Memories 3
January 27, 1968
The news is out on the Emmet-Spiceland record so I can tell you without fear of it landing in the hands of spies for the show bands! They’ve recorded “Mary from Dungloe” and “Hava Nagila”. The former is the “A” side and it should be gorgeous. They have the sound of the sea in the background and a concert flute. Everyone has been asking them what they recorded and they wouldn’t say. We were really cocky knowing that they told us! They have played several tracks for the musical backing. That is, for example on “Hava Nagila”, Donal played the guitar first. Then they recorded him playing the mandolin and added that to it. I’ll send a copy of it soon, but will probably wait until Jim McCann’s record is out and send them both at once. I might be able to get the Croppies old record, “Dicey Riley”, to send also.
Geraldine Doyle is one of the best female singers in Dublin. We met her when we first started going to the clubs. She’s a lovely person and she helped to make us feel at home right from the beginning. She’s one of the few women who have been friendly. Most feel that we are “intruding” on their territory (namely the men). We first heard “Mountain Tay” sung by Gerry and Nina uses her style of singing in the song. I hope she’ll be appearing in town when you’re here. I know that you’d enjoy her. She’s on her way to the top and deserves to make it.
Cecil has had to close the 95 Club on Sundays until spring. The artists and audiences are just not coming out. He had to refund every ones money because only the guest artist showed up last Sunday. He’s still opening the snack bar upstairs so Nina is still working. The Universal had a very small crowd on Tuesday and would have had to close also were it not for the fact that the Croppies did not accept their fee under the circumstances. Things are bad in the winter for the ballads.
The Emmet-Spiceland record is #5 on the charts after only one week on the market! We are thrilled about it. We finally heard it and I must say that it is truly beautiful. It’s Brian’s show all the way on “Mary from Dunloe” and his voice is lovely. The tape you have of them is becoming more and more valuable as their popularity grows. We have heard that at Liberty Hall the teenage girls are screaming over them and killing themselves to get autographs. As we predicted months ago, they are headed for the top.
The Croppies are included on a newly released LP album. It’s their old record, “Take It Down from the Mast”, a rebel song. The other side was “Dicey Riley”. I’m enclosing a clipping from Gerry O’Grady’s review of the album. Sammy has promised me a copy of the single record which I’ll send if and when he delivers it.
The Emmet-Spiceland record is #1 this week! We are all overjoyed. Michael says they hope to go to the U.S. in the fall. I hope everything works out for them. They deserve success. Talent like theirs shouldn’t remain hidden. Almost all the record stores in town are sold out – 2000 records sold in one week! – and the record is played frequently on the radio. It’s so strange to hear the voices we know so well coming over the “airways”. Donal has grown a moustache! It looks desperate! We expect to go to Michael’s for dinner on Sunday. He’s serving curry and pork chops – should be interesting to say the least.
Our friend, Geraldine Doyle, has a record coming out in a fortnight. It seems as if everyone is making a record nowadays. “Mary from Dunloe” is still high up on the charts. The Emmet-Spiceland are in Germany until March 25th. The way they’re going I hope they are still around in June for you to meet them. Finding them on your doorstep is not an impossibility. As for your method of making them feel at home and “in place”, I can think of no comment to top my mental picture of you two dressed “in”. Of course, they would think that you looked “super”.
March 20, 1968
I made my public debut with the banjo last night at the Universal Folk Club. Usually there are very few banjoists on the scene. Last night there were the Bridge Valley Boys and one of them is extremely good on the banjo. He plays blue grass style. They were followed by The Traveling Folk, who also have a banjo player who is very talented. We were on next! There I was with my Mickey Mouse strum – twang, twiddle, twang-twang! To make matters worse the Croppies banjo player, Matt, was in the audience too! Oh well, they all had to start somewhere. Matt taught me a strum and Sammy taught me one too. I’ve somehow combined the two and come up with something “unique”. I haven’t the vaguest idea what I’m doing. I was terrified that they would all come charging in to hear my “style”. It’s most unusual to hear a female playing the banjo in Dublin. Thankfully most of them stayed in the hall. We sang “Mighty Day”, “El Matador”, “The Everglades” and “Gilgarra Mountain”.
The Ould Triangle Folk Club was forced to close down due to lack of patronage. We’re all hoping that they’ll reopen when the weather improves and people start coming out of hibernation.