Album Review: Runrig – The Cutter and the Clan

Runrig were formed on the Isle of Skye in 1973. Their style of music can be termed Celtic Rock, Folk Rock, influenced by traditional Gaelic music and the pop revolution of the 60’s they grew up with. Their first album Play Gaelic (NA 105) was released in 1978 and was sung entirely in Gaelic. Calum and Rory MacDonald write most of the songs.

On Runrig’s following albums The Highland Connection Ridge Records (RR001) 1979, Recovery Ridge Records (RR002) 1981 and Heartland Ridge Records (RR005) 1985, all released on their own label, the brothers began writing also in English. This developed more as time went by.  In their writing there is a sense of place, tradition, a love of your homeland. Relationship with nature, the environment and immigration are themes that permeate their songs. You can feel the heart in their playing, a richness in the vocals.

The Cutter & the Clan is the 5th album from the band. It was released in 1987, originally on their own label Ridge Records (RR008), like their previous three albums. They had arrived at a point where there was a confidence in their writing and performance. The press and various record companies were showing an interest in the band. A worldwide deal was signed with the Chrysalis label providing a springboard for their music. The Cutter & The Clan was re-released (CHR 1669), followed by a live album, Once in a Lifetime.

The Cutter & The Clan (track listing):

Side one :  Alba, The Cutter, Hearts of Olden Glory , Pride of the Summer, Worker for the Wind.

Side two :  Rocket to the Moon, The Only Rose, Protect and Survive, Our Earth was Once Green, An Ubhal as Airde.

Album produced by : Chris Harley.

Band Members:

Donnie Munro : vocals,  Rory MacDonald : vocals /harmonies, bass, acoustic guitar, accordion, Malcolm Jones : guitars, bagpipes, mandolin, Peter Wishart : keyboards, backing vocals, Iain Bayne : drums, percussion, Calum MacDonald : percussion, backing vocals.

Alba : written in Gaelic by Calum and Rory. On the flight returning to your home place (Scotland), the high mountains, the glens, the houses and seeing the landscape changed.

The Cutter : written by Calum and Rory. Thoughts on immigration to Canada, returning home on a visit to your people and place.

Hearts of Olden Glory : written by Calum and Rory. Walking, reflecting with a sense of healing. ‘Where hearts of olden glory grow young’

Pride of the Summer: written by Calum. Reflecting back on youth. ‘It’s good to be young and daring’

Worker for the Wind : written by Calum and Rory. Thoughts on working with the land. The importance of having and knowing love.

Rocket to the Moon: written by Calum and Rory, The open landscape, the changes brought by enterprise, the railroads, the closing shipyards. Immigration and the blooming of new lives made.

The Only Rose : written by Calum And Rory. A song about being away, loneliness, Thinking of being with and missing someone.

Protect and Survive: written by Calum. Out in the open, reflecting, coming to see what matters.

Our Earth was Once Green: written by Calum and Rory. Damage done to the environment and nature. ‘But mountains are holy places and beauty is free’

An Ubhal as Airde: written in Gaelic by Calum. Standing, aware of the abundance that is here, and the apple of knowledge that will be reached.

Runrig went on to have a fruitful relationship with Chrysalis remaining with the label until 1996. They continued their musical journey, releases again on their own label, until they announced their final tour The Final Mile in 2017. On 18 August 2018, open air at Stirling Castle, Runrig played their final concert after 45 years of music. A performance celebrating a lifetime of song was released titled The Last Dance as a CD set and on DVD.

by Dave Burke

The Cutter and the Clan is available to borrow from Cork City Libraries along with many of their albums.

Memories of Jim Capaldi

I first became aware of Jim Capaldi (singer-songwriter, musician) when I read an article about him in the magazine, Words record song book in 1978. The article was relating to the release of his new album The Contender.

On checking in town I found the album in Uneeda Bookshop on Oliver Plunkett Street which was to become an old haunt of mine to this day. During the present pandemic, John who has run the shop since the beginning originally at No.66 decided to retire and close the shop. Many memories will remain of a special place.

I began researching the back catalogue of Jim Capaldi and the more familiar I became with his music the more he became an influence and inspiration in my life.

