NANCI GRIFFITH: FROM A DISTANCE

We are delighted to host another guest post by David Heffernan. From Dublin, David is a vastly experienced and much-decorated music producer and director. His credits include international films on The Velvet Underground, Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder and Fleetwood Mac. On a hot and humid Spring morning in 1990, I drove on Interstate 65 from Nashville… Continue Reading →

LOU REED AND THE MAKING OF CURIOUS

Delighted to host this guest post by David Heffernan. From Dublin, David is a vastly experienced and much-decorated music producer and director. Apart from ‘Curious … The Velvet Underground in Europe’, his credits also include international films on Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder and Fleetwood Mac. The interior walls of a former factory building on New… Continue Reading →

STEVE STRANGE: 1968 – 2021

Lambo, Uaneen, Byrner and Strangey: names to conjure with for those of us who studied at The Rock Garden in Dublin, and graduated with dishonour, during its brief but colourful existence in the early 1990s. Just some of a wide-ranging cast of regulars, all of them lost over-board far too early, who sprinkled the magic… Continue Reading →

WHIPPING BOY: HEARTWORM

I was flattered and a little awed when I was asked to contribute a few words to accompany the re-issue of Whipping Boy’s magnificent 1995 album, ‘Heartworm’. I never intended the sleeve notes to take off like they did and I’m not sure if the band or the staff at Needle Mythology, the record label… Continue Reading →

THE SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND

The Underground Bar on Dublin’s Dame Street was a lap dancing club the last time I passed it by but, in its pomp, the downstairs dive was a centre of excellence for some of the best new bands to emerge in Ireland from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. Sack, Power of Dreams and Into… Continue Reading →

SEÁN LUCEY of THE DIXIES: 1936-2021

On March 1st, 1980, the music writer Paul Morley fetched up in Cork on an assignment for the London-based music paper, New Musical Express. Accompanied by a young photographer, David Corio, Morley was on the road with an emerging group from Dublin, U2; his piece gave the band its first NME cover story when it… Continue Reading →

THE FLOORS: GET INTO THE GROOVES

I first met David Donohue, the Carlow-born all-rounder who records and writes infrequently as The Floors, in the early 1990s and, ever since, he’s fitfully turned up in my life and stolen all of the scenes we’ve played together. I last bumped into him maybe ten years ago, days before Christmas, on the footpath outside… Continue Reading →

BOB DYLAN: CHARGING OF THE GUARDS

The American singer-songwriter, Bob Dylan, who turns 80 years old today, is no stranger to Ireland and to Irish popular culture. So we’ll begin with an obvious reference to the Clancy Brothers, from Tipperary, and Armagh’s Tommy Makem who, in Greenwich Village’s clubs and coffee houses, played re-imagined Irish folk songs that so influenced him… Continue Reading →

JOHNNY ROGAN: 1953 – 2021

The writer and biographer, Johnny Rogan, died on January 21st, 2021. His death was announced on February 12th. Seán Aylward remembers his good friend. The noted music biographer, Johnny Rogan, who died recently in London, was born in 1953 and grew up in England. He was the son of 1940s emigrants from Waterford. He was… Continue Reading →

PUBLIC ENEMY – REVISITED

In 1988 Public Enemy played Trinity College, Dublin. Kieran Cunningham, Chief Sports Writer with the Irish Daily Star, and someone who once had musical notions of his own, wrote an excellent guest post for us back in 2018 about the gig. Since then, some old photographs [courtesy of Trevor Butterworth] have emerged and Kieran’s memory… Continue Reading →

CHRISTY MOORE AND THE STARDUST TRAGEDY

Forty years ago, next month, a fire that broke out during a Valentine’s weekend disco at The Stardust nightclub in Artane, on the northside of Dublin, resulted in the deaths of 48 young women and men. As Kathy Sheridan reminded Irish Times readers in a 2006 feature piece, ‘of the 48 who died, half were aged 18… Continue Reading →

EMPEROR OF ICECREAM: HAIL TO THE CHIEF

One of the few positive aspects to the last six months has been the melding of the creative arts and music with science, technology and opportunity. I’m not equipped to capture this in a mathematical formula but, were it not for the spaces and gaps opened by the lockdown, and the ready availability of personal… Continue Reading →

