Interview with Nathan Carter Country Singer.
With Jerry Burn on this and Saint Patrick's day and boy it's a St. Patrick's day with a difference i'm delighted to have online one of the top entertainers in Ireland. He's toured in many other countries as well a truly incredible talent spoke to him uh back last year in the first lockdown and he was busy doing the grass and having the the lawn looking pristine at that stage I'm delighted to catch up with them again and say a very very happy Saint Patrick's day to Nathan Carter.
Nathen how are you ? I'm great Jerry, thanks for having me on the show and happy Saint Patrick's day to you and all your listeners. Nathan listen it's lovely to lovely to catch up with you again now the last time we spoke you were it was the it was the height of summer and uh the grass was growing like like uh like heck and you were you were busy keeping it keeping the lawn uh good so where uh after all of that water what have you been doing you've been a busy lad doing other things. Yeah the grass kept me busy last year normally I'm not here to uh to do anything you know but obviously with no gigs last year I got stuck into becoming a bit of well I wouldn't say a gardener you know, of any means. But I was in the garden anyway trying my best um but uh not been doing too much since to be honest I've been doing a bit of writing. Songwriting, a bit of recording and I released an album at the end of last year and called the the best of the last 10 years and it featured some some brand new singles that i'd written a song with the high kings called made a road rise single call Sarah Jane and my latest single which is called wings to fly, in memory of Nicki James.
So they tracks the role on that album and it had some some older songs from the last 10 years as well um and it did extremely well it's it's it was my most successful album in the chat today it stayed at number one for two weeks running and we were we were delighted with the success right now because obviously with covid 19 I couldn't get out to promote the album. I would do signings or anything like that so we were absolutely shocked when it went to number one for two weeks indeed indeed yes the album it was an astounding success and it had some fantastic material and that particular song wins to fly in tribute to your late friend and a gentleman who has been just so good to so many many people under gone too soon Nikki James yeah yeah i mean Nikki passed away only a year ago now a year last month and uh Nikki was kind of one of my best friends uh he was my kind of inspiration growing up to get into music and he paid for my first album to get done and got me my first ever gigs in London and Manchester and Liverpool and um just an overall great guy and wants to help anyone he could and so he he sadly missed and I sat down in in march of last year to do a writing session with John Ferry my manager.
And I said it'd be and I think it'd be very fitting to maybe write a song in memory of Nikki so uh we sat down and we came up with the song wings to fly and um again i've been kind of overwhelmed by the the uh feedback from us uh we stuck i made a video for it and we put it up on facebook and it actually went to a million views on on the actual year anniversary of his death which was kind of spooky as well it reached a million that day it was kind of like he was looking down on us but he sadly missed and and you know I'm actually performing that song.
I performed it on the late late show there recently and it's a song that seems to touch a lot of people who've lost someone close to them as well which is always nice to hear. indeed so i did so it's uh definitely a song of a sort of true feeling and that uh it's you know it certainly did a storm and did mean an awful lot to uh to an awful lot of people uh so how are you how are you how are you coping with the whole situation you obviously the same as so many other singers and uh entertainers i i speak to uh you know you really miss going out and performing and miss meeting people.
I do surely yeah, I mean it was my life for the last um probably 12 or 13 years since I left school it was music and gigs and shows and radio and tv and it kind of all stopped over a year ago now and it definitely left a big hole in in my time and figuring out what to do with myself was was it took a while but yeah I mean I'm pretty lucky in the fact that I've stuff to be out at the house and I can i can get outside and i can do a bit of recording a lot of the lads who work with me they've all had to take jobs you know whether they're driving or my fiddle plane I actually started a mobile coffee van and he's he's working with that so a lot of musicians have had to turn their hands to other things which is very sad to me.
I really do hopefully come back to music whenever we're allowed and whenever gigs can get going again um because you know everybody needs music it's a it's a serious therapy to a lot of people and then you know we all have stuff going on and you forget about it whenever you put go out to a gig or listen to a bit of music. So you know definitely thinking of all the musicians out there and hopefully get back as soon as possible. indeed, so and but you're lucky enough in that uh you've got your brother with you yeah my brother didn't took me on and off really for the last two years he's he's been here um and he's he's actually teaching a lot of children guitar lessons now on piano lessons via zoom which has its difficulties as well trying to get some children to hold the guitar for the first time it can be tricky.
So he's busy with that and he helps his partner out Karen who's a a very professional dancer who works on dancing with the stars here in Ireland and he helps her with them classes as well so they're busy thank God indeed they did yeah that's it's a it's a it just goes to show you you know the times that we've got it at the sheer ingenuity of man like when you i can appreciate the difficulty on a zoom call you know for to get a child to hold a guitar for the first time i cannot we can understand those problems but I mean there's been there's been tremendous ingenuity uh shown by uh so many you know by so many people and we're blessed i think in the times we've got in it uh you know that we've we've got the communications and the and the the technology that we have yeah I mean at the start of this i kept saying could you imagine if we were actually 20 years ago in in this situation and you couldn't contact anybody you know you could only speak via the phone.
At least nowadays I can facetime my my nan or my granddad or my mom and dad and you know you'd be seeing them most days which you know we're blessed that we can do that in this in this day and age indeed so I did so I mean i said it is it is truly incredible as you said 20 years ago we certainly would not be in this in this situation and uh you know it's great that at least you know uh there is the technology and you're actually able to we're actually able to to to speak and actually see parents or whoever it may be you know and uh that's i think that's gotta be identified oh without a doubt without a doubt I believe last week that you're, your nan who's gonna be your biggest fan she celebrated her 81st birthday she did yeah we um unfortunately I obviously couldn't be there to celebrate with her but uh i was on facetime to her and we we organized presents and uh you know family called around outside and seen her and stuff which was which was nice for her you know because to be honest uh jerry i think she's missing the gig more than me even you know she she loved to be at the shows and meeting people and the whole buzz of the gig and obviously if anyone doesn't know she saw my merchandise at the shows.
Especially around the U.K. so she she's mad to get on the road again and to get kicking and and meeting people yes well i'd well believe it she certainly uh you know what every time I better she just absolutely loved it and uh was doing cracking stuff and loved meeting the people yeah she is she's a real people person you know and uh she she celebrates first birthday day but I think it's heart she's still 21 and um she's mad for the road anyway she can't wait to see everyone again I'd well believe it listen just look at your head Nathan later on in the year I believe you're actually headlining the British country music festival?.
I am yeah, we got boots for that last year and that's happening in Blackpool it's one of the few gigs that i think we will be actually doing this year uh live and we also got booked for an irish festival there in july a festival called crack by the creek which has only just been released as myself a great folk band called all up and Lisa McHugh is on the the build plus others and that's happening the 23rd the 24th of July and so delighted to see that festivals will be happening this year we're keeping everything crossed that will mostly get outside some live music at some stage indeed that will be that will be helpful but I think it's easier in the you know when the weather is good in the summertime to be able to do you know or to be able to organize things like that because really the witcher time it's it's a new goal.
Ooh without a doubt and listen especially if we're outside social distancing can be you know put into practice a lot more and you know people can be spaced out and everybody can feel safe hopefully going to a show and hearing some live music. indeed indeed, now listen you've got you've got a a a cracking event happening tonight it's uh the St. Patrick's day live stream yeah it's my first ever live stream and um obviously with with the goodwill of technology um we're able to to broadcast live tonight over uh throughout the world to America, Australia obviously the U.K. and Ireland as well and I'm doing an hour and a half tonight with my own band um from a little place in Enniskillin just where I live we've got a little Shebeen there that way that I'm using for tonight's show as myself six piece band I'm going to be answering a few questions a lot of requests and doing some of the new material from that album we spoke about um and some of the old songs as well like wagon wheel and Caledonia and my other obviously a very heavy irish influence with the day that's in it so we'll be doing some some irish songs as well from Donegal all over the place so looking forward to that tonight though great stuff but it's on it's on at 8pm so it doesn't matter where in the world you live it's on at 8 p. m so it's 8 p. m tonight in if it's Australia New Zealand.
