The Fiery Bird Show – John McNally Interview The Searchers

30 Apr


Fiery Bird Show on Radio Woking featuring an interview with John McNally founder member of The Searchers recently returned from their Australian tour and hitting Aldershot on 5 May.
The Fiery Bird Show this week featured an interview with John McNally a founder member of The Searchers and and Mabbsy and I used it to have a retrospective of 60’s poptastic tunes laced in with the memories we had of hearing the songs in the background on the radio (he does admit to being a 70’s kid really). We also mentioned the Fiery Bird Venue fundraiser with Eddie & The Hot Rods, Dept S, Ed Tenpole-Tudor and  Phoenix Chroi. 

To catch up on the show and the interview with John you can listen again here

PLAYLIST

Female of The Species – The Walker Brothers – well obviously 

The Clapping Song – Shirley Ellis – remember this one trying to remember the words

This Boy – The Beatles – 

Anna and I, singing along, 14 years old, hairbrushes as pretend microphones. Now, I pretend my microphone is a hairbrush, my friend is singing along and the whole world is ahead of us 🙂

She’s Not There – The Zombies – Andy interviewed Colin Blunstone on his radio show this was a song for me mate

Autumn Stone – The Small Faces – one of my London songs – on the way to sound check, early evening sun, train passing Pimlico plumbers pulling in to Waterloo, head against the train window the song on the iPod, in rhythm with the train moving, the usual gig thing – going up in the afternoon, no matter how sunny and then cold out into the night air after the gig to go back to Waterloo the portal in and out of London for us suburbanites, picking up my bike at the station and cycling home, cold clear night, stars out, moon full.

Swords of A Thousand Men – Ed Tenpole Tudor – a man coming to support our Fiery Bird Fundraiser

Is Vic There? – Dept S who arranged the fundraiser with their excellent hit from the post punk halcyon days

Destruction – Phoenix Chroi – our band – the local support at the venue fundraiser with the song that raises money for Living Without Abuse a charity supporting those who are surviving abusive relationships

Do Anything You Wanna Do – Eddie & The Hot Rods – headliners at the Fiery Bird venue fundraiser and their brilliant anthem to cut the shackles and do your thing

GLORIA – Patti Smith – because her version of this song is excellent – the Them song interspersed with her own poetry to make something completely new – I believe this is what is known as ‘ripping a new one’ and fair play to her – thoroughly enjoyed and enriched from reading Just Kids and M Train.

Sweets For My Sweet – The Searchers the song John Lennon credited as being the best single to come out of Liverpool

Needles & Pins – The Searchers – Peggy, my Mum and Dad’s neighbour used to get me to babysit her kids or rather my Mum told her I would – it seemed I communicated this willingness psychically. Anyway she gave me a load of records and among them was this one – listening to it again brought me slap right back to being 13 and the start of finding out about modernism, playing bass, writing songs and then only three years later putting the bass and the songs down for another 25 years.

Brand New Day – Deep Six – a new release from a band releasing new original material 

Never Buy The Sun – Billy Bragg – speaks for itself, this was the week that yet again there was controversy about truth in  papers relating to Liverpool and it’s citizens characters. Interviewing John McNally a founder of a band that was part of the movement that brought the cultural output of Liverpool to the world stage – we should all stand up for people of any city who are demonised and belittled by the international money that might seek to make of us knaves and fools. People deserve better.

You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry & The Pacemakers, if people listen to the words of the song adopted by Liverpool, credited as a hymn and forgotten as a musical gem it can really mean something. An extra religious head teacher at assembly once poured scorn on ‘football fans making sacrilegious chants of sacred songs’ using this as an example – I wonder did anyone have the heart to tell him it was a song from a musical and no hymn at all. Bless.