THE SAWDOCTORS: ACTING THE SHAM

Ah, revisionism and nostalgia: you’d want to be careful when that pair collide. Last Monday, the Irish Times newspaper carried a fine, first person memoir by Conor Pope to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the release of The Sawdoctors’ second single, ‘I Useta Lover’, one of the more distinctive Irish pop songs of the 1990s… Continue Reading →

THERE’S ONLY TWO DANNY WILSONS

I was twenty-one years old when I spent the second half of 1989 on a JI visa in New England. I’d fetched up in a small city ninety miles outside of Boston looking to do as many shifts as I could in a local restaurant and trying to squirrel away a few bob, and I… Continue Reading →

SELF ANALYSIS

The ‘Self Aid’ live concert that took place in Dublin’s Royal Dublin Society showgrounds on May 17, 1986, is unprecedented in the history of popular entertainment in Ireland. Never has such a high-profile, high-end indigenous line-up been assembled on the same bill: ‘Self Aid’ was headlined by U2 and also featured short live sets by… Continue Reading →

POWER OF DREAMS and NORMAL PEOPLE

Word that a new Power of Dreams album is on its way comes as a nice surprise to long-time fans and nostalgics who hopped the bus with them as far back as 1988. I’m not sure if anyone, least of all the band itself, expects this fresh body of work to shake the world or… Continue Reading →

BRENDAN BOWYER: 1938 – 2020.

Brendan Bowyer, who has died in Las Vegas at the age of eighty-one, was Ireland’s first pop music superstar and is easily one of the most influential figures in the entire history of Irish entertainment. As lead singer with The Royal Showband, and subsequently The Big 8, the Waterford-born singer and musician was a formidable… Continue Reading →

JOHN PRINE AND THE ELDORADO EVENING

The decorated American singer-songwriter, John Prine, died last month at the age of 73. In this guest post, the television producer, writer and presenter, David Heffernan – who worked closely with John – remembers the magic of the man and his music. The English translation of the Spanish word Eldorado is ‘gilded one’. The Cadillac… Continue Reading →

SIAMSA COIS LAOÍ

An earthy Breton harpist, Alan Stivell, topped the bill at the first Siamsa Cois Laoí, a day-long festival of folk and traditional music that took place at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork on July 17th, 1978. Then in his mid-30s, Stivell was a prominent figure in the electrification of Celtic music and was already a… Continue Reading →

‘ANYONE FOR THE PAUL WELLER HEADBANDS ?’

‘Anyone for the Paul Weller headbands ?’ was an in-joke that often popped the air at the twin desks in RTÉ Cork that once constituted the No Disco production office. I heard this question put one night by a hawker outside The City Hall in Cork and, juveniles that we were, would deflect to it whenever we… Continue Reading →

CITIZENS OF BOOMTOWN: THE RATS v IRELAND’S SHOWBANDS

Billy McGrath’s excellent film about The Boomtown Rats, ‘Citizens Of Boomtown’, premiered recently at the Dublin International Film Festival and was broadcast subsequently on RTÉ Television in two parts. Its dedicated to the memory of Nigel Grainge, the London-born A and R man with the golden touch who, in 1977, signed the South Dublin outfit… Continue Reading →

ST PATRICKS DAY – CURATED IRISH PLAYLIST

On St Patricks Day we put a call out on our Twitter asking folk to share their favourite Irish Track. The response, to put it mildly, was fantastic. Most stuck to the brief, as tough as it was, of the one song – some offered up more than one track (one indecisive person offered us… Continue Reading →

AN EMOTIONAL FISH: A STRANGE KIND OF GLORY

Has any Irish band announced itself as spectacularly as An Emotional Fish ? The Dublin four-piece were, I’d argue, the last of the great major label indulgences in emerging Irish music, the poster child’s poster children for that mad, unprecedented decade from 1985 onwards. Rarely has so much coin been invested in any Irish band for so little commercial… Continue Reading →

A SHORT MESSAGE FROM THE BLACKPOOL SENTINEL

The observant and nosy among you will have noticed that The Blackpool Sentinel has been decorated by those who run the Cork Person Of The Year Award. ‘This is all about the ‘Soundtrack of our Life’, the singers, musicians and music that influenced us over the years, and I thank Colm and Martin for preserving… Continue Reading →

