“…in 1966 Eddie and Finbar Furey won the international folk award in Tralee against eighty other groups. For this they got £170 in prize money which they say lasted about three days. ‘It went to charity’ says Eddie. The ‘Guinness charity’ says Finbar”
Finbar and Eddie Furey, Transatlantic Records, 1968.
“You’ll meet a tall, dark handsome man….” she told my mother. Mrs. Furey that was, who used to tell fortunes up in Ballyfermot. “Jesus, she got that one wrong!”
I had a great time recently researching the Liam Weldon article, and got a laugh out of the images and memories it brought to mind especially for my mother. German TV cameras in the front garden, Christy Moore on the wall, a whole family at work musically. The Fureys were much the same, on Spidel Road.
Six in the family, the four boys and the parents. A musicial house to say the least. Another cornerstone of what I consider the great forgotten Trad-scene of Ireland, the Downeys acts. For all the romanticism surrounding traditional music in Ireland at the time (1968), you hear very little about Ballyfermot and what was going on there. The Furey Family, The Keenan Family , Paddy Sweeney (who did some time in the Dublin City Ramblers), The Weldon Family, and all the drop-ins you’d get on occasion for The Phoenix Folk Club, with the likes of Andy Irvine, Jim Page, Donal Lunny, Barry Moore (Better known now as Luke Bloom), Mary Black, Ronnie Drew, Mick Hanly and others. Christy Moore did a fundraiser for the folk club too, and things were really going on to say the least. You were no one without an instrument up there, with mam trying out the fiddle briefly and the father opting for the bodhran.
Anyway, the album.
An amazing array of instruments. Whistles, pipes, bodhrans, guitars, whatever you’re having yourself. Finbar and Eddie were sweeping awards from a young age, with several junior championship awards for pipes under both belts, and the Ulster Senior Trio championship taken along with the father, Ted.
The Spanish Cloak
Come by the Hills
Sliabh Na Mban
Tattered Jack Welch
The Flowers in the Valley
Pigeon on the Gate
Piper in the Meadow Straying
The Curragh of Kildare
Eamonn an Chnuic (Ned of the Hills)
This Town Is Not Your Own
Rocking the Baby
Come By The Hills:
“Eddie’s first song was written by Scottish TV producer Gordon Smith. The words are set to the traditional Irish air Buchal an Eire”
The Curragh of Kildare:
“Sometimes called the The Winter It Is Passed and was said by Dean Christie (Who included it in his collection of traditional ballad airs in 1876) to have been written about a highwayman called Johnson, who was hanged in 1750 for robberies committed on the Curagh, the pen heathland that stretches to the East of Kildare”
Enjoy these two. While currently away in Belgium, nothing makes me long for a Downeys pint like this LP! More on the way friends, more on the way.