Now that I’ve gotten all that Planet of the Apes stuff out of my system it’s time to get back to the point of this site.
Sad news recently was the death of singer Eamonn Gibney. Eamonn had a fascinating career from his origins in Glasnevin with Dead Centre and for many years he really was dead centre of the music scene in Dublin, making waves with Purple Pussycat, singing soul music with The Arrows and Alyce, a stint with Skid Row, part of a duo with Gibney & O’Donovan, as part of Allies, and as a solo artist. To remember his soulful voice, listen to this:
On a happier note, thanks to Ian Monahan for pointing out that Ditch Cassidy recorded a fairly recent single which can be bought through itunes here, or listened to here:
As promised in the previous post, here is one more collection of sounds inspired by Planet of the Apes. Where the last collection had a hard rock slant, this one looks to areas like hip-hop and electronic music which were slower to embrace the Apes. Much of this is instrumental music, some of it only using an Apes reference for the song title, some using samples from the films. There are tracks from Japanese superfans Cornelius and Nigo, and from a Planet of the Apes hip-hop concept album by Suave the Ape. Finland’s Ceebrolistics take things a step further in a Christian-based hip-hop attack on the theory of evolution (more recently, Destiny Lab have used a similar strategy, even dressing as apes to make their point, but aren’t included here). A lot of this music was also created by musicians without any commercial considerations and made available freely online.
As is always the case, there is no copyright infringement intended in the posting of this collection, merely the sharing of good music among that part of the human population of this planet who enjoy music and Planet of the Apes. Any requests to remove content will be respected.
Beware The Beats, Man!
- (Ape Chatter – Lord have pity on us)
- La Vida Rosa – Indie Dance Party on the Planet of the Apes
- (Ape Chatter – The Holy Bomb)
- Eric Dingus – Zira
- Suave The Ape – Crash Landing
- (Ape Chatter – Planet of the Apes)
- Ben Allison – Dr Zaius
- (Ape Chatter – Beyond the Stars)
- Lionel Gaget – Planet of the Apes – Video Game (extracts)
- Ceebrolistics – Escape from da Planet of Apes
- (Ape Chatter – Two Humans)
- Enon – Return to the Planet of the Apes
- Cornelius – Taylor
- (Ape Chatter – Oh Monkeys)
- Shawn Lee – Urko’s Revenge
- Suave The Ape – Peace to the Planet Ape
- U.N.K.L.E. feat. Nigo & Scratch Perverts – Ape Shall Never Kill Ape
- PotA Collective – Forbidden Zone
- Ape Chatter – Rise of the Planet of the Apes
- AmAndA – La Ballade de Cornélius et Zira
- (Ape Chatter – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)
- Danny Elfman & Paul Oakenfold – Rule the Planet (remix)
- (Ape Chatter – He is a Gorilla)
- Mortar – Escape from the Planet of the Apes
- (Ape Chatter – Phyllis)
- Kiwa – Planet of the Apes
Do please support the recording artists by buying the legitimate albums where available.
More details can be found on these and other Apes songs at The Planet of the Apes Wiki site:
And keep up to date with all things Ape on twitter here:
Almost three years ago, around the time that Rise of the Planet of the Apes was in cinemas, RockRoots brought you a collection of music from the first wave of Apemania, titled ‘Ape Shuffle’. That post ended with a mention that there were plenty of songs about Planet of the Apes from the decades after 1980, and that if anyone really wanted to hear them they could appear on follow-up collections. For whatever reason – let’s assume technical problems – absolutely nobody has expressed any such interest in hearing these. Nevertheless, sure in the knowledge that this must be some kind of oversight, the release of the latest film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, will be marked with not one, but two more collections of Ape-themed music from RockRoots! Presented here is a CDs-worth of rock, some of it about the Planet of the Apes, some of it making reference to the Planet of the Apes, some of it using samples taken from Planet of the Apes films, and much of it just using the title ‘Planet of the Apes‘. It is, after all, a very evocative title, bringing to mind iconic imagery and timeless quotes. It means very different things to different musicians – to some it is simply about classic sci-fi, to others it is about broader themes of the mortality and morality of the human race. Some use it as crude shorthand for racial stereotypes (for which reason the charmingly named ‘Vaginal Jesus’ aren’t included here), some as an equally blunt message of racial violence (that’s you, Wu Tang Clan), others still as a sarcastic attack on the theory of evolution (on which, more in the next post). The pace of new songs written about Planet of the Apes has been maintained in the three years since the last collection, meaning there are plenty to choose from. Believe it or not, there were as many tracks left off this collection as were included, some for the reasons just mentioned, but also because of sound quality, or having no discernible content about the Apes concept beyond a song title (some of these slipped in anyway). Some were left off for offensive lyrics, but before listening you should be warned that there are still a lot of explicit lyrics on here and it is not intended for young or sensitive listeners.