A SONG FOR CORK

So, ‘After All’ by The Frank And Walters is Cork’s favourite song, as voted by those who took part in an on-line campaign organised recently by the Cork City Library, in association with Creative Ireland. Popular polls like these aren’t intended to be taken in any way seriously and there are far more pressing issues… Continue Reading →

DELORENTOS AND THE LURE OF WHELANS

I’ve been attending live shows at Whelan’s, on Camden Street in Dublin, for decades. During which time the physical lay-out of the building has changed in line with the development of the street on which it is located and, indeed, the thinning of my hairline. The fabled old venue is now a far broader, more… Continue Reading →

LARRY

It was inevitable, I suppose, that so many of today’s tributes to Larry Gogan would eventually lead back to the rogue answers he was given for decades on ‘The Sixty Second Quiz’, one of the recurring features of his long-running radio career. In one respect, that quiz – routinely stuffed with as many bizarre questions… Continue Reading →

BRIAN O’DONNELL AND THE ORDERS OF THE HIBERNIAN

I don’t envy whoever is charged with delivering Brian O’Donnell’s eulogy before he’s sent on his way next week. His formidable reputation preceded him, and everyone who ever set foot inside the bar he ran, The Hi-B, on the corner of Oliver Plunkett Street and Winthrop Street in the middle of Cork city, will have… Continue Reading →

RORY AND HERMAN

I’ve written at length about my old school, The North Monastery which, on many levels, dominated my upbringing on the northside of Cork city during the 1970s and 1980s. For a number of us, The Mon provided a structure and an order during a period when much of the area around us was just dilapidated… Continue Reading →

FINN’S CORNER

The summer of 1994 is still primarily recalled by many of us for that year’s World Cup football finals in America, and especially for The Republic of Ireland’s unlikely victory over Italy in The Giants’ Stadium in New York. A game in which Paul McGrath put in an imperious defensive shift that, apart from helping… Continue Reading →

ENGINE ALLEY : COOL FOR CATS

‘How would you characterise a city’s sound ?’, asks Karl Whitney, in his excellent second book, ‘Hit Factories : A Journey Through The Industrial Cities of British Pop’. In which the writer and academic, Tallaght-reared and based now in Sunderland, explores provincial Britain by train, bus and on foot as he attempts to uncover ‘the… Continue Reading →

OPERATION TRANSFORMATION

De Lacy House, with its multiple floors, was an often-unheralded venue in the cardo of Cork city during those glory years from the mid-1980s onwards. But under the management of Don Forde – the original Dapper Don – it eventually became one of the more important and lucrative stop-offs on the national live circuit. De… Continue Reading →

DAVE COUSE, A HOUSE AND THE POINT OF EVERYTHING

I’m regularly struck jealous by the capacity of some of my colleagues, friends and peers to devour so much material so quickly and to be so consistently boned up on the latest albums, books, on-line posts, international drama serials and edgy films. I honestly couldn’t tell you where my own time goes, by comparison. It… Continue Reading →

SQUAT IF? BRIAN AND SETANTA RECORDS

Whatever about the balming and transcendent powers of music, maybe best felt in my own case by the magic of Prefab Sprout, Van Morrison and The Blue Nile, I owe a long-time debt to one Irish songwriter and musician who physically rescued me from the havoc and harm of the other side. During the early… Continue Reading →

GIDDY-UP

Within the distinctive history of popular music in Cork, it’s far too easy – and maybe even stipulated by order of The Knights Of Cool – to over-look the achievements of the most outwardly successful of all those local bands who entered the fray during the 1990s: Rubyhorse. An easy-to-read, un-fussy pop band who blazed… Continue Reading →

HAS THE LOSS OF SIR HENRY’S BROKEN THE LINK WITH THE PAST?

Our latest guest post is from Kilian McCann. Kilian is a sociology and history undergrad from Cork city. This year, he finished a research project analysing the Cork music scene. One of the major aspects of the study was the disconnect that young people have with past artists in the scene. The post below is… Continue Reading →

THE LONG FELLA

My mother died almost one year ago and my family will mark that first anniversary as she’d have wanted: a quiet mass for the handful, a decent feed afterwards and then a long trade of general tittle-tattle during which we’ll remind ourselves of the quirks that set her apart and the exacting standards she set… Continue Reading →

PAUL SIMON’S ‘ HEARTS AND BONES’.

