Hi-Fi on the Wireless

An interesting new series begins this evening on Lyric fm, the station reserved by Ireland’s national broadcaster for music that doesn’t normally fit into the world of contemporary pop and rock. The show is called High Fidelity: A Century of Recorded Song and the first of 26 weekly one-hour instalments goes out at 7.00pm Irish time tonight. As its title suggests, the series will look back on songs and singers from the last hundred years with an emphasis on vocal performances as well as the technological advances in recording and producing music that the last century brought to musicians, producers and listeners. Tellingly, the producers of the show have brought together two of Ireland’s most distinctive vocalists to present the show. Julie Feeney and Jack L (pictured) are not very well known outside Ireland and, unfortunately, they are not as well known as they should be in their own country, either. Unlike many of their more successful contemporaries, Julie and Jack display an eclectic mix of musical influences in their own writing. They are also excellent live performers and will perform their own versions of some of the songs under discussion throughout the series

Tonight’s opening show begins with a look at some of the first international stars that emerged following Thomas Edison’s successful attempts at recording sound. John McCormack put Ireland on the musical map a hundred years ago as his voice made him a touring and recording star of the day. You can listen to him singing about a different star below. Enrico Caruso was an Italian tenor and a contemporary of McCormack’s. Another little known Irish singer named Gavin Friday sings about “sitting in the bathtub watching the dirty water swirl down the plughole” while Caruso plays on his stereo. The final two songs come from the show’s presenters. Jack L sings a lot of Jacques Brel’s tunes, but a few years ago he took on Kylie’s infectious earworm. That’s followed by one more tune from Julie Feeney and it’s taken from her second album from a couple of years ago. If you’re not living in Ireland you may be able to listen to the show at Lyric fm

The Star Of The County Down – John McCormack

Caruso – Gavin Friday

Can’t Get You Out Of My Head (Kylie cover) – Jack L

One More Tune – Julie Feeney