Yeah yeah exactly yeah the poster was a little bit confusing but yeah wherever you are at 8 p. m it's going to be on there yeah and listen for details the the website to go to is dice fm d-i-c-e dot fm yeah or you can just go to my website Nathan cartermusic. com and you'll get all the details there to just click the link and watch the show tonight at eight o'clock indeed that should be uh that should be crap it must be great to uh uh you know to be able to meet up with your band you know all be at the distance and all the rest of it but it must be great to actually sort of be with your band again performing yeah we were on a group watts up there and half of us were saying we we won't recognize each other after the lockdown some of us have put weight on some of us have lost weight so you know because we haven't seen each other in 12 months so and obviously I've been having to re-learn lyrics again because i haven't sang a lot of these songs in over a year so I've been practicing the last couple of weeks now trying to remember all the lyrics for them so looking forward to it now it'd be great great to meet up again and play a bit of live music indeed indeed i bet it is i bet it is you know and uh and also the fight you're saying but that's requested to that no doubt you'll have a because you've got a huge huge fan base and no doubt they'll be as well as others will be will be watching the show as well please God you know what and originally this gig was meant to be in Belfast Crumlin road jail but due to unforeseen circumstances we had to move the venue.
but listen it doesn't really matter where the venue is does it really because everybody's watching online um so you know everybody can be together listen to a bit of music and in the day that's in it celebrates everything that's good about being Irish and an island itself so we're looking forward to it indeed indeed you know that stuff definitely definitely it seems somewhat amazing that you know on a day like today which uh you know is is usually just a hectic schedule of events and events happening and parades and celebrations and all the rest of that all of that is being done sort of social distance and online for a lot of people you know it's it's uh it's it's the second year in a row really that a lot of people haven't been able to celebrate St. Patrick's day in person with other people in a pub or at a gig you know we've done a good couple of shows from the London Palladium on St. Patrick's day.
I think, but uh you know we at least we can be in people's homes and celebrate with other people online that's that's the main thing indeed now you were also one of the many people who's involved in the uh the song reach out uh which had a an absolute stack of uh singers and artists i i don't know a singer in Ireland that wasn't on that record would you believe i think there must have been a hundred things by the time it was finished uh but yeah it was great to be involved in um i think i made about 40 phone calls to fans across islands U.K. America as part of the retail campaign which Trudy Lawler and it was her brain brainwave and it was a great idea it was really lovely to speak to some of the farmers see how they were keeping and you know everybody's having good weeks and bad weeks at the minute so uh a phone call it goes a long way just to speak to someone indeed indeed and the song the song reach out where you you were involved with the you know one of the many voices there you know together with Daniel O' Donald Margo Foster And Allen and Mike Denver et cetera et cetera.
There was just too many numerous to mention uh that song actually was a huge huge chart success as well yeah it did very well I think online I didn't follow it too much to be honest uh because uh the week it came out I was actually in the recording studio all week um but uh yeah it did very well and you know like as as you say it was great to see so many fingers and and performers all uh getting together for a great cause indeed so yeah so he said you were at the recording studio so will it be something new coming out uh at some stage a little later on in the year yeah for sure jerry i've written and recorded about five new tracks um which I'm very excited about and hopefully going to have a summer single ready to go um the end of may for my birthday maybe june time um for uk and irish radio that's the plan excellent excellent that's uh that's right absolutely brilliant to hear Nathan has been lovely to to catch up with you and uh i wish you all the success in in the world no doubt the gig tonight will go an absolute storm and at least I'm looking forward to getting the singles and you know to yourself and all the family uh stay safe and well you too jerry big big happy saint patrick's day to yourself and all your listeners stay safe and please God we'll meet again before too long.
Nathan Carter Songs
Irish Singer Hugo Duncan Radio Interview
My next guest is a gentleman who started out in April of 1971 and has covered many songs and many miles and uh has sang to thousands upon thousands of people, a gentleman who's not alone. singer and entertainer but also in the more later years a radio presenter I'm delighted to say hello to the wee man from Strabane himself Hugo Duncan. Hugo how are you, how are you doing right now, too bad at all. Nice to nice to catch up with you Hugo you're still going after all these years you know jerry I, I'm like an old antique now at the moment but I'm still going thank God and I get the biggest buzz out of it that I ever got out of it because it keeps us going through this this uh today you know we're moving through it all and we're we're pandemic sorry when we're going through it all and we're trying our best to keep people happy indeed and you're well done doing uh all of that i mean it was it was an incredible start to a career i mean you you started off with the tall man in 1971 and then you recorded the the iconic hit and it was a huge huge success the song Dear God. That's right you know do you know what I played for and played with the way back in the in the in the 70s and 1970s 69 70. about you might have known them going back a year ago the melody aces thank you's band and in youtube Stuart only direction and David Coyle was the lead singer and Shea Hutchinson who was a great country singer he was there as well and I played that bass guitar with them for a while and sang as well and it just went on from there and then I got an audition with that peel McCann God rest his soul, he died there recently, and pew got me an audition for the for the for the tall men but they weren't the tall man at that time they were Frankie McGrady's old band the polka dots so I got the addiction with some and I went for the edition and there was a bit of a sort of a disagreement at the end of the whole a lot of it not with me but with Pio and the manager and the manager was going to be great Hughes and with khan hinds was involved at one stage and and Danny Curley was there as well.
But what happened was they said i was a good enough singer but it was too small because Brendan Boyer was six foot. Brian Cole was six foot. All the singers were all six foot and here was me five foot nothing right ,so repeal stowed the guards and Peter says what are you looking for now he didn't put him as nice as I'm putting it but he didn't say he said what are you looking for are you looking for a singer or a male model yes so I got the job through the help of pop you got me the job in the back right excellent stuff uh I mean, from that like you you know you never looked back you were you were very very fortunate to record the song dear God I was you know and there was a song that marvel had recorded it Brendan Shine had recorded it. Lots of people have recorded and was just a new face I was only 20 on the 26th of March I was mine on the second April the same year and uh you know my mom died that year as well so i was a one-parent family so it worked out very everything just worked out at the same time and it left but I was never on my own and I didn't have because my wife June was always there with me as well and then we had another, Suzanne in 71 and we just kept on going and I was very lucky and very fortunate that I recorded the stuff and the stuff worked well and had a good band behind me good motion behind me.
But we didn't realize what we were doing you know I was young for 21 years of age and stars in the eyes and and no brain there at all you know what in a way and uh but thanks be to God and his holy Mother I got rid of it and and I enjoyed it very well indeed that was excellent. I mean it would on I mean you you have worked right through from then in music and you know and singing i mean you you've recorded uh one thing that you you've you have recorded a huge amount of albums over the years. I have, I was very lucky I went to outlet records in uh 1982-83 now I was was riffs and release records and rip strikers and the whole lot up until uh I'm not rips with release up until uh the mid 70s and then I tell them the fortune that a lot of entertainers fell on was I got a fondness for drinks and i took a third drink at the time and I started doing myself no favours.
But thanks be to God I caught myself on after I would say was it the 28th of December 1983 I took my last drink and the first day sober was the 29th of December 1983 and thanks for the God and his holy Mother again I haven't drank since. well done well done that's uh you know that that that does take some going and then because I hadn't done anybody any harm the only person that done harmed you was myself uh a lot of people give me a second chance, and it's good when you get a second chance when you get it you make the best you can.
But and thank God I've been working since very thick and thin and I had me ups and my downs but I'm there and what we struggled on and thank God it worked for us indeed it certainly did it handsomely worked for you and also something that you've done for many many years is that you've um you've done a huge amount of charity work I have been on a great field Charlie work as a matter of fact I'm away tomorrow again to a place called sinfield and then I'm going to fall on Saturday to another place called Tedion county but you know i always maintained what you do for charity you're given one hand but you get it back in the other and it's not a one-way system and you know god's good yeah and and and I have been very fortunate I've got a daughter and my daughter too over the last number of years, three years ago and she had a big operation for cancer but thanks pretty god she's doing great now and she got a a good a good scan and a good result the last time so it's all good and you know we had our ups and downs i went through our team myself as far as uh the business and was concerned and uh you know it you have to just watch everything you do and and and try and keep going but it's not easy no it's not it's not it can be you know life can throw some rather tough uh tough curveballs at you at times oh it doesn't like i haven't seen one there too you know everything comes towards you and then you realize that as long as you've got your health you've got everything and when your family's got their health you're like i am very lucky I'm blessed with four lovely grandchildren.
I've got three girls and a boy and then my daughter Suzanne so I'm very very lucky that God was good to me in a lot of ways and you know at times didn't deserve it you know because when you're young when you're going about you you think that you're infallible you think you're you could walk through walls but you can't you need somebody to lean on all the time indeed indeed that's uh that is uh so true and then how did it come about uh thank you uh we did to the the radio broadcaster working for the B.B.C. well you know I started off during the private sessions and don't go up I don't know him for a while I did a donny gold community radio and I did the one and Letterkenny and one and one krannert and I was doing them all the time and then I got the opportunity to go in one time in in the mid 70s late 70s to standing for a great radio presenter called Donald Dougherty he was going to weigh in five weeks holidays so i would then and I stood in front of the B.B.C. and then they brought me back to do a 50-minute show once a week and then i went up to a 15-minute show on two occasions a week and then we just kept on going in and out and then i know now I've got a study program and i've got a Sunday program and we kept on going and going and in 1998 I started off uh on the fifth of October I think it was October September and I started off there with a job for six months.