Fiery Bird Show with Eddie Roxy – DeptS 

16 Apr

This week I was joined at The Fiery Bird Show by Eddie Roxy from Dept S a band well known for their hit ‘Is Vic There?’ yet now touring and producing new material that has been delighting audiences hungry for more than a nostalgia circuit. In 2016 they released a new album ‘When All Is Said & All Is Done’ and more recently a video of the title track single available on YouTube here. You can catch up on the radio show here
Eddie, a charming guest brought his song choices in and also gave insight to the start of Dept S, from the brainchild of Gary Crowley ‘Guns For Hire’, gigging with bands such as The Jam in the early days, the music landscape, genres and tribes of audiences, to its current line up including Phil Thomson (previously Bug) & Pete R Jones (Public Image Ltd, Cowboys International, Brian Brain). Relating their experience as young band members working with Pete Overend Watts & Dale ‘Buffin’ Griffin – now both sadly passed away – who produced their single ‘Is Vic There?’ As well as talking of their plans for the year to come, an almost full circle to Mott The Hoople again playing with Ian Hunter & The Rant Band in June, Eddie gave insight to the touring experience here and abroad and the importance of local venues in the wider music industry.


He also spoke of the gig he has pulled together in support of our live music venue project in Woking- The Fiery Bird, where the Phoenix Cultural Centre CIC volunteers, musicians and community members are taking over an unused nightclub to make into non profit live music venue that supports community work. Whilst waiting to take over, Eddie brought together bands to play a fundraising gig which is taking place on Friday 21st April in the venue ‘as is now’. We were overwhelmed with this support, having seen and knowing how great Eddie & The Hot Rods, Dept S & Ed Tenpole-Tudor are live and how they appeal to a broad range of people, as he said, ‘if you love live music, regardless of genre, you will love this gig’. Our own Woking, post punk band, Phoenix Chroi are joining them as the local support, part of the philosophy of the venue when it is open is that a local support is put on with a touring band. Tickets can be purchased here

Playlist
1. Theme from Dept S

2. Making Time – The Creation

3. Set The House Ablaze – The Jam

4. No Pain No Gain – The Witchdokters

5. Roxette – Dr Feelgood

6. Reaching My Head – The Prisoners

7. Roll Away The Stone – Mott The Hoople

8. I Can’t Make It – The Small Faces

9. Is Vic There? – Dept S

10. Public Image – Public Image Ltd

11. GLORIA – Eddie & The Hot Rods

12. Girl On A Beach – Phoenix Chroi

13. Have Love Will Travel – The Sonics

14. When All Is Said And All Is Done – Dept S

15. Who Killed Bambi? – Ed Tenpole-Tudor

16. Sound Of The Suburbs – The Members

17. My Way – Frank Sinatra

Woman In Black – (Puts the Willies up Woking) 

12 Apr


This isn’t the first time the Woman in Black has brought its tour to Woking and I hope it won’t be the last, it has become of itself despite its fairly modern history, a story deserved to be counted amongst the great classic ghost stories of the likes of Wilkie Collins, MR James & Dickens and the play adaptation too is a welcome relief from what is usually frothy musical and touring tribute bands so often experienced in theatres just trying to stay open to offer some theatrical presence in towns across the country.

I arrived, scared. I have been before but still know it is different each time, the sudden shocks in different places. There were a lot of women in black milling about the foyer but luckily they looked chirpy and corporeal. I wondered if they were stealing her thunder – the real, actual, Woman In Black; outfit clashes can be an embarrassing taboo.

David Acton plays Arthur Kipps a man so traumatised by past events and held still, in their thrall. Desperate to lay ghosts to rest, he seeks help from an actor (Matthew Spence) to dramatise the events of a few days that, as a young man changed the course of his life. He needs help because he has never been able speak the words of his story to his family.


I took my friend Mary, she jumped and screamed like a big cry baby. I hadn’t really warned her (this was my third outing to the play) I am a frenemy. Well I say I didn’t warn her but my disclaimer is that I did whisper ‘brace yerself Mary’ as we sat down – not my fault she didn’t hear….


