One of the unexpected outcomes of producing the CD is that I have started to listen to a good deal of radio on-line and have been surprised how easy it is. Before this I was always more of a 'steam radio' man myself. So I have gone from the delights of John O'Regan on Limerick City Community Radio to the great selection of musical options on Dublin City FM to BBC Wales, RTE Radio 1, and much further afield to Declan O'Connell's terrific music show, Rebel Chorus
, on 2XXFM from Canberra, Australia.
As was mentioned in an earlier post, he generously made 'Live at Foxrock Folk Club' one of his six best albums of 2015 and I was delighted to be able to listen to the live stream of the programme. As far as I am aware it is not yet possible to hear his shows after they have been broadcast but Declan kindly sent me his script for the show which is a great example of how to link together different albums and different artists in a very coherent manner and to demonstrate the influence of earlier artists on those that come after.
As mentioned in the script, Declan is planning a show in the near future on Foxrock Folk Club and the social and cultural context it emerged from.
Rebel Chorus, 12 December
2015, 'Six of the Best'
Quiet Joys of Brotherhood, Plainsong, Reinventing Richard: The Songs of Richard Farina #1 (2:16)
Six of the Best – six of my favourite CDs
from 2015: One is Plainsong’s Reinventing
Richard. The other five are: Live at
Foxrock Folk Club: The Parish Hall Tapes (Andy Irvine, Luke Kelly, Ronnie
Drew and others recorded live at a Dublin folk club set up by teenagers in the
early 70s; it includes a track where Andy Irvine sings with an American accent),
The Joy of Living (covers of Ewan
MacColl songs), Twice Told Tales by
10,000 Maniacs (traditional folk songs from Britain and Ireland); The Gospel Album by Gurrumul and the
2-CD Michael Kennedy tribute Hearth.
We’ll also look forward to some special shows coming up in 2016.
Right now, I want to go back to my home
town, Dublin and take a time travel machine to Foxrock Folk Club on Dublin’s
southside in March 1971. Yeah, I wish I was in Dublin town. So does Andy
Wish I Was in Dublin Town, Andy Irvine, Live at Foxrock Folk Club: The Parish Hall Tapes (CD1) #2
(3:56) (14 March 1971, by which time Andy had come back from his Balkan travels;
I could hear some Balkan rhythms in his mandolin playing)
Our first song from the double Ewan MacColl
covers CD, The Joy of Living, was
made famous by Luke Kelly. We have sung here by another Dublin man, a man who
channels the spirit of Luke Kelly, Damien Dempsey.
Over, Damien Dempsey, The Joy of Living (CD1) #1 (4:05)
Luke Kelly found it amusing that Foxrock,
possibly Dublin’s most affluent suburb where many of the houses had grounds rather
than gardens, had a folk club. A folk club in Foxrock, he thought, that would
be a contradiction in terms. But he played there and sang a Ewan MacColl song
for the young audience, teaching them some then recent US history. I’ll leave
Luke to introduce it himself.
’58, Luke Kelly, Live at Foxrock Folk Club:
The Parish Hall Tapes (CD1) #6 (3:53) (17 December 1972)
Shoals of Herring, Seth Lakeman, The Joy of Living (CD1) #4 (4:58)
Next up we’ve got a song about one of Luke
Kelly’s heroes, James Connolly, sung here by the late Michael Kennedy, who’ll
introduce it himself (recorded live at the National Folk Festival here in the
James Connolly, Michael Kennedy, Hearth (CD2) #1 (3:21)
Another of my favourite albums in 2015 was
Gurrumul's Gospel Album. I had the
privilege of seeing Gurrumul live at the Canberra Theatre in August.
Grace, Gurrumul (with Paul Kelly), The Gospel Album #14 (4:06)
I’ve now played five of my favourite six
albums from 2015. Last but not least we’ve got the 10,000 Maniacs album Twice Told Tales
of Queen Jane, 10,000 Maniacs, Twice Told Tales #11 (4:37)
I promised you a track where Andy Irvine
sings with an American accent live at Foxrock Folk Club. Here it is.
Dust Bowl Blues, Andy Irvine, Live at Foxrock Folk Club:
The Parish Hall Tapes (CD2) #14 (3:46) (14 March 1971)
We hope to do a whole show about Foxrock
Folk Club, including an interview with one of the club’s founders, Jeremy
Kearney, early in 2016.