The music that remains ranges from ’80s indie rock through to heavy metal, with a very generous helping of punk along the way, but will hopefully have some sort of overall coherence for the listener. It seems that Planet of the Apes became a popular theme for punk bands around the late 1980s and remained so until at least the mid ’00s, for reasons that aren’t immediately obvious, although this coincided with a time when there was a long drawn-out saga in Hollywood about how best to revive the film franchise, ending ultimately with a movie widely regarded as a disappointment. The companion collection to follow will be more of a sound collage taking in hip-hop, electronic and soundtrack music. As is always the case, there is no copyright infringement intended in the posting of this collection, merely the sharing of good music among that tiny cross-section of the human population of this planet who enjoy both hard rock and Planet of the Apes. Any requests to remove content will be respected.
Damn Dirty Ape Music
- (Ape Chatter – ANSA)
- The Doormats – (Life’s still a drag on the) Planet of the Apes
- Adam & The Ants – Picasso visits the Planet of the Apes
- (Ape Chatter – That was OUR planet)
- The Surfin’ Wombatz – Planet of the Psychobilly Apes
- Jonny Cohen’s Love Machine – No Escape from the Planet of the Apes
- The Space Cossacks – Planet of the Apes
- (Ape Chatter – Play-Mate of the Apes)
- The Whiskey Daredevils – Planet of the Apes
- The Commodes – Planet of the Apes
- TR6 – Bo Diddley on the Planet of the Apes
- Sawn Off – Planet of the Apes
- Spika In Snüzz – Planet of the Apes
- (Ape Chatter – Stinkin’ Apes)
- The Pinehurst Kids – Planet of the Apes
- (Ape Chatter – Not on my watch)
- Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 – Planet of the Apes
- The Six And Violence – Planet of the Apes
- The Dehumanizers – Planet of the Apes
- Soylint Green – Planet of the Apes
- Screeching Weasel – Planet of the Apes
- Al Bundie’s Army – Planet of the Apes
- I Quit! – Return to the Planet of the Apes
- (Ape Chatter – Damn Dirty Human)
- The Mummies – (You must fight to live) On the Planet of the Apes
- Nazi Death Camp – This is the Planet of the Apes
- (Ape Chatter – Revenge of the Planet Ape)
- The Misfits – The Forbidden Zone
- Bizarre X – Planet of the Apes
- Gut Bucket – King Kong Vs. Planet of the Apes
- (Ape Chatter – Quiet You)
- Human Tanga – Planet of the Apes
- Devil’s Pawn – Apetown
- (Ape Chatter – The Mandrill Militia)
- Devil’s Pawn – Shake My Cage
- (Ape Chatter – NO)
- Cathedral – Urko’s Conquest
Do please support the recording artists by buying the legitimate albums where available.
The new album from Devil’s Pawn can be downloaded from here (for free).
More details can be found on these and other Apes songs at The Planet of the Apes Wiki site:
The story of Eire Apparent is very complicated and frequently misrepresented. The fact that the group were associated with two particularly famous guitarists – Jimi Hendrix and Henry McCullough – obscures the contribution of band members like Mick Cox to the group’s album Sunrise. Presented here is a collection of non-album tracks recorded by (or associated with) Eire Apparent, starting with a pair of tracks recorded by their Belfast beat group precursor. Then consisting of George O’Hara (vocals/lead guitar), Davy Lutton (drums), Ernie Graham (vocals/rhythm guitar), Eric Wrixon (keyboards) and Mike Niblett (bass), The People contributed two songs to the compilation album Ireland’s Greatest Sounds: Five Top Groups From Belfast’s Maritime Club (Ember Records LP, February 1966): I’m With You was cover of a 1963 single by The Big Three, Well… All Right was a 1958 Buddy Holly B-side. Both tracks were also included on a 1997 CD Belfast Beat: Maritime Blues (Big Beat).
