Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

A ticket for Christy Moore in Ballyfermot once upon a time, a find which sparked my interest in interviewing Christy about his recollections on Dublin.

A ticket for Christy Moore in Ballyfermot once upon a time, a find which sparked my interest in interviewing Christy about his recollections on Dublin.

One of the joys of Come Here To Me to date has been interviewing people who we feel have made a real contribution to this city and its culture. We had the honour of publishing an interview with the late Philip Chevron of The Pogues and the Radiators of Space, and we’ve also discussed the city with people as diverse as the street artist Maser and inner-city historian Terry Fagan.

For us, these interviews are a means of collecting important social history from people who have proactively engaged with Dublin and who have stories to tell about the city and its people. For a long time now, I have wanted to interview Christy Moore, someone who has been a constant presence on the music circuit of the capital since releasing his first album under the stewardship of Dominic Behan in 1969. A veteran of iconic acts Planxty and Moving Hearts, Christy has also been an active campaigner in Irish political life for decades, standing beside and a wide range of causes in Irish life, ranging from the anti-nuclear movement of the 1970s to the anti-drugs movement that emerged in working class Dublin thirty years ago.

Christy agreed to answer a wide variety of questions on his relationship with this city through the ages, ranging from the great venues of Dublin’s past to his encounters with people such as Seamus Ennis and Liam Weldon who are institutions in the traditional music heritage of Dublin. I hope readers enjoy it. I’ve followed the format of previous interviews here, with question in bold.

Before you we’ve spoken to Philip Chevron from Santry and Paul Cleary from Ringsend about their memories of Dublin in the decades that have passed, as a young lad from Kildare did you have much engagement with Dublin city growing up?

My earliest memories of coming to Dublin are back to the early 50s. Then I spent a lot of time with my grandparents Jack and Ellie Power who lived at Back-Weston near Lucan. Jack loved the old cowboy movies. We would go to The Carlton,The Savoy,The Metropole or to any of the fine cinemas that festooned the city centre. Back then cars could be parked on O’Connell St right outside a cinema. I recall the picture house queues, the excitement. I remember one singing busker who moved down the queue. Also a street photographer who was always snapping near The Pillar.I remember going to the Theatre Royal in Hawkins St, hearing the magic organ and seeing the Royalettes high kicking before the big picture. We always stopped on the way home at Pacitti’s Ice Cream parlour on Parkgate Street .There I had a young boy’s blushful crush on one of Mr Pacitti’s daughters. Later Jack would pull into the Ball Alley House in Lucan or The Dead-Man-Murrays in Palmerstown for a few swift pints.

My first visit to Croke Park was around this time too. The excitement of that is still palpable. The paper hats and rosettes, the Artane Boys Band, The Hawkers ( “anyone for the last few choc ices”). My grandfather was a proud Meath man. If The Royal County were playing The Dubs the pressure would mount. I remember seeing Snitchy Ferguson, Kevin Heffernan and Ollie Freaney playing for Dublin. Croke Park was an awesome spectacle for a young country lad. We always went there on Patrick’s Day to see The Railway Cup Finals. Back then those Inter-Provincial games were second only to All-Ireland Finals in terms of importance and crowd numbers.

Before he died in 1956 my father took me once to Lansdowne Road to a Rugby International. I remember seeing Gordon Woods and Tony O’Reilly play for Ireland against Wales when I was 10 years old. The atmosphere was quite different at Lansdowne Rd.You’d not find too many hip flasks nor rugs in The Cusack Stand.

Recently a box in our family attic unearthed a ticket for a Christy Moore gig in Ballyfermot from the early 80s, organised by the local folk society. Does Ballyfermot bring back any memories? I know you played there a bit, and the brilliant talent that was Liam Weldon was from there, while one of the most powerful images in your book One Voice comes from that suburb, from the day Bobby Sands passed away.