He was born in Evesham, Worcestershire on 2 August 1944 into a musical family. Both his parents were performers and his father was a music teacher. His interest in music was encouraged and he learned piano and drums. He began playing in local bands from the age of 14, the Sapphires, the Hellions, Revolution and Deep Feeling.

He struck up a friendship with Steve Winwood, of the Spencer Davis Group, who were successful with songs like Keep On Running and Gimme Some Lovin’. They began talking about creating music together and with Dave Mason (who had been in the Hellions with Jim) and Chris Wood (sax and flute) formed what was to become Traffic. They were to rent a cottage in Berkshire and began writing what was to become their debut album Mr. Fantasy released in December 1967 following on from the single Paper Sun.

During their career they developed a style that was to encompass Rock, Folk, Psychedelic, Blues, Jazz and World music. Winwood was the main music writer and Capaldi the lyricist.

These are just a few of their songs: Dear Mr. Fantasy, No Face No Name No Number, The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys and from their reunion album of 1994 Far from Home (dedicated to Chris Wood who had passed away in 1983), State of Grace and Holy Ground (featuring Davy Spillane).

Jim had begun recording solo albums before Traffic broke up in 1974. He had a hit with It’s All Up to You in 1974 and a top 5 success with a cover of the Everly Brothers song Love Hurts the following year. His first three fine albums have recently been reissued as a box set titled Open your Heart, The Island Recordings 1972- 1976, with a bonus DVD of The Old Grey Whistle Test performances from 1975 and 1976.

I remember the 1976 performance being shown on RTE 2 on 23/06/1979 and going down the North Main Street to get a cassette recorder to tape it, memories returning. Now I can watch it any time I like.

Jim released his album Electric Nights in 1979 and was to follow it with eight more solo albums, each containing songs which remain with me to this day.

Here are just a few: I’ll Keep Holding On, Man With No Country, Living On a Marble, Old Photographs, Favella Music, You and Me, Gifts of Unknown Things, Let Me Make Something in Your Life (on the first Steve Winwood solo album)

The Eagles also had success with Love Will Keep Us Alive on their Hell Freezes Over album in 1994 which Jim wrote with Paul Carrack and Peter Vale.

He reunited with Dave Mason in 1998 and a live album The 40,000 Headmen Tour was released.

The four original members of Traffic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the 15 March 2004.

If you had asked me in 1978 who I would most like to meet it would be Jim Capaldi. Years later when attending a concert remembering Clifford T Ward in the English Midlands, a friend Roy introduced me to Clive Edwards, who was performing at the event. While chatting he mentioned being friends with Jim’s brother Phil.

As fate would have it Jim was to play an intimate gig in the Marrs Bar in Worcester on Sunday 16 November 2003. Our friends Roy and Clive, my brother Michael and I attended a special night to remember. We were there for the soundcheck and during the gig the band were joined by Steve Winwood. Afterwards we met and chatted with Jim. Dreams Do Come True.

While checking the teletext on the night of 28 January 2005 I read that Jim Capaldi had died of stomach cancer, aged 60. It was hard to believe. I recall ringing my brother and reliving the memories.

Jim married Brazilian born Aninha in 1975, they had two daughters Tabitha and Tallulah. Aninha organised a tribute concert in his memory Dear Mr. Fantasy – A Celebration for Jim Capaldi at the Roundhouse in Camden, London on Sunday 21st January 2007. Many well known music friends of Jim were to perform at the event.

The concert raised funds for the charity Jubilee Action supporting the underprivileged children of Brazil. Jim’s social and environmental concerns can be clearly seen in his writing. It was a memorable night, shared with my friends, standing close to the stage celebrating the man and his music. The Roundhouse celebration concert was released on DVD and also a 2cd set.

In 2011 Dear Mr Fantasy – The Jim Capaldi Story, One of Rock’s Great Untold Stories was released. A 4 disc box set spanning his entire career, with extensive liner notes, photos and essays.