Based on Susan Hill’s novel, a torchbearer to the gothic ghost novel genre so favoured and flourished in Victorian Britain, they manage to pull off a theatrical coup – making the story so embedded in the audience imagination that the spare sets, lighting (a cast member in itself) and sound effects have you pulled in to all it’s horror, sadness and it’s comedy, for there are also a lot of laughs in it too. The atmosphere pervades throughout. To me, the play knocks the widely publicised film into a cocked hat, because it absolutely gives a chance for modern audiences to experience the art of story telling, the ghosts around the fire late at night, the primeval feeling of sensing threat, hairs standing up on the back of the neck. Not only does it tell a sad and painful story, one that spawns baleful jealousy from someone sent mad with loss but it also acts as a heritage piece giving people back something of a culture that seems lost. Not only a fine tribute to the story and it’s author but also the writer Stephen Mallatratt whose stage adaptation moves the action along so well. That it has successfully run for over 27 years is a great legacy to someone who has sadly passed away.


Though a double handed performance the dexterity of both Acton and Spence is such that it feels like a cast of many, the finely drawn characterisations that they move between has you in no doubt you are in the hands of masters of this craft and, as well as the light and shade and spare set means you have drawn in your mind vast marshlands and lonely mists, and imagine yourself seeing the Woman In Black so often referred to throughout. (No spoilers here I should get a theatrical medal I really should) 

To see this play whilst in Woking get tickets here 
 Oh and wear sturdy pantaloons.  

Here is a link to an interview with David Acton who plays Arthur Kipps in the second hour of the Radio Woking Fiery Bird Show where he gives insights into the play and the tour. Thursday 6 April https://m.mixcloud.com/radiowoking/fiery-bird-show-with-claudia-stark-featuring-david-acton-starring-in-woman-in-black/

Fiery Bird Show with Claudia Stark & David Acton – Woman in Black

8 Apr

Photo credit Tom O’Donoghue: Tomodo

Claudia Stark visited the Fiery Bird Show bringing her guitar and all her plans and news. Claudia is a Guildford based songwriter who has developed her performance from solo to a whole band sound. I also had the opportunity to play the interview with David Acton who is starring in The Woman In Black currently on tour and coming to Woking from 11th April 2017. You can catch up on the show here

The first time I met Claudia was at one of our feature nights, the open mic section was just finishing and this tiny little girleen came in with her guitar on her back, told all about us by one of the masters of the local scene – Vic Cracknell she came to see if we had space for an open mic slot so we all budged up and squeezed a 15mins free and it was the start of what was for us, a very lucky and pleasurable occurrence. As she strummed her first chord and her clear voice rang out, the pub went silent and remained so for all she had to sing…. and so it has been ever since. As you will hear from the interview she writes of those times and issues that mean so much to her. Claudia is one of the next generation of amazing songwriters that we are so lucky to come across in our work in grassroots music and the reason we keep going, the reason for local gigs, local radio and local support. She is launching her new single on April 22 at The Boileroom in Guildford – so see her now while you still can locally.

Also check out local music nights you can catch some great talent at nights run by Vic Cracknell, Gavin Thomas, Blue Trouser Records and many others, not only do they encourage great musicians but are a fertile creative bed for so many others too – photographers, writers, poets and a learning base for more promoters to come forward and develop.  It is also what our own Phoenix Cultural Centre/Fiery Bird project is about too.

                                                                                     DAVID ACTON – THE WOMAN IN BLACK


During the show I also had the opportunity to play the interview I recorded (here’s one I made earlier) with David Acton who plays Arthur Kipps, the main protagonist in The Woman in Black which comes to Woking’s New Victoria Theatre from Tues 11 April. David, who has worked extensively in theatre and TV explained how the approach taken in the staging of Susan Hill’s famous story as a play enhances the suspension that the novel is renowned for as a torch bearer and tribute to the Victorian gothic ghost story tradition. Having seen the play twice and going for a third time on the opening night, I can vouch for the impact it has, sometimes wondering if I should reinforce the ol’ pantaloons as sensible preparation for the night out. It was a lovely chat with David, an interesting fellow who gave lovely insights into the play, the tour and the story that underpins it. You can probably still get tickets try it here, if you go on Tues I’ll be the one bricking it. I did offer to get all my friends to go along all of us dressed in black like a miserable version of the Rocky Horror show as a cult support but a) it would look like we were the female branch of a Johnny Cash convention turned up on the wrong day or b) Mediterranean widows or c) possibly quite threatening and not supportive at all so that idea got kicked to the kerb.

