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Andy Irvine & Paul Brady
There was a great sense of relief among the band members when Planxty broke up in November 1975. We were tired out and had no inspiration left. After a short period, the relief began to turn into a slight fear as to what we would do without Planxty!
Paul Brady --- who had been in the band for about 16 months - and I had formed a very good working relationship and we decided to continue as a duo. We started slowly...
On February 7th 1976 we played our first gig in The merriman Tavern in Scarriff, Co. Clare where Planxty had been a huge sell out over the years. We had a very small crowd and earned £80! However, things improved quite rapidly. We rehearsed long and hard, usually in the house I was living in, in Donnybrook, Dublin. After a pretty good gig in Liberty Hall, Dublin, we never looked back!
Mulligan Records had started a few months before and approached us to make an LP at Rockfield Studios in Wales where The Bothy Band had recorded their first album. Dónal Lunny was to produce it and he and I got stranded on Shirkin Island off the coast of West Cork the day before we were due to start in Wales. We started recording on 24th August 1976 and finished ten days later. I was on a fitness kick at the time and used to get up early and run for a few miles down the road towards Monmouth and back. This is about all I can remember.
Kevin Burke was there and the album consists of just the four of us. Paul and I and occasionally Dónal, had been playing most of the material for a month or two so it was well played in.
"Lough Erne Shore" though was one that came together in the studio. I recorded three different drones on the hurdy gurdy and we cross faded them on the mix to fit the chords. It's very subtle and you may not hear it but I thought it gave it a great feeling.
The another memory I have is of Paul spending a morning trying to get "Arthur McBride and the Sergeant" recorded to his liking. He recorded one nearly perfect take but when we listned back to it, we heard him sing "....Says Arthur we wouldn't be froud of your clothes"....! Nowadays that could easily be corrected but not in those far off days and he had to do the whole song again!
It has been regarded as a classic ever since and Paul and myself played through our entire duo repertoire at a special concert in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to commemorate this album in January 2008.
The year 2017 also coincided with the 40th Anniversary of “Andy Irvine & Paul Brady”. (It was recorded in August 1976 but not released till January 1977.) Andy & Paul, together with Donal Lunny, who produced the album and played guitar and bouzouki on it and Kevin Burke who had played fiddle on the album, performed eight sold out concerts. Cork, three in Vicar Street, Dublin, Derry, Limerick, Galway and Belfast to rapturous audiences. The welcoming applause as they took the stage lasted for about five minutes on each occasion!
*The programme from this special tour is now available!*
Produced by Donal Lunny
Special guest: Kevin Burke
Track list: (click titles for 30-sec sample)
1. Plains of Kildare
2. Lough Erne Shore
3. Fred Finn's Reel/Sailing into Walpole's Marsh
4. Bonny Woodhall
5. Arthur Mcbride
6. The Jolly Soldier/Blarney Pilgrim
7. Autumn Gold
8. Mary and the Soldier
9. Streets of Derry
10. Martinmas Time/The Little Stack of Wheat