So I did it for six months and I thought it was gone at the end of it because I had no academic qualifications I was a man on there and uh I didn't I had had no uh fluent speech or nothing at all but i tried to do it and i got it for six months and now over 20 years later i'm still doing it yet well done well done excellent stuff you know fantastic achievement people you know tribute you go for you like from the from the days of starting off like in the tall bed uh you know yeah what i have to say to i was very lucky I've got uh three girls who work with me all the time two weeks sir and i have uh joe murphy I've got Mary, Mark, and I've got Julian who comes in there two attempts and the three of them are there but i remember Joe was put on to me as my producer and he took him in as my producer and with me having no academic qualifications at all I was finding it very difficult to read big long pages and stuff.
I didn't actually read them. I skipped over the whole that one and I remember one day in berlin for about six months and I got to know Joe fairly well, and I knew she was a decent person so i have to say to joe one day what is that word there and joe said the media says there was Joe was Olivia who had uh degrees she was a French like a language teacher an aries language teacher and an English language teacher she had all these degrees and she was at queen's university so I said there isn't joe would you mind tell me what that word is there which is i think that word there means stamp collection but she used she she knew quite well what it was but she said i think it means stamp collecting and it's called philately so she wrote it out for me and she wrote it phonetically from me and then what happened there because she was so nice she didn't turn around and say are you stupid are you this is that you're gone she said to me that's what I think it is so I went back again here and i went back again here so I started to actually learn to read at,
I was 40 odd years of age and started to learn to read, wow if you don't answer the person the right way if a young person comes and asks you or a grandson or a son or a daughter or a grandson or a granddaughter come and ask you a question ask them with respect because as you give them the wrong answer they might never ask another question or learn another thing indeed so it's very very true and you you always kept sort of developing yourself and uh you know improving yourself along the way have you seen my figure you know well developed well i did that i like i love recording i love singing i have a new album out this year at one out uh uh 18 months or two years before that and unfortunately the one we brought out last Christmas. It didn't get the same uh push because of the covert and all that uh but uh I'm very lucky we keep on going and I get a lot of I do a lot of comparing I do a lot of concerts and guest spots at concerts and then the younger ones coming on now like Nathan and Derek Ryan and Mike Denver and Jimmy Buckley all these ones uh you know they give all the old people a chance to as well so we're we're actually creating work for each other.
We're working out there we're singing and and and it's just nice to get out and enjoy it indeed so is it just that's one thing with the I think that that's one of the main major casualties indeed of the pandemic uh where uh you know the the music and the performing arts has been affected incredibly badly well you see Jerry we were the first to come out and we'll be definitely the last to go back in again and i remember the first the last night that i played i was over in uh the royal theatre in Glasgow Brendan Shine, Dominic Kerwin, Mary Duff, Jean Fitzpatrick, Barry Kirwan and the whole elephants were there and we were singing over there and that was my last night professionally singing on the 13th of march and no professional works and said and you know it's a big loss to you at the same time even though I'm walking at the same time as a presenter but I love getting out at night I'm I have uh I'm an ambassador that make people smile and I enjoy that I go on stage and I just kill a quick buzzer of myself and i really I said you know it's like losing a limb i go out some weakness here because over the last 10 months now nearly i have been working uh from uh home here where i'm sitting now at the moment looking at the wee wonder here uh at home and uh i belong to the studio here it was actually a study i had before that but now it's Mr Bond studio for the B.B.C. I got it but we're down there and we do it and uh it's like a big community station where we walk right through Northern Ireland and further freely get calls in from America Australia, Europe all over there and England Scotland and Wales I'm very lucky and they just stick to it and it's very light-hearted there's no seriousness about it you know the program is for the people and I've found a lot of people over the last um over the last 10 months have turned your radio because we are as radio presenters we are getting a grit a great opportunity to go into people's homes and you know people take us in there and probably there are people sitting in their homes every day that we are the only guests they have coming under the house we're the only voice coming into that house to them.
So they take a a great interest in you and you become more of a personal friend than a radio presenter and you know I think radio over the last 10 months of any if anything happened it's got stronger indeed so yes definitely yeah that would be my my feeling as well I've spoken to a number of other people with the exact same thing you know what it's it's it's really it's it's it's streaming really like radio as in streaming and all that and it's interesting actually that uh the likes of netflix amazon youtube all of those have increased uh dramatically as well since all of the all of the lockdown and the thing that i miss most enjoy the whole lot is when I was going out when we were doing our outside we did outside broadcast and we could have had shows on in every uh part of northern ireland you know different countries all around the place in northern Ireland and we had all the different artists we had all the artists foster now we had Brendan Shine we had Nathan Carter, the whole that came out and sang with us and that's just to mention a few all the the the the mainstream artists come out and performed on a roadside broadcast but unfortunately over the last 10 months over this year we haven't got out at all and it's so sad because people love getting out it was like a community event because uh radio Ulster is another station that brings people together and music company music is always any kind of music at all has always brought people together and you know it's sad we've lost that for now but please God will get back to doing it again indeed so that's the thing you know I'd say it has it's it's that it has as you said you know the live performing and performing arts so the first thing out and uh indeed unfortunately will be the last thing back but the thing I think everybody's got to remember Hugo is that you know we we all will be back all the secrets you see i always maintain it's like uh i always say you have to look i came through very difficult times myself and you know talking about my daughter being sick and myself going through different problems but especially this time of year.
It's very black it's very dark, because of the the short days and the long nights and what happens is you get very discard and loneliness is another thing it says and and you know people don't have to be sitting on their own to be lonely you know you get people working in big offices you get people working all maybe all over the place and different big enterprises but the fact is when you're on your own you could have one problem bothering you and that puts you into a little loneliness so you have to get out there and keep it going and i always say every day when I'm doing the program here if you're going out late at night I say that I'd literally afternoon and you're gonna come back and you live on your own always leave a wee light in the house because i had a godmother god bless her she's passed away now but she used to always say if you've got a light on the house you have always somebody with you so i always tell people if you're going out now and they're going to come back in the dark to leave a wee light on and they're not coming into an early dark house because I find when i was going through about our time at night i kept a wee light on my bedroom and that kept me focusing on different shadows in the wall instead of lying in a darkness and not even thinking about anything so there's always that be light of hope you know you have to pray for that wee bit of hope and hopes that they say hope begins when you look out of a darkness and see a light indeed a great positive your thoughts on something which you know is very very positive for to you know to get out there and have a nose at the moment everybody needs all the positivity of the account they can't surely you have you know there's people in there on their own and they could be going through illness they could be completely deaf and danger you wouldn't know what they're gonna say because of family members who are maybe going astray or maybe you know going the wrong way and it's very hard for people to keep focused but.
I hope and an old prayer now and then just do any harm either and you know uh hope hope is if you haven't got hope you've got nothing it's it's very true it's very true we you said there about prayer would you say that you know your religion or Christianity is important to you okay I'm gonna say something I think might believe this but I work four days a week here at home and the four day I start at a half one and I link up with B.B.C. around about 11 o'clock or so and make sure everything's going and everything's right but before that I would go out to a mass every morning come back and again and then do my program then and it's not because I'm religious because I probably will the biggest sinner listen to this really of the night you know I'd be probably the the biggest sinner but uh it's my way of having my own being beaten with the man I want to meet with you like know right so I go out there and when I came off the drink when I came off as an alcoholic years ago I used to go every day too as well not to sit in a a church or a chapel to pray pray pray pray pray repel the prayer just to sit and have a chat to so many even if you're you see the great thing about chatting yourself Jerry the boy your chat is no smarter than you are.
So I chatted with myself all the time too and trying to look at a positive view yes yes that's a that's uh absolutely superb it's a you know superb way of a a special way of you know looking at it and a superb way of especially of living i think you know you know and having continually having the positivity well that's what it's all about and you have to get out there I am possible i get up this morning before about a half five or so i get up this morning and I was leaving the house after uh getting a shirt and all that you know a bowl of cornflakes and heading out the road and and then i travelled 90 miles to work and uh I got up to work in good enough time i wasn't work uh about a half eight quarter to nine and then I got five programs together. I did today's program i did a monday Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday's program and then uh Mary and Mack take the hole out and joe takes the hole out of it and then we leave it and another engineer comes and puts all that into the computer and we've got each day down for each day next week and i do the program uh down here at home as i said and it's wonderful technology now because I'm sitting here at home and there's about five or six people in Belfast and there's other people different parts of Belfast there who are tuned early work in the program and they all just help us out and we all work together good crack and I got home the night there after leaving a half six this morning I was home about 20 past seven tonight right it's a pretty pretty long day I'll have to say well it's only once a week right okay okay that probably takes the day it takes the sting out of us.