Lucky old me – one show, two great and diverse guests.

The Playlist

Spring – Argonaut 

Oh Bondage Up Yours – X Ray Spex

Man – Cardboard Carousel

This Way – Claudia Stark

Suit of Armour – Lisa VonH

Agape – Bear’s Den

Too Soon – Claudia Stark (live) in dedication to Sam

Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy – The Tams

There’s a Ghost In My House – R Dean Taylor

Spooky – The Belomors

Give Me An Answer – Claudia Stark (live)

Redemption Song – Bob Marley

Underneath The Stars – Kate Rusby
https://m.mixcloud.com/radiowoking/fiery-bird-show-with-claudia-stark-featuring-david-acton-starring-in-woman-in-black/

Wonderland in Woking!

4 Apr


Wonderland at the New Victoria theatre in Woking last night was a bit of a surprise. Not sure what to expect on arrival it seemed to be appealing to a large audience intent on holiday fun with kids, an expectation of the event to be a family affair. The wonder of it all wasn’t that this wasn’t necessarily a musical for kids although the imagery and large characterisation of the Wonderland characters made it appealing. 
Alice (Kerry Ellis) is a struggling single mother, hitting 40 who hates her job but who has been so undermined by her controlling ex husband telling her she needed his protection, that she believes she will never get the job she loves and dreams of. She has always wanted to be a writer. She had started to believe what he had told her about herself and given up on her dreams, her daughter Ellie (Naomi Morris) desperate to see her take control, feels she should move on, go back to the teaching she gave up because her husband didn’t like her earning more than him, meanwhile Alice doesn’t even notice the geeky next door neighbour Jack (Stephen Webb) who works in the council recycling dept nursing dreams of being a singer and worships her from afar. 
One day with her car stolen making her late for work she is fired. Fed up and tired she repeats how she ‘doesn’t want to live in the real world’ Ellie spies a large rabbit hopping past their tower block and follows him into a broken lift. Panicking as the lift door closes brings the rabbit back again who says he will take them down, and that is how they get to Wonderland ladies and gentlemen in these days of technology or rather disused lifts and depressing grey, high-rise, flats.


Wonderland is run by a tyrannical Queen of Hearts (Wendi Peters) who makes regular threats to chop off heads unchallenged by the residents; after all, they only lose their head once meaning they can’t return to the real world that gave them so much grief, and by complying they have an easy life and don’t question her authority. An encounter with the Caterpillar (Kayi Ushe) who Alice looks to as a guru, the Cheshire Cat (Dominic Owen) (both brilliant performances of comedy and cool) who tells them to move forward always, brings them to the magic mirror where they are advised by the White Rabbit – a judge in the real world, more like Yoda in this – that the mirror turns you into someone who you could be, maybe want to be, maybe should have been – Jack and Ellie jump in quickly, Jack’s metamorphosis into the singer he has always wanted to be, fronting a boy band with stage moves is a hilarious moment and great vocal though longer than I needed to get the gist. Ellie, comes out as the teenager she would be, had she not felt unnoticed by her mother’s grief and responsible for her happiness. She stirs the Mad Hatter (Natalie McQueen) to go through the mirror, take responsibility for her hat factory and over throw the Queen, but the mirror change for her makes her as power hungry, turning her hat factory into a sweat shop nearly killing the dormouse (who was a lawyer in real life) in the process. Ellie, realising that her explanation of how power works to show unity to remove a dictator has resulting in her abetting another, worse one to the seat of power and yet one who, despite causing more suffering, it turns out is as frightened and confused about the change, repeating ‘that’s how power works’ like a frightened child and needs to go back, she didn’t need to change, she was told she wasn’t enough but as it turned out, she always was.
Alice refuses the mirror, refuses change until the realisation that it is what is needed to save her daughter under threat of being beheaded so the Queen can keep her in Wonderland as advisor. Finally Alice takes action, takes back the parent role, protects her daughter and the Mad Hatter goes back and all is well. 