I recall a number of gigs in Ballyer. The one you mention and another one run by my sister Eilish in the Community Centre, I also recall one in The Cinema but my recall is a bit hazy on these. I well remember visiting The Keenan Family when we played together for a TV programme in The Abbey Tavern, Howth circa 1979. I also visited the home of Liam and Nellie Weldon to swap songs with Liam. Back in the early days of Ballyfermot Rock School I did a workshop and small gig there. One of the students that day was Damien Dempsey. I can still see the lovely wild head on that young fella.

A candid shot of a member of the Special Branch stopping Christy Moore in Ballyfermot, which recently picked up huge traction online, with thousands of likes on a variety of Facebook pages. The image was published in 'One Voice: My Life In Song'

A candid shot of a member of the Special Branch stopping Christy Moore in Ballyfermot. This image recently picked up huge traction and interest online. The image was published in ‘One Voice: My Life In Song’


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Billy Morley RIP

We were very sorry to hear that Dublin guitarist and graphic designer Billy Morley has passed away. During his career, he played with The Radiators From Space, Revolver, The Defenders, The Teen Commandments and Lucky Bones.

Morley in action. Posted by Eamon Carr (@carrtogram) with the following "Another good man down. Billy Morley talented guitarist & designer All round good guy R.I.P. #DublinHero".

Morley in action. Posted by Eamon Carr (@carrtogram) with the following “Another good man down. Billy Morley talented guitarist & designer All round good guy R.I.P. #DublinHero”.

As first reported by Hot Press, Billy began his career in the early to mid 1970s as a guitarist with New York Dolls style glam-punk outfits ‘Bent Fairy and The Punks’ and ‘Greta Garbage and the Trash Cans’. The latter band also featured both Steve Averill and Pete Holidai, later of The Radiators From Space.

Billy then went onto play with Revolver (1977-79), one of the top bands in Dublin’s emerging punk rock scene.

Back of 'Silently Screaming' 7inch. Scanned by 'lastpost' (45cat.com)

Back of ‘Silently Screaming’ 7inch. Scanned by ‘lastpost’ (45cat.com)

The group released two singles on the Rockborough label, ’Silently Screaming’ (June 1978) and ‘You Won’t Know What Hit You’.

Overlapping this period slightly, Billy took up the post of second guitarist with The Radiators from Space from approximately September 1978 to March 1979. He joined the post ‘Ghosttown’ tour but didn’t play on the record itself. In a separate Hot Press piece today, Steve Averill called Billy:

… perhaps, the most underrated guitarist of his generation and was extremely modest about his talent, as well as being incredibly shy about performing on a stage – something that held him back from achieving his due. He had a real natural talent that all those who played with him recognised

In late 1979, Billy was involved with the short-lived group The Defenders, formed to help Heat fanzine pay legal costs to U2’s manager Paul McGuinness.

Issues 2 - 5 of Heat fanzine. Credit - brandnewretro.

Issues 2 – 5 of Heat fanzine. Credit – brandnewretro.

McGuiness had objected to an article entitled “McGuinness (Isn’t) Good For U2′” in Vol. 2, No. 2 of the magazine which accused him of using back-handed tacits to ensure that U2 got a prestigious support slot at a gig in Trinity College, bumping a rival band from the bill. The story was later proved to be wrong. Decan Lynch in the Irish Independent wrote about the incident at length back in 2006.

The Defenders line up, along with Billy, included:

– Eamon Carr and Johnny Fean of Horslips
– Steve Averill and Mark Megaray of The Radiators
– Frankie Morgan of Sacre Bleu
– Gary Eglington of The Noise Boys, and later The Zen Alligators.

Heat fanzine was co-owned by Jude Carr (Eamon’s brother) and Pete Price and was one of the most well-respected and well-designed punk fanzines in the 1977-79 period. A benefit gig in the National Ballroom was organised for 25th July which was followed by a single released on Guided Missile Records, a label owned by Jude Carr and Karl Tsigdinos, a DJ and graphic designer with Hot Press. Unfortunately, the magazine folded despite these efforts.