The following year the third tribute Mr Fantasy – The Lyrics of Jim Capaldi was released. Jim had been gathering his favourite lyrics together and writing notes to go with them. One of his last wishes was for Aninha to complete what he had started. The book included a facsimile of his hand written lyrics with photographs and new commentary from musicians and friends. Released by Genesis Publications it was a limited edition of 900 copies worldwide.

Welcome to the music of Jim Capaldi.

Explore  –  Enjoy

by Dave Burke

Dear Mr Fantasy is available in DVD and CD along with other albums by Jim Capaldi from Cork City Libraries

Seven Tips for using Naxos Music Library with your Cork City Libraries Card

Naxos Music Library is the most comprehensive collection of classical music available to stream online, and it’s free to use with your Cork City Libraries card. Along with over 2.5 million tracks to listen to from 940 labels, it also provides access to notes from CD booklets, the libretti and synopses of hundreds of operas and thousands of composer and artist biographies. It also contains a number of additional Resources, especially useful for music teachers and students as described below. To get started, simply click on the Naxos logo and enter your 14-digit library barcode.

1. Explore New Music

While the Rory Gallagher Music Library is closed to physical access at the moment, Naxos Music Library unlocks access to their vast collection of tracks, all available to listen to individually or as part of whole albums (with no ads!). The New and News section provides weekly updates of all Recent Additions and New Releases. In the People section, you can browse alphabetically by Composer or Artist, or you can use the Search box to type in a surname. If you’re looking for a specific work, you can use the Keyword Search, with its included Search Tips. Advanced Search enables searching by fourteen different categories, including year of composition, instrumentation, category and duration; very useful for those programming concerts for the future!

2. Send Recommendations to your friends, students, choir members, colleagues

Naxos Music Library allows you to create static URL links of individual tracks or whole albums, which you can then send to others to access with their Cork City Libraries card. Just click on the Select box for an individual track or album and choose the Show Static URL option. Then copy and paste that link into an email to send it to your contact, who can then open it when logged in with their Cork City Libraries card. Music Teachers – this is a very useful way to share and recommend music to your students, especially now in these times of teaching and learning online. Choir members and directors – this is a good option for considering and preparing repertoire for when you can next meet in person!

3. Extension of the Classroom – For Music Teachers

Under Resources, the Aural Training section provides access to Listen!, which is “designed as an aid for those involved in teaching aural perception skills, either to school classes or individual students”. Whether you’re a music teacher or a student revising your Aural Skills before an exam, this comprehensive resource is for you. The exercises are organised by increasing difficulty, from the beginner to advanced levels. One of the most useful elements of this section is that the audio clips are included for each question, so these can be played easily in a class or one-to-one music lesson, or indeed in teaching and learning online classes at the moment. The Guided Tours section as described below will also be useful for you.

4. Research – For Music Students

If you’re working on research on a certain composer for an assignment, you can use the Dictionary section for the Naxos Dictionary of Music, an excellent reference tool focusing on musical terms, composers and instruments; many with accompanying audio and manuscript examples. The Musicology section links to Naxos Musicology International, an online platform for music scholarship similar to a traditional journal.  The Work Analyses section as described below will also be useful for you, and you can compare versions of a specific work recorded by different performers very easily.

5. Music Appreciation – Keep Learning

For those seeking to expand their knowledge of classical music repertoire, the Resources section includes Guided Tours of the Baroque Era, Classical Era, Romantic Era and the 20th Century. These sections outline the features and key composers and works of each Era with links to recommended recordings. The Work Analyses section contains in-depth analysis of core classical works, all written by named musicologists. These are suitable for both advanced level students and also for anyone seeking to explore a work or a composer in greater detail. Notation examples and audio clips are provided throughout, which bring all your learning tools together in one place, so that you don’t have to go and look for recordings separately.

6. First Introduction to Classical Music – Junior Section

If you’re teaching music to young children or would like to play music for children at home, the Junior Section (also under Resources) is for you. All the children’s favourites are brought together in the Stories section, from Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf to Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals. There is also full access to The Story of Classical Music audiobook, read by Aled Jones. The Music for Children section lists a number of CDs entitled Music for Kids: Songs to Sing from the Naxos Educational label, and also a number of albums featuring children’s choirs, very useful for those seeking new repertoire for their school choirs.