Paul Simon’s 1983 album, ‘Hearts And Bones’, is easily one of my favourite elpees even if it took me many years to realise just how magnificent it is. Released in the same year as R.E.M.’s ‘Murmur’, ‘War’ by U2 and New Order’s ‘Power, Corruption And Lies’, it was certainly lost in the hail of political… Continue Reading →

CATCHERS: CALL THE MIDWIFE

One of the more interesting, eloquent and barely referenced bands to have emerged from Northern Ireland during the 1990s are Catchers, who first took shape within the Portrush-Coleraine-Portstewart triangle on the Derry coastline and rode in the Setanta Records colours, for whom they made two fine but often over-looked elpees. And in many respects their… Continue Reading →

STEELY DAN AND THE GHOST OF PERRY COMO

Having wondered if I’d ever see one of my favourite bands perform live, I’ve now been rendered dumbstruck by Steely Dan twice in sixteen months. And they’ve been every bit as magnificent on the live stage as I long imagined they might be even if, truth be told, I’d probably arrived at that conclusion well… Continue Reading →

MICRODISNEY : THE END

If anything, they’re probably the best accidental band of our time, a haphazard and unlikely collision – or collusion ? – of reference, diffidence and influence that in theory, and maybe every other way too, never stood a chance. Like the central character in their opening number on this week’s farewell dates, ‘Mrs. Simpson’, they… Continue Reading →

THE GO-BETWEENS – A LOVE LETTER

We are delighted to post this wonderful love letter to the Go-Betweens from Breda Corish. Breda lives in north London and works in the scientific & healthcare information sector. While London has been her much loved home for over 30 years since emigrating in 1987, she stays connected to Ireland as “home home” through volunteering… Continue Reading →

LOST IN MUSIK

Our recent post about Roddy Frame took me down into a rabbit hole that led, eventually to Tony Mansfield, the songwriter and producer who played a small and largely forgotten role in the Aztec Camera story. But about whom details are a bit scant. I first came across Tony because of his band, New Musik,… Continue Reading →

THE RETURN OF THE ROD SQUAD

The going could be rough enough down in Cork during the mid 1980s, but whenever you wanted to feel thoroughly out of your depth, you’d just remind yourself that Roddy Frame wrote and recorded the first, magical Aztec Camera album, ‘High Land, Hard Rain’ when he was still a teenager. Whatever about the power and… Continue Reading →

THE HITCHERS

  After the premature death of Dolores O’Riordan in London last January, many of the reflective pieces written in the immediate aftermath – the one posted here included – referenced the scarcely believable formative days of the band she led, The Cranberries, and the terrific local scene in Limerick from which they emerged during the first… Continue Reading →

MÍCHEÁL Ó SÚILLEABHÁIN: 1950 – 2018

  It was only right and fitting that news of Micheál Ó Súilleabháin’s death lead the early morning bulletins on national radio earlier today. Even if, by any stretch, his premature passing at the age of 67, still comes as a shock to those long captivated by his distinctive brand of sorcery. His music and… Continue Reading →

RORY’S STORIES

Although like Michael D., Bertie, Miriam, Gay and Daniel he’s often referred to in Ireland by his first name only, the implied familiarity here is well out of line with the broader picture: little of substance is really known about the guitarist and songwriter, Rory Gallagher. By a distance the biggest and most influential figure… Continue Reading →

DAVID GRAY AND NO DISCO

The story of David Gray’s first decade as a recording artist is a terrific one, irrespective of what you think of him or his music. And it’s also probably the single most enduring legacy of the lo-fi music television series, ‘No Disco’, which was first broadcast twenty-five years ago this week on what was then… Continue Reading →

ALWAYS THE QUIET ONE

One of the more pleasing aspects to The Trashcan Sinatras’ recent live appearance in Dublin’s Workman’s Club was the size of the crowd. Although the show was a fully seated one and the space in the room curtailed as a result, it was still sold out well in advance of the band’s return to a… Continue Reading →

OUR FRIEND, RICHIE FLYNN: 1969 – 2018

They’re taking them down from our own shelf now. Every now and again, because neither of us are clearly not busy enough, Martin, who runs The Blackpool Sentinel, and myself might discuss what we do here and why we do it. The answer is always the same. In theory, at least, all we’re at is… Continue Reading →

WHY WE MADE ‘THE GAME’.