In 1981, Billy played on the Teen Commandment‘s first single ‘Private World’. A great powerpop band formed by Philip Byrne (ex. Revolver) in 1979 that originally featured Dave Maloney (ex. The Vipers) on drums. Pete Holdai of the Radiators produced their work.

Billy, a very talented illustrator and graphic designer, went onto work for a number of advertising agencies in Dublin and Hot Press magazine for a short period. This was followed by a long career in RTE’s graphics department.

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Paul Cleary - Dublin City Town (1986). 7" single cover.

Paul Cleary – Dublin City Town (1986). 7″ single cover.

The Blades are set to play together for the first time in 27 years on Friday, 13th December in the Olympia Theatre. Tickets, €26 including booking fee, go on sale next Friday 4th October at 9am via Ticketmaster.

So it is as good an opportunity as any to post the lyrics and audio from lead singer Paul Cleary’s 1986 solo single ‘Dublin City Town’. It was released on ‘Raytown Records’ (I assume this was Cleary himself?) just after the break up of the band.

The song deals with wealth inequality, the gombeen political class, the developers destruction of city architecture, youth unemployment, emigration and alcoholism. All with a catchy melody.

The rich get richer the poor get lost
They’re given coloured sweets
to sample at no cost.
But we can change things
if we’re not afraid
of careerist politicians overpaid.

We’ve still got a sense of humour
poverty is an ugly rumour
The planners try to pull it down
Dublin City Town
This ship is sinking
but we won’t drown
here in Dublin City Town.

Don’t hang your head down
or feel ashamed
’cause if you haven’t got a
job you’re not to blame.
And how many young girls
just out of school
Are forced to taking a slow boat
boat to Liverpool.
We’ve a liquid black solution
For a dodgy constitution
The planners try to pull it down
Dublin City Town
This ship is sinking
but we won’t drown
here in Dublin City Town.

You can’t put a million people down
come with me to Dublin
Some people try to drag us down
Dublin City town
This ship is sinking
but we won’t drown
here in Dublin City Town.

(Note: the lyrics on the back of the 7″ single are a bit over the place with a couple of key lines missing and the two verses printed in the wrong order)

The b-side was a live recording of ‘Revelations of Heartbreak’ recorded in Mountjoy Prison.

We’ve covered The Blades several times before on this blog:
Still sounding sharp, looking back at The Blades (March 2012)
The Blades Live (December 2011)
The Blades singles (September 2011)
os Blades? (June 2011)
The Bride Wore White video (January 2011)
Hot For You single (March 2010)
Revelations (Of 45s) (February 2010)

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A Song For Arthur’s Day

The Waterboys

The Waterboys

This morning on Twitter I noticed Jim Carroll of The Irish Times and a few others sharing a little ditty to Arthur’s Day, composed by Mike Scott of The Waterboys. “We’ll leave the streets in tatters on Arthur’s day, drink is all that matters on Arthur’s Day…”

It brought to mind Christy Moore at the Grand Canal Theatre in January, who performed his own tribute to the day:

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An advertisement for U.2 and The Blades at The Baggot Inn (u2theearlydayz.com)

An advertisement for U.2 and The Blades at The Baggot Inn (u2theearlydayz.com)

On August 8th, CHTM will be taking part in ‘Banter on the Liffey’, a night of chat and discussion organised by Jim Carroll of The Irish Times. It’s all happening as part of the Liffey Legover Festival, and Sam will be joining Jim to talk about some of Dublin’s famous (and infamous) musical venues historically. From Punk to Rave, Rock to New Wave, it’s a fascinating subject that has featured on the site here plenty. It’s one of three discussions Jim has organised. The other two see legendary DJ Tony Fenton discuss his career and life, and visual artist Fergal McCarthy discusses the River Liffey and how it has influenced his work. Some of you may remember the giant Monopoly homes floating in the Liffey!

