Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


The album is available from nearly all streaming sites – and also from Amazon as a downloadable MP3 album here :  Amazon MP3 download

To our Irish friends and everyone all around the globe who celebrate all things Irish a very

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all!

In the words of the song… CD Front‘Give me a drop of the black stuff O’Rafferty, I’ve got a thirst that could drain the old Liffey dry…’

You’ve probably never heard that song – it’s one of my own compositions that I haven’t got around to releasing yet – but will do soon!

Talking of our own compositions, Exciting news for us this Festive day – we’ve just released our new CD which will be available from tomorrow!

The album is entitled Light on the Surface and takes it’s name from the second track, an original piece.  For a change instead of just the traditional favourites we’ve included three own compositions this time – but rest assured we will stay true to our principles – most of the tracks are old favourites given that old Hooligan’s Rule twist.   By the way if you are wondering what our principles are exactly, that’s a question we’ve asked ourselves many times – and if we can’t get an answer you’ve got no hope…  We just love the craic, that’s all!

Anyway back to the CD – if you want to give it a listen  from the side bar on this site you can do so at CD Baby here, where you can also part with hard earned cash to contribute to the SMWGF, (the Sad Musician’s Weekly Guiness Fund).  You can also stream our music on virtually any of the sites that deal with that sort of thing.

In the meantime we hope you have a great day – TSt.PIF – thank St. Patrick It’s Friday!  Perhaps it’s just as well many of us will have the weekend to get over the celebrations.

The Parting Glass

The Parting Glass is one of my personal favourites. It seems that this song was also a favourite parting song at family and social gatherings in Scotland and in Ireland, and was sung long before Auld Lang Syne. I hadn’t heard it for a very long while and decided it merited inclusion in our Celtic Christmas album because of its haunting melody and beautifully crafted words –though the album has the instrumental version of it. It is a very old song – and although the first recorded printed version was as a broadside (or broadsheet) in the 1770s it was known since at least as early as 1605 when the first stanza was included in a letter written by one of the Border Reivers as a farewell before his execution. He had been involved in the murder of Sir John Carmichael, warden of the Scottish West March.
Now then, your friend and mine, the genius that was Robert Burns (and what a genius in my opinion – as a songwriter as well as a poet…) was born on January 25th 1759 – so this song easily predates Auld Lang Syne by at least 150 years.
The melody first makes its appearance in James Aird’s A Selection of Scots, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 2 (1782), with the name The Peacock. There are other names for the tune – but that’s nothing new in traditional music – half the fiddle tunes I play are known by alternative names and it’s no wonder: music in the oral tradition was passed on from musician to musician and by the very definition of the term ‘oral’ was not written down. Let me tell you it is dead easy to get the wrong name since there are sometimes a lot of similarities from one to another. Add to that sometimes a piece might be named after the musican that played or composed it – take Sonny Brogan’s Mazurka for example.
I have always thought it marvellous that a tune written so long ago can touch us today and convey emotional content and below I have transcribed the words. They are as beautiful, poignant and expressive as the lovely melody – whatever the name of it. Good night and Joy be to you all.

Of all the money that e’er I had
I spent it in good company
And all the harm I’ve ever done
Alas it was to none but me
And all I’ve done for want of wit
To mem’ry now I can’t recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be to you all

So fill to me the parting glass
And drink a health whate’er befalls
And gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

Of all the comrades that e’er I had
They’re sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e’er I had
They’d wish me one more day to stay
But since it fell unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

Fill to me the parting glass
And drink a health whate’er befalls
And gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

La La

But since it fell unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all


Good night and joy be to you all.

Stop Press…

… well, maybe not exactly stop it but slow it down a bit…

Celtic Christmas, which as any fellow Hooligan will already know is our instrumental Christmas album is available for streaming via Spotify and iTunes and several other streaming sites.  Give it a listen – we’ve recorded all the old favourites:  God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Silent Night, The Holly and the Ivy, The Parting Glass, Christians Awake and others.  All are given the Hooligan’s Rule Celtic twist and the CD would make a great gift for anyone.

You can listen to our trailer here  and buy the CD from Amazon here. You can also download it in mp3 format from them.

Tarra for now fellow Hooligans and we’ll keep you posted with any news almost as it happens…


Busy times…

Good day to all fellow Hooligans!

Its been a bit busy over the last few days so apologies if I have taken a bit long to post this blog update.

Firstly, our thanks to  Martyn Hillstead and all the folks at the Teignmouth Folk Club who gave us such a warm welcome at the Oystercatcher Cafe in Teignmouth on Thursday 29th September.  What a friendly and talented bunch of people.  Alongside some excellent unaccompanied singing there were other singer songwriters performing some insightful and cleverly written pieces – all very entertaining and enjoyable.  We ended the evening

Hooligan’s Rule at Teignmouth Folk Club

with a couple of tunes and a song.  For those who are not aware of the the folk club you can keep in touch with what is going on there by subscribing to their public Facebook group at this address – or search in Google for them…


The the following day it was down to the Crown and Sceptre in Torquay who host a Friday night folk  session.