Something a little different in this post from Colm, one especially for those who like the GAA references running through many of his pieces. This is a piece he wrote for the RTE website on The Game – The Story of Hurling – which started on Monday, July 30th, at 9:35pm on RTE One, and… Continue Reading →

JOHNNY MARR AND THE LONG SHADOWS

  Johnny Marr’s kept his Into Paradise hang-ups very quiet, hasn’t he ? The Dublin band, who endured for the guts of a decade from the mid-1980s, were one of the first acts signed to Keith Cullen’s then-fledgling Setanta Records imprint and paved a path on many levels for a far better known slew who… Continue Reading →

A SONG FOR MY MOTHER

On her birth cert and on her death cert, my mother is referred to by her actual name, Margaret, even though she was known all of her life as Joan. This kind of carry-on wasn’t entirely uncommon during the country’s formative years – she was born as the Irish Free State became The Republic of Ireland –… Continue Reading →

PUBLIC ENEMY 30 YEARS ON

Thirty years ago this weekend, Public Enemy played Trinity College, Dublin. Kieran Cunningham, Chief Sports Writer with the Irish Daily Star, and someone who once had musical notions of his own, has written this excellent guest post for us.  Joe Brolly was lying on his back on the cobblestones. Staring at the stars, wired to… Continue Reading →

THE TRIUMPH OF FÉILE, 1990

Almost 60,000 spectators fetched up at Semple Stadium in Thurles on September 2nd, 1984, for that year’s All-Ireland hurling final between Cork and Offaly. It was the first time since 1909 that the decider had been played outside of what has long been the sport’s traditional home, Croke Park in Dublin, marking the centenary of the founding of the Gaelic… Continue Reading →

THE ROLLING STONES VERSUS IRELAND’S SHOWBANDS, 1965

The Rolling Stones bring their ‘No Filter’ tour to Croke Park on May 17th next for what might well be the band’s final ever bumper pay day in Ireland. The group has been visiting this country in various iterations and to various effect for over fifty years and one can confidently claim that the nation… Continue Reading →

THE THRILLS

To my mind, far too much contemporary music writing – and indeed arts coverage in general – has become identity politics by another name. Show me your Amazon, Spotify and Twitter history and I’ll tell you who you are, what you’re thinking and who I think you should be, basically. Maybe it’s always been thus and the growth… Continue Reading →

THE STARS, THE THRILLS AND THE CLOCKS

One of the more attractive and visceral away trips for many of those involved in Gaelic games in Dublin is the winding drive up to Johnny Fox’s pub in Glengullen, the short walk across the wild mountainside and over to Stars Of Erin, one of the smallest clubs in the county and one of the… Continue Reading →

‘AFTER ALL’ AND THE YOUNG OFFENDERS

  I’ve written previously and at no little length about The Frank And Walters, to my mind the best pound-for-pound pop band the country has ever produced. It’s a story I know as well as anyone: I have a long and proud association with the group, especially with Paul and Ashley, that dates back to… Continue Reading →

MUSIC IN THE SNOW, SNOW IN THE MUSIC

Regular subscribers to The Blackpool Sentinel – one of the advantages of digital media means that we have identified someone in West Cork  and possibly another in Eastern Europe – will need no introduction to the magnificent Scottish band, Trashcan Sinatras, and their seductive, smart and soothing pop songs. They are in part the patron… Continue Reading →

LLOYD COLE

One of the most complete and impressive live guitar performances I’ve seen during my decades spent going slowly deaf in large rooms was on the wide stage at The City Hall in Cork on November 2nd, 1987. Neil Clark lined-up to Lloyd Cole’s right that night, stage left as I looked on from half-way down… Continue Reading →

MORRISSEY IN DUBLIN

Next week I’ll take the long walk down the quay to see Morrissey perform live for the umpteenth time. It’s more of a duty than anything else at this stage, I think: like my annual subscription to the Resident’s Association here, none of whom I really know, whose purpose I don’t really understand and yet… Continue Reading →

PADDY McALOON at 60 [GOING ON 61]

From the gawkily posed photographs that have survived the decades, its clear they stood steadfastly out of step with their peers and, you’d think, knew that much best themselves. But although Prefab Sprout’s shape and style has evolved out of all recognition in the years since 1977, it’s that same sense of mis-match – the uneasy… Continue Reading →

DOLORES O’RIORDAN: 1971 – 2018.