Perhaps this spoke to many people in similar positions the paradigm of fighting for a loved one overriding a lack of courage is always prevalent in the roles where a parent is called upon to save their child. That they have made an adaptation that brings these themes together recognising in Alice an everywoman facing those dilemmas being more common today, as Jack says to her ‘It’s not a unique story’ yet reaches the time old themes of courage coming from facing fear, from the ordinary heroisms of the everyday and from the different archetypes we set up as friend or enemy; always an extreme and yet existing in layers in all of us, the caterpillar as a guru denied he knew anything when Alice relied on him and quoted himself back, the cat causing trouble to be the one to say ‘I told you I was a trickster…..’ putting responsibility for her decisions firmly back with her.
 

 And Ellie – her own natural chrysalis being shed from dutiful daughter to separate human and the dichotomy of adolescence back to the baby again who still needs her mum when she may have burned her wings in a too bright world.
The characterisations, costumes and comedy in this made it a pleasant alternative to the original story, still enjoyed by many but by those expecting the more traditional this was a delightful twist. This isn’t a jukebox musical the new songs are for the story, but there are a diverse range and the cool stylings of some of the choreography and costumes make it a show that has a broader appeal. The vocals of all the performers are stand out excellent, though a couple of songs in the second half had the music dominating occasionally making the words hard to make out. The magic mirror did look like a giant toilet seat though and the topiary of the bushes at the entrance to Wonderland did look like they were left by a giant cat so I’ll leave that subtext to be explored by finer minds that don’t boggle. 

The cast got a very enthusiastic response the whole way through which is a great thing for new work albeit on a well loved theme which can be a risk. I’d take the risk if I were you Wonderland is at New Victoria Theatre until Sat 8 April 2017 http://www.atgtickets.com

The Wonderful Digby, The Fiery Bird and Prog-gate

29 Mar


The Wonderful Digby aka Jimmy Brandman came into the Fiery Bird Show on Thursday 23rd March – it is great to interview Woking musicians who you may not have come across before to find out their experience of growing up and making music here.  

 For those of you who were out on Thursday watching live music – well done as it should be, but you can catch up here to listen to the interview and songs and chat n shit. Jimmy, as well as writing and singing has made a low-fi high interest documentary about travelling about, doing open mics and gigs on the grassroots scene and is releasing his new single Until We Fall in April 2017 with the documentary coming soon after – I’ll post more details as they come.

To umpire a text row between friends and field band members poking fun at me over ‘Prog-gate’ wasn’t how I envisaged radio life but it happened and I’m all the sturdier for it. Check out his facebook page for more info here

https://www.facebook.com/thewonderfuldigby/
1 The Smell of Incense – The West Coast Experimental Band

2. The Dog The Dog He’s At It Again – Caravan

3. Celeste – Donovan

4 To The Birds – Suede

5. No More Heroes – The Stranglers

6. Before the Deluge – Jackson Brown

7. Until We Fall – The Wonderful Digby

8 Tonight The Streets Are Ours – Richard Hawley

9. Birds – Neil Young

10. Tank Park Salute – Billy Bragg

11 Can’t Judge a Book By Looking At the Cover – Bo Diddly

12 The Love Song – Donovan

13. A Paupers Love Song – Morgellons

The St Patrick Day Special and Old Woking Town

17 Mar

The Quiet Man joined me this week to put some London interjections into my Woking ramblings and the songs we grew up with. 


