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. rockroots.wordpress.com is a great resource with rare tracks to download, and between them irishrock.org, irish-showbands.com and irishshowbands.net 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'
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!
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
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'.
According to irishrock.org 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.
According to irish-showbands.com, 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.
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!
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.
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".
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.
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.