But then again you're used to that you're used to long hours how could you see each other there was times out of their car and sold the cork and go back again and then vote down it doesn't like snipe until back again and you're coming up and then you're used to the long journeys there was a time i was doing 60 or 70 000 by the year I remember just after this this this this code that started that i filled my car one Saturday and i went back the next Saturday I'm not thinking to fill it up again and she was still full that never happened for for 50 years yes yes indeed I can well I cannot believe it I guess I would have filled my car up at least three or four times a week yes yes well you're doing that doing the long months Hugo listen fair play to you for doing you know for doing it all out for a you know a great positive attitude and and you know for all the uh all the good you do all the uh the charity work uh that you've done and the helping out that you do uh for the the community listen it's been lovely to uh to catch up with you lovely to chat to you listen to yourself and your family uh you know stay safe stay healthy unless I'm looking forward to uh as soon as it's safe to do so i can see you on a stage somewhere where along the way yeah i have a couple of models there and i always say to go with your guts training because you know we are not saying they're going to do the right thing and always talk to somebody never keep yourself bottled up or worried off talk to people i can do it all so I let give them a good advice now and then now that they know everything but always talk to somebody even young people if there's anybody or anything boring and always chat to somebody and another thing which is very popular and you're uh and very positive and you've done it and I have done it and we hope everybody else can do it get a job you like because if you do a job you like your week's five days shorter exactly Hugo great motto thanks a million for speaking to me god bless you guys thank you. [ Interview done during the Covid ]
Pretty Little Girl From Omagh by Hugo
Irish Singer Robert Mizzell Interview
Welcome back now our next guest is a Louisiana man who has called Ireland his home for over 30 years much loved at home and abroad for his country music fans are thrilled at the release of his brand new album called forever country and we are delighted to have Robert Mizzell join us in studio this morning but before we chat to Robert let's take a look at the very special duet with his late father from the new album this is like father like like son two rose become one the father and the son the father and the son well there you go Robert good morning well thank you thank you for that what a beautiful tribute to your dads yeah I know it's tough to watch that but it's bringing back good memories too and yeah we're chatting about your dad and he's a great voice yeah he he is uh nicknamed him the possum which was a nickname that they used for George Jones yeah and he done Johnny Cash stuff and George jones stuff he could sing anything and in that clip um people might not know that but he's after recovering from throat cancer wow so he had a little bit of a raspiness to his voice yeah yeah but I think it even enhanced him yeah because he just sounded he was just like an old leather boot when he sang and it was brilliant was that something you did as kids growing up would you you know in on a car journey or around the table on a Sunday have a bit of a sing song well I'd like to say yeah that would be a nice story but yeah unfortunately like when we were growing up my dad and my mother both were singers they at certain times of the year they played in churches and other times you they played in the bars they were they were sort of it was a sort of a funny setup and my dad didn't really know that I sang until later on in life it was not until I came to Ireland wow and developed my career my dad was like you sing he must be very proud though of what you've achieved in terms of the world of entertainment.
Yeah well you see that we had we had a sort of a rough upbringing and yeah our lives we separated for so many years and and I when I came here I think it was 15 or 20 years before we spoke but the music brought us back together yeah and in the last 15 years of his life um the music was was the glue that held the whole family together from Louisiana to here and then of course to have to lose him you know i think i think he missed the vaccines by two months wow you know that's that's that was the sadness how how did you know your background you mean you're a former military man you know I mean but when did music appear in the radar in terms of hang on I can have a go this is as a career well I've talked about it before there was actually a thing in the Sunday world last week about it that Garth Brooks was sort of the reason I started in music wow because when I first got here back in the early 90's around 94 Garth was coming and a friend of mine had a cd that he played of Garth Brooks and i used to sing along and he said hey you know you you can sing and I said yeah I'm sure my you know my dad sings and my mom's things so when I seen what Garth was doing and I've seen the success he had with music I thought to myself hold on a second because I was doing i was selling mops and buckets at the time I was an insurance salesman I was terrible at all of that so I said I need to find something to do here yeah yeah.
So Garth Brooks sort of paved the road for me whether he knows he chose the safety and security of the music business I think i might go back to the buckets you know I'm just thinking with all the chat there's been in the last 32 weeks about Garth Brooks coming and the five five gigs sold out somebody like you is working okay up until covet non-stop and I know this because like I'm from Roscommon and I know that the dance is on a Sunday night and a Monday night are a big deal and people drive for miles to get to them but equally you guys as performers are driving for miles all over the country was it the crazy hectic schedule that we might think it is always nuts I mean before the lockdown I didn't realize until the lockdown came how much work I was doing uh you know I have the three amigos which has been on tour for the last number of years and um then I have my own band you know I have a young family at home Leo was three and Maisy seven and my wife and all.
so I mean I didn't realize I actually it was almost like going downhill and hitting a tree at the bottom just stopped yeah yeah just it just stopped and now of course we're deja vu we're back into the to this Christmas but then again as I said to Adele you know only the other day i said look I'm going to take something good from it I'm going to sit back and beside the Christmas tree and watch the kids play yeah yeah what else can I do because you never get them at that age again isn't it yeah has kind of been something that we've all you know it's it's come across all our minds over the last 18 months and it has made us reevaluate particularly losing your dad as well during the pandemic it does make you realize how important those near and dear g are and spending quality time with them yeah yes you've got to feed them so you're on the motorways and highways and by ways this is it I mean it's all like you look at the it you know people lie to you and say that money's not important because yeah you know because if a guy a guy who tells you that money's not important or lie about other things as well yeah yeah you never have to worry about it you know but at the same time it's not just about the money it's also about the you know the the creativity that we bring yes like the new album that we're talking about today I mean the the love that went into that album because of of the times that we're in.
Yeah being able to do it with my with my my brother my sister or my brother brother my sister my dad my wife you know so that we we the creativity and going out and touring those albums and touring the shows and the the musicians that the friendships that have with I was only talking one of my musicians yesterday and you know I could really feel the despondence could really feel it's tough and so far it hadn't happened we were sort of you know okay we're gonna get back yeah yeah but this this time yeah it's a real kick in the stomach business you know for the music industry it's a real now look at as I say look I'm trying to think positive i know we're gonna come back I know we will and but this is a difficult difficult time let's talk about the new album because you mentioned that Robert it's it's very collaborative you've got lots of people singing on there with you when you're putting an album like that together just talk us through your process in terms of what ends up on the album you know new stuff covers what way do you normally do this well this album sort of happened organically because it was my father you know who who started the album because we had we had like father like son recorded for an upcoming tour that was happening yeah the Nashville songbook which was to be done just before covid um and then we were in the studio we had the other song on the album it's all gone to pot which i think is a great sign the new single you know it's it could be our new Irish National Anthem so we we had those two songs and when my father passed i thought to myself what do I do with these songs now how do I feature them how do I honor them so then my wife is a beautiful lady and she she sings around the house much more than I do oh and she got a beautiful beautiful soft but but meaningful voice yeah so I said Adele you know she's done the odd wedding singing the odd wedding she's not a professional singer but I said would you come in would you come into the studio with me and she says no no no I won't it won't I won't but I eventually convinced her to come in and it's actually, it's my favorite song on the album for many reasons.
when you hear her sing it's just she's got like I'm trying a Nancy Griffith right type sound to her voice um if I can use that it sounds like a real love letter at the album to yeah to your family it is well let's see look it look Adele as I always say Adele Johnny Cash had June Carter and I have it yeah you know because i know without her I'd be in it oh she can't do anything somewhere and you know so to have her on the album and and and the fact that she is sort of shy and reserved yeah you know and to hear their her voice it makes it even more the better yeah you know because for the kids to have as well and to have mom and dad singing yeah nine years to come I know I know and hope I'm hoping that the two children now we're only talking about little Maisie we're trying to get her on the piano and yeah Leo of course I mean he he'd eat the piano at the minute yeah he's not really I'm not sure what he's going to do but to have that and then and then the mix in my sister in Louisiana I haven't I haven't seen my sister much in probably 30 years wow but when my dad died we we met up again um and as a matter of fact i don't I don't even know if she was going to the funeral at the time but I went down to Louisiana I found her I we went to the funeral together and I asked her then when all this was taken I said look I know she could sing down through the years.
