at twice its original length, so that it now spans two CD’s.
It captures the noise and energy of a Whisky Priests’ concert splendidly, and it never ceases to amaze how out of such fury they can fashion and hold an irresistible tune.
For some unknown reason, the Continent has always received the Priests’ folk-rock more enthusiastically than their home shores.
They are currently touring the Netherlands, having played through Austria and Germany, and before Christmas they will reach Belgium, before returning to Germany.”
Chris Lloyd, (from joint review of Mad Dogs and Englishmen ‘Going Down With Alice’ and ‘Bloody Well Live! Special Edition’); ‘The Northern Echo’, UK, 30 Nov 2000.
“This album has just been re-released as a new double album covering an entire concert from Markthalle, Hamburg 31st December 1992 / 1st January 1993 New Years Eve. Well what can I say by the sounds of this album it was one hell of a party the distinctive Celtic flavoured material being lapped up by the crowd who are whooping and cheering throughout. Folk isn’t supposed to be riotous but that’s exactly what The Whisky Priests sound like on here. Guitar, fiddle and accordion combining to create their version of folk music but it’s played with such passion and at times mad fury that it could almost be a punk band. The likes of ‘See The Whippet Run’ (yes it is about dog racing) is played with pace and passion. The accordion is played with flair and is used as the lead instrument alongside the clever lyrics showing that no matter the subject if you write good lyrics it’ll be a good song. You get accordion driven instrumentals that are surprisingly compelling and turn into full jigs that you can just imagine the crowd dancing along to. Now normally I wouldn’t like this kind of music but I can’t get enough of this album the lyrics are haunting in places and music even sombre the likes of ‘Land Of The Dinosaur’ are about a shipbuilders graveyard after being closed down. You also get songs about the war ‘The Durham Light Infantry’ as a man responds to the call of his country, the closure of mines ‘Farewell Johnny Miner’ and working in a colliery ‘The Colliery’ these songs show the band’s social awareness and ability to write about newsworthy topics. What is quite amazing is that the German crowd can relate to these subjects but they do and this turns out to be a truly breathtaking live album.”
Album of the issue (with ‘“Here Come the Ranting Lads” - Live!’), ‘Rhythm and Booze’, UK, Issue 16, December 2000.
“To mark the fifteenth anniversary of The Whisky Priests, they have decided to revisit their 1993 live album, and re-issue it as a special edition that features the whole of that concert, as a double CD. It has been remastered from the original tapes by Fred Purser, and is totally unedited so if you had been in the Markthalle in Hamburg eight years ago this is what you would have heard.
It is strange that their concerts have a much larger attendance in Europe than in this country, especially given Gary’s distinctive style of singing, but it just shows that concertgoers would rather see a covers band than original material. I last saw WP in a pub, yet in Germany they play to thousands. Listen to the crowd join in on the sing-along ‘Dol-Li-A’ or how they respond to ‘mental’ songs like ‘The Hard Men’ when there is so much energy that WP are like the Pogues on speed. It’s not all about power and enthusiasm, there are numbers that are slower & reflective about life in the pit, but they are all filled with a passion and intensity that screams out honesty. It also contains one of my all-time fave numbers ‘The Raven’ which captures so many aspects of their music in one song.
It may be their second live album of the year, following on their superb CD/Video ‘“Here Come The Ranting Lads” - Live!’, but would be a welcome addition to any music lover’s collection.”
Kevin Rowland, ‘Feedback’, UK, Issue 61, 5th February 2001.
“A double helping of The Whisky Priests’ straight between the eyes delivery on this two CD set recorded live in Hamburg in 1992. In part it is a re-release of the original album of that date plus a number of other previously unreleased tracks from the same performance, and what an absolute stormer it is.
If you could bottle all the sweat, tears, pride and anger of a mining community of the Thatcher years you would end up with the songs of Gary Miller; forceful biting lyrics they represent the poetry of a working class morality which was destroyed for daring to say no. Songs like ‘The Colliery’, one man’s story of life underground that could have been any miner over the past 200 years or the optimistic ‘Easington’ with it’s ‘never let the bastards grind you down’ philosophy. Look out too for ‘Land of The Dinosaur’ with its imagery of shipyard cranes. Recorded at the time of the Heseltine massacre of the coal industry, in years to come these songs will be documents of our social history.
There’s some great traditional stuff on there too, ‘Bonnie Gateshead Lass’ taken along at a rip roaring pace and some rattling instrumentals, but pride of place, for me, goes to the ‘Farwell Johnny Miner’ / ‘Lads of Wear and Tyne’ set. What a joy to hear Ed Pickford’s song presented with all the strength and conviction it deserves.”
Jim Hancock, ‘Folktalk’, UK, Issue no. 29, Summer 2001.
“A re-mastered re-release of the New Year 1992-3 Hamburg gig, uncut, with six tracks that were omitted from the first, now deleted, release and the between-song banter left in. Fiddles, accordion, mandolin with electric bass and drum kit and not a crusty or a drunken Irish student in sight – magic!
