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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Joe Dolan June 13, 2020

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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One of the patterns from the lockdown and working from home is that I try and take lunch around 12.30. So I’m in the kitchen and the radio is on and like my mother before me, it’s permanently tuned to RTE Radio One. So daily as I make my lunch or cooking something for the family I’m listening to Ronan Collins.
Between the birthdays, Anniversary’s and other requests there’s the music. Generally it’s quite pleasant.
He plays a lot of Joe Dolan and I’ve found myself singing along to Joe numerous times as  my children look on incredulous.
Saw him in Wexford in the late 80’s and it was a great show, although I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone sweat so much on stage. There are so many tunes that everyone knows.

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1. Phil - June 13, 2020

Glanced at this, thought “ah, it’s an Irish thing, not even the trad stuff, never mind” – but I evidently didn’t look away quickly enough, as I’ve now got a massive “Make Me An Island” earworm, dammit.

As kids we were convinced the first line was “Take me and rape me,” incidentally. We did wonder how it got played on the radio.

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irishelectionliterature - June 13, 2020

That’s it, you can’t help but sing along 😀

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2. sonofstan - June 13, 2020

A| few years ago, I developed a mild obsession with italo-pop from the sixties and particularly Adriano Celanatano: I loved this sone

But it took me ages to figure out who it was familiar: until I realised…

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sonofstan - June 13, 2020

‘Celentano’ and ‘song’
More coffee…

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Michael Carley - June 13, 2020

The paths taken by the early Italian pop stars are interesting. Celentano used to appear on television with Giorgio Gaber and Enzo Jannacci, who went on to invent the teatro canzone. If you look around you’ll find videos of groups of them doing guest appearances on RAI to perform anarchist anthems, which has something of the air of Cliff Richard singing The Internationale.

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sonofstan - June 13, 2020

Tenuous, but I love this – Adriano explaining how rock’n’ roll should sound in italo-English

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Bartholomew - June 13, 2020

That’s brilliant! Jacques Dutronc did something similar with ‘Merde in France’:

Celentano is a bit of a loose cannon though. I remember he nearly sabotaged a referendum during the 80s by making a long speech about it during his saturday night TV show. That broke a moratorium on electioneering in the 48 hours before the vote. I think he ended up in court.

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sonofstan - June 13, 2020

Equally brilliant! Never saw that, and I have more than a few Dutronc records.

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oliverbohs - June 13, 2020

Fine song, thanks for the link with the original.

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6to5against - June 14, 2020

I complained below about how poor showband recordings were, but I loved Tar and Cement. I’m off now to check out Celatano.

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sonofstan - June 14, 2020

Dolan’s records were often pretty well recorded. In London for the most part, IIRC?

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3. alanmyler - June 13, 2020

Like yourself I saw Joe play in the late 80s, in a hotel in Bundoran, summer of 89. Great gig, I was very impressed. I suppose I was slightly aware of his existence before that but only in an ultra naff way, but after that show I had respect for him. Then at some stage in the 90s there was a free CD in the Sunday paper of his greatest hits and it became the regular play in the car for about a year. And about kitchen radios, are there other stations apart from RTE Radio One. I usually have my lunch at home at 1 so I miss Ronan Collins but I heard him a week or two ago and suggested to herself that I’d send in a request for our 30th wedding anniversary in a couple of years. After watching Wild At Heart on TV the other night it’d have to be for Love Me Tender. Not impressed.

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WorldbyStorm - June 13, 2020

I have to admit I’ve always enjoyed Ronan Collins on the radio. For a start he was a musician (Louis Walsh once called him a failed show band drummer after Collins criticised the boy bands Walsh managed). And although the stuff he plays isn’t my usual fare I’m a real sucker for 50s and 60s sentimental easy listening stuff in small doses.

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Tomboktu - June 13, 2020

My local library used to have a folder at the desk with pages the librarians had compiled consisting of lists headed in this way: “If you liked <Agatha Christie> you might like …”.

In that vein, if you like Ronan Collins, you might like John Creedon’s programme in the evenings, from 8.00 to 10.00. I have had it on a few times in the last few weeks, and I have sometimes wondered if the choice of music is intended to appeal to my age group, with so many songs from my teens being played.

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irishelectionliterature - June 13, 2020

Agree, John Creedons show is great.

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4. sonofstan - June 13, 2020

I spent a fair bit of time last summer in the National Library looking at 60s/ early 70s copies of New Spotlight for some research in country music in Ireland. It was a fascinating look back into a world I’m just a little too young to remember – how distinctive and different the Irish music scene was, how big the showbands were and how the industry was a mixture of extreme professionalism, when it came to the live stuff that was the bread and butter and how underdeveloped the recording side was. Also the hatred from the ‘group’ scene (rock bands) for the showbands, until they got sucked into it with the lure of a living.