Catch Up of the St Patrick’s Day Special show starts 9mins in here have a little listen while maybe having a little read…….it is an important day always in our family and always has been and in Woking we always had a high old time of it.
St Patrick’s day to us was a meaningful celebration, it was before Riverdance, before it was turned into a major Guinness marketing campaign with floppy hats in abundance, before the Pogues made being Irish edgy in an acceptable way. In our early days – the other Irish kids at school (which was basically Irish or Italian in numbers reflecting the nuns and teachers who taught us) with decorated lapels rosettes or shamrock that grannies sent over – would it come in time? Or the Irish Association got hold of it and we all wore it later to the Dance or ‘THE DANCE’ the big one of the year at the Centre Halls. Woking had a massive, well organised Irish community and the Irish Association were active, we went on seaside trips (load the coach with crates of beer, stop half way, all get out, children running about, have a drink and a sandwich and then all back on the coach til we saw the sea. Tony Fuller always had his guitar and entertained everyone, stop at a pub on the way back)

Brian Kelly & Tony Fuller

Irish dancing first in the back of the red house (now O’Neills) and then at St Dunstans school with Mr Kelly who travelled down from London to teach us – London!!! 

It was like that bit in fame where the teacher said – ‘fame costs and this is where you start paying!’ Except there was nothing so egotistical as fame involved fame? fame!? It was just an ordeal we were sent to like every other Irish kid to keep our culture alive and literally, kicking.

No you served……..served the high holy Irish jig….I remember severely hurting my toes once, convinced I had broken it I didn’t dare say anything and carried on (I have since learnt I have a low pain threshold for physical injury and I probably stubbed it)
All standing to attention hands firmly by your side…..

First bar of the song up on your toes, slight rotate to the side and and yer off!! 
Jumpety jump jump…one two three four five six seven
If you were flash that wobbly ankle thing and back again…..

If you were really really good then you went into 

HARD SHOES!!!!
And then your Mum got this green felt stuff and someone had a pattern and cut it out and then you got the plain green dress and the more dancing and Feis you did the more pattern got embroidered on them and you had hair put in rags (I never reached that goal) I gave up when I was worried people could see my knickers on the high kicks.

The boys had green kilts, grey blazers and socks with little green ribbons out of the side.

There was none of this flouncy shirts and big sleeves and Riverdance lothario look 

When my brother grew out of his kilt he refused another and his irish dancing career withered into the distant past (if it was a soap opera this would be the bit where the credits would go silently up over a film of my mum holding his too small kilt and saying ‘Nooooooooo!’) My 13 year old baby Mod stirrings purloined the tailor made blazer and it became part of my wardrobe, its service as a badge of Irish culture now morphed into my youth cult of choice.
As we have all grown up we now try to re enact our Irish dancing prowess especially at family parties, anyone not Irish thinks we know what we are doing because we have serious looks on our faces, anyone with any idea (basically everyone post River dance knows we are a shower of shite) whatsoever knows we are saving up all the showing off we weren’t allowed to do as kids and it is erupting on the dance floor. Also, none of us really ever remember how long the River Dance song is (we learnt to dance to songs like ‘Round the Dresser & Up the Stairs’ or ‘If I had Maggie In The Wood’) and so when we ask the dj to play it at family parties and enthusiastically flock to the floor, five minutes later of huffing and puffing and desperate pelvic floor exercises usually does us in vowing never again. Until next time. Real experts like my cousin Mary-Theresa do doubles and that thing where you hold hands with someone in a really complicated cross over way and then try and do ‘sevens’ in sync. Once my son said ‘Mum all of you think you can Irish dance but you can’t; you either look like horses with your arms by your sides pawing at the floor or penguins going around and around – when will you realise we know you don’t know what you are doing?’ My shocked response at his dismissal of our sacred dancing still rebounds in my heart. The other week though I danced in Lizzie McAleese’s kitchen my dancing partner of old when we were kids, we are fifty now and still no better at it. It’s nice to have a dance with the same old friend and laugh the same old way though. Alcohol may be a factor in my later dancing prowess and also lack of it.
And we went to the St Patrick’s day dances which were a holy day of obligation. The best of the set dances was the ‘Seige of Ennis’ four people face four people dance in/dance out/divide into twos dance up and back/ grab the partner in front go apeshit round and round. It was a great laugh for many reasons: 

It was great to see the faces of the people who you dragged in but who didn’t know what you were doing. 