I remember as a child she could sing and she does a beautiful version with me of grandpa the old Jude song wow yeah yeah and then my brother then of course Kentucky he's he's a karaoke king in Kentucky people love him the controversies he's also genius of this because all the royalties stay within the family that you know well you see with kobe if you keep things tight but I can well imagine Roberts you know that you cannot wait to take this album out to see our fans and so people who come and see your shows and their thousands you know and I want to mention i want to mention too Mary Byrne you you probably know Mary from x factor yes of course beautiful lady yeah and and uh you know Mary is very flamboyant and you know I rang her uh what are you bothering me for what do you want I said Mary I want you to come and sing a song okay but she came in and she's she there's actually a video clip on a couple of videos on facebook and we have a we have a series of shows that are going out that'd be streamed right and she's performing with me on that as well but a wonderful talent she's a hoot as well no more than more than yourself so the album is currently available yeah it's it's in all good record shops Tesco's golden discs all the good dogs as well and there's some bad ones as well yeah as a matter of fact if you come to the booth but listen we appreciate you coming down and having a chat with us uh give our best to all the family thank you great Christmas thank you lovely to see you thanks you can't get your hand on Robert's brand new album forever country at all good record stores across all the digital platforms and on his own website robertmizelle.Com Say you love me lyrics by Robert
Singer Songwriter Michael S Togher Interview
You've written a number of uh cracking songs one of them was a you you can't park here which uh really was absolutely hilarious yeah you can'T park here it with a song actually that I actually got that song from like uh one night i was playing in a bar and uh he gave me that a rough copy of it and i kind of changed the words around to suit myself then and uh that without that when that came out it was really really popular to start playing all the radio stations all around the country and and far beyond your own in your own area there as well uh jerry and on all the Irish radio interest stations as well then I suppose if you talk about songwriting you know um i went on to write a few different songs and I uh put probably the one that was most most famous for it would be my darling kathleen
That was Mike Denver's first uh first hit when he came on the road many years ago and uh to this day that's a very popular song indeed so I did a absolutely huge huge song that from Mike Denver I mean it was a that song really was uh in in in new small way uh the song which uh possibly launched mike Denver to some huge success because it was absolutely uh a massive song yeah mike actually did a great job on the song anyways but it came about very simply actually we're playing at a charity function in a star outside and Westport in continental called digger James at the time it's gone at the conference but then i actually gave him the song and uh i said we never listened to that see with his future he was only starting out from the road at the time and his manager Willie Carty was there on the night as well and i was in actually in a in a shop in London on on quickbooks Broadway one uh one day about maybe three weeks after that when he rang me and he said um he said look i'd love to recall this song i'm sure look that i was on a high after it's very very funny because I had written lots of songs before and on the one day in that year was that about 12 years ago.
Actually PJ morgy recorded one of my songs at the same time and the two songs came out the same day which was you know very lucky one that one pj recorder was called the thieves of Eric uh tell the story of around the uh the famine times and the two songs my darling Kathleen and at the field of virus came out the exact same day so that was a bit of a good opportunity that is incredible yeah that was some coincidence you know well done another song i believe you wrote was the old county home uh that that's actually an old song jury that would have been saying around here for a long time I actually i'd love to have written it but I didn't write it but uh it's a thought that you know was being forgotten about and there would have been so in all the houses here i'm from Belmont in county now as you might you might have mentioned earlier in your in your interview but i just found it was kind of renowned around ben mullers and all the old people would sing it and when we grew up like the mother of the kind of songs we were kind of into and uh yeah.
I decided to kind of change it around a little bit again and kind of bring it up to days and yeah that was really successful that's got lots and lots of hits on the youtube channel indeed absolutely huge I think it's actually yeah it's a song i mean the other artists who recorded was Seamus Moore on an album but uh you you i think were initially you know renowned for seeing it uh back in the day and it sort of became associated with uh being a song of yours yeah yeah shameless recorded after me yeah but actually shane shameless actually recorded one of me one or two of my own songs is what you've recorded the song that I wrote years ago called the bloody pension officer and that was another song that i wrote a couple years ago but she wasn't trying to record that one then and another song that i had at the time the two of them were actually on remember called Maggie flan and drawers I didn't know you familiar with it or not jerry yeah he recorded both of them and look at James is a great guy he's a lifelong friend and a great entertainer very very interesting indeed indeed absolutely fabulous a gentleman who's been uh you know who's been going a long long time since uh you know what sort of uh he hit big forum in about 1988 89 and going strong since yeah yeah look at that excitement.
The longevity of him that proves how popular he has been and um every summer uh of course this summer 2020 he would be doing Irish tour and that was very very popular and better sure that he's gone that length of time that you mentioned there jerry and he's still so popular it's really accredited for him and and actually Flynn and Paul Rooney the players as well to do a great job indeed so indeed so another song that uh you uh recorded with another from your native male the fair and lenimoy was another one of those songs local songs written by Mcmanaman from Bangor Eris um and that that that was another one of those songs that were sang around they just used this area for years and years that hadn't been recorded and um so yeah I actually recorded that song with the martin, Eugene Kelly and Eugene was a great musician from Galway and who died suddenly a couple of years ago while on two in America and he had his little own little studio out in Canada there sounds like the city and yeah that's where I recorded that from many moons ago
But it was very popular as well indeed it was it did well another song actually that uh digged out it was a very very sort of a different tempo on it uh was I want to be in Ireland for the Christmas yeah that was yeah I want to be known for the Christmas there was another one that yeah actually it was I suppose there's a story behind every song Joey and I was in at a dentist a thousand months before Christmas and one when the girl said to me he wrote this song for the summer she said would you change the words for that for she said and put it make it iron for the Christmas she said I absolutely loved I loved the song she said and I love the melody of the song but i just wish that it was about Christmas yourself because I love Christmas as well so I came home and i started scripting away and yeah, I came up with that and the couple of days before the Christmas i went into tour and I handed her a cd copy I said have a listen to that I said there's your christmas present Ireland for the Christmas right cracking one of this and uh at the mike Denver actually also recorded but he called it I want to be in Ireland for the summer.
That's right that's right it's a great it's a great song but i suppose the key to any um good song jerry is a good melody and a good cause and if you have if you've been combination in any song if you're looking into any of the famous songs they don't have to be the the best written songs in the world they don't have to be but if you have a nice easy melody easy to listen to and a nice course that people can remember very easily yeah on a window then yes yeah exactly you know that is a that is true er what are the other songs that i believe you may have written this one the shores of ely bay the shores of early day was written by Eugene Doolin but I think Eugene is I think he played in the business around London.
Man I never had at the pleasure of meeting but theory again it was one of those songs that hadn't been recorded and i got my hands on it actually one at this guy that was a home on holidays and he was he was friends with eugene and he gave me the song so here we go shameless shames more recorded that one as well sure the valley bay is a song um about where I come from actually it might new the village that I was born and raised in is actually mentioned in us and all the places around it like ellie bay and binghamton and Belmont they're all mentioning this and of course on the London side you have Holloway road and high gate and kingfish town in Camden town and then there were all the places that all the people from around here would have gone over the last couple of decades and but a lot of people would have settled in the nearest as well so yeah it's a song that resonates with a lot of people around here indeed indeed so now your latest you know the single which I've been playing is a recording I'm also when i when i received the song I was i was surprised that you were that you were recording but I must say I like the that you know the arrangement is of the the old classic song the voyage the voice the voyage is yeah it's a great song as well of course and I'll tell you how that came to record I was working with Tony Maher Tony is a conqueror's keyboard player and Tony is a fantastic musician and we were sitting in his studio in Hedford and he said he said to me we're waiting on a song i was thinking of what what is he going to do what else are you going to do and tony said you know what song is that there was actually recorded this very studio I said many years ago the very first thing of it I said go on tell me there's probably something else and he actually played the original for me Johnny duke and I think that that wrote it I think I'm not sure and then he played the original track that he had from 2025 30 years ago whenever it was recorded first of all and he said we'd have a go with it.
I said I don't know and if you look at I always wanted to do it this way he said we will never go this way i said what happened and I was delighted so we've done it in a kind of a walk slow walls temple and i was absolutely lighter when i get when it came back from the studio with all the work eight hundred delight with that stuff indeed no it is all I'll have to say it is it's I it really is superb I love the arrangement i'll have to say often because I have never heard anybody doing that particular arrangement after I won't say it it really does it really it's a cracking job it really does sound it does sound good Michael you were a busy busy man you know doing your live work up until everybody stopped on the lockdown and all the rest of it in march yeah I was doing about maybe three to four nights a week maybe all the time jerry up to about I did once a week before some Patrick's day and and then little did we know like that that last Saturday night before some Patrick's day when things were closed down that we'd be here where we are today like coming to the end of September and as I say not not a guitar taking out to a box and okay since um it's very strange time for the industry it's it's really it's really frightening because honestly industry because there's no roadmap for for return to music and i suppose we we work in a very unstable kind of situation where we're working so yeah it's strange, it's very strange right indeed so indeed so i mean you know we certainly didn't see this coming anywhere along the way and the irony is if anybody had to say to us a year ago that something like this could possibly have happened.