7. Rediscover old favourites, and create your soundtrack for the day!

The Categories section Includes Orchestral, Opera, Chamber Music, Vocal, Choral, Film & TV Music and more. To set up your own Playlists, just click on the Student / Member Account Sign Up option on the Playlists page and create your own free personal account with your email address and password. You can then add tracks from anywhere on the site to your Playlists in your personal Folders. To get started, here is a very topical album for these times, just click and log in now!

WORK FROM HOME – Classical Music for Peace and Calm (Dennis, Hill, Hurst, Johnson, Kazandjiev, Landor, Marturet, Rezucha, Rolla)

Caitríona Honohan, Executive Librarian, Frank O’Connor Library, Mayfield

Hit the Road Jack! | Freegal Top Ten Songs to Escape With

by Conor McHale

January was never the easiest month to begin the year with grey skies and chilly temperatures. As if that were not enough the country is enduring yet another national lockdown and we are all told to stay at home and not to venture out beyond 5k of our homes. As we wait in the hopes of returning to normality perhaps a welcome distraction would be compiling playlist for our listening pleasure and what better theme could there be than listening to songs about hitting the road by whatever means necessary, venturing out to the far reaches and leaving all our woes behind. Here are just a few available on the Freegal app that can get you started:

Listen to the full playlist on Freegal

We got to get out of this Place: The Animals
This was a very popular song with soldiers during the Vietnam War. Although not written about that conflict it is a song that resonates to this day and can be applied to any situation. We’re all feeling restricted at present and this sentiment is very much at the back of our minds.

Leaving on a Jet Plane: John Denver
Close your eyes and picture yourself heading down to Cork airport and heading off to sunnier climes. The song was written appropriately by Denver while on layover at Washington airport.    Another Denver classic Take me Home Country Roads evokes West Virginia although he had never been and was inspired by a picture postcard. For Denver West Virginia seemed so far away and exotic it may as well have been in Europe.

Born to Run: Bruce Springsteen
An early anthemic classic from The Boss. Written when he was only 24 it has become a staple of his live shows ever since. It’s a song about roaring down open highways and never turning back.

Come Fly with Me: Frank Sinatra
Another song to tempt one away to warmer locales.  It is a song that heralded the “Jet Set” when travel by plane was seen as something enjoyed by only wealthy people who could afford to travel for pleasure. Michael Buble also does a version of this song.

Freedom ’90: George Michael
George Michael actually wrote this about his experience of trying to get out of his contract with Sony Music, but it became a huge hit.  It feels like a song about bursting out of our confines and going wherever we choose.

Get Away: George Ezra
Ezra wrote this about his anxiety at where to go next after finishing his first album. It’s a common feeling especially during these uncertain times when we all want to get away.

On the Road Again: Willie Nelson
Yet another airplane related song in a sense as this was hastily written on the side of a sick bag on a flight for a little remembered film called Honeysuckle Rose. However, the song itself subsequently became one of Nelson’s signature tunes.

Chattanooga Choo Choo: Glenn Miller
A different mode of transportation this time. Miller is best remembered for his Big Band swing tunes such as In the Mood and Moonlight Serenade, this tune was inspired by the steam locomotive that travelled from Cincinnati to Chattanooga.

Down the Highway: Bob Dylan
This time we are on foot. Dylan released his second album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in 1963 which contained well known tracks like Blowin’ in the Wind and Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall. This is lesser known song being a stark blues about” walkin’ down the highway with a suitcase in my hand.”

Hotel California (Live): The Eagles
After all this travelling it would be nice to stay in a luxury hotel. Except Hotel California is a state of mind! For the Eagles the song was their interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles. This is their most recognised song and this is a superb live version.

Online Musical Treats This January

Happy New Year to all our Rory Gallagher Music Library patrons. Unfortunately, we face another national lockdown meaning the libraries are closed for now. However, we have a couple of online musical treats for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own homes.

