Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Day After The Sabbath 131:Land Beyond The Wave [Ireland]

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It's about time for an Irish volume! Ireland certainly did not have a lot of hard rock music in the '60s and '70s. There are the couple of well-known names like Thin Lizzy but making this volume was a bit like doing the New Zealand ones, in that I have had to use a fair amount of artistic license to find an hours-worth of music to satisfy this blog's remit. The country's political problems in the past certainly did nothing to help matters and during the magic period of the late '60s to the late '70s those problems were at a peak.

I have been looking for years to finish this off and have probably found enough for part 2 in the future, there are a few missing here like Horslips and Mushroom that some may protest about but I have plans to include those on the blog later.

There are a few invaluable sites for Irish rock that I must thank. is a great resource with rare tracks to download, and between them and detail pretty much every vintage Irish band that ever existed.


- Joe O'Donnell - For Trades And Hospitality & House Of Warriors (1977)
       from album 'Gaodhal's Vision'
- Skid Row - Night Of The Warm Witch (single version) (1971)
       from album '34 Hours'
- Cromwell - Guinness Rock (1975)
       from album 'At The Gallop'
- The Radiators From Space - Electric Shares (1977)
       from album 'TV Tube Heart'
- Andwella's Dream - Sunday (1969)
       from album 'Love And Poetry'
- Reform - Back To The Wall (1974)
       from album 'All For One'
- Eire Apparent - Here I Go Again (1968)
- Bernie Tormé - Anyway Anyhow Anywhere (The Who cover) (1979)
       from album 'Punk Or What'
- Fruupp - Decision (1973)
       from album 'Future Legends'
- Granny's Intentions - Maybe (1970)
       from album 'Honest Injun'
- Light - Ray's Song (1978)
       from album 'Light'
- Plattermen - Cat's Eye (1972)
       from album 'Old Devil Wine'
- Jimi Slevin & Firefly - Child Of Peace (1978)
       from album 'Getting There'
- Turner & Kirwan of Wexford - Father 'Reilly Says Goodbye (1977)
       from album 'Absolutely And Completely'

Joe O'Donnell is a classically trained violinist from Limerick. He pioneered the design and use of electric violin and his impressive CV looks like a who's who of UK prog rock, not just Irish rock. He has appeared with a few of the other acts in this volume, including Granny's Intentions and Rory Gallagher, as well as a host of prog / rock names like East Of Eden, Rare Bird, Trees, Headstone, Jade Warrior and Henry McCullough. He has also maintained a solo career and folk and ceilidh to this day with 'Joe O'Donnell's Shkayla'.

In 1977 he made a solo record called Gaodhal's Vision which featured the talents of Rory Gallagher on many of the tracks, and that is where the opener for this volume comes from. 'House Of Warriors' has some brilliant violin riffing which shows the instrument can rock just as much as guitar!

Skid Row are probably second to Thin Lizzy in status as an early Irish blues rock / hard rock band, although SR had a more experimental jam rock approach than Lizzy. Like Lizzy, the players involved during the band's short recording career include many recognisable names, such as Phil Lynott who sung in the late '60s before being thrown out by formative bass player,  Brendan "Brush" Shiels.

After Lynott was gone Gary Moore received his highest amount of acclaim by that point as SR's singer/guitarist for both the band's two official studio albums. Drummer Noel Bridgeman was in Granny's Intentions (which Moore also was) and post-Moore guitarist Paul Chapman played in many other bands including Lone Star and UFO. I have used 'Night Of The Warm Witch' from the second Skid Row album, '34 Hours'.

Brush Sheils and Noel Bridgeman of Skid Row

Dublin's Cromwell were one of the few hard rock bands to release a full album, aside from the well-known names this was quite a rarity in Ireland. They released five singles and according to they were on the road for at least five years. In '72 they supported a Rory Gallagher tour. Cromwell was Patrick "Pat" Brady (guitar, vocals), Michael Kiely (guitar, bass, vocals), Derek Dawson (drums), Mick O'Hagan (vocals), and Desmond Kiely (bass). O'Hagen replaced Kiely and himself left in '73, the band continued as a trio, sharing vocal duties.

The album 'At The Gallop' is not up to the level of Lizzy / Skid Row in terms of musicianship for instance but it's a rare example of a mid-'70s Irish hard rock LP, and it has a few decent tracks. As such it is now very collectible and commands high prices. I have used a track that was recorded a few years before the LP was released, the band's first single, 'Guinness Rock'. Brady and Kiely continued after Cromwell as an acoustic duo, 'The Establishment'.

Dublin's The Radiators From Space are described in many places as Ireland's first punk band. They had a great album called TV Tube Heart in 1977, the same year that The Boomtown Rats made their debut. Although Ireland had seemingly missed out on producing a lot of established, recorded hard rock acts in the '70s, that was certainly made-up for in the punk explosion. Suddenly punk bands were popping up everywhere and the Irish spirit certainly found an affinity with the likes of The Sex Pistols and The Damned.

According to The Radiators organised one of Ireland's first Punk events, The Belfield Punk festival in 1977, and played with The Undertones, The Gamblers, Revolver and The Vipers. The Radiators split in '81 with various members continuing with Eric Bell, ex-Pogues members, and has reformed from time to time, notably to support U2 in 2005.

Lead by singer/guitarist David Lewes, Andwella's Dream started as 'The Method' in Belfast. By 1968 they had moved to London and recorded their highly-rated CBS album, 'Love and Poetry'. Around 1970 there were some lineup changes and as 'Andwella' they recorded two more albums on he CBS imprint, Reflection. I have used the track 'Sunday' from Love and Poetry, it's quite heavy with some nice Hendrixian guitar.