There was always a wild card who nearly threw you in the air. 

 As you reached adolescence you would do complicated logistical forecasts so you were in the right position to be thrown round and round by a nice fella (who just two goes before ends up swapping with a hairy old fella with string for a belt) 
Everything your parents wanted you to do was under the guise of a holy day of obligation. And later this also counted when they wanted you to do something that you would never be allowed to do eg

Have the day off after St Patricks day – ok because celebrating a ‘Holy Day of Obligation’ was good

Having a day off college with a hangover in later years – not ok because you’d end up and omaduan and they and other parents worked hard to build the school that got you the brains to go to college…..??
Dances meant 

Dads all at the bar

Women all at the tables

Mum’s dancing with each other or making you dance with them

Kids completely unsupervised doing what we liked, sliding on knees, leaving the building to watch older ones go snogging, trying to nick sips of people’s beers, babycham, brandy & pep.

Dads bringing drinks back and fifteen bags of crisps balanced under their arms, a bag gripped between their teeth and thrown on to the table
By the time you were old enough to go to these dances your older brothers and sisters were off out doing shenanigans with people who not being from the same background thought we were all weird and so you took on the mantle.
And the family parties where we were all in one room with our music and our parents, uncles, aunts, their friends, in another drinking whisky out of glasses that said Sham 69 on and singing the songs from their area of Ireland til the early hours and into the next day…..


And then Celtic punk happened, and for once, those records that looked so untrendy, the fellas with matching Arran jumpers kneeling down holding a fiddle or a banjo and looking cheerful, became the treasure seam of songs we would take and change from green field to pavement street walked over by our boots in the 1980’s Thatcher’s Britain……….and the songs became our own again and eventually when we, with these same experiences of defiant song and ballads that could tear your heart in two, made a band it was with that same spirit that we were taught kept our families going through generations; so it had to have the Irish heart (chroi) in its name. So many people have told us it is an odd name and get that ‘look’ when they hear it, and it well maybe – but google it, the name rises to the top, like the Irish hearts of our parents, their parents and generations gone by.


And now it seemed in getting the show done, it would be easy to laugh and pick those old songs that we said were cheesy that our Mums liked or just to document a time and place, but that can’t happen without bringing up all those memories, the songs that Mum sang that we rolled her eyes and teased her about, that she isn’t here to celebrate today, her anniversary is also this week, and the Uncles and Aunts so strong, now so frail or gone too…. meant it wasn’t a dry eyed preparation for this show, and there were so many songs that couldn’t go it. 


It really was a special time when St Patrick Day was the meaningful day it was about wearing green as a show that you can’t crush culture, before it became a fluorescent parade; but, if that is the price of people putting down barriers and celebrating together about what is good then it is a small price to pay and we still have precious memories…………..and so say the people here in Neck – Everybody is Welcome to THE HOOLEY!!! And new horizons for all in common

The Playlist

The Songs, all played for different reasons, different people and times.
1 Irish Washerwoman Trad

2 Extract from Foil Arms & Hog see the video here 

3 Fields of Athenry – Tony Fuller & The Free MacGuinness Band

4 Nora – Johnny McEvoy

5 Do you want your auld lobby washed down? Brendan Shine

6 Whisky In The Jar – Thin Lizzy

7 My Perfect Cousin – The Undertones

8 Seven Drunken Nights – The Dubliners

9 Danny Boy – Celtic Woman

10 Irish Rover – The Dubliners & The Pogues

11 When You Were Sweet Sixteen – The Fureys & Davey Arthur

12 Hay Wrap – The Saw Drs

13 Don’t Forget Your Shovel – Christy Moore

14 Oro se do bheatha ‘bhaile – Sinead O’Connor

15 Rare Auld times – The Dubliners

16 Ride On – Christy Moore

17 Four Green Fields – Phoenix Chroi Collective