Progressive north-eastern folk, a musically-updated Blaydon Races. The Whisky Priests will never be ‘In’ and ‘cool’ like misty-eyed hippy/anarcho folk-borrowers because they kept it real, old skool, round-the-doors, like yoking man, mother-fucker and kept the music true to its roots and its region and didn’t try to blend it with a more commercial rock, punk or metal sound. I don’t know how popular the Priests are outside the North-east, as most people will equate the instrumental side of things with Irish folk, when really it’s the sound of all our yesterdays. Those unused to the accent will surely think it sounds at times like an ex-shipyard-worker having a mid-life crisis and joining a goth band, but I find it refreshing. While I’ve never been down the pit, mourned the shutting of the wagon works or raced whippets, I remember the end of the shipyards, the mines closing, coal fires, the last steam trains, cobbled streets and the stories of how life used to be. Better to sing about industrial decay and things gone, than jig about getting all nostalgic about some hippy crap that never existed. In these global hyperlink days, it’s good to be reminded just where you came from and that someone hip, somewhere hip, just can’t be down with it like you can. On a lighter note, open the case and in the live photo on the back of the booklet/cover, Bob Mills off the telly (In Bed With Me Dinner) appears to be playing bass.”
Jon Welsh, ‘Get Rhythm’ Magazine, June 2001, UK.
“Basically, this is a re-release of the album, with the exception of you now get the entire show, so it’s now a double CD! Despite what’s been said about the WP’s, they are a superbly active live band and have generated a dedicated European following. If any proof was needed, just listen to the audience on here. It was recorded in Hamburg and initially released back in 1993. And seeing as it’s The WP’s fifteenth anniversary, why not give the public the truth!!!! Tracks such as ‘Easington’, ‘The Coal-Digger’s Grave’, ‘The Durham Light Infantry’, ‘See The Whippet Run’, ‘Bonnie Gateshead Lass’ and ‘Isn’t It Grand Boys’ all display a colloquial sensibility, yet the pathos, anger and frustration of the downtrodden reverberates throughout every note that’s played. Folk, heavily spiced with rock, and a crackingly good sense of lyricism is what makes The WP’s a band guaranteed to produce the goods, and here’s a right hamper full. One of those live albums where you wish you’d been there when it was going on – what an atmosphere.”
Clarence, ‘The Modern Dance’, #34, UK.
“The year 2001 marks the 15th anniversary of The Whisky Priests’ humble beginnings in the Northeast of England, when the band was put together by brothers Glenn and Gary Miller. Through hard work, an explosive live show, and extensive touring, it has developed a large fan base in both the UK and in Europe. In celebration, Whippet Records (owned and operated by the band) has reissued its landmark recording ‘Bloody Well Live!’ as a ‘special edition’, expanded to include an entire concert on two compact discs. Recorded in Hamburg, Germany, on New Year’s Eve 1992/1993, this release, in essence, sums up what The Whisky Priests is all about: strongly political songs, both original and traditional, about the working man in the coal pits and his struggle to earn a living. The entire show is high energy, with the crowd being whipped into a frenzy, and it’s all done with a largely acoustic format of guitar, mandolin, fiddle, accordion, bass and drums. This makes a good starting point for those unfamiliar with the group, as it collects all their best material up to this point. Those with the old one-disc version would do well to update to the new one with all the new material.”
Jim Lee, ‘Dirty Linen’, January 2002, USA.
HYPERLINK "http://www.organart.demon.co.uk/oawhiskypriests.html" www.organart.demon.co.uk/oawhiskypriests.html
HYPERLINK "http://the-rocker.freeservers.com/Oct2000/priest.html" the-rocker.freeservers.com/Oct2000/priest.html
‘Green Man Review’, USA:
HYPERLINK "http://www.greenmanreview.com/whiskypriests.html" www.greenmanreview.com/whiskypriests.html
HYPERLINK "http://www.folking.com/groups/albumreviews/whiskey.htm" www.folking.com/groups/albumreviews/whiskey.htm
Norman Darwen, ‘World Music’, UK:
HYPERLINK "http://members.netscapeonline.co.uk/englishfm/CDRECORDS/Reviews/Whisky.htm" members.netscapeonline.co.uk/englishfm/CDRECORDS/Reviews/Whisky.htm
HYPERLINK "http://riffs.8m.com/cdreviewpage.htm" riffs.8m.com/cdreviewpage.htm
Jim Hancock, ‘Folk Talk’, UK:
HYPERLINK "http://www.folktalk.co.uk/talk4.htm#five" www.folktalk.co.uk/talk4.htm#five
“Dall’Irlanda all’Inghilterra il passo è breve. Se poi I concerti vi pia ce raccoglierli anche su disco, questa è l’occasione per recuperare un e vento: la tournee del ’92-’93 dei WHISKY PRIESTS, uno più importanti gruppi folk-rock inglesi, capitanato dai fratelli MILLER.
Rimasterizzato e con l’aggiunta di materiale inedito, il doppio CD è reperibile anche in Italia. Se volete potete anche rivolgervi alla WHIPPET RECORDS (l’tichetta del gruppo) che lo pubblica, e al gruppo stesso: sul sito www.whiskypriests.co.uk
Comunque quando arrivano a suonare in Italia (lo fanno spesso) non per deteli.”
Giovanni Pietro, Scazzola, Italy
“From Ireland to England the step is brief. If then you like collecting concerts also on albums, this is the chance to recover an event: the ’92-’93 WHISKY PRIESTS’ tour, one of the most important English folk-rock bands, lead by the MILLER brothers.
Remastered and with unissued material added, the double CD is also available in Italy. If you want, you can also contact WHIPPET RECORDS (the group’s own label) that publishes it, and the group as well: on the site www.whiskypriests.co.uk
When they come to play in Italy (it often happens), don’t miss them.”