Major changes during the next two years saw O’Hara, Niblett and Wrixon leave, replaced by Chris Stewart (bass) and Henry McCullough (guitar), and the band move to Blackpool, then Dublin, then London, where they were signed by managers Mike Jeffery and Chas Chandler. Chandler had been bass player with The Animals, but left performing and teamed up with former Animals manager Jeffery; together they managed Eric Burden’s relaunched new Animals, Soft Machine and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Jeffery’s wife came up with the name ‘Eire Apparent‘, a terrible pun to capitalise on their exotic Hibernian origins, and from then their career was bound up with that of Hendrix. The group were sent to Spain to write enough songs to fill an album, but months later they had come up with just one original track. In November 1967 they embarked on a UK package tour with the Hendrix Experience, The Move, The Pink Floyd, The Nice, Amen Corner and The Outer Limits (and Lemmy as one of the roadies) – a fantastic line-up but one that reduced each band to playing for only about 20 minutes. Track Records, Hendrix’s label, agreed to release a single in January 1968 to test the waters for a potential album. To the group’s annoyance, Chandler asked them to record Follow Me, written by three members of pop group The Flowerpot Men, with their own song Here I Go Again consigned to the B-side. They didn’t like the commercial single, and in any case it didn’t chart and Track lost interest. This single was in fact the only release featuring McCullough and is now extremely rare. Here I Go Again can be found on We Can Fly: Psychedelic Obscurities Volume 4 (Past & Present CD, 2004) and Follow Me can be found on Track Records: Backtrack Volume 1 (Track LP, 1970). Both tracks were included on a CD reissue of Sunrise in 2010, but Follow Me in particular suffered from a poor transfer, so this collection uses a new transfer from the Backtrack LP.
Next, Eire Apparent were sent on a series of extended tours of North America, first with The Animals, later with Soft Machine and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, from the beginning of February for most of the year. With hindsight, the strategy of sacrificing their momentum in the UK for a crack at the American market would prove to be a mistake; both Hendrix and The Animals were already established before their lengthy absences. During this time, McCullough was busted for possession of marijuana and the band and management decided to replace him and carry on. English guitarist Mick Cox had been posted to Northern Ireland during his military service and ended up joining local group The Alleykatz in 1964 (who had also featured on the Maritime Club album) and a solo Van Morrison in 1967. Mick was summoned at short notice to replace McCullough and within weeks, according to author Daragh O’Halloran, he was “straight into the studio recording, because I was a songwriter and they didn’t have any other songwriter apart from Ernie”. The timing of this changeover is probably the most hazily reported part of the story. Many sources suggest September 1968, but O’Halloran points out that McCullough made his stage debut with his next band (Sweeney’s Men) back in Dublin on 17 May, and supporting this are the files of Hendrix’s recording sessions which show that Eire Apparent were recording a new single in New York’s Record Plant studio with Cox and Hendrix in May (right after Hendrix recorded multiple versions of Voodoo Chile, and before Eire Apparent briefly flew out to a festival in Zurich on 30 May). The band that had struggled for three months to write one song might have left very little evidence of their music behind had Cox not joined them when he did. The new single paired Cox’s Let Me Stay with the group collaboration Yes I Need Someone, drenched with feedback and backwards guitar courtesy of producer Hendrix and surely the highlight of their time together. Intriguingly, the Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland Sessions – May 1968 MP3 download collection (ATM, 2009), from which these two mono tracks are taken, says that when the rest of the album was recorded and mixed in stereo later on, the engineers simply added fake stereo echo effects to the mono US single (released on Buddah Records in October 1968), rather than remixing the tapes in true stereo. Make your own mind up on that.
The rest of the Sunrise album was recorded at TTG and Sunset-Highland Studios, Los Angeles, on 30 October 1968, with Hendrix again producing. Cox contributed Mr. Guy Fawkes, Morning Glory and Captive In The Sun. Ernie Graham wrote Got To Get Away, Someone Is Sure To (Want You) and Magic Carpet. Chris Stewart wrote (and sang?) The Clown (also featuring backing vocals from Soft Machine’s Robert Wyatt and The Experience’s Noel Redding). Jimi Hendrix played guitar on all tracks with the possible exception of Got To Get Away and 1026 – a Graham/Stewart collaboration produced by engineer Jack Hunt (and possibly also featuring the singing of Redding and Wyatt). Other credits were flute by Mick Cox, orchestral arrangements by Animals guitarist Vic Briggs and engineering by Eddie Kramer, Jack Hunt, Garry Kellgren and Tony Bongiovi (cousin of Jon Bon Jovi, fact fans). The breakdown of song-writing credits may go some way to explaining the criticism that Sunrise is an inconsistent album mixing too many styles to be considered a classic, but it is far more than just a Hendrix related curiosity. Cox left in November 1968, very shortly after the album was recorded. It was released on Buddah Records in the US around January 1969, but not in the UK until the following May, a major flaw in the US-centred action plan for the group.