We hope you enjoy a special online version of the popular Music Recital formerly known as the Gramophone Circle. Philip Brennan introduces a variety of his favourite compositions sung by the likes of Richard Tauber, Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli and Majella Cullagh with the Cork Youth Chamber Orchestra:

Watch local musicians Jimmy Morrison and Joe O’Sullivan (known as Ceol Coolroe) online as they play a selection of traditional songs and tunes:

Don’t forget you can access a range of online services such as the Freegal music app using your library card and four digit pin number:

Hope to see everybody soon!

Conor MacHale

January 2021.

Top Ten Christmas Songs from Freegal

by Conor MacHale

Normally this time of year as the festive season approaches we would be wheeling out the trolley packed with all the Christmas music for our patrons to borrow. However, as the library remains closed for the time being there is an alternative to accessing a great variety of Christmas music by streaming and downloading all the festive hits on the Freegal app. You can also create playlists in the My Music section so you can stream your favourite Christmas tunes and shuffle them in any random order. Here are a few to get the party started:

Dean Martin: Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!
Written by Sammy Cahn who wrote it in California during a heat wave, naturally, this is a festive favourite covered by many singers from Frank Sinatra to Michael Buble. Dean Martin’s sublime laid back vocals make this version stand out.

Bing Crosby: White Christmas
This has been recorded by artists as disparate as Perry Como and Iggy Pop. One of the most popular and well known renderings is by Bing Crosby whose version is one of the highest selling singles of all time. It remains one of the most recognisable of all Christmas songs

Miley Cyrus & Mark Ronson feat Sean Ono Lennon: Happy Xmas ( War is Over)
2020 marks 40 years since the death of John Lennon so it is fitting his son Sean features on this version of his Christmas single.

London Fox Children’s Choir: Walking in the Air
A well known Christmas song from The Snowman, this is given a choral treatment by the London Fox Children’s Choir who also perform arrangements of many well known Christmas carols such as Deck the Halls and Away in a Manger .

Christmas Carols: O Holy Night
Plenty of carols can be streamed and downloaded. Written in 1847, this remains today one of the most popular of all carols.

Nat King Cole: The Christmas Song
Of the many yuletide songs recorded by Nat King Cole, this is a stand out song written by Mel Tormé and Robert Wells. Although there are many versions by Perry Como and Frank Sinatra, Cole’s rendition remains a most popular favourite.

Wham: Last Christmas
Beaten to the No. 1 spot in 1984 by Do They know it’s Christmas by Band Aid, this nevertheless remains a pop Christmas favourite. It’s available on multiple compilation albums as well as the recent Last Christmas film soundtrack. The music video can also be downloaded on Freegal.

The Ronettes: Sleigh Ride
Produced by Phil Spector at the heights of his “Wall of Sound” period in the mid 1960s. Check out the Now That’s What I Call Christmas completion for this and many other favourites.

Ella Fitzgerald: Winter Wonderland
A perfect jazz number for the Christmas, this version recorded by Ella Fitzgerald is the most known and a rightful addition to any Christmas song list.

Elvis Presley: Blue Christmas
This was recorded in 1957 at the height of Elvis’s Rock n’ Roll fame. He also recorded a version with the country singer Martina McBride for his ’68 comeback special.

A lot of these songs appear on various compilations thus leading you onto many other Christmas favourites. Note, whole albums can be saved onto your Christmas playlist instead of just picking random songs.

Listen to Playlist:

Top Ten Feel -good Songs from Freegal

by Conor Machale

Although the Rory Gallagher Music Library is closed for the duration of Lockdown, there is a great way of listening to music on your device by downloading the Freegal app. You can stream music by numerous artists on your device and download a limited number of songs every week to build up your own library of music. All you have to do is download the app and register with your Cork City Library card.

Get started here:

For some inspiration to keep the mood upbeat and happy here are some feel-good songs available to stream on Freegal:

Katrina and the Wailers: Walking on Sunshine

This song appears on about every feel-good songs list out there. An 80s classic that will sweep away the cobwebs on a winters day. There is also a cover version from the film soundtrack of the same name by Leona Lewis et al.

Bill Withers: Lovely Day

The late Bill Withers left a legacy of great songs like Ain’t no Sunshine and Lean on Me. Lovely Day is one of his stand out classics that will instantly brighten your day and is just a great chill out tune. Check out too some fine cover versions by singers such as Clarence Carter and Jimmy Lee.

