Archive for the ‘music’ category

The Derry Civil Rights Song – 7″ Single from 1968

January 11, 2015

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Once upon a time this blog was about vinyl records. That was a long time ago, but occasionally I still post the odd… oddity. I came across this the other day while digging in the crates. A topical song by a group called The Moonlighters (presumably a reference to Captain Moonlight, rather than working two jobs) concerning an incident in the north of Ireland on 5th October 1968 which saw a violent attack by British state police on a civil rights march in Derry. If you’re interested in the historical background to the song, check out the CAIN (Conflict Archive on the INternet) page here.

Regarding the song itself, I can’t find much – ‘The Moonlighters’ throws up only one reference on Discogs.com, and that’s to this same release. Billboard magaizne from 7th December 1968 says the following “Gerry Devin’s Monaghan-based Shamrock label released “The Derry Civil Rights Song,” promoted [sic] by the incidents of Oct. 5 when marchers and police clashed on the streets of Derry. It is by a folk group, the Moonlighters. . .”

monnlite1It would appear they were an ad hoc folk group formed for the specific purpose of releasing this single, which was released at some stage in November 1968, within in two months of the attack on the marchers. According to Discogs.com, Shamrock Records only released four other singles in its lifespan, though the IrishRock.org says of it that it was “active from the 60s onwards. Many colour vinyl releases. Similar to Glenside Records in content.” Of Glenside Records, IrishRock.org says it produced “a high incidence of very old fashioned renditions of folk ballads, with a high kitsch and sentimentality factor, and is probably of little interest to most collectors.”

The B-Side is a jaunty selection of Irish reels (instrumental songs for folk dancing to); The Sally Gardens, The Bag O’ Spuds and The Copperplate.

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I couldn’t find an upload (either video or audio) anywhere, so I’ve stuck it up on YouTube and TinyUpload (in MP3 format).  So here’s the song and its B-side. The lyrics (as best as I can make out) are posted below.


Download MP3


Download MP3

The Derry Civil Rights Song
(1968, Written by J. Doherty – Performed by The Moonlighters)

It was the fifth day of October and the sun was beaming down
And the people had assembled to march in Derry town
The police were there in hundreds and on mercy they did frown
As they freely used their batons that day in Derry town.

They’d assembled at the station as all free people might
And they peacefully marched up Duke Street as was their civil right
The police had formed a barricade and they told them turn around
Then they batoned men and women on the streets of Derry town

Oh come on ye Ulster policemen for its you that are to blame
Oh come on ye Ulster policemen you should hang your heads in shame
The shame that will go with you though you told the wide world round
How you freely used your batons on teh streets of Derry town.

Take heart you Derry people all the world knows of your plight
And that government in Stormont that denies you civil rights
The day is fast approaching when these men they must stand down
On that day we’ll march triumphant through the streets of Derry town

Some posters for the Poster Fish

January 25, 2012

Here are some gig posters I’ve done in the last couple of months for my good friend Freda who runs Poster Fish Promotions (click the images to see larger versions).

Some shorts for LookLeft and an unpublished exhibition review

January 25, 2012

Below are some shorts I wrote for LookLeft magazine, and a review of an exhibition about reggae soundsystems which was dropped due to space issues.

‘Jemmy Hope column’ – shorts
LookLeft #8, October 2011

– After sacking 575 workers in Waterford – some of whom actually trained their low cost replacements – TalkTalk have offered an “insulting” redundancy package of four weeks pay for every year worked. At the same time, TalkTalk hosted a lavish bash in an English stately home which cost a mere €2.3 million. Priorities, priorities.

– The Labour Party is celebrating both its centenary and the inauguration of the National Job Bridge internship scheme. They’re looking for someone to work a 30 hour week on the celebrations. This lucky intern will get €50 per week, plus dole. Larkin and Connolly would be proud.

– It’s not all doom and gloom for social welfare recipients. When they’re not trawling the pages of JobBridge.ie looking for an internship that isn’t actually insulting, they can revel in the fact that since 1986 dole payments have risen by princely €143.75. Meanwhile, TDs’ take-home pay rose by a paltry €980. Per week.

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Soundsystem culture: From Kingston to Dublin
LookLeft #9, December 2011 (unpublished)

In November, Dublin’s Little Green Street Gallery played host to a slice of reggae history. Soundsystem: From Jamaica to Europe 1950-1995, created by music historian Ronan Lynch, designer Paula Strzelecka, and artists Freestylee and Mau Mau, explored the history of reggae soundsystem culture.