I mean we really would have thought they were cracked let's be honest yeah hundred percent there yeah it's probably the most strangest thing that has happened i suppose in the world not alone the music business but in the world and look yeah it can be very frightening sometimes if you actually sit down and think about it so i think I suppose we're in a war and we we're we're all in it together and we're fighting against those fires that talk about world wars and this is a kind of a war in a way we're all fighting against this virus and you know if we keep fighting if we keep doing the right thing i had no doubt we'll win the war indeed indeed that's exactly you know that's exactly it and it's all we could do is go as best we can tell me this Michael have you done any any streaming or any facebook live things since since the lockdown I did jerry actually for the first couple of months there from i think maybe April time onwards by down about 16 or 17 Tuesday nights and really enjoyed them and we're getting great lessons listenership then over the of the couple of weeks that I've done them and people are saying look at your zero creature keeping us entertained and everything well i can tell them back like I was getting as much out of them in shows as they were because I just needed I need to actually contact with people when you you know yourself jerry from your radio shows that the fine job that you do there on Irish radio and you know the contact and the and the return kind of messages that that keeps you going and gives you the impetus to go forward again and I was doing that every Tuesday night and I really did get a lot out of them yes that's you know that's that's a you know what it is it's it's an excellent way for in some way or other to be able to connect up to people because one of the things that so many singers say to me is what they really really miss is meeting the people he missed that so much actually Jerry and I have found myself actually over the last of the last while no matter who I've been walking um whatever I'd be doing and if you'd meet somebody and you'd have a conversation with them and I find myself talking about stuff that's that I didn't even know about you because you're in your own little bubbles.
I suppose when you're you're in the music and you're you're talking about music and you're talking about this and i found myself talking about that like well growing up on a farm I found myself talking about cows and I've talked about land if I meet if I meet a fisherman I can't I can talk about about fishing and stuff like that stuff that we're doing very young so maybe in that way it's no harm to go back to a small bit of nature again and you know basically what I'm saying is it's just lovely to talk to people indeed indeed it is indeed it is you know but but Mikey listen fingers crossed we'll you know we'll all get back there when it's safe to do so Michael is it's been lovely to catch up with you I wish you all the the look in the world all the success and and good health there is and unless and what it's when it's safe to do so you'll be back flying in action once again thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to speak on your show to all your listeners stay safe and we'll be out of this before we LONG.
The Blackbird tin whistle notes by Sharon Shannon in the key of D Major. This music tab is actually two tunes put together by Sharon Shannon. The first is an old standard '' Padraig O'Keefe's followed by ''The Happy One Step''.
Another song that that means a lot to people in this country that the Mountains of Mourne right which from from you I'd love to know the connection between how does it land on your lap
Right, well um when I was a kid or maybe 11 12 years old 1957 I was born in 1945 I had a Kingston Trio record yeah and they sang the Mountains of Mourne and I liked the record and why be all the kids had their records and many years later I heard someone in a coffeehouse somewhere singing the fourth verse to the song which I'd never heard.
The Denny McClaren verse and so that maybe decide to record the song and I was on United Artists records back in the 70s and all my albums sold very well and I made an album that was a little bit different of just a bunch of different songs that I like an album called playing favorites which Rolling Stone actually liked you know they usually hated everything I did.
And out of that album came the mountain of Mourne but I actually slowed it down. When I came over here and sang it people said everybody gets drunk and sings that song yes I'm afraid it's true they're you know they're saying so I'd slowed it down so it really is a pretty song yeah cuz sometimes when you slow down the melody you can hear it but it's so beautiful.
It is it's like a little movie isn't it it's it's it's like a little film it's a little film and when you say that the part I liked was I believe see you remember young Denis McLaren of course well he's over here with the rest of the force I saw him one day yes he stood on the Strand stopped all the traffic with a wave of his hand as we were chatting of days that are gone whole town of London's to dare to look on but for all his great power he's wishful like me to be back where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea.
I was going to say that the song was written after I read a book about Van Gogh and apparently his brother had an illness the same illness he had so the idea formed in my little brain that maybe I would write a song about an artist and I thought well I've never heard a song about an artist before and so I thought that's a good idea and I played it for a bunch of high school kids and after I wrote it and they weren't paying any attention to me and they started listening very carefully and I was almost an unknown at that time so.
I thought wow that's an unusual effect to have a song like that on kids, that couldn't care less you know yeah so what I did was just looked at his painting and off of a G chord, I just started to tell his story using the imagery from the painting starry starry night her starry night so I just said starry starry night paint your palette blue and gray look out on a summer's day with eyes that know the darkness in my soul shadows on the hills sketch the trees and the daffodils catch the breeze and the winter chills in colors on the snowy linen lane I shouldn't I just would love you to sing all the song and every cell every song before teatime doesn't allow but it's so so beautiful to hear that like this it's a gorgeous music.
Derek Warfield Speaks About Why The Wolfe Tones Broke Up And Irish Music
Now we're delighted to welcome to the studio a musician historian and legendary founder of that legendary band the Wolf Tones and that's Derick Warfield and Derick you're very welcome it's nice to see you thank you very much did you feed over the road a long time haven't you yeah how far back does it go 62 well you have performing and singing in the 62 and of course I founded The Wolf Tones 1963 and we were together for almost 38 years I broke up in 2001 boy um well it was artistic differences in we were together a long time and it was probably for me probably good because they gave me an opportunity to develop new markets and to do projects that I couldn't do within a band because you kind of get fed up looking each other a bit do you know yes yes yeah I'm just thinking about the wolf tones in the context I know I know a lot of you know musicians fellows like patty Cole and and so on who are in a very different type of world you and you were always seen as a very radical band yes you had political views you were you were to some sense associated with Ireland you know in in the the very alright let's call it the Republican context yes.
Did that affect you in any way in terms of what people's perception of the world tones world ? yes I I don't think it did in the 60s because in the 60s there or traditional music song was not seen in that light and the patriotic and so-called rebel songs were part of our musical sound tradition but they were not isolated they were together with the sporting and chemical ballads and and so a bit about the troubles happened and because of our tradition and because we didn't stop singing our songs patriotic songs and we different views taken towards us and bright felt at them the radical form of Irish ballads the sounds of each song in this country for and perhaps even thousands of years and it's very much part of our musical heritage and culture and so I always took that view as so I always felt that we should never apologize for the content of our patriotic songs and ballads were part of what we are. And did you feel that people when they said well you know the Wolf Tones okay you'd started in the 60s and as you quite rightly say yes you started the dishes before that all straps tonight yet you kept flying on through and so on during the seventies and eighties and nineties yes particularly I'd imagine in the 70s and 80s it was very difficult ? yes you think people sort of almost said yeah come on lads lay off it you know you're only winding things up ?
yes a lot of people would have said that and even within the band and and some of the members didn't want to keep singing that but I felt, and I was, I was adamant that we should because it was very important. I see and as a historian for us to record the events of history as we were passing through our lives in some other than sing about them because we had looked into the past and and if if writers and composers and singers and musicians have not written about their particular generation. You wouldn't have that history and any hairy moments was there you know in that time you know anywhere were your fellows would threaten you are you oh yes I was threatened with that many times, and but I always felt you know that I'm I'd not believe in my tradition to to understand like that it wasn't it wasn't directed at the English people, these people as a nation but rather at the politicians family and the songs are directed towards people like that alright enough of that that's what that's in the past and talk about the now I mean you're a very you're a noted historian what do you like to involve yourself in immerse yourself in in that respect.
Well I think the most important aspect of my life and through my music and song has been that I felt that the Irish people abroad and their history and the contributions have not been fully studied or not available a popular print so I thought to and to study the Irish as I travelled and was a labour of love because I had access to communities that would be nice later for more honour for generations and I found that their music and song and their likes and dislike were very similar at home and so I back in the late eighties, I compiled three CD is on the artists involvement in American Civil War and three of them to do with the art and wanted to do with the Confederacy and I completed those men process of doing another one l and I went and where money in Scotland.
I did a few CDs on the Irish culture and tradition amongst the party so much government Irish I mean there is there is I suppose a musical history of the more recent Northern Ireland troubles to be to be compiled at some stages that's something you could do yes there is and like there's and and it's a great tribute to the Irish people that they've always recorded their emotions or feelings in songs it's a wonderful tradition no other race for people haven't and it's probably the most undervalued of all our traditions I don't think young people today in Ireland should be deprived in our history I think they should know and I think it's very important I think we were very casual yeah and I only notices when I come back from America very casual casual attitude towards them or our heritage our culture of that we have in this control that's a lot to do with how much money we've made and then we lost and people were focused on the wrong things perhaps you know and it is perhaps but I think it's much deeper than that I think that in all our traditions because of our colonial past.