During the first series of the RTÉ music show, ‘No Disco’, the presenter, Donal Dineen and myself travelled west to Limerick on a couple of occasions to pick up long interviews that we’d use to populate what was, in essence, a niche video clip show. And because the show didn’t have a bob in its… Continue Reading →

MARIAH CAREY AND THE HICKEYS OF CORK

As popular seasonal songs go, Mariah Carey’s high-octane body-shaker, ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’, is certainly among the more memorable of the recent cluster even if, in thought, word and deed, its also one of the more obvious. Nodding at Wizzard’s meaty glam-stomp, ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’, Mariah’s multi-layered pop whopper, first released in… Continue Reading →

TALES OF THE TAPE

    The delicate art of just being there can be tricky enough to manage at the best of times, especially to those of us long gone from the streets that raised us, in exile. But just because we’re out of sight, keeping our eyes on the ball and one foot ahead of the other, doesn’t… Continue Reading →

THE MIX TAPE 2017

To accompany Tales of the Tape – I thought it might be interesting for Colm to make up a mix tape. This ‘mix-tape’ was created Sunday 26 November. As is the nature of these things if I had asked today, it may have been a completely different selection of tunes… Enjoy (Martin O’Connor) 1] The… Continue Reading →

R.E.M. AND THE LOST LETTER

You’d miss R.E.M. all the same, wouldn’t you ? Easily one of the best, certainly one of the most prolific and without doubt one of the most subversive of them all stepped off of the travellator for the last time in  2011, thirty-one years after they’d assembled in Athens, Georgia, from where they launched some of the… Continue Reading →

STEELY DAN: LIVE AT THE 3 ARENA, DUBLIN. OCTOBER 28th, 2017. 

It was because of Mark Cagney’s perenially classy late night radio show on Radio 2, ‘The Night Train’, that I was first alerted to the wonder of Donald Fagen and, as a consequence, Steely Dan, the band – in the loosest of terms possible – that Fagen first roughly sketched out with Walter Becker in… Continue Reading →

CYPRESS, MINE !: TRASH TALK

Jim McCarthy’s photograph on the front of ‘Exit Trashtown’ could have been taken in Cork at any point during the 1980s. In that snap, a lorry’s fog-lights pop the mist as it passes an abandoned fishing boat that’s run aground on the banks of The River Lee. Take your pick of the metaphors: you’re spoilt… Continue Reading →

VINCENT HANLEY’S ABSOLUTE FABULOUSNESS

Broadcasters Donal Dineen and the late Vincent Hanley never met and, on the surface, have little in common bar the radio. One revelled in the glare, came alive in front of an audience and was widely known by his nickname, Fab Vinny. The other has long been uneasy in the spotlight and only really comes… Continue Reading →

BACK TO THE GLENSIDE WITH INTO PARADISE

I spent many, many hours with the excellent Dublin band, Into Paradise, devising numerous schemes and strategies intended to bring them in from the cold but that only ultimately moved them further out into the margins. And through the madness, I remember fondly the time I spent as the band’s butler, a bit like Scooter… Continue Reading →

A HOUSE: LOCAL HOUSING AUTHORITY

There were a few of them, back in the dark ages, that you’d think twice about looking crooked at. Declan Jones from Blue In Heaven, all seven foot odd of him in his leather keks and his Chelsea boots, was one. Half of Whipping Boy, a couple of The Gorehounds, Dave Lavelle from The Honey… Continue Reading →

SEND OUT THE SNAKES [AN ODE TO FLYING NUN RECORDS]

  Our latest post is another guest post. This is the second piece we have posted from Mick O’Dwyer. Mick lives in Brussels and works as a librarian in the European Council. His first guest post for The Blackpool Sentinel was a great, widely read, piece on The Sultans of Ping This time round he writes about… Continue Reading →

THE SMITHS IN CORK AND DUBLIN.