The three talks:
The Tony Fenton Retrospective In 35 Minutes – the Today FM legend on his life on and off the airwaves
Dives, sweatboxes and ballrooms – Come Here To Me’s Sam McGrath on the life and times of some of the city’s most celebrated music venues
The Liffey and me – visual artist Fergal McCarthy on how the river has influenced his works like Liffeytown and No Man’s Land

According to Jim:

We’ll start the night at 7pm-ish in the Workman’s Club, move across the river to the Grand Social for 8.30pm and bring it all to a close at the Twisted Pepper, the place where Banter started, for 10pm-ish. Admission to all events will be free

The Workman's Club  on Wellington Quay, in a former life.

The Workman’s Club on Wellington Quay, in a former life.

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Our friends at the Richter Collective are calling it a day, after years of releasing records and touring up and down the island. It’s no doubt a hard time for small, independent record labels globally, and in four years Richter had a massive impact on the independent music scene in Dublin. Such ventures are certainly for the love and not the money, but love alone can’t run a record label or much else!

Having released some fantastic records from acts like Adebisi Shank, Squarehead, Enemies and The Redneck Manifesto, the label is now going to see itself out not in sorrow but with a final blast. Next Saturday they’ll be hosting a show at the Button Factory with many of their acts on the bill, and a Richter Collective CD compilation thrown in with the door-tax of €15.

We’ll certainly be there, and well done to the lads at Richter on four fantastic years.

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(Update: They’ve canceled the competition and apologised)

What an own goal from Trinity Ents.

This evening they started an online competition for two tickets to see American RnB artist Chris Brown, a violent, unrepentant misogynist who physically assaulted his then girlfriend Rihanna in February 2009.

When Dublin group The Original Rudeboys were asked to support him, they declined citing Brown’s assault on Rihanna as the reason. They were commended for taking such a stand.

Band member Sean Walsh explained:

Even though it’s a huge opportunity to play in the O2 with a major hip hop star and a substantial fee was offered, we are completely against Chris Brown’s assault on Rihanna. In addition, with our latest single ‘Blue Eyes’ being about domestic violence it goes against everything we are about as a band and supporting Chris Brown would send out the wrong message to our fans.

All the bad publicity didn’t stop Trinity Ents launching the ticket competition today.

It was an especially bad move on their part seeing as only last month the DU Gender Equality Society, the Equality Office, the Students’ Union and the Graduate Students’ Union launched it’s anti-Sexual Assault campaign, “Don’t Be That Guy“.

The response for the competition was about 70% people conveying disappointment with TCD Ent’s and about 30% of people looking for tickets.

Here are some of the opposing voices. They have since deleted the photo and thread.

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An original poster and press release for ‘Danceteria’, a night in McGonagles (previously of South Anne Street) which was launched in October 1981.

Music policy was Stax, Talking Heads, Electronic, Roxy Music, Ze Records, Hot Reggae, 60s Classics, Stevie Wonder – all on a 3,000 watt sound system. Downstairs was the dance floor while upstairs had a wine bar, pool table, football table and a T.V. showing ‘specially compiled music and video tapes’. Compere was stand up comedian Billy McGrath and resident D.J. was Ross Fitzsimons of Hot Press magazine.

It predated seminal dance nights in McGonagles like Club Voodoo and Soul On Ice which came along in the latter half of the decade.

I’m not sure how long the night itself lasted.

Danceteria at McGonagles poster. (BM Collection)

Danceteria at McGonagles press release. (BM Collection)

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The Clash & The Count Bishops. TCD, October 1977.

A number of Facebook pages have sprung up lately for Dublin punk & new wave bands of the 1976 – 1983 period. It’s allowing former band members and fans to leave comments and post up pictures and gig posters.

If you know of any more, let us know.

The Atrix

The Radiators From Space

The Sussed

The Virgin Prunes

The Vipers

The Zen Alligators

The Radiators & The Vipers. TCD, nd.

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Sacre Bleu (1977 – 1980)

The Irish Times – 05 Feb 1979.


Five piece Dublin RnB/New Wave group who released two singles in their three year career.