Tony at the Crown & Sceptre Torquay

I love these sessions – you never know who will turn up and play and certainly every time we’ve played there, there is a great atmosphere in a real old pub – not one of those plasticky excuses for a bar – but a throw back in time (in a good way of course!  If you are down that way on a Friday night from half pas eight onwards pop in – I don’t think you will be disappointed!

Where next?  Well we will be at a session back in the Pack Horse Inn in South Brent again this Thursday (6th October 2016) from about 8 o’clock for more mayhem and madness and then on Saturday moving on to Kent for a few weeks (or possibly longer).  I’ll post more when we know where we will be going!


In the meantime stay happy and safe and see you somewhere soon.

Let me introduce to you …

We have a cat called K-fur.  We named him that when he was little – it was K for Kitten – which at the time we (and our then 8 year old granddaughter) thought was amusing, and now we are slightly embarrassed about.  Anyway we haven’t seen him for some time now.

Let me explain.  It isn’t that the weird critter has run away from home or anything like that but for the last week or so he has taken to climbing under the throw on our couch and won’t come out.  We have to tell visitors to the house not to sit on the couch if there appears to be a lump in it.  Indeed I have sat on him a couple of times but it doesn’t seem to deter him.

We get up in the morning and there is a lump under the throw.  All day long it is still there and when we go to bed at night – guess what.

Just thought you might like to meet him so here is a pic.  I  willK-fur the mystery cat post more pics if there is anything more exciting than a lump, but it is doubtful.

So – here is K-fur the Mystery Cat for your enjoyment:

Onwards and Upwards…

Back into the fray – starting with an excellent session with all our friends at the excellent Pack Horse Inn in South Brent, Devon.  And what a fantastic night it was too – the beer was flowing as freely as the music and Lucy and I would like to thank all our friends for the warm welcome home.

Hopefully we will be in Teignmouth for the open mic session on Thursday 29th September in the Oystercatcher Cafe and then at the Crown and Sceptre in Torquay on Friday 30th September – so if you are around pop in for a few tunes!

In the meantime if you need an truly entertaining band get in touch!  We are happy to travel  – that’s all we have been doing recently and we love seeing new places and spreading the word. Hooligan’s Rule is a simple one – life is too short so laugh and sing.

Take care all and hope to see you at a session or gig soon.


Home Sweet Home … and on the road again!

After a busy season in deepest darkest France we are back home in the UK! Does it feel good to be back?  Well yes and no.  We love this country but…

We count ourselves as extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to go over there and play some music, sing some funny songs and generally party out.  But – now its time to move on to the next adventure.  Where that will be we don’t know yet, but let me say to all readers of this blog, that is exactly why it is all so exciting!

I will add some photos and videos to the site a bit later but I think the high spot was our Bastille Night session.  At the time although we had a wonderful night it was wholly inappropriate to post pics of party time celebrations, of tunes and singalongs, and of audiences sharing a great night in view of the tragic events in Nice the morning after.  Out of respect and shared sorrow for our French friends we have not so far posted anything – but perhaps now you will not think us too disrespectful if we do.

To be unusually serious for a moment perhaps if the people all over the world understand a few things it might be a better place. One:   if we choose to examine our lives we are as mentioned above unspeakably and indescribably fortunate.  Two: perhaps the greatest folly humankind is guilty of is taking ourselves too seriously.  We are all ridiculous, tiny, overly proud, pompous, posturing and pretentious – especially when we feel questioned, threatened, or when what we believe is called into doubt.  Let it go.  Three: Happiness is often simply a choice.  Throw your head back and laugh at the bad jokes (if you can do that you will get on pretty well with me  – the bad jokes are all I have).  And four:  Fortunate people are usually fortunate.  I mean that they are lucky as the norm.  Into each life a drop of rain must fall of course – but overall the picture is pretty good!

So- take care of yourselves my good friends and I hope we will meet up somewhere soon at a gig – in the meantime enjoy life, love those around you and in particular be good to musicians! They deserve it for theirs is a life of profligate hedonism and partying.  They must get tired.  Perhaps you should take a leaf out of their book.

Keep Calm and Carolan!

A lot has happened since last I blogged… tilly

I have been working on lots of new tracks. There’s much more music coming up and we are nearing completion of the second album – I will be tweeting and facebooking and all sorts of other verbs that once upon a time had no meaning at all as soon as there is some news to bring you …

And I am extremely, elatedly happy to announce.

that our recording of Si Bheag Si Mhor is making waves here and there:  it has been included on the award-winning Marc Gunn’s very excellent Irish and Celtic Music Podcast which you can listen to here.  If you don’t regularly listen to Marc’s podcast then you are missing a treat (not just because he has featured our music!) – you can hear a wealth of great music in these podcasts.  I strongly urge you to check out his site.