  This, our latest guest post came about on the back of a Twitter exchange after Colm’s most recent post, The Smiths in Cork, 1984  That exchange included contributions from Denis Carroll, a massive fan of The Smiths and Morrissey, who posted some great pictures and told a great story in the form of a number… Continue Reading →

THE SMITHS IN CORK, 1984

It was shortly after midnight, early on Wednesday morning, July 29th, 1987, and it was Mark Cagney, host of ‘The Night Train’ on RTÉ Radio 2FM who, as serenely as ever, broke the news. Home alone, and with the rest of my family off on holidays, I’d been in the habit of keeping the radio on longer… Continue Reading →

HENRY McCULLOUGH

Our latest guest post comes courtesy of Irish Rock legend, BP Fallon. It’s a lovely heartfelt piece about Henry McCullough, another Irish rock legend and close, close friend of BP. A little background as to where this post actually came from. I had a recommendation to check out a track. It was a track by BP… Continue Reading →

SEAN O’HAGAN LIVE AT THE CORK COUNTY CRICKET CLUB, JULY 2nd, 2017

  The last time I got beyond the gates of The Cork County Cricket Club, on that magnificent, tree-lined stretch out in the west of the city, a small group of us were making an unofficial, no-budget video for ‘The Summerhouse’ by The Divine Comedy. And the last shot in that clip, which was for the fledgling… Continue Reading →

U2 AND THE ARC

In December, 1992, the Cork-born showband singer, Tony Stevens, sustained multiple injuries when the van in which he was travelling back home after a show in the West of Ireland was involved in a serious road collision. He spent the best part of a year recovering in hospital, endured many subsequent years when he was physically unable to… Continue Reading →

MICRODISNEY AND THE VILLAGE OF CORK

  It sounds far better now than it may have been on the night in question but the first live band I ever saw was Microdisney. I was fourteen years old and, six months before The Smiths released ‘Hand In Glove’ and turned the world upside down, it’s not as if I either deliberately sought them out or if,… Continue Reading →

THE HARVEST MINISTERS TAKE DUNDALK

It’s over twenty-five years ago now since, one Saturday evening, Ken Sweeney set his mother’s runaround for Dundalk and sped the pair of us up the road, out of Glasnevin and onwards to Mister Ridley’s. The two of us were softly obsessive about one of our many favourite bands, The Harvest Ministers, a Dublin outfit who’d been making decent… Continue Reading →

MANCHESTER ARENA, MAY 22nd, 2017

  I celebrate yet another birthday next week and, barring any last minute misfortune, I’ll turn forty nine years of age. I am the fiercely proud father of three young daughters and, as the clock ticks on, I’m careful, usually, in what I say to them and how far I go for them. It is they, more… Continue Reading →

THE SWINGING SWINE / THE GLEE CLUB

  Guest post by Hugh O’Carroll…  In late 1980s Dublin, having played a bit part in The Babysnakes’ story and a bigger part in The Stormcrows’ story, I was called on by Mr. Eamonn Dowd to guest with, and then join, The Swinging Swine. They had formed in Galway and had already gone through some… Continue Reading →

GEMMA HAYES

The swagger of the remarkable hurling teams up in The North Mon during our secondary school years in the early 1980s would regularly entice entire slabs of Cork’s northside on tour beyond the county bounds and out of reach of regular reason. On assorted mid-week afternoons every winter, a slew of battered old buses and coaches would fetch up at… Continue Reading →

PAT FITZPATRICK

The death was announced earlier today, after an illness, of the Belfast-born musician, arranger and producer, Pat ‘Fitzy’ Fitzpatrick who, although he never enjoyed a profile as a solo performer in his own right, was a highly-regarded musician and a much-loved figure on the Irish music scene since the late 1970s.   Having studied at the Royal College… Continue Reading →

HOLY JOE CHESTER

One of the many memorable passages in Johnny Marr’s recent autobiography, ‘Set The Boy Free’, recalls a visit the author made to Matt Johnson’s London flat in 1982, back when he was still in his teens and his band, The Smiths, had recorded what would become it’s first single, ‘Hand In Glove’. Johnson was a… Continue Reading →

THE MANY GHOSTS OF PHILIP LYNOTT

For decades it was in childrens and youth programmes that many good young television producers and ambitious directors began their careers and where the more difficult, often older ones ended theirs when, deemed too unmanageable for the requirements of the prime-time schedules, they were consigned back to work with the glove puppets. In RTÉ –… Continue Reading →