The new lead guitarist was David ‘Tiger’ Taylor, a veteran of countless Northern Irish groups (including an early version of The People), and very quickly the band recorded a new Taylor/Graham composition, Rock ‘N’ Roll Band. Once again Jimi Hendrix added guitar, though this was recorded at Polydor Studios, London, on 5 January 1969, and produced by Carlos Olms. It was paired with Yes I Need Someone for a March single release, and bumped Let Me Stay from the eventual UK album. Eire Apparent then set out on a European tour supporting The Jimi Hendrix Experience in January 1969. At least two of the concerts on this tour were recorded by audience members – fans of Hendrix rather than Eire Apparent, it has to be assumed, but it leaves us a valuable record of the band’s live shows which consisted mainly of covers and lengthy jams. The set from the Liederhalle, Stuttgart, on 19 January 1969 consists of The Price of Love (originally by The Everly Brothers, soon to be recorded by Status Quo), Highway 61 Revisited (Bob Dylan), Blues (improvisation) and Gloria (Them). The above-mentioned 2010 Sunrise CD included these tracks, but with Fritz Rau’s band introduction and other chatter edited out. The full set, with a better quality transfer, appeared on both a separate bootleg (though crediting McCullough rather than Taylor) and as part of another bootleg paired with Hendrix’s set, from which this version is taken. The performance at the Konzerthaus, Vienna, on 22 January, consisting of The Price Of Love, Highway 61 Revisited, Rock ‘N’ Roll Band and Gloria, has also appeared on bootlegs, but in initial releases the tape speed gradually increased making the end of their set comically fast. This collection uses a later version with speed correction by an anonymous boffin.
On 20 April 1969 Eire Apparent recorded a BBC Radio Top Gear session for John Peel, playing Yes I Need Someone, Highway 61 Revisited and Gloria. A 2008 unauthorised Pretty Things CD, The Forgotten Beebs (Tendolar), included Gloria and Yes I Need Someone from this session, in the belief that future Pretty Things guitarist Peter Tolson played on these tracks rather than Taylor. Listings from Peel’s archives suggest that Taylor actually played on them, but either way this CD allowed us to hear the obscure recordings for the first time. For some reason these two tracks were pressed onto the CD at a ludicrously loud volume, completely distorting the sound and making them almost unlistenable. This Rarities collection has tried to correct that to some extent, but frankly there’s only so much that can be done with them, and this new edit of Yes I Need Someone still suffers from some distortion; hopefully the source tapes are in better condition and include the third song from the session. It was reported in May 1969 that the band were recording tracks for a second album, to be produced by Robert Wyatt, but no trace of any such recordings is known to exist. As mentioned, at some point in 1969 Peter Tolson replaced Tiger Taylor, and there are also suggestions that guitarist Steve Jolly (formerly of Sam Apple Pie) later joined too, but even the break up of the band can’t be pinpointed exactly beyond it being sometime in 1970. By then Mike Jeffery had bought out Chas Chandler from Hendrix’s management. Jeffery has been accused of everything from fleecing his acts of their money (probably true) to murdering Hendrix for his life insurance policy (probably false), and died in a plane crash in 1973 leaving a fortune in hidden bank accounts. Chandler was free to concentrate on Eire Apparent, but struggled to rebuild a fan base in the UK and devoted himself instead to his newest project, Slade.