We had a poor value ourselves on what was accepted in our communities. We didn't just appreciate and most people had to go abroad to see it compared with other traditions to see the great value that it was what now for you but what's next in your plan and the next plan there well I just returned from America at all was there for two months and my as a project I'm involved now and I'm just completely CD to CDs and a book on the Irish in the revolutionary war in America the music and the solemn poetry and I hope to have a cure project someone then after that and of course my new band is has been them great success and and for me it has revitalized me energized and my career well I tell you I haven't I don't think I've been to a party where drink was flowing where someone didn't get up and try to sing one of the world's own songs very bad the other side so you have some heritage and some legacy that that the world Jones is left behind but in fact that Derrick Warfield is that yes and I feel that you know that because as I said it's a unique tradition we have and we don't value it in this country but yes like it's be part of all celebrations it's been part of every generation at the writing of songs and the singing songs and ballads and there it's and we should value I think artistic identity Jews in this country are a little bit like the way African-Americans treat him in America and they they had to come to terms with how important they were to their heritage and we're not just alone and lots of races that have suffered from colonialism and and the lack of belief and their own traditions makes it hard for them to accept it undervalue him and then and this is what happened okay Tareq it's a pleasure to meet you and thank you very much for coming in legendary legendary it has to be said Derrick Warfield they're back on the road in his own right of course founder of the wolf tones and historian.
The Story Behind The Fields Of Athenry Song As Told By Derek Warfield Of The Wolfe Tones
I'm standing outside Kilmainham jail here in Canada in Chicago and Dublin pretty close to where they was born and rare i knew this place when I was a kid we used to break into it with the only kids i suppose in itchy court that broke into a jail but it was delicate at that time the roof was falling in and it hadn't been used for about 30 years and about in the late 50s a group of men got together here in ninja corps and called for volunteers to clean it up and to turn it into a museum a voluntary museum it was a Mr Brennan i can remember him well and i went down there on Saturdays with some of my boyhood friends and we cleaned out the cells and i was always intrigued about the snakes that i thought when i was a kid but i found out afterwards, there were the five demons of crime now if the British authority numbered artist patriotism was a crime every Irishman and woman that was incarcerated and this bastille in this jail were guilty of a crime.
But they were guilty of no crime, their only crime was the love of the country. The only claim was the love that their people, they wanted to see them prosper and better the conditions that they lived under English rule all of the men and women who were incarcerated here who were imprisoned going back to the 1798 if jail actually was opened in 1796 one of the first people to go into it were the men and women of the of the great rebellion of 1798 Henry Joy McCracken the Shares brothers killing Thomas Andersen were all indeed imprisoned in this jail.
It's hard to believe that so many great men could be accused of crimes and imprisoned indeed for the love of the country but it didn't stop there indeed in the 1840s the great man of peace Daniel O'Connell he was incarcerated here and what's more he was threatened with mother of his over one million to hundred thousand people he was going to assemble in front of Dublin the poor man was taken imprisoned his health was broken and he died a broken man in Rome Dan O'Connell's treatment was horrific and for a man who of hard violence he was threatened with the violence of the resist the terror of the British army and navy that was assembled in Dublin bay and told that if he assembled his people here in this city the shots would be fired and the blood would be on his hands and of course Dan he abhorred violence and he cancelled the meeting during the starvation the extermination of the Irish people in the earth 1840s and 50s hundreds of people this jail was bursting with people that were stealing food and need to feed their families. many of these young women were sent to Australia they were sent to Australia chiefly because there was no women there for menial claims are rubbing and torn up or an apple or something small they were sent indeed and the pa and torn away from their families and sent to Australia this jail is a house of terror for anyone who
The men who tried to change indeed the system of government in the 1840s and 50s the young Ireland movement .Thomas Francis Maher, he was imprisoned here, McManus he was imprisoned here all of those men William smith O'Brien he was imprisoned here and then he had the great Fenian men with 20 years after India and America tried to bring some sanity to the ruling of this country that had seen over 1 million people leave Ireland every 10 years from 1850 to 1920. we're the only nation in Europe, the last population in the 19th century and sadly this country was controlled by a country that was considered the wealthiest and most the wealthiest nation on the face of the earth the British empire when i stand here in Kilmainham jail i think of all the unknown names we remember the names of the men and women of the eastern rebellion who were executed here project pierce Thomas McDonough Joseph Plunkett, Tom Clark and the James Connolly who all perished in this country in this jail who were all murdered the crowd of people that stood outside here and knelt as James Connolly was being executed we remember all them here today but also we should be mindful of all those names that we'll never know the names indeed of the young girls who were imprisoned here of the young buyers who were taken out the streets indeed for stealing an apple and imprisoned here we should remember them there's no words to express the tyranny that was exercised in this country in every generation and when I come to this place and as I did when i was a kid I was mindful of that fact .[Music] we're going to sing a song now that reminds us of those who stole food to feed their families the Fields Of Athenry this is a sad song but it's also a song of resistance if you're looking at this video and you have announced a virus building you you are a survivor of Ireland's holocaust you are a survivor of the attempted extermination of the Irish people and as we said in the fight a book that was written by Tim hackrogan he wrote a great book the famine plot he said that it takes all the boxes for genocide they wanted to read this country of its the most powerful opposition that they faced and that was his people and they disposed and dispersed the people around the world may god forgive them for their rule in the 19th century and the torture and horror they brought on the people of Ireland indeed they were expelled from this country in the 1840s and 50s this song if you announced over as long you sing it out require today because it's a wonderful ballad and it was written by a man who was born up in the road, Pete Saint John he was born here and he wrote the beautiful music that gave its popularity around the world based on an all traditional song that went back to the 1880s the fields of Athenry.
Interview with The Wolfe Tones On TV3 2011
currently celebrating 40 years on the road which I think puts him around the the same ear and generations the Rolling Stones possibly others there's a new type for the Rolling Stones and ballad bands the legendary Dublin balladeers the Wolfe Tones continued to be one of Ireland's biggest box-office attractions saw the prestigious venues during the last year across Ireland the UK mainland Europe and the US and the Wolfe Tones join us so to tell us about their what had been after and of course the fact that they're back at home for summer and there's a whole range of gates that they're going to be telling I suppose.
Good morning lads chances there's somebody who doesn't know who you are Brian Warfield no makeup, Tommy Byrne good morning Tommy won't talk cause he's the moody one that's 48 years you know whether you'd like the Wolfe Tones are not, matter due to 48 years at that level in the business that you're at is a hell of a treatment right well it's a long time it's been a long and winding road but we've had some fantastic times over the years we played all the major concert halls in the world you might say from the Albert Hall to the Paris Olympia Carnegie how you name it the worked on something you're still doing it and as long as we have the health and as long as we have, we keep enjoying it we continue.
How do you keep the brand fresh because you know I mean from my generation to what Hans meant one thing and obviously it was a different era socially and politically ? yeah, but like that's all gone though no I know the Republican side of it is, it is important to you but that's not people you know people don't rally to that flag anymore, no you are effectively entertainers so how do you keep the brand fresh what was happening to or something a lot of the show's markers that we're having people come to the shows that their parents have been to our shows before and music by hearing in their own homes with their parents playing our music our LPS as we're back then and the kids are growing up with that and they are now coming to our shows to hear, it's not something for somebody who for anybody who's never seen your life and he is quite astonishing because you are effectively an acoustic ballad band, yes which you can take the roof off a venue better than any and with 10 times the amplification and I mean anybody who's been to regimes of course Lee or who see wave will know that I mean.
If you want a band to blow the roof off the tours, You can certainly do it and you don't need amplification for it I think it's the music you know there's this great spirit in the Irish music and it was music that carried the Irish people through that they had over the years and it it's a total reflection of Ireland, if you know the ballad that is the story of Ireland and all all aspects of it do you find you find it kind of sad ?
no the moment because look you've always done huge business but you're doing huge business again with Irish abroad because you go to Australia and you know if as many Irish people come to your gigs there's you would have had a home because we've new generation emigrating well that's true yeah well we just last February March we did a US tour and then we continued that on out to Australia and from there into Middle East and then back into a hardened again but it's true I'm a the emigration has started again and there are a lot of Irish kids people especially out in Australia and like they just love to hear our music and hear the message, right you've been through this like it wasn't three time so anyway look people wants in a way they can see you at home because it's kind of a rare events. In fact it's an event so we're going to, it's up on screen.
Tommy Makem, I think it's all started subconsciously I remember first time I ever performed in public was at the market house in Keady. I was 5 years old and I sang the little beggar man which had learned from my mother and I remember my sister Mona get my bed that's open pushed me up against a wall and she says if you start this too high I'll murder you before you get home to mama and she'll more do when you get home would you bigger answer so would you please now put your hands together and give a welcome to your own Tommy Makem [Applause] [Applause] the home-wind gentle swing was reading all around but bitten slung across my back my hazel stick in hand I knew it fine good music in long days yet to come put pressure on the company all winter long home those long winter nights the Firebird and right the Fiddler's in the court of by the flickering firelight the company will make your spirits right there's music in the rafters all along winter nights.