JONNY REP and BALLINCOLLIG

The suburb of Ballincollig, to the west of Cork city, is known to many because of John Spillane, the gentle Cork songwriter with a delicate hand who, on his 1996 album, ‘The Wells Of The World’, commemorated the village with two chords and a sting. ‘Johnny Don’t Go To Ballincollig’, he warned on that record’s very… Continue Reading →

PETER SKELLERN

Peter Skellern, the Bury-born musician, songwriter and producer who died yesterday at the age of 69, is probably still best known for his 1972 hit single, ‘You’re A Lady’, which first brought him to prominence. But it would be wrong to dismiss him as a light-touch, middle-of-the-road troubadour: throughout his long and varied recording and… Continue Reading →

ELVIS COSTELLO: TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

A friend of my father’s blagged me in through a side door to see Depeche Mode  at The City Hall in Cork in October, 1982 but, on the drive home afterwards, all I could really remember was the aggressive support set from a shambling local band called Microdisney, who were jeered and baited throughout. ‘Any… Continue Reading →

U2: WELCOME TO THE CABARET

The announcements in early January that U2 were parking the release of an intended album and were instead loading their bases to tour ‘The Joshua Tree’ on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of it’s issue, won’t have taken regular watchers of the veteran band by surprise. ‘Songs Of Experience’ had initially been touted as… Continue Reading →

THE BLADES

While The Blades pre-date the wild record company feeding frenzies on  Dublin’s trading floors from the mid-1980s onwards, they too came pre-packed with the familiar, set-piece blessings from the usual sources, in this instance RTÉ television and radio and Hot Press magazine, both of which had pushed them on from early. And while its easy… Continue Reading →

FANNING’S FAB FIFTY

Whenever I hear Dave Fanning on the radio these days, he’s either live on the weightier end of the RTÉ Radio One schedule paying respects on the nation’s behalf to the latest dead rock and roll superstar or else he’s presenting his own programme on 2FM and making like he’s always done:  a fish out… Continue Reading →

THE WEDDING PRESENT LIVE IN LIMERICK, NOVEMBER 28TH, 2016

  Almost thirty years after the release of their first album, ‘George Best’, and The Wedding Present are still perpetually on the verge of a tuning crisis. And while there have been several iterations of the group since, that point where noisy guitars, snarled vocals and electronic tuners collide has seldom sounded as unstable ;-… Continue Reading →

TRASHCAN SINATRAS LIVE IN DUBLIN, NOVEMBER 12TH, 2016

Trashcan Sinatras have long operated at their own pace and under their own steam and are clearly reaping the benefits: the band members don’t appear to age and neither, clearly, do their songs. Unlike, on both counts, most of the almost exclusively male crowd that’s loyally and noisily assembled here to see their first Dublin… Continue Reading →

THE MIRRORS AND THE CORNERS

On the not insignificant matter of We Cut Corners and their formidable brand of alchemy, They Do It With Mirrors, a long-lost Limerick band and bit players in the parable of Setanta Records, have had far more influence than you’d imagine. Myself and The Mirrors’ go back through the decades and I remember well when… Continue Reading →

SONG FOR A FRIEND

Every year on April 28th, for the last decade, a couple of us mark the day by playing ‘Fall On Me’ by R.E.M.. Notwithstanding the fact that it’s one of the truly great and most memorable songs of our generation, it’s also, for us, a gentle way of calling time, remembering a close friend we lost overboard along the… Continue Reading →

SWIM

Swim were cut apart from their peers on the Dublin circuit during the late eighties and early nineties on many levels and it was easy to see, and even easier to hear, exactly why. For one, they weren’t a routine guitar band dipped in the spirit of either The Smiths and/or R.E.M. and, maybe more importantly, they made no… Continue Reading →

BRILLIANT TREES LIVE IN DUBLIN, 2016

  Twenty years ago, when Brilliant Trees were hot to trot, good to go and had just released their formidable debut album, ‘Friday Night’, Dublin were reigning All-Ireland senior football champions and Charlie Redmond, of Erin’s Isle and East Finglas, finally had his just reward. If Jason Sherlock had taken the sport by the throat with a drop of… Continue Reading →

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