Pictured above, clockwise from top-left: Kevin Burke, Power of Dreams, The Golden Horde, Rollerskate Skinny, Auto da Fe, Aidan Walsh (Master of the Universe)
Last week, in our Friday Golden Discs competition, we asked you, rather than for any genre in particular, your favourite Irish gem that’s been forgotten by the march of time.
In fact, we asked you to finish the following sentence:
“I regard_______________________________as an absolute forgotten Irish classic because__________________________’
At stake was no more than a voucher guaranteeing its bearer a handsome twenty-five beans at any of Golden Discs’ fourteen locations around the country. And the competition was really, very tight. But there, as ever, can only be one winner.
Harry Molloy, one of Broadsheet’s regular commentators, with the well-deserved clincher:
I have found the most underappreciated but greatest Irish song that there is – this is especially strengthened by how much we tend to appreciate and replicate anything of value from this genre of music. Suitably, it is a song which no one I knew had heard of, and no once since has, until such time as it had been introduced to them.
It is ‘Mrs Gilhooley’s Party’ from Kevin Burke of the Bothy Band. With a song title like that you would be well excused to ignore, but I challenge you to stop and have a listen. Its best qualities are the fact that it is decent trad, of good caliber, it’s really funny, and you can’t watch it and not think how great it would be to see someone take that on live.
From an editorial perspective, this was an absolute heartbreaker to boil down to a few runners-up, but indeed, here they are. All of these tunes are also in the playlist embedded above, for your convenience.
Liam Zero: “I regard Season by Last Days of 1984 as an absolute forgotten Irish classic because, like the rest of the album it came from, it is one of the most wonderful pieces of music made on these shores, and it evokes joy and nostalgia and happiness and love and bliss and warmth and a late summer vibe that perhaps never actually exists in this country but which seems like a certainty this year once you hit play. It’s aural MDMA that doesn’t require you to go buying some dodgy pill from some dodgier bloke and then suffering the dodgiest comedown. It’s all the high and none of the low. It’s sunset and sunrise. It’s we’re going to be friends for EVER. It’s homebound contentment. It makes you gush this sort of rubbish. And it never got the love it deserved. It was forgotten from the start. But it’s goddamn fucking beautiful and I love it.”
Ferret McGruber: “I regard November, November by Auto da Fe as an absolute forgotten Irish classic because of Gay Wood’s evocative singing and bonkers stage performances, and Trevor Knight’s superb, ethereal keyboards. When it was released in 1982 it wasn’t like what anyone else was doing at the time. It’s also significant for being produced by Phil Lynott. Still makes me wonder what more he could have achieved had he stuck around.”
Gorugeen: “I regard Speed to My Side by Rollerskate Skinny as a forgotten Irish classic because it’s a rollicking, big sound and brings me back to Fibber Magees, main dance floor and the crowd going mental to it. But, nowadays all I get is blank looks when I mention the band or song. They should’ve been so much more.”
Me: “I regard Friends in Time by The Golden Horde as an absolute forgotten Irish classic because it’s a great song, with a Larry Gogan cameo in the video, but most of all when I went to listen to it on Spotify a few months back I couldn’t find their version, only the Ronan Keating cover.”
Baron Von Botter III: “Dudley Corporation’s Divil the Bit has it all. Swaying and lurching, threatening to topple over yet staying tight and lyrical. Abruptly ends after barely two minutes. All the elements of a classic.”
Friscondo: “It has to be one the the greatest Irish pop songs, Those Nervous Animals’ My Friend John. Great tune, great lyrics and now almost totally forgotten. I defy anyone not to love it on their first listen. Sligo has never produced anything better.”
Smith: “I regard Feeding Frenzy by National Prayer Breakfast an absolute forgotten Irish classic. An anthemic Phantom FM staple, with lyrics and jangly guitar representing true indie music away from the manufactured sound of mainstream radio.”
Al Jeers: “I regard ‘Master of the Universe’ Aidan Walsh’s Community Games as an absolute forgotten Irish classic because it’s the only song to my knowledge to conceptually decontruct that most Irish of all sports meetings.”
Donal: I regard Arclight by The Fat Lady Sings as an absolute forgotten Irish classic, because it’s still a cracking tune and it was our summer anthem at Ballyfin Jamboree in 1993.
Bertie Blenkinsop: Foremost among a number of great suggestions made by Bertie, who played a blinder here, was Power of Dreams’ Stay. – Mike
Goosey Lucy: Revelino’s Happiness is Mine. Listened to it non stop as a teenager.
Frilly Keane: Cypress Mine – Sugar Beet God. So good live that Zig ‘n’ Zag covered it.