I was born and raised of course in Keady County Armagh and I always refer to it as the hub of the universe the linen industry was very big in Katy you know hundred years ago our less much less my mother and all her family worked in it my father worked in the Flex Mellie it was a scorcher my mother was a noted singer and she had a huge collection of songs all in her head very good folk songs and my father led the fiddle and flute and there was always music in and around the house all the girls in the Millers my mother told me and would all have these songs and if someone came with a new song it was like a gift to everyone I know my mother had the great capacity for here in a song maybe twice and she would know the entire lyrics and the tune and would never forget them.
My mother also told me about down on the parade as we called it this the footpath this the street where we lived they used to dance every night when there were young girls after coming out of the middle they'd be working from like 6:00 in the morning to 6:00 in the evening and when they get out of the Middle's and had a bite eat the beard dancin' and if there wasn't a fiddle player around or harmonica player or a whistle player they were all singing and lived for the dancing in the wrestling would dance just on the street.
I wanted to be an actor and failing a theatrical life I thought maybe a journalist would be good or a photojournalist even I was offered a job at the Old Vic which seemed very glamorous to go to the Old Vic in England but then I began to think well there's a tremendous amount of excellent actors around around London and around the old vacant Bristol or wherever and I thought thought there be more opportunities in America so I decided I would come to America and try my fortune in America as an actor.
I had more relations in Dover New Hampshire than ahead in Ireland my mother's entire family moved here her two sisters and four brothers all had moved here they had all been weavers and spinners and so forth in the middle Katie and then they came to America and that's where they went to work here in Dover New Hampshire in the cotton mills and later on in woollen Mills alas none of them left here now they're all along the mills and my aunt snuggles I must have been 20 21 somewhere in there I gone to New York see the Patrick stay rain and Paddy Clancy asked me if I would sing at a concert in a theater called the circle in the square down in the village in New York and I said sure here we were living oral tradition we had these songs that were handed down, not necessarily said here's a song you should learn but just it was there by osmosis.
I knew hundreds of songs that I didn't learn you we spent two or three days and endless foolscap pages with names every conceivable name you could think of the moonshiners and the blacksmith's and the Chieftains and the Druids and that fili whatever we had pages and reams of names and we couldn't agree on any of them we all agreed that the four of us would have that would have to be unanimous before and Inge would be pushed down anyone's throat so we arrived out in Chicago still not knowing what we would want to be called an Allen Rebecca had the name up on the board in outside the gate of horn in Chicago the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and that's where the name came for my most memorable moment was we did a there was a show done for President Kennedy in Washington and there were a lot of performers on it and we did the whole diary spit on it and I wrote new words to an old song called no Irish needed, like no we want no Irish here and he got a good kick home but that's alright ill I go home I left in 1969 I left the tanzy brothers because I felt we were in a very comfortable groove and I felt that there was no challenge for me there either as a performer and I hadn't really gotten into writing you know had written a bit but I wanted to get in a bit more to that and everything was much too comfortable you would go to do a concert somewhere the place would be packed you could sing the songs and you knew you were going to get a great reaction to them but there wasn't I this was just a personal thing I felt the need to a bit more challenge guns as brave as were the far uhh my 4/3 well blue once again say see.
I wrote four green fields in 1967. I was driving to Newry and it was between the customs posts and there was a woman on the road and the word she had two or three cows two or three cattle there with her and I began to think you know I I had an inkling that there were maybe bad times coming up and it's always been that's the tradition that in bad times Ireland was always referred to as an old woman like the hag of there and in good times she would be referred to as a beautiful young queen like Kathleen II hula horn but I saw the old woman on the road and here she was in no-man's land between the two customs huts and I began to think there's something in the in the offing here and I don't know what it is but it doesn't it looks ominous in streets of Belfast and here the people will cry for justice long denied them and their Brian fills the sky for the winds of change are singing bringing hope from dark despair there's a day of justice carving soon you can feel it in the air and the winds are singing freedom it's a time laid out for laughing was a time laid out to weep there was a time laid out for sewing and a time laid out truly there's a time to love your brother there's a time for hate to cease of your soul the seeds of justice peace the winds are singing freedom I became an American citizen because this country has been very good to me and I
hope I have contributed something to this country but I'll always be an Irish man of course up along just have maybe a hundred yards less of the of the block here from us there's an old graveyard and I thought it was most peculiar when I saw it first because I went in and was looking around all the headstones and someone quite old by American standards you know 1840s and 1830s 1860s and an inordinate amount of them from our own country Ayanna McGinnis they're also from around Derry news in Katie Brian but the peculiar thing that I found was that they put her there Irish address on the headstone and it was pretty touching because here were people that came out and emigrated and they knew they were never going to get back but they never lost the touch the ties were very strong [Music] you it's midsummer June 14th 16:46 all along the banks of the river black water that divides her long from our man two armies have gathered to do battle the English army were under the command of Munro who was a noted military tactician all over Europe he had been sent to Ireland with thousands of well-equipped battle-hardened soldiers to quell the O'Neill once and for all the O'Neill the great chieftain of Ulster the O'Neill and all his predecessors had been a terrible thorn in the English side for many many years the Irish Army on that day were commanded by a chieftain called Own Roe O'Neill.
He had a right tag of an army some of them were on horseback most on foot some of them had swords and Lance's and Spears but the majority of them had cuddles and rocks and stones over O'Neill set his army upon a little hill at the village of Ben Berg overlooking the Blackwater River and he wouldn't let them start the fight they all were aching to get at the fighting he wouldn't let them start it until the Sun had come round to the West in the evening and was shining in the enemy's eyes on Raw Neil won a very unexpected victory on that day that sort of colored Irish history for many years to come one of his soldiers is telling you about what happened at the Battle of Danberg it's June 14th 1646 [Music] and we kept all at forenoon our fall men at bay we long for their praise we prayed for the fray for our chief bittersweet till leave and be gone then rush and our foals with our backs to the Sun then hurrah for the red hand at dawn to a man our columns fall down like a storm on their man there was panic before us and panic beside as their horsemen flew back in oil Robin time [Music] we took from our foes air that comes when I fall their horses and package their banners and all that we sat around the campfire and drank in the grow ass to our leader Lula brave on roll a lot life to our chieftain the brave Own Roe [Music]
I found in Ireland that a lot of people don't pay much attention to their own culture they're more interested in well we're really European you know and we have all these computer operators that we are sending all over Europe is not wonderful but you could come you can cut a computer operator out of the hedge but where are you going to find poets and singers and dancers and writers and actors and so forth we have a an overpowering deluge of of wonderful artists painters so forth that's what we should be shipping to Europe and trying to take our rightful place as the cultural center of Europe because in in the early centuries the three centers of culture in Europe were Rome, Barcelona and and they still could be we could be the leading cultural country in Europe I hope TV doesn't say they told him opinion on Donna McArdle from the most are offended probably ain't great [Music] and leave the hardwoods in a when the mob Plaza flourish and this clumsy buddy graceful child he said the smudge again from the Fiddler's arm is magic in this town let's magic in the dancer speed and the way people smile.
in a bird song in the morning you're the laughter all the children at airplay or my hope and joy and wisdom you're my reason just for living you're my expression you're my very night and day and if we can pick it up he could help us to sing it Jenny a Gentle Annie you're my treasure you're my very night and day even mountains all come tumbling and the earth has starved it's turning when the winds don't roll stars refuse to show when the moon has left the heavens and the seven seas are empty I will still have gentle Annie on my mark gentle Annie I will still have gentlelady on my mom [Music] gently gently I will still have gentlelady on my mom [Music] well the secret of our marriage is that I don't sing and Tommy doesn't touch the checkbook kids go to Boston when his contract with somebody in Vermont my sons that were all born in Ireland but they were all raised here I'm done and then he's there right and like all kids here that would have been into rock and roll quite a bit but every once in a while I would hear my own recordings coming in the middle of the rock'n'roll and then when they all got through college they had to say that they wanted to be singers and get into folk music and they're very deeply into it quite deeply and they're very involved in Irish culture you [Music]
oh my love retail lament for our departed friend and we remain unto God for what is a we pray that God might guide us and deepest by his hand and send enough spare winds way let's see unknown for you [Music] he's thinking this is son of man he's thinking about taking up the Fiddler's know whether he will or not I don't know pick that one yet you build all the frets on it to make it easy to play for real well I have left them all this songs I might have left them I hopefully with a great desire to learn more about Irish culture in protector and Celtic culture in general and they are all very interested in it love to go to Ireland and have a great deep love and I might add a great respect for their culture and I hopefully that's what I have given to them to carry on to another generation we're saying ooh the summertime is common and the trees are sweetly bloomin' and the wild mountain thyme rolls around will you.
Irish folk song lyrics, chords and a whole lot more