Soundsystems – collectives of deejays, selectors and technicians – have been the backbone of Jamaican music from ska and rocksteady through to today’s dancehall styles.

Using words and images, and a constant backing track of reggae tunes, the interesting and informative exhibit traced the movement from its roots in Kingston’s ghettos to its influence on the rise of European warehouse parties. Alongside the displays, the documentary Holding On To Jah was screened and gigs featuring the cream of the Irish reggae scene were held in the venue.

Poster Fish Promotions’ Freda Hughes, organiser of the event said: “The positive vibes and sense of community we created is something I hope will live on in future gigs and events”.

“Irish Artists’ Pledge to Boycott Israel” reaches 200 signatories

January 14, 2011

“Irish Artists’ Pledge to Boycott Israel” reaches 200 signatories
IPSC
, 13th January 2011

Irish singer-songwriter Dylan Walshe became the landmark 200th signatory to the “Irish Artists’ Pledge to Boycott Israel”, which commits endorsers to not “avail of any invitation to perform or exhibit in Israel, nor to accept any funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights”.


The pledge – an initiative of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) – was launched last August and since then has garnered the support of many high profile Irish creative and performing artists such as Stephen Rea, Sinéad Cusack, Christy Moore, Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine, Damien Dempsey, Neilí Conroy, Conor Kostick, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Sharon Shannon, Robert Ballagh and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. The full list of signatories can be viewed online at http://www.ipsc.ie/pledge

The pledge launch in August 2010

The pledge launch in August 2010

Commenting on the landmark 200th signature, the IPSC Cultural Boycott Officer Raymond Deane said: “As the Israeli state becomes ever more racist, expansionist and oppressive we have seen the growth in its isolation by international civil society through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The success of this boycott pledge is indicative of wider feelings toward Israel, both in Ireland and around the world. Indeed, similar pledges and initiatives are being organised in many other countries.”

Freda Hughes, IPSC National Chairperson said: “The IPSC and the international BDS movement salute all those cultural figures who have pledged to boycott Israel until it abides by international law. Unfortunately, for Palestinians and Israelis seeking a genuine and just peace, this day seems as far off as ever. The Israeli military has already killed 6 Palestinians so far this year, there is an anti-democratic crackdown on dissent within Israel itself, and a “new war” on Gaza is being openly talked about.”

Ms Hughes concluded: “Instead of reflecting on the message behind the BDS campaign, Israel and its supporters have ignored calls for justice and instead launched an offensive against anti-occupation and pro-human rights groups in Israel, Palestine and internationally. Ridiculous attempts to smear human rights supporters as “extremist”, “anti-Semitic” and even “terrorist” are being carried out in order to stifle criticism of Israel’s apartheid policies. Of course such claims are nonsensical, but do serve to indicate the pressure the Israeli state is facing from the BDS and social justice movements. It is clear to anyone with eyes to see that it is Israel’s actions that continue to delegitimise it in the eyes of the world.”

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IPSC Home: http://www.ipsc.ie

Appeal: Help Seomra Spraoi win a car just by taking a minute of your time

January 17, 2010

Hello everyone,

Seomra Spraoi, Dublin’s only autonomous collectively run social centre – and general wonderful place full of wonderful people – is in with a real chance of winning a car, which we’ll then sell for money. You can help us win by merely voting here: http://www.gumtree-winsomewheels.com/individual_entry.php?id=660 (its takes one minute or less – and if you’ve got more than one email account then you can use that too – the more the merrier obviously).

[6pm, Sun, 17 Jan] Seomra is currently in the lead by about 90 votes, but we need more more more. I’m not even sure when the closing date for this is.


If you’re wondering why you should vote for Seomra, here’s ten reasons:

1 ) It’s a non corporate social space in one of the most corporatised places in Ireland – ie Dublin.
2 ) It receives no state or any kind of other grant funding – it survives solely on the donations and standing orders of its users.
3 ) It puts on fucking great nights – (live and DJ) reggae, hip hop, punk, soul, rock ‘n’ roll, dubstep, big beat etc etc. Hell, even I’m allowed to do the music sometimes.
4 ) The food is cheap and great – and its BYOB which is always a plus.
5 ) You’re guaranteed to make new friends there – and see people you haven’t seen in ages.
6 ) The rent is crippling and we’re in a recession
7 ) The volunteers are lovely people (except me, I’m a cunt obviously)
8 ) They host talks you’re unlikely to hear anywhere else, even on the left. Agree or disagree with the content, at least they are getting a forum. Not to mention the workshops and creche.
9 ) The best play I’ve ever seen was on there, Marx in Soho. Fair enough, I’ve only ever seen two plays, but still.
10 ) They are friends of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and we jointly held a very successful Palestinian cultural night there in October.