Pharrell Williams: Happy

This infectious tune is a more recent stand out song that was played everywhere in recent years and is one of the most popular songs of the last decade.  You can find a live version of the song too. Impossible not to clap along to!

Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars: Uptown Funk

Another recent chart topper Uptown Funk is produced by Mark Ronson who is responsible for Valerie with Amy Winehouse and Oh My God with Lilly Allen. This tune dominated the charts in 2014 and is still as fresh today. As well as this version there is a neat acapella recording by Tommy Musso along with a workout mix to add to your fitness playlist.

Prince: Let’s go Crazy

There has to be a bit of Prince on any of these lists and here is a great tune that will liven up any situation.  As with many artists on Freegal there is an array of rare recordings and live albums and so here there is a cracking live version on the Purple Reign Live from New York album.

Chubby Checker: The Twist

A new dance craze was popularised in the 1960s with this song. Push back the furniture and do the Twist. For nostalgia fans there is a great collection on the Sound of 1960 playlist.

Al Green: Let’s Stay Together

Everybody likes this song. It stands the test of time as one of the most popular and uplifting soul tunes from the Rev. Al Green. There are also fine versions by Edwin Starr and Jimmy McGriff.

Johnny Nash: I can see Clearly Now

Known for his reggae influenced songs, the recently departed Johnny Nash is responsible for this wonderful chilled out pop song that is instantly recognisable           .

Huey Lewis & the News: The Power of Love

Another 80s classic known to many from the Back to the Future film from 1985, this is available with both studio and live versions on Freegal.

Outkast: Hey Ya!

This song was another chart topper and remains infectiously popular. Of the various versions of the song complimenting the original recording by Outkast is an instrumental by the Vitamin String Quartet which is guaranteed to instantly enhance your mood.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of feel- good songs. Take time to explore Freegal and create your own playlist of good mood music. Revisit old favourites and discover new songs to brighten up your day.

Listen to playlist:

Songs of Cultural Importance from the Cork Traveller Women’s Network

As part of Heritage Week 2020, the Rory Gallagher Music Library in collaboration with the Cork Traveller Women’s Network (CTWN) are pleased to present a top ten list of culturally important Traveller’s songs and what they mean to the community. It is of special interest that there is a strong Cork representation with several of these songs. Louise Harrington who is a community development worker with CTWN has done tremendous work with her colleagues in providing a list of songs.

We want to thank Louise and her colleagues for this fine list and for providing this interesting background information about the songs, discussing the selection process and what the songs mean to the Traveller community.



Louise explains the process of how the songs were shortlisted and significantly what these songs mean to the community:


The songs were selected; firstly by reaching out to our members via social media and by phone, to create a long list of culturally significant songs for Travellers and then shortlisted to the final 10 by our steering group of Traveller women via Zoom call.

So the top 10 (in no particular order) is as follows.  Click on the title to listen to the song.

  1. Kathleen’s Song – Spring Lane Girls
  2. 4 Lackeens – 4 Lackeens
  3. A Tinkers Lullaby by Pecker Dunne sung by Selena O’Leary
  4. Last of the Travelling People –Pecker Dunne
  5. Rambling Man – Thomas McCarthy
  6. Galway Shawl – Finbarr Furey
  7. A Friend Of Mine – Myles Gaffney
  8. Campfire in the Dark – Finbarr Furey/ The Fureys
  9. What Will We Do When We’ll Have No Money – Mary Delaney
  10. Sweet 16 – Sharyn Ward

The first two songs listed (Kathleen’s song and 4 Lackeens) were recorded locally. They are both of very special significance to members of CTWN as symbols of pride and identity. “Kathleen’s Song” (which was nominated many times by CTWN members) was written by a young woman Kathleen McCarthy, as part of a community music initiative, it celebrates Traveller culture, nomadism and horse fairs. Kathleen sadly died young, and the song was later recorded by her cousins in the Spring Lane girls group, who also performed it live at cultural events in Cork city. 4 Lackeens was recorded by four young women from Spring Lane site last year as part of a youth work project by our colleagues in the Traveller Visibility Group – it is rap style and is the only song that we have chosen which is not traditional, but we felt that it really talks about identity and issues affecting these young women who still hold a strong sense of culture and heritage.