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yourcousin - June 13, 2020

SoS,
I cannot tell you how interested I would be to learn more about what you just wrote. Don’t suppose you could point me in a direction?

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sonofstan - June 13, 2020

YC,
It’s under review at the moment but as soon as it’s accepted – which should be soon – I’ll link to it here.

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CL - June 13, 2020

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sonofstan - June 13, 2020

But aside for the piece I was researching, there’s a pretty good book about the showband scene by Vincent Power (not the promoter) called Send ’em Home Sweating. Surprisingly, perhaps, not a whole lot else. Most people writing about popular music in Ireland tend to be a bit embarrassed about country with or without the ”n’Irish’

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irishelectionliterature - June 13, 2020

https://theblackpoolsentinel.wordpress.com/2020/05/30/brendan-bowyer-1938-2020/
Good piece by Colm O’Callaghan on the late Brendan Bowyer which is very interesting re the showbands

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Michael Carley - June 13, 2020

I watched Good Vibrations last night (on the BBC iPlayer for those who can get it) about Terri Hooley and there are a couple of scenes about the under-developed recording facilities in Belfast at the time.

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6to5against - June 14, 2020

The contrast between recording and performance is a real pity. I grew up in the Showband heartlands and saw a few of them perform during the 80s.
Even in their declining years, a few of the acts broke through my teenage cynicism on a night out. Not only were the shows polished and well put together, they were really well judged to be fun. You had to be very hard edged to keep standing at the back and glower at the whole thing.
I know Joe Dolan had a lot of hits but I don’t think any of them captured how good the show was live. I don’t know if any of the showband recordings did. Poor production, and a tendency to do it all in one take, I imagine.

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5. 6to5against - June 14, 2020

I was chatting to one of the undertakers at my dad’s funeral and it came up that he had been a member of one of the bigger showbands during their heyday. He was telling me how several of the (mainly brass musicians) from that era were getting together once a week to play, behind closed doors, in a pub in the town.
It struck me at the time that that could have the makings of a fine musical play in it. A lot of stories to be told.

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sonofstan - June 14, 2020

There’s a really interesting doc about Brian Coll and the Buckeroos, made by BBC NI in the early ’70s called ‘Six Days on the Road’ – bits of it are on YouTube – where Artie McGlynn, who was playing with them at the time, is shown playing a few tunes on an acoustic in the van and the lads are all appreciative. I read a thesis by someone who interviewed Artie, who was very dismissive of the showband life, and I think there were a lot of people who wished they were playing something else – jazz in the case of a lot fo the brass players, rock (or folk) for the guitarists.
On the other hand, because our nearest neighbour had developed a much different live music ecology through the 60s/70s, we tended to imagine that our situation was abnormal, and a bit embarrassing: but if you read about the sort of apprenticeships the likes of the MGs and the Muscle Shoals lot went through, playing dances across the South, it wasn’t that different: you were playing covers of current hits, doing slow sets, all of that…. even the Beatles, genius auteurs that they were, were a showband in their Hamburg days.

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6to5against - June 14, 2020

Many years after I lad left Mullingar I fetched up for a summer in Philadelphia, working in a riverside bar/restaurant that opened up into a club in the evenings. I became aware there of a set of bands that toured all over that region (South Jersey, Philly and environs) playing cover versions of hit songs from the 60s to the 90s.

These were really professional setups, with big local followings. There would 500 + there for the more popular outfits. And they weren’t small bands. many had 8 or 9 on stage, usually including a brass section.

It took me a while to recognise that scene…

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sonofstan - June 14, 2020

Probably where Springsteen and the boys learnt their trade?

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WorldbyStorm - June 14, 2020

🙂 6to5

There’s another book as well as ‘Send them home Sweating’ about the show bands which is pretty good. I can’t recall its name off-hand. I really see them as a rupture with what had gone before, and as is well known they really helped break the back of the parish control of dance/entertainment. So they were an odd very Irish form of modernity in and of themselves.

SoS, that’s very itnresitng re the US. I’ve often wondered if France and Germany had a similar sort of thing to the show bands in their musical ecology. Not quite rock, a sort of pop, but distinct from what went before.

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Bartholomew - June 14, 2020

‘That could have the makings of a fine musical play in it.’
Great idea. Billy Roche or Conor McPherson would be perfect to write it!

As regards playing music you don’t necessarily like for money – if you go back a bit further, wasn’t that the case for a lot of musicians in the past, maybe even most? Hundreds of them worked in the cinemas playing for silent movies before 1930, with nobody paying any attention to them, or in trios and quartets in cafes and restaurants, playing the hits of the day, whether they liked them or not.

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WorldbyStorm - June 14, 2020

Been thinking about that. It’s very true. In a way only in the 50s did that really change and even then there must be many people playing music they don’t like.

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