We are all Semora Spraoiso go and vote!

Barb Wire Love

♪ Random Record A Day #6: Love Sculpture – Sabre Dance / Think Of Love (SP, 1968)

January 16, 2010


Love Sculpture – Sabre Dance

b/w Think Of Love
(SP, 1968, Parlophone)

Cover (not mine)

Today’s entry is brought to you by my good friend Freda, via the highly scientific method of picking a number. I have to say I laughed out loud at the name of the band (which I’d never heard of before), but then as we found out yesterday, I have a very dirty mind indeed.

So, Love Sculpture (1966 – 70) were a hard blues rock band from Cardiff (go Wales!), which according to my research (ie, wikipedia) were basically guitarist Dave Edmunds and his backing band. Their music generally consisted of blues standards, done harder and faster than usual. They released two albums – Blues Helping (1968) and Forms and Feelings (1970) – and two singles. Sabre Dance actually made it to #5 in the UK charts, with a little help from John Peel who gave the single lots of airplay. He also gave the band three Peel Sessions in two years.  However, further fame was not to beckon and after touring their second album in the US, they split. Edmunds went on to release a wildly popular version I Hear You Knocking (yes, that version) and later formed the band Rockpile with Nick Lowe.

So first off, everybody knows the Armenian-Soviet composer Aram Khachaturian‘s classical/ballet piece Sabre Dance. Even if you don’t think you do, you do – and this is a cover of it.

I love a good guitar-driven rock instrumental (think The Just Brother’s Sliced Tomatoes or The Virtues’ Guitar Boogie Shuffle). I absolutely hate guitar wankery (think John Squire’s noodling at the end of the album cut of Love Is The Law*, or the more, erm, ‘excessive’ parts of Second Coming – ahhhh coke, you’ve a lot to answer for). And there’s a pretty fine line between the two.

Happily, this is a simply splendid interpretation of the above-mentioned piece, and firmly in the camp of the former. It’s what I’d imagine would happen if you locked The Shadows in a cellar, forced mushrooms and speed down their throats and up their noses, convinced them a zombified Cliff Richard was coming to get them, and told them to write the theme tune to their own escape.

Side A

Everything in this song is hurtling along at breakneck speed. The guitarwork is just amazing and the drums – for the most part – monotonous, yet frantically intense. It actually sounds as if the guitarist and drummer are racing against each other for dear life. The whole song is just… immense. I think, though this is something I’ve considered for the first time today, that the key to a good rock instrumental is the rhythm section – it must keep the song interesting and steady, not allowing it to stray off into Guitarfetishland or the neighbouring borough of Soundscapesville. And despite the fact that this song is basically saying “look how great I am on guitar”, the galloping drums keep it focused on just being a good fucking tune. There are even bits of this song that sound like East Bay Ray studied it intensely. In fact, it reminds me a lot of his work on Fresh Fruit, especially Chemical Warfare.

Side B

The B Side, Think Of Love, is also pretty damn good. The opening bass riff reminds me of some Nirvana song I can’t think of right now, then it sounds a bit like Honey by Moby – eh, but in a good way – and then it goes slightly mad for the rest of the song. It’s not an instrumental, but it might as well be having only two short verses and no chorus. As with the A Side, its all about frenetic guitarmanship with a great rhythm backing.  I might even slightly prefer it to the A Side.

In my esteemed judgement, this is a fabulous 7″.

Download / Listen – Via DivShare (Mp3)

Side A – Sabre Dance (4:55)
Side B – Think Of Love (3:01)

Download All (MP3)

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* For the first time since that album came out (1997),  I actually re-listened to the full version of Love Is The Law. It’s still as appalling to me now as it was then. Despite thinking to this day that the radio edit is a decent britpop tune, I lost interest in The Seahorses almost immediately after hearing the album in full. But curious as I am, I did a quick wiki to see what happened to them. Turns out they split up in 1999 while writing a second album. It was acrimonious, with the former vocalist Chris Helme describing Squire’s work as “muso wanking”. Good man.