Our top 10 list also includes songs by famous and recorded Travellers such as Pecker Dunne who travelled the length and breadth of Ireland  busking with his wealth of ballads and banjo; Thomas McCarthy, Traveller storyteller and singer who was awarded Traditional Singer of the Year at the  2019 Gradam Ceoil Awards; the musical legend that is Finbarr Furey; “Blind” Mary Delaney who’s amazing voice and 1970s recording of “what will we do when we’ll have no money?” brought us all back to memories of campfire singing and Sharyn Ward who’s beautiful voice and charm won Irish hearts by making it to the finals of Ireland’s Got Talent 2019. We include Selena O’Leary’s version of Tinker’s Lullaby – a very popular song for Travellers, Selena, the first Irish Traveller to sing at Carnegie Hall, also appeared on RTE’s Traveller Journey programme last year.


The song “A Friend of Mine” is the only song by a non – Traveller or “buffer” on the list – Myles Gaffney a Cork based singer songwriter and was included to show the links between communities that music can make.

The short-listing group found it hard to make the final selection as there are so many other songs and musicians and it was not possible to include everyone, we thought about other fantastic Traveller musicians Paddy Keenan, Trish Nolan, Mary Francis and Davey Keenan, Paddy Ward and others who we could have included.

In the end, the final criteria that we used was that a Cork Traveller might hear a song from the list playing and recognise it easily as being about them. We also aimed for a mix of modern and old style songs, a mix of male and female singers, and a mix of very famous and perhaps less well known songs.

We also talked about some very recognisable songs about and collected from Travellers, subsequently recorded by settled people e.g. some of Ewan McColl’s or Christy Moore’s songs, which we didn’t include as we wanted to focus as much as possible on Traveller musicians as well as songs. Interestingly for us, we realised in the process of looking at the 10 songs, that there isn’t any accessible resource to look back at the history and contribution of Travellers to Irish traditional music (not unlike other areas of Traveller history which are not properly recorded) – something for us to think about going into the future, although we would need someone with more skills than ourselves to look at this.
As a community development organisation, used to decision making by committee, we decided against an approach of individuals nominating certain songs, and instead would like our top 10 to be attributed to Cork Traveller Women’s Network.

Some background information on CTWN:

Cork Traveller Women’s Network is a community development organisation working for Traveller rights and run by Traveller women in Cork city. Our work includes supporting Traveller women as leaders, promoting Traveller health, advocating for Traveller accommodation rights, challenging discrimination and promoting Traveller ethnicity and culture. This includes curating Toraig on the Tobar, the Traveller culture exhibit at Cork Public Museum as well as supporting the inclusion of Traveller culture into the programming of the Triskel Arts Centre where we have our base. With our partners in Cork Traveller Visibility Group, CTWN run the annual Cork Traveller Pride festival. This is part of our work to challenge negative stereotypes of Travellers, and raise awareness of the rich culture and heritage of Travellers as an indigenous Irish ethnic group.  For more information, follow Cork Traveller Women’s Network on Facebook.

We are delighted to collaborate with the Rory Gallagher Music Library and look forward to seeing the end result online.


By Louise Harrington, Community Development Worker, Cork Traveller Women’s Network

Rory Gallagher – Check Shirt Wizard

This year sees the release of a new addition to the Rory Gallagher live canon in the form of Check Shirt Wizard, a collection of previously unreleased live recordings from his 1977 UK tour.

Album cover

Fitting neatly between Irish Tour ’74 and 1980s Stage Struck, this album showcases Rory at his blistering best. The set does feature performances of songs released on the above mentioned albums as well as 1972’s Live in Europe, however, these performances recorded are excellently re-mastered sonically enhancing the tight and sustained virtuosity of not just Rory, but the band as a well-oiled unit blasting the audience away. With the same line-up as 1974, the ever present Gerry McAvoy on bass, Rod de’Ath on drums and Lou Martin on piano, the listener feels as if they are present at the concert. It is highly recommended by this listener to play this album at a very loud volume!


