Welcome Here Kind Stranger

I think that the whole experience of Irish music and the falling in love with songs made me want to become a songwriter, and when I saw people in America, like Bob Dylan, were also coming out of that tradition … that made me feel that I could start to do that, too (Paul Brady quoted in Bringing It All Back Home by Nuala O’Connor)

One of Ireland’s most prolific singer-songwriters has just released his first new album in five years. Hooba Dooba is the unusual title that Paul Brady has given to his tenth solo album. On his nifty new website, he reveals its origins:

It’s a phrase i’ve used for years to celebrate life. When something difficult works out in the end, when a gig is reaching its climax and you’re in full flight….hey! what else can you shout but …Hooba Dooba!

The album contains a dozen songs including four that he’s co-written and a cover of You Won’t See Me by The Beatles. It also includes Paul’s version of a song that he wrote for Bonnie Raitt that she used as the title track of her 1991 album Luck of the Draw. You can listen to songs from the new album by navigating through the Media & Shop tab situated on the right-hand side of the main page. You can also listen to and purchase any of Paul’s previous albums there as well

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A Limerick For Bob From Limerick

Independence Day in the USA
Is only three or four short months away
This Fourth of July
No word of a lie
I’ll be in field singing Lay Lady Lay

Lay Lady Lay (Bob Dylan Cover) – Magnet & Gemma Hayes

Publicans Raise Spirits After Nailing Good Friday Opening Hours

You remember that the pubs in Ireland used to close every Good Friday? Well, not this year. At least, not in Limerick anyway. On April 2nd, the Munster rugby team takes on their Leinster counterparts in a Magners League game at Thomond Park in Limerick. Due to concerns about player safety and also television rights, the game was scheduled for the unusual date of Good Friday. The publicans and bar owners in Limerick weren’t too happy about this as it meant that the public wouldn’t be able to watch the match on the TV screens in their bars and pubs. In addition, the 26,000 or so thirsty rugby fans who attended the match wouldn’t have the option of celebrating victory/drowning their sorrows afterwards. The publicans and other Limerick business people did their sums and reckoned that they would lose around €10 million if the pubs remained shut. I don’t know exactly where they got this figure from, but it would mean that every adult in Limerick would have to drink ten pints on the day, admittedly not an impossible task. At first, the publicans tried to get an exemption from the State that would allow them to open for a few hours on the day in question. When this didn’t happen, they applied to the Limerick courts on the basis that the match represented a ‘special occasion’. Of course, as every Irish person knows, with only 52 Fridays in the year ANY Friday is a special occasion. Amazingly, Judge Tom O’Donnell announced that he would allow Limerick publicans to open their doors on Good Friday from 6.00pm to 11.30pm. Even more amazingly, Judge O’Donnell’s reason for allowing them to open wasn’t because he felt it was a special occasion, but for “health and safety” reasons! Nice one, Judge

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Out Standing in a Field of My Own

The finalists for the 2010 Irish Blog Awards were announced this weekend and Town Full of Losers lived up to its name by losing out in all three categories for which it was nominated. I must admit that I was delighted to be nominated in three categories and I hope to be back next year. Congratulations to all the other nominees and to the finalists in each category. And a big thanks to all the judges and organisers for all the work they put in over the last few months. The winners will be announced at this weekend’s awards ceremony in Galway

It wasn’t all bad news this week, however. Last Tuesday, this blog was added to the list of music blogs at The Hype Machine. This is from their site:

To put it simply, the Hype Machine keeps track of what music bloggers write about. We handpick a set of kickass music blogs and then present what they discuss for easy analysis, consumption and discovery. This way, your odds of stumbling into awesome music or awesome blogs are high.

Cool, eh? I’ve been on the list of another music blog aggregator, Elbo.ws, for the past year and it’s brought a lot of new readers to the site. I’d like to welcome any new readers from The Hype Machine and hope you like what you see. And a big hello to all my old (and not-so-old) readers as well. Here are some tunes to celebrate!

Born to Lose – Johnny Thunder & the Heartbreakers

I’m A Loser (Beatles cover) – Eels

Close Call – Rilo Kiley

Irish Blood, English Charts

Waterford-born Gilbert O’Sullivan plays the University Concert Hall, Limerick, this Tuesday, March 23rd. He was born Raymond Edward O’Sullivan in December 1946 and moved to Swindon with his family in 1960. There, he became interested in music and moved from the guitar to the instrument for which he later became renowned: the piano. He was also a keen boxer and took part in nearly fifty bouts. He went to Swindon Art College in 1963, but his desire to become a graphic designer took a backseat to his love for music and songwriting. In 1967, he signed a five-year contract with CBS Records, but left after a couple of years due to lack of control over his music. He wound up at MAM Records with Gordon Mills in 1969 and had his first Top Ten hit in the UK the following year with Nothing Rhymed

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Poguetry In Motion

I mentioned on Wednesday that I’d be spending Patrick’s Day immersing myself in Irish culture. I had planned to take it easy on St Patrick’s Eve, but shortly after writing the post I got an unexpected text from a good friend of mine. It didn’t take too much for Tom to persuade me to call over to his place for a few drinks and to watch Chelsea take on Inter Milan in the Champions League. Watching English football teams is one of the most popular pastimes amongst Irish males and the tie was nicely balanced at 2-1 to the Italian team. I brought along an 8-pack of Bulmers cider (the Irish one, not the English one). The game was quite close, but Inter scored near the end to ease their passage into the quarter-finals. As the number of cans got fewer and fewer, Thomas put on one of the best Irish films of recent years, In Bruges (it’s in Belgium). The next morning, Tom’s lovely lady Linda made an Irish breakfast for the three of us. Even though Linda was unable to offer any evidence as to the food’s heritage, I had no reason to believe that it wasn’t an Irish one. It was cooked and eaten in Ireland and it even tasted like an Irish breakfast. After that, Tom checked out Cheltenham and we watched the Irish trainers, horses and riders cleaning up. After Linda cleaned up, she dropped me home. My thanks to Thomas and Linda for a lovely Irish day

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One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor!

I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for those who like country music, denigrate means ‘put down’


The convergence of new technology with an outmoded form of music has created quite a stir in the Irish entertainment business recently. A band playing an Irish version of country music (referred to as country & western) has gone from being a household name in rural Cork to national infamy in the space of a few short weeks. Crystal Swing is the name of a family trio featuring teenage siblings Derek and Dervla Burke and their mother Mary. Bands containing two or more close relations are not uncommon in the music world, although it is quite rare to come across a group that counts successive generations among its membership. Teenagers tend to form bands to rebel against their parents, but Derek and Dervla don’t seem to have any of those rebellious urges. In contrast, they possess an abundance of youthful exuberance, provincial naiveté and kitschy glamour. Their rapid rise to fame in Ireland has been facilitated by advances in modern communication instead of such traditional methods as practicing, rehearsing and gigging

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