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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… The Great Western Squares April 25, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I was amazed to realise recently, reading YourCousin’s John Prine post and remembering a certain cover of Rocky Mountain Time, that The Great Western Squares had never featured in this particular slot on the site.

The Great Western Squares were formed in the late 1990s, as some would say from the ashes of the ‘Johnny Cash Appreciation Society’ in Dublin where they played a range of covers and subsequently and increasingly their own material. As Discogs notes ‘The group featured Gary Fitzpatrick [Vocals & Guitar], Oona White [Vocals], Stan Erraught [Guitar], Tim Rogers [Fiddle], Gary O’Growney [Mandolin], Pat McGauley [Bass Guitar] and Alan Murphy [Drums].’. I happen to have a family connection to the group and one of their number is not unfamiliar on this site either.

TI suspect their cover of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades was an introduction to them for many people. But as importantly they released two albums, 1997’s Judas Steer and 1998’s Almost Sober both of which are pretty great, and live they were even better. The Irish Music database records the following:

The band split somewhere around 1999. Gary went on to form The Sick And Indigent Song Club in 2003. Oona went on to form another country band Oona And The Devils as well a rockabilly outfit Oona Fortune And The Pavement Kings

They reformed in 2011 to play at the Rockin Road Festival.

But let the music speak for itself – I’ve a certain preference for the second album over the first but some great cuts on both:


The Race is on (George Jones cover)


Luxury Liner (Gram Parsons)


Don’t Tear Yourself to Pieces


Almost Sober


Ace of Spades


Ace of Spades (cover) @ Rockin Road 2011


I’m Not a Man (of Temperance)

Comments»

1. sonofstan - April 25, 2020

“The band split somewhere around 1999”

I wish I could be more precise, but I’ve actually no memory of us ‘splitting’ – other bands I’ve been in had definite break-up meetings/ tantrums but with the GWS it just seemed like a time passed, and suddenly we were all doing other things. Which probably means we’re still together…. or, more likely, I’ve just forgotten a really traumatic split.

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WorldbyStorm - April 25, 2020

🙂

I’m always fascinated by the dynamics of bands, how they form, how they remain together and then how they break up or as you say sort of move on to other things. I think it’s because as a kid when I first ‘got into music’ as we used to say they were these incredibly distant almost mythic entities (okay, I knew the keyboardist in one iteration of Winter’s Reign in the vv early 1980s but that really doesn’t count). I’d see a gig and never think I’d know people in the bands as actual people. And then slowly but surely you do, and the music in a sense becomes part of the greater whole of the band itself (to the point that people I loved musically and still do, like the Church, I actually rather dislike from what I know of Steve Kilbey as a person and that doesn’t inflect the music but I can’t imagine my 15 year old self having that emotion!). And then being much closer to groups and musicians and suddenly the perspective shifts completely and the music in a way even though it’s absolutely central is almost one feels like a byproduct of very very complex personal and other interactions.

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WorldbyStorm - April 25, 2020

Robert Forster’s memoir is particularly good in that regard. One winds up amazed records got recorded produced and released let alone that they were any good. Do you ever feel that re the GWS, or was it a different time do you think and that side was ‘easier’ than in the 80s? Or was it more difficult?

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sonofstan - April 25, 2020

” One winds up amazed records got recorded produced and released let alone that they were any good”

That’s certainly true.

GWS was different for me because I wasn’t, and not in a bad way at all, that invested – most of the time I was ‘just’ the guitar player. So the angst that goes with it being your songs and, ahem, ‘vision’ was less of an issue.

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WorldbyStorm - April 25, 2020

That sounds like a nice freedom, though perhaps you do yourself a disservice, always thought everyone brought something to the feast and it needed all the elements combined to work. And you produced the second album or am I wrong there?

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sonofstan - April 25, 2020

No I didn’t, Marc Carolan did. I was meant to at one stage IIRC, but glad to have had that badge taken off me.

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WorldbyStorm - April 25, 2020

You should do a 2020 remix!

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2. yourcousin - April 25, 2020

So basically CLR now has a house band? How many leftist blogs can say that?

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WorldbyStorm - April 25, 2020

Knowing them surely it would be the other way around? How many former bands would have a house blog, albeit unbeknownst to them? 🙂

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WorldbyStorm - April 25, 2020

Just thinking though, I must have seen them multiple times, and something I didn’t mention, they played at one very important occasion for me and mine!

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3. crocodileshoes - April 26, 2020

Also worth a mention – one of the wittiest band names ever (as long as you have a bit of knowledge of Fizzbra geography).

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WorldbyStorm - April 26, 2020

Yeah it was genius.

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WorldbyStorm - April 26, 2020

No worries

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4. Garyfitz - February 22, 2021

Accidentally found this thread. Hi! Stan became a band member because I had no idea of who he was and just asked him would he play guitar on these country songs I’d just written. Someone (probs a Crudden) said he was famous but the important thing was he was local and, I think, working with me…and I was learning country and folk from scratch….enthused us all. Gary.

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