Barb Wire Love

♪ Random Record A Day #5: Eddie Cochran – Drive In Show b/w I Almost Lost My Mind (SP, 1963)

January 15, 2010

 


Eddie Cochran – Drive In Show

b/w I Almost Lost My Mind
(SP, 1963, Liberty / EMI)

Eddie Cochran - No cover available

At last the randomiser (which is actually just my brother) has thrown up something that isn’t mod or psychedelia!  Unfortunately, its one of my least favourite Eddie Cochran songs, with a B Side I’d never heard before.

But first, what is there to say about Cochran? Born in Oklahoma in 1938, he had a short, but prolific and highly influential, career. As part of The Cochran Brothers – with Hank Cochran, no relation – he cut his first track in mid-1955 aged 17 (a country tribute to the late Hank Williams and Jimmy Rogers). By 1958 he had secured his place in history by writing and recording Summertime Blues and appearing in a cameo role in the film The Girl Can’t Help It. A string of other hits followed, and at the age of 21 he was dead, having been thrown through the windscreen in a car crash in England. The driver (who got 6 months for dangerous driving), along with the other passengers Gene Vincent and Sharon Sheeley, survived.

There are two really interesting bits of trivia surrounding Cochran as well. From wikipedia:

The car and other items from the crash [that killed Cochran] were impounded at the local police station until a coroners’ inquest could be held. At that time, David Harman, better known as Dave Dee of the band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, was a police cadet at the station. He taught himself to play guitar on Cochran’s impounded Gretsch 6120.

Coincidentally, earlier in the tour, the same guitar had been carried to the car for Cochran by a young fan called Mark Feld, later to become famous as Marc Bolan of T.Rex and who, in a further coincidence, was also killed while a passenger in a single-car automobile accident … [At one stage] Bolan had his main Les Paul model refinished in a transparent orange to resemble the Gretsch 6120 guitar played by Cochran.

and

On July 6, 1957, 15-year-old Paul McCartney’s successful audition to join John Lennon’s earliest rock group The Quarrymen opened with Paul picking up one of the groups’ guitars and performing Twenty Flight Rock in the same manner as he saw it played by Eddie Cochran in The Girl Can’t Help It.

Brilliant!

Side A

Alas, now I have to talk about the music. Well first its worth nothing that one of the things Cochran was notable for was that he wrote most of his own songs – but neither of these two are his own compositions. The A Side, Drive In Show, was written by a chap called Fred Dexter and the recording is credited to ‘Eddie Cochran with Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Johnny Mann‘ (quite a mouthful). Thankfully, its not some protoprog lunacy – unfortunately, its not very good either. It was originally recorded and released in 1959 – but this single is a posthumous UK release from 1963.

Basically its an innocent rock ‘n’ roll love ballad about a first date, almost doo-woppy in sound (probably due to the chorus singers). At least I think its innocent – but an uncareful listen might lead one to believe one of the lines goes “I bet my penis to a candy bar” (I’ll leave it you you to figure out what the actual line is). There’s also a reference to “six hotdogs” – but then again, I may just have a filthy mind. It’s not a bad song as such – its just… boring. It’s got none of the oomph of rock ‘n’ roll, nor any of the soulfulness of doo-wop. It seems just a bit pointless.

Side B

Unfortunately the B-Side, I Almost Lost My Mind, while a title I can definitely relate to is not much cop either – though its definitely better than the A Side.  It’s a cover of an Ivory Joe Hunter (actual real name!) song from 1950 – and the original is far, far better than this effort. It’s another slow ballad, piano-backed with a decent guitar break. Again, as with the lead track, it’s not terrible by any means, there’s just nothing there that really stands up to repeated listenings.

Put these songs up against most of Cochran’s output and they fade into the background. I’ve no idea why anyone thought releasing this 7″ was a good idea, apart from maybe they had run out of things to release. The B Side was actually first recorded in 1956, but as far as I can tell never released in the US, and only appeared in the UK on this 1963 release (and later on a UK compilation album, My Way) – so it wouldn’t surprise me. Frankly, I wouldn’t care if I’d never heard either song again.

Download / Listen – via DivShare (MP3)

Side A – Drive In Show (2:02) [note: my own record is a little warped, so I uploaded a version I have from a compilation album]
Side B – I Almost Lost My Mind (2:33)

Download All (Mp3)

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Barb Wire Love