If you haven’t heard our arrangements of Si Bheag Si Mhor and Fanny Power (I know, I know – that one always raises a smirk), you can view our YouTube videos here. We hope you like this music as much as we do.

Gravel Walks Video is now available

And finally on the self-publicity hard-sell front here is a link to our brand new video Gravel Walks in the CountryGravel Walks in the Country - YouTube

If you like this music half as much as we love it then we will be happy!

By the way the video was shot in and around Haytor which is on Dartmoor in Devon (pictured left) – one of the most beautiful places on earth.

You may know that Si Bheag Si Mhor and Fanny Power are the timeless compositions of Turlough O’Carolan.  Increasingly, I am delighted to say, the body of work of this excellent tunesmith is finding its way in to the canon of Celtic music – deservedly so in my opinion.  You see, there have been (and still are) very many writers of melody over the ages some of whom have written some moving and delightful music, but to my mind few have composed so many pieces of such mysterious intrigue and beauty as Carolan.  His music is deceptively simple.  Generally his melodies have come down to us in simple form indeed – with little instruction about how they might be performed – but there is something – an knowable something – in his music that seems to suggest to musically sensitive souls how they should be played.  In some there is an intense sadness, in some a melancholy tenderness and in others a light and airy but listless joy.  He might have earned his place in the musical hall of fame by writing just one of these tunes – but to have written so many of them is genius.

Fanny Power (behave yourself) was written for the wife of one of the landed gentry and as you may know the blind Carolan enjoyed the patronage of the wealthy to make a living. She was Frances Power.  Funny how meanings change over time (which relates back to my earlier comment about language that never used to exist in the pre-computer age).

I might be overstepping the mark a bit admittedly – and if Carolan were alive today he might point a finger at me (or roughly in my direction – him being blind and all) and cackle derisively at my preposterous blithering, but I would take it with humility if he did.  I would be happy to stand corrected by the great man and I would be prepared to beg him to tell me what the secret is to writing simple tunes that conveyed so much.  It is as if the simplicity of his music was necessary so as not to cloud the subtlety.  There is such fineness to his emotive expression that from one light to another the meaning can change – the musical equivalent to a sheen or iridescence.  Ok, Mr. Carolan you can stop cackling now – I can imagine by now you would be holding your ribs in pain – I am trying to understand the extraordinary gift that must have been second nature to you.

It does seem to be the case that in the lives of a great many artists there is sorrow and tragedy and that by some human psychological contrivance the artist’s response is echoed in his or her output.  Carolan went blind after contracting smallpox at the age of 18.  Look around you today at any 18 year-olds you know and imagine what the impact of such an event would be on them – and then imagine way back then, when, as idyllic as it is sometimes portrayed on film, life was damned hard for some.  Perhaps this tragedy informed the elemental cry in his music, and perhaps the kindness shown to him was the tenderness…  There is necessity and imperative, hurt and recovery, painful memory and gratitude in the composition process and it shines through in Carolan’s works.

So, if life gets a little tough for you the best advice I can offer is to Keep Calm and Carolan!

Take care all and I’ll blog again soon

A shadowy flight into the world of a band that does not exist

Aha me hearties – ’tis Professor Hooligan here.  A warm welcome to Hooligan’s Rule site to all ye who visit. This is the place where I – the infamous and slightly bonkers Professor Hooligan – will ramble on about all manner of things connected to music, at least for as long as my tenuous grasp on reality holds out.

All those who read the post title might remember the phrase attached to the tele programme Knight Rider.  I remember well thinking that these words in all their mysterious mysteriousness meant absolutely nothing at all.  And scarily it could apply to Hooligan’s Rule as well…

Here is an interesting factoid – the man who designed the car in Knightrider – Kit – also designed the original (and , to my mind unrivalled) Batmobile.  A moment’s silence please for the great George Barris who sadly passed away last year…

Now, when you go looking in your local gig guide for our next location let me put you straight – we are presently on gigging in the Dordogne.  The band was born of a desire to just get down some trusty Celtic classics that we happen to love and get out there and perform them live to people who want to listen of their own free will.  They can leave any time they like after we have unlocked the doors at 11 o’click.  By the way I use the term ‘live’ in the loosest possible context.  Truth to tell there are some days when wtour bus 1e are more ‘live’ than others.  You can’t always trust the electrics in some of the places we’ve played over the years.

Anyway we will post the locations of our gigs in due course and then if you are down our way – pop in and say bonjour for a night of music and nutsery.

Keep it reel.  See what I did there?

This is our tour bus.  I hope you like it!

Have to go now – the aperatif is kicking in… (aka the local wine!)