Limerick's Reform evolved from local showbands in the late '60s, and made some of Ireland's first glam rock. They were a popular hard-working ballroom act and although they made a fair number of singles and appeared on TV more than once, they didn't release an LP until 1979. It seems by then the time had passed, and 1984 was the last time they played.

According to, Reform leader Don O'Connor complained in an interview that Irish pop magazines like Spotlight were concentrating solely on new flash-in-the-pan Dublin bands and ignoring hard-working rural bands like Reform, making it impossible for such acts to achieve national success.

Eire Apparent started out in Belfast as the final 1960s incarnation of 'The People', including Henry McCullough. After moving around (reportedly sharing a farmhouse near Blackpool at one time with Lemmy's early band The Rockin' Vicars) they found significant success in Dublin, and sought greater success by relocating to London. While there they got co-signed by Soft Machine manager Mike Jeffery and Hendrix manager Chas Chandler, after a performance in the famous UFO club. This landed them a support slot on a Hendrix/The Move/Pink Floyd tour.

Hendrix befriended them, producing and playing on their only album, 1968's 'Sun Rise', which was put out by US label Buddah Records after they made a name there supporting Hendrix, Soft Machine, The Animals etc. The band appears to have had problems caused by it's fanbase being spread too thinly and failed to really nail it in either the UK or US. After personnel changes, they disbanded in 1970. Various members would go on to play with acts such as Freedom, Sam Apple Pie, T.Rex, Pretty Things, Wings and others. My favourite track is a b-side which was not on the album, 'Here I Go Again', and that is what appears here!

Dublin's Bernie Tormé (aka Bernard Tormay) is a guitarist with an interesting career, most famous for playing with Gillan, Atomic Rooster and Ozzy. His career has spanned decades of rock including blues, punk, hard rock and metal. One of his early bands was Dublin hard rockers 'Urge' in the early '70s and in the late '70s he started forming various projects with and without his name on them. He even joined Dee Snider's Desperado (with Clive Burr ex-Iron Maiden) in the late '80s.

I have chosen a track from an album of late-'70s Tormé rarities called 'Punk or What', covering a Who classic with metallic punk aplomb. Bernie still regularly plays live and has just made a new album called 'Black Heart'. Bernie on Bandcamp.

Belfast's Fruupp were one of Ireland's only symphonic progressive rock acts, and there were very few. I have used a track from their debut album 'Future Legends'. Apparently they started out as a hard rock act before taking progressive tendencies and the weighty guitar parts in 'Decision' would seem to confirm that.

Fruupp moved to London in 1971 and were received well, supporting heavyweights like King Crimson, playing frequently in Europe and home from home, Germany, where I would say their style was very well-suited. Unfortunately it would seem that after an impressive four albums inside three years they still hadn't made it big enough to justify the efforts and they disbanded in 1976.

Belfast's Light were active in the late seventies and made a self-titled album with a couple of decent tracks. This is what the back cover says, rather hyperbolically: "Anyone who remembers THEM or Chicago-based band TRUTH cannot fail to recall the playing of one of the world's great guitarists JIM ARMSTRONG. Following the demise of TRUTH in 1971, Armstrong retreated from the international scene to gig at a more relaxed pace in native Belfast.

There was some writing and recording work with Brian Scott and Bernie MacDonald in 1973, to be followed by concert performances with an occasional band called LIGHT, which included George O'Hara and Albert Mills. The breakthrough came in March 1977 when the band came together to play regular sessions at Ireland's premiere rock venue, THE POUND. at the invitation of promoter Dermot Moffatt. The last fifteen months have seen LIGHT established as Ireland's finest rock band, possibly the best ever".

Omagh's Plattermen were a showband that originated in the '50s. By the early '70s they had become a BS&T style horn rock band that incorporated hard rock. After a couple in the '60s, they made the album 'Old Devil Wine' in 1972 with a couple of decent tracks including 'African Wah Wah' and the one included here, 'Cat's Eye'.

After that album, one more single was recorded. For this one they used the moniker 'Hammer', and it was released by Vertigo. Unfortunately it's not as good as Cat's Eye, but they were still attempting to continue with a heavier sound.

Jimi Slevin & Firefly made one album in 1978. Dubliner Jimi Slevin was in notable bands Peggy's Leg and also briefly Skid Row near it's end. At the age of 19 he started blues rockers Crossroads in 1969, then joined Alice in 1970, before starting Peggy's Leg in 1972. In the mid-'70s he started The Jimi Slevin Band, which made the album 'Getting There' in 1978, credited to Jimi Slevin & Firefly. He went solo in 1980. Since then he has made some solo albums and started a label/studio called Riteroad Music, but the 'Getting There' LP remains the main point of interest for hard rock fans. He shows some good talent which is reminiscent of Thin Lizzy at their melodic moments.

Turner and Kirwan of Wexford finish off this set. Both Turner and Kirwan grew up in Wexford Town. They recorded a single as Aftermath circa 1971 released on Irish Polydor which gained some airplay. This is now very difficult to locate.

The duo moved to New York City in the early 1970s and became Turner and Kirwan of Wexford, playing the Irish pubs and clubs around the city. They developed a style which mixed Irish traditional folk music with full-blown progressive rock, creating some great music in the process! Father 'Reilly Says Goodbye is a beautiful closer for this compilation! Thanks for listening.


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  1. Great! Thank you very much, my friend! Cheers from Brazil.

  2. Great closer... Epic! Thanks Rich nice one

    1. Yeah i'd say it's Pink Floyd proportions, worth getting that album and it's not too expensive! I was hoping someone would comment on that one :)