They played their first gig on November 25 1977 in The Castle Inn, Salthill,  toured with The Fabalous Fabrics in February 1979, one of the earliest Irish New Wave tours and played the second New Wave Festival in the Project Arts Centre on September 15 1979.

Niall Stokes (Hot Press) caught them supporting The Boomtown Rats in The Stella Cinema, Rathmines in December 1977:

I caught the support band Sacre Bleu, with old Eyeless mate Pat Courtney on bass, briefly on the second night and liked what I saw. Unfortunate to have to break the ice before what was at the time an almost completely empty hall (the early arrivals had all gone upstairs to the balcony), they manifested a confidence and professionalism far beyond their age as a unit.
I wasn’t able to stay around long enough to offer anything like a constructive critique of their music but this much seemed clear – that if they can further develop the tightness which already marks their collective playing, they’ll produce an R n B sound to match the best that’s ever come out of this country.

Here’s the fantastically designed poster for the 2nd annual New Wave Festival in 1978:

2nd New Wave Festival, 1978

The band released two singles:

Broken Promises/ Mademoiselle Goodnight
7″ – Polydor Records – 2078 104 – IRL – June 1979 – PS
Produced by Dave Moore


Move It / Just Another Saturday Night
7″ – Polydor Records – 2078 107 – Irl – Oct 1979 – PS
A-Side produced by Donal Lunny, B-Side by Dave Moore

More info on the band can be found here (Irish Rock Discography) and here (U2 Early Dayz)

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A fascinating November 1970 article from the Sunday Independent – published in full:

Members of Dublin’s only skinhead club are out to dispel the image many of the public have of them being drug users, troublemakers and street-corner idlers.

This afternoon 100 of the city’s poor children will crowd into their tiny club, the “Boot Inn”, in Middle Abbey Street for a Halloween party. The basement club has been specially decorated for the occasion and all the members of the club chipped in 10/- each for party hats, balloons, minerals and food.

Yesterday they treated 40 other children to a big party at the club and immediately afterwards the skinheads began cleaning up the place and washing the dishes for today’s party.

The skinheads are planning another big “do” for these children at Christmas. Meanwhile they are in the process of forming their own football team and hope to enter one of the city’s football leagues.

Nineteen-year-old John McKoughlin, Finglas West, who is manager of the club, said: “We just want to try and correct thus bad image which the public has of us. We are barred from every dancehall in Dublin while long haired youths are allowed in. None of our members has ever been in trouble and we have a commitment at all our dances to prevent drug-pushers entering the club. We don’t allow drugs in our club”.

Another leading member of the club, Thomas Caffrey (21), Liberty House, said that other skinheads – there are about 500 in Dublin – had tried to force their way into the club, but they were stopped.

Here is the fantastically vivid and informative accompanying picture:

Sunday Independent – Nov 01, 1970.

For similar newspaper cuttings and pictures, check out the ever expanding photo album from the Where Were You? Facebook page.

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Tudor Rooms, 1985. (Upload – Karl Bates)

While Dublin had a thriving mod and scooter scene in the 1980s, it seemed to produce few bands. Even fewer who recorded anything. (The Blades, obviously, should be mentioned at this point along with The Zen Alligators, Side One, The Commotion and The Experiment).

Instant Party were a three piece mod band, active from the early 1980s to 1986. They released a self-titled and self-produced three track demo tape in 1984.

Instant Party demo tape (1984). Thanks to Irishrock.org

Thanks to the users ‘lastdayofjune’ and ‘9jpt’ on Youtube, the three songs from the demo tape and a bonus fourth are available online:

1. Instant Party – The Times That Change Us

2. Instant Party – The Smalltown

3. Instant Party – Summertime

Bonus, The Real Life. An acoustic demo from Ken.

– Ken Sweeney later went on to record as Brian and is now Entertainment Editor of the Irish Independent.

– Peter Devlin went on to play with The Devlins who packed out The Button Factory last September.

– Alan Bates today plays drums with both Slam and The Modfathers.

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