The last tracks in this collection come from covers of Eire Apparent songs (technically, at least). Australian psych band The Dave Miller Set had a hit single in July 1969 when they covered two Sunrise album cuts, Mr. Guy Fawkes and Someone Is Sure To. In August 1969 British group Magnet released the single Let Me Stay / Mr. Guy Fawkes. In fact Magnet was the new band (1969-71) formed by Mick Cox, who had written both of these songs, although he re-recorded them in a slower and more orchestral style. Magnet’s Mr. Guy Fawkes can be found on We Can Fly: Psychedelic Obscurities Volume 4. Cox toured with Arrival (1971-72) and Kokomo (1974), The Mick Cox Band (featuring Chris Stewart) recorded an album in 1973, and he played on a number of Van Morrison albums from 1980 onwards before passing away in 2008. Ernie Graham recorded a solo album backed by Brinsley Schwartz in 1971, the second Help Yourself album in 1972, two pub-rock albums by Clancy (1974, 1975) and a Phil Lynott-penned solo single, before taking up work on the railways and dying of alcoholism 2001 – all of his albums have been reissued on CD. Chris Stewart played in bands led by Terry Reid and Ronnie Lane, on two albums by Spooky Tooth (1973-1974), the aforementioned Mick Cox Band album (1973), three by Frankie Miller (1975–78), one by Eric Burdon (1980) and countless other sessions up to the early 1980s. Davy Lutton played with Heavy Jelly (1970), Ellis (two albums 1972–73), T. Rex (numerous albums 1974–77), Wreckless Eric (1978) and Chris Spedding (1978), and apparently now lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Henry McCullough played with Sweeney’s Men (1968), The Grease Band (with and without Joe Cocker, 1968-71), Spooky Tooth (1970), Paul McCartney & Wings (1972-73), Frankie Miller (1975, with Chris Stewart) and released many solo albums. Tiger Taylor recorded an album with Anno Domini (1970-71) and later joined pop group The Freshmen. Peter Tolson played with The Pretty Things (1971-76) and Metropolis (1976-77). Steve Jolly joined Freedom (1971-72).
- I’m With You
- Well… All Right
- Follow Me
- Here I Go Again
- Let Me Stay (mono single mix)
- Yes I Need Someone (mono single mix)
Live in Stuttgart, January 1969:
- The Price Of Love
- Highway 61 Revisited
Live in Vienna, January 1969:
- The Price Of Love
- Highway 61 Revisited
- Rock ‘N’ Roll Band
BBC Top Gear:
- Yes, I Need Someone
The Dave Miller Set:
- Mr. Guy Fawkes
- Someone Is Sure To
- Let Me Stay
- Mr. Guy Fawkes
Green Beat: The Forgotten Era of Irish Rock (Daragh O’Halloran, 2006)
Progress is slow, but there is more to come. In the meantime there’s a few things that are worth mentioning here.
Firstly, the illness and untimely death recently of Phil Chevron received considerable coverage in the press and especially in social media. This was as it should be, and somewhat undermines this site’s regular gripe that Irish musicians only get praised if they’re famous abroad. Notwithstanding The Pogues‘ success in Britain and elsewhere, Phil could not really be considered internationally famous in his own right, yet he was respected enough at home to warrant a ‘testimonial’ tribute concert shortly before his death, with an excellent array of musicians paying homage. Phil was instrumental in putting out The Radiators From Space‘s 2012 album Sound City Beat which, as noted here before, was itself a tribute to the Irish rock music Phil was inspired by in his youth.
On a sadly similar note, a fund-raising concert was held in March 2013 in support of Henry McCullough. Henry, of course, has a stellar CV, having played guitar with Eire Apparent, Sweeney’s Men, The Grease Band (with and without Joe Cocker) and Paul McCartney & Wings, among others (and you can also hear him murmuring about being “really drunk” during a sound collage on Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon). In recent years Henry has been a regular feature of the live blues clubs of Dublin and elsewhere, but he unfortunately suffered a massive heart attack in November of last year and required some fairly intensive treatment. It’s unclear at the moment whether he is likely to return to performing, but it is worth sending positive thoughts his way and wishing him better health in the future.
Sad to report that the Sink Full Of Dishes blog appears to have disappeared. The owner of that excellent site provided some invaluable advice, support and encouragement during the planning stages of this blog, for all of which a belated public ‘Thank You’ is in order. The link from this site remains, purely out of a stubborn refusal to acknowledge its passing, but should the author of that site relaunch under another name it will be most welcome.
On to some better news, Derek Dean – lead singer of The Freshmen – has got in touch to say that the band’s 1970 concept album Peace On Earth (the subject of the very first post on this site) is due to get a limited CD release this Christmas. This is great news as this is a very overlooked album that is very hard to track down copies of, as many readers will know. Any further developments on this will be added.
Finally, it was wonderful to hear recently from Heather Muir. Heather was the partner of Ray Elliott, a fantastic musician who was the subject of a pretty detailed post here early last year. She has been very supportive of the article, and very generous in filling in the gaps and adding her personal memories of Raymond. This has all been a very rewarding experience. A new section has been added to the page to reflect this, and more may follow.
