Hatful of Holloway (Benefit for the Lamb) 22 North London artists covers compilationAlbum Review

Hatful of Holloway: The Lamb covers compilation (Various Artists)

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Out now

22 local bands & musicians have come together to create an exclusive album of covers to raise funds to help The Lamb on Holloway Road (London N7)  weather the Covid19 storm. And it’s a fab downloadable punky-party-people soundtrack to a fun-packed rockin’ lock-in! says Ged Babey. 

I’ve never been to the Lamb in the Holloway Road Norf Lahn-dun but it seems my kinda place judging by the great selection of music on offer here.

Punks, weirdo’s, rockers and ravers. Irish Folk, Americana country, mutant disco, it’s all here in one place and the emphasis is on fun and raising funds for their favourite small venue/ drinking haunt, rather than careerism and self-promotion.

By some kinda fluke though, it is actually a really great playlist. full of musical energy, variety and top tunes. Cover versions are always interesting ranging from the better-than-the-original to the what-the-fuck!

The opening track is the only ‘dodgy’ one and may be a bit off-putting to some miserable bastards and Clash die-hards. I would’ve put it last rather than first, as its no doubt the Last-Orders-Pleeease highlight of many a live session in the past.

Regular participants in The Lamb’s lively Sunday session, Celtic Smash Brothers are a gang of London Irish musicians who mix high octane Irish tunes and modern songs all with a Celtic twist. They cover London Calling.

The core bands who make up regulars at the Lamb, seem to include a lot of mates of album co-ordinator Jez Miller (The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing / Gunfire Dance / Walter Lure’s band). Consequently quite a few wild-men & women of punk rock’n’roll are present:

Bands like the DeRellas (a kick-ass, sleazy Stiv-Batorized ‘Be My Baby) the Priscillas (love-lorn, buzzing Buzzcocks cover from the dayglo beat girls) and Healthy Junkies (ramalama headbanger version of a song few have heard!)

Two of my personal favourites are storming Kinks covers; an archive track from the early Nineties by Gunfire Dance (Til the End of The Day) produced by Brian James and Rat Scabies and the ‘Only Steam-Punk Band That Matters’ The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing who demolish Victoria.

The first 30 seconds of Desperate Measures version of No Lip is a ribcage rattling, face-melting punk-metal joy.

Jez Miller covers ‘Can’t Put Your Arm Around a Memory’ faithfully.

Ben Woods ‘Obsessed With You’ turns an X-ray Spex classic into a bizarre EMF-meets-Beck hoe-down.

The Underrunners turn the Party’s Over into a nice Gothic affair (which won’t impress Talk Talk fans but works for me) and Top Buzzers garage-punk Muse takedown of Britneys ‘Toxic‘ is great fun.

Then there are a bunch of dayglo synth-punks: Flesh Tetris (who take on Rammstein convincingly with their Casio-punk sounding very heavy and Teutonic), PollyPikPocketz (who subject Patrik FitzGeralds ‘Safety Pin‘ to electronic abuse) and Komputer (a Fab cover of Spacer).

Mechanical Cabaret (whose name was flown in especially from 1980) cover When Do I Get To Sing My Way (a 1994 slice of genius from Sparks) and is a definite album highlight.

Loretta Heywood and the Five Shades ‘You Don’t Love Me (No No No)‘ is a sublime, sensuous, slinky version from the Bomb the Bass / Transglobal Underground vocalist.

Paul-Ronney Angel & Tomirae Brown cover a topical number called Oh Pandemic which will go down well with fans of Urban Voodoo Machine (a band I’ve just never ‘got’ I’m afraid) but sounds like a Poundland Tom Waits playing an out-take from the Jungle Book to me.

Jay Price I know from his time as guitarist in Peter Perretts ‘the One’ – an amazing guitarist and handsome man – he purrs his way thru a stunning version of Jolene, taking time off from writing music for TV and movies I read.  Another of many album highlights.

The only Xmas song, Mz Moxys brilliant ‘Hungry Like The Elf’ I wrote about here.

Grae J Wall covers Frankies Power of Love in an stark, emotional acoustic style. Dave Renegades outlaw country cover of Ramblin’ Man is wonderful and J Eoins Sullivans John is top class Irish Folk by a master of the art.  Not music I would actively seek out, but in the context of this fundraiser essential inclusions to reflect the clientele of the venue.

Like I said – a really excellent playlist of songs and versions for a worthwhile cause – but also a who’s who of great bands and interesting artists from the North London area. Vive The Lamb and all who drink and play in her!

Listen or Buy from a selection of outlets but the organisers ask that you PLEASE DOWNLOAD THE ALBUM RATHER THAN STREAM ON SPOTIFY as all funds generated from this release will go to the pub’s crowdfunder appeal.

More Info on the Facebook Page

Venue website

The Full Hatful of Holloway album is on YouTube

All words Ged Babey


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Ged Babey is 56. from Southampton, has written since 1985 for Sound Info, Due South, various fanzines and websites, contributed to Record Collector magazine and was sole author of 'Punk Throwback' fanzine -the name of which was taken from an insult hurled at him by the singer with a young band he managed for a while. Ged believes that all good music and art has a connection with punk rock.


  1. Had a listen to this today. A good cause and some really cool covers- good to see Gunfire Dance for example, but a couple of right stinkers (Darellas murdering a classic, yuck) but all for a good cause I guess.


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