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47 f

They subsequently decided it was only right and proper to honour the cottage and its glorious history by converting it into a recording studio for three days, with quilts draped everywhere as a sophisticated sound buffer while they recorded the debut album, with the multi-talented McGoldrick doubling up as an inventive chef to provide the fuel to keep their strength up while they worked. And thus Usher’s Island came into being – blending the magic of those golden 1970s groups with more modern styles and influences across a range of songs and tunes, including one from the great Chieftains fiddler Sean Keane and another by the legendary Donegal fiddle brothers John and Mickey Doherty.

“Mike organised the whole album. He found someone to design the cover, he got it printed, he knows everybody. If you need something, Mike will know someone who can do it. He’s a kinda important member of the band.”

That sounds like an understatement…

“The only trouble with this band is it’s not available very often. John Doyle is the worst of all. He took a page out of my book somewhere along the line – he’s always working. We have a manager who says ‘are you available? blah, blah’ and occasionally, just occasionally, amazingly everyone is available and we do some- thing. But I love the band. I think it’s a great band. I’ve been in a good few bands but this one is right up there with the very best of them. We all get on really well too.

Then again, I can’t think of a band I’ve ever been in when we didn’t get on well.”

That’s one of the great things about Andy Irvine, he seemingly gets on with everyone and never falls out with anybody.

“I’m an ungrudged person. I might be annoyed with someone but it soon passes. I can’t think of anyone I’ve fallen out with though I do very often wish people dead. If I had a gun I’m not sure how many people I would have shot, though I’d be very sorry I did it the next moment.”

solo album on the horizon along with a new Mozaik release. From Sweeney’s Men to championing East European music to being a prime catalyst for the introduction of the bouzouki into Irish folk music – see fR 390 – Andy continues to be a wondrous- ly consistent constant in Ireland’s proud folk heritage with a string of great albums in his back catalogue. And, most pressingly at this moment in this hotel in Oranmore, Co Galway, we think of Andy Irvine/Paul Brady – their only duo album they made together – recorded over 40 years ago fol- lowing Planxty’s first split.


“The relief of disbanding Planxty quick- ly turned into dread about what we were going to do to earn a living next. Paul and I had formed a good relationship; we had the same kind of musical interests. I can’t

sher’s Island is, then, shaping up to be another glorious chapter in his incredible career that continues to evolve and bound on apace with another

remember who asked who but one of us said ‘do you fancy going out as a duo?’ and it got off the ground very quickly.“

Sadly he doesn’t recall too much detail about the album recording itself…

“My biggest memory is missing the boat. Dónal and myself were playing on Sherkin Island off the coast of Baltimore in Cork and we had a plane the next day to get to the studio in Cardiff. So we were down on the quayside at Sherkin Island and there were lots of people there and they were passing down our instruments on to the boat, but there were too many people on the boat so we couldn’t leave and we didn’t get off the island until the next day and arrived a day late for the recording.

“I wouldn’t think we expected much of the album. As ever, one can never believe anything one does will ever be successful but it turned out to be a big success. It hap- pened at the right time. You never know it is the right time until later, but Planxty came just at the right time and Paul and myself was exactly the right time too.”

He and Brady then went their separate ways. Paul was madly in love with his future wife Mary and Andy was desperate to get back on the road and was soon endlessly touring Europe with Mick Hanley, later to replace Christy Moore as lead singer with Moving Hearts.

And still he’s never tired of the road. “Bullshit!” F

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