Bus Records are proud to present an album featuring two of the most popular performers in Ireland today.
Jim McCann is one of Ireland's longest serving and best loved entertainers. His list of hit records is impressive, including "Meet Me at the Pillar", "Easy & Slow", "Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway" etc but the song he'll probably be best remembered for is the O'Meara Brothers opus, "GRACE". This hit stayed in the charts for a record breaking 36 weeks! A new recording of the song is included on this album.
Since his professional debut with the ground breaking Irish folk group "The Ludlows" in 1966 (with whom he had an enormous hit with Dominic Behan's "The Sea Around Us") the multi-talented Jim has turned his hand to the many different aspects of show-business. Apart from a string of hit singles and albums, he has appeared in stage musicals (Jesus Christ Super Star, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat), made several television specials (Live at the Stadium, My Ireland, McCann & McTell etc) had scripts accepted for radio shows, and is about to publish his "Jim McCann Songbook", with autobiographical notes. Jim spent most of the 70's as a member of the legendary "Dubliners", and with them he travelled the world. He still continues his globe-trotting, both solo and with Denis Murray.
Denis Murray, another powerful solo entertainer, has been involved in music from an early age, and like Jim his tastes are many and varied. He enjoys everything from Rock & Roll through Country & Western to Folk Music, which is probably his real love. Denis was the founder and lead singer of the hugely successful "Murray & Condon" who toured nationally and internationally for many years, and whose records are still a constant feature on radio request shows. Denis himself had a number one hit with a Pete St. John song, "Waltzing on Borrowed Time" which has become a standard with dancers and listeners alike. Naturally, its included here.
Denis continues to enjoy a faithful and enthusiastic following in Ireland, England, Scotland, Holland, Germany and the United States, and preserves his reputation as one of the busiest performers around, touring both as a soloist and with Jim McCann.
Denis Murray and I have known each other a very long time, and indeed our paths have crossed both professionally and socially over quite a few years. So it was really inevitable that we'd eventually team up. Our first tour suited us so well that we now regularly perform together all over Europe and the United States. We hope you'll enjoy our first album — we've certainly enjoyed making it for you!
Jim's biggest hit tells the true story of a young woman called Grace Gifford who was the childhood sweetheart, and briefly the wife, of Joseph Mary Plunkett. Plunkett was a poet and a patriot, and was the youngest of the signatories of the Proclamation of independence in 1916. As one of the signatories, he was sentenced to death by the British. He was shot in Kilmainham Jail, Dublin on the 4th of May, 1916, at about six o'clock in the morning. Shortly before that, Grace and a priest were brought in, and the young couple were married in the little chapel inside the prison. A small plaque in memory of the wedding can be seen on the wall beside the altar. Although she was very young at the time, Grace never re-married. She died in Ranelagh, Dublin, in the 1960's.
Star of The County Down (Denis)
Although this song is a breezy, Bouncy up-tempo piece, it is without doubt a love song. The young man is delirious with happiness that he's even sharing the same planet as the girl he loves. For a song that once had a reputation as a "Drawing room ballad" it has achieved tremendous popularity.
Red Is The Rose (Jim)
A song from the prolific pen of Tommy Makem, this is hugely popular with audiences everywhere. Everyone seems to know the chorus, and more to the point, everyone loves to sing it. If the air seems vaguely familiar, try humming it to yourself "You'll take the high road, and I'll take the low road …."
Waltzing on Borrowed Time (Denis)
This is the song that was so successful for Denis Murray. It is a wry and very clever look at the double standards that existed in Victorian Dublin. The contrast is nicely drawn between the "Cloud Cuckoo Land" inhabited by the gentry, for whom war was something that happened somewhere else, and the reality of the soldier who must actually go and fight with every expectation of never coming home again.
Copper Kettle (Jim)
A song from the Appalachian Mountains, celebrating the second most popular export from Ireland to America over the last couple of hundred years. The most popular export was people, and the other was the secret of how to make booze from almost anything. A lovely, laid-back song.
The Auld Triangle (Denis)
Brendan Behan's wonderful song about the misery of Dublin Prison Life in what Behan himself called "those Victorian Toilets" (expletive deleted). The "Auld Triangle" itself may seem to be used in this context to refer to the noise maker used to call the prisoners together, but there is a darker significance which no doubt Behan intended. The original triangle was a frame upon which victims were tied before they were scourged. Along with the Pitchcap, the Triangle recalled penal times and was a powerful symbol of British oppression.
Some Day Soon (Jim)
First heard by Jim in the 60's in "COUSINS", the legendary folk club in Greek Street, London. An unknown girl singer arrived on stage during a break in the performance of Al Stewart, the night's featured artiste, and proceeded to sing this song. Her name was Julie Felix, who went on to great things. Jim liked the song so much it actually become his first solo single way back then.
Rose of Aranmore (Jim and Denis)
This song came to Jim and Denis via their friend, three times Irish accordion champion Eoin Condon. Eoin says that the air was used as a teaching exercise for students of the accordion in times past. It's a lovely air, allied to lyrics which easily conjure up images of the magic County Donegal where the song is set.
Clare from Balindine (Denis)
In the 1880's the word "Boycott" found it's way into the English language. An unpopular landlord named Boycott was ostracised by the people of the west of Ireland. He was forced to import labour to harvest his crops and British troops were used to protect his scab workers. McGregor was a youthful soldier in their ranks … but love conquers all!
Whiskey On A Sunday (Jim)
Seth Davey was seemingly a real life character who was a popular and well known street entertainer in London between the wars. Street entertainers were a common sight at the time. There were jugglers, fire eaters, "strong men" and musicians. Seth Davey's act was known as the "Dancing dolls". This apparatus consisted of a thin flexible plank held firmly on the thigh with one elbow. At the end of the plank were wooden puppets loosely jointed at the shoulders, hips and knees, The performer would tap rhythmically with the fingers on the plank in time to music or his own singing; and the puppets would "dance". The better the dancing, the more coins would land in the doll-master's cap.
Black Gold (Denis)
A great song from the doyen of Irish song writers, Pete St. John, this is a wonderful evocation of the tough life led by men who work on the North Sea Oil Rigs. The work is hard but well paid, and the song's narrator, the "Man down by the pier" is fairly philosophical about everything except the fact that the rigs are alcohol free, and that he has to chase Black Cold without his "gargle".
Luke (a tribute) (Jim)
It's generally accepted that at his best, Luke Kelly was without equal as a ballad singer, so it's not surprising that after his death literally hundreds of writers rushed to come up with a "Tribute Song". Some were good, some were bad, and some were obviously designed to cash in on the publicity surrounding Luke's demise. This one, however, stands head and shoulders above the rest. It's sorrowful without being mawkish, respectful without being reverential, and the writer obviously knew his subject well. Jim McCann was a close friend of Luke Kelly since the early 60's, and indeed it was at Luke's invitation that Jim joined the "Dubliner's". He includes this tribute with affection.
From Denis Murray, August, 2010: Jim McCann and Denis Murray – Live In Dublin was released 11 years ago, and includes Jim's hit, "Grace" and my hit, "Waltzing on Borrowed Time" (written by Pete St. John). It was recorded in various venues throughout Ireland and re-mixed in Roseland studios in Moate — Foster and Allens studio — since burned down. Jim and I toured most of the world together, before he became ill — great times.
My thanks to Denis