This 20 song collection sees Rory fresh from recording and touring on the back of his most recent release 1976’s Calling Card and the set includes many of the songs from that album. Also there is a decent five song acoustic set with Rory in fine form on a dobro and slide version of ‘Too Much Alcohol’ and bringing out the mandolin for the anthemic ‘Going to My Hometown’.  The latter song was a runner up on Cork City Libraries’ and Creative Ireland’s recent Cork’s Favourite Song initiative. Deservedly also, at time of writing, Check Shirt Wizard was at No.1 on the Billboard Blues Chart

All these above mentioned albums and many more Rory related material can be borrowed from the Rory Gallagher Music Library. Enjoy!

by Conor MacHale

The Bad Penny Review | Harry Styles’ Fine Line

When Fine Line released in December 2019 it burst onto the scene and became the third-highest debut for an album that year, and with good reason. The album is a rousing and stylish pop record that wears all of its retro-rock inspirations on its sleeve. Rock royalty Stevie Nicks revealed the album has been what she has been primarily listening to throughout the lockdown, proclaiming “Way to go H. It is your Rumours”.

Fine Line Cover Art

So given that, how does the album hold up to the Fleetwood Mac classic? While it doesn’t maintain the same level of consistent quality in all of its 12 tracks, the vast majority offer a delightful and infectious romp through the sounds of rock and pop, both old and new. You can feel the constant drive to create great moments in every track; with catchy hooks, dynamic song structures and superb production. The album is brimming with confidence and draws you in from the beginning through to the end.

The opening track ‘Golden’ launches straight in with a storming progressive indie-pop song that lays bare his 70s and aforementioned Fleetwood Mac influences but unlike his first solo album it clearly frames Styles as the main attraction. ‘Canyon Moon’ also highlights his folk-pop inspirations with its sunny disposition pitching a tent and setting up a campfire by the time it gets to the first chorus.

Other tracks like the standout ‘Sunflower Vol. 6’ sparkle and shimmer with wavy layers of electronic buzz and jangling guitars. Great vocal moments such as exaggerated breaths before verses, layered harmonies and the joyous and silly outro give the song plenty of memorable moments. This track shows Style’s at his most stylish and confident as he commands the dazzling array of sounds and layers with ease.

‘Lights Up’ blends pop rock with the glimmering shades of indie and balances them out with a bombastic chorus. Ticking the box for a big summer banger is ‘Watermelon Sugar’ with its simple guitar based underbelly exploding after the first verse into a raucous big band anthem that practically demands sunny skies.

Meanwhile, funky pop grooves and piercing guitar solos are aplenty on the single ‘Adore You’, paired with themes of unwavering devotion that invoke memories of early Bruno Mars mega-hits, while the last of the singles to appear on the record, ‘Falling’, features a stripped back instrumental for its reflective subject matter and tries to offers a change of pace. However, the song is a more forgettable pop ballad, lacking the defined sense of character on most of the other tracks.

Lyrically the album often follows an honest and open approach, ‘Cherry’ is a bouncy slice of indie folk that laments an obviously personal break-up, ‘To Be So Lonely’ demonstrates that commitment to looking inward over a sparse and fun instrumental while Styles documents his relationship failings.

The guitar heavy ‘She’ is an atmospheric and airy track that proves infectious, despite it lacking the lyrical quality to offer insight into the concept on display, with its soaring guitars and great vocals.

The thematically self-explanatory, ‘Treat People With Kindness’, sees Styles at his most Magical Mystery Tour. Sporting a powerful vocal performance that holds the larger than life instrumental and backing vocals together the song soars and aims to take all bystanders along with it, even if it does often veer into clichéd territory.

The title track ‘Fine Line’ closes the album with a spacious, melancholy ballad that builds steadily with expanding instrumentation and vocal melodies, until the spectacular introduction of a stellar brass section gives both the song and album a great sense of release.

Overall, Fine Line is a very solid second offering from an artist carving their sound out of 60s and 70s influences and using them to create fun, energetic and honest music for a whole new generation.


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By John Hayes