Agitation Waltz, Plainsong, Reinventing Richard: The Songs of Richard Farina #3 (3:31
Richard Farina died in a motorbike accident
on 30 April 1966, two days after his novel, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to
Me was published and the day his wife, Mimi Baez, turned 21. Rebel Chorus is planning a special programmed
to mark the 50th anniversary of Richard Farina’s death in late April
or early May 2016.
Old Town, Steve Earle, The Joy of Living (CD1) #10 (3:20)
Thames, Flow Softly, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, The Joy of Living (CD2) #8 (5:09)
One of the first Rebel Choruses I ever did,
back in April 2008, was a Manchester
Rambler edition featuring the songs of Ewan MacColl. There are so many good
cover versions of MacColl songs on The
Joy of Living I can feel a Manchester
Rambler 2 show coming on in 2016.
(There Is a River), Gurrumul, The Gospel Album #12 (4:25)
Coat, Michael Kennedy, Hearth (CD2) #5 (4:08)
When he was 71, Ewan MacColl tried to climb
a mountain in Scotland and found that he couldn’t. He knew his mountaineering
days were over and he wrote The Joy of
Living for his family.
Joy of Living, David Gray, The Joy of Living (CD2) #10 (4:41)
Up Your Sorrows, Plainsong, Reinventing Richard: The Songs of Richard Farina #2 (4:51)
Irish folk singer Al O’Donnell died in
September this year. He was a good friend to Foxrock Folk Club and Dublin folk
clubs generally. We’ll hear him now singing Avondale,
a song about the demise of an Irish political leader, who led the Irish Home
Rule party in the Westminster Parliament, Charles Stewart Parnell. Avondale was written by Dominic Behan, a
friend of and collaborator in musical projects with Ewan MacColl.
Avondale, Al O’Donnell, Live at Foxrock
Folk Club: The Parish Hall Tapes
(CD1) #1 (2:51) (17 February 1971)
Canadee-I-O, 10,000 Maniacs, Twice Told
Tales #7 (5:12)
Iain Matthews was in Fairport Convention
before they invented English folk-rock; when they were doing west coast
American style covers of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Phil Ochs and
Richard Farina. Later he formed his own band Matthews Southern Comfort.
Plainsong has been another long-term project of his (since 1972). He’s always
been a fan of Richard Farina’s songwriting. “The right chords, in the wrong
order, together with a wish for something good, can get you just about
anything.” (Richard Farina)
Winds, Plainsong, Reinventing Richard: The
Songs of Richard Farina #14 (3:34)
Gurrumul’s Gospel Album is inspired by his family and his island community of
Jesu, Gurrumul, The Gospel Album
James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake includes a poem called The Ballad of Persse O’Reilly, which tells an idiosyncratic Irish
version of the story of Humpty Dumpty.
Dumpty, Ronnie Drew, Live at Foxrock Folk Club:
The Parish Hall Tapes (CD1) #8 (1:52) (6 February 1972)
Dust and a Heartless Sky, Shane Howard, Hearth (CD1) #9 (4:25)
I like it when I
find out that bands I like like each other. So I was very pleased to discover
that Fairport Convention was an acknowledged influence on Ithaca, New York band
10,000 Maniacs in their early days in the 1980s. In their most recent CD, the
New York band renew their interest in Fairport-Convention-style folk rock
May, 10,000 Maniacs, Twice Told Tales #7 (4:58)
Back in the early days when they were listening
to Fairport Convention, Natalie Merchant was lead singer for 10,000 Maniacs.
Then she went solo. She rerecorded her 1995 album Tigerlily this year. It could have been a contender for Six of the
Best but I haven’t heard it yet, although I’ve heard good things about it.
Here’s a track from the original 1995 CD.
Andreas Fault, Natalie Merchant, Tigerlily #1 (3:59)
Dave Rawlings Machine (which, of course,
includes the great Gillian Welch) will be playing at the Canberra Playhouse on
17 February 2016. Here’s a sample of what you can expect.
Hear Them All/This Land Is Your Land, Dave Rawlings
Machine, Another Day, Another Time (CD1)
live streams on Friday nights at 11.00pm (UK/Irish time) at