The Bahá’í faith claims to be the youngest of the world’s independent religions. In essence, in 1844 a Persian merchant named Siyyid Ali-Muhammad proclaimed himself the ‘Báb’ – the gateway to the Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam of Shi’a Islam who is considered to have been in hiding for a thousand years. He later declared that he himself was the Mahdi, inevitably leading to persecution from the Shah’s authorities and execution by firing squad in 1850. The Báb had prophesied that ‘Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest’ would follow, and in due course one of his disciples, Mírzá Husayn ‘Alí Núrí, known as Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), came to be recognised as this Messenger of God, the most recent in a line that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad. In moving away from their origins in Shi’a theology and embracing aspects of all monotheistic religions, Bahá’ís emphasise that there is only one God and that all major religions have the same spiritual source; that all humans have been created equal and that diversity of race and culture are worthy of appreciation and acceptance; and that the human purpose is to learn to know and love God through such methods as prayer, reflection, and being of service to humanity. The religion gradually spread from its Persian and Ottoman roots and gained a footing in Europe and America. Currently there are five to seven million Bahá’ís worldwide, although in its Iranian heartland it currently suffers intense repression.
A visit to the website of the Bahá’í movement in Ireland reveals that it was a former Church of Ireland clergyman in the late 1940′s who first established a permanent presence here, with an influx of new followers in the early 1970s. The ’70s was also the era when the Hare Krishna, Buddhist and various Born-Again Christian faiths first gained a small but durable foothold in Ireland, and also when, in a wider context, a huge number of post-hippie young people across the Western hemisphere looked to religion – rather than sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll – for spiritual enlightenment. It’s this demographic of the community that is most evident on the 1978 LP Peace Will Shine, credited simply to The Irish Bahá’ís. The album is a collection of acoustic folk-rock songs with close-harmony vocals, reminding me of no-one more than Crosby, Stills & Nash and – with occasional flutes and whistles – not far removed from Trader Horne. The lyrics, aside from those specifically about figures from Bahá’í history, are filled with the aspirations for world harmony and tolerance that are very admirable parts of their faith, but which also align very strongly with the kind of music championed by the Woodstock generation. The record also invites inevitable comparisons to evangelical Christian rock, and to my ears it comes close to those faithful of a different hue, Ya Ho Wa 13.
Music is “by the Irish Bahá’ís”, although more particularly the track ‘Healing Prayer’ was set to music by John Ford Coley, and much of the lyrics are taken from Bahá’í texts. The liner notes tell us that it was recorded in a three-day session at Middle 8 Studio, but neither the musicians nor the lead singers are identified. The producer, however, is named as Jack Costelloe. The Irish Rock Discography suggests that Jack Costello and Guido DeVito from late ’60s Limerick rockers Granny’s Intentions may have been involved, but this isn’t evident from listening to the music. The LP was released on the (apparently one-off) Hyacinth Records label (B134/1) and has become highly collectable due more to its scarcity than to high regard for the contents. That said, it’s a decent record and well worth hearing if the above musical references or the Bahá’í faith pique your interest. This is another case where I’m reposting contents from elsewhere on the web – in this case from Epeli’s site the linked below – which will explain why track 11 is missing and can’t be added for the time being
- Alláh’u’ Ábha
- Right On Brother
- Healing Prayer
- Waves Of One Sea
- The Báb
- Blessed Is The Spot
- Hidden Word
- Lonely Faces
- Work Together
- A Question Of Life
- Peace Will Shine
For most Irish people it’s probably difficult, in 2013, to listen to a song with a chorus proclaiming “Glory, Glory to the Provos” without a sense of unease, but 1973 was a very different world in many ways. The Northern Irish civil rights movement had led to a confrontation between the local Unionist government and factions of the republican movement who saw their role as defenders of an oppressed minority, and the polarising effect of this was to stir the patriotic sentiments of very many nationalist Irish people. The gruesome and traumatic events of 1974 would serve to undermine the heroic image of the competing Northern armed groups to a large extent but before all that there was one particular attention-grabbing stunt staged on 31 October 1973 which captured the imagination of the nationalist community.
In September Seamus Twomey, Chief of Staff of the Provisional (‘Provo’) faction of the IRA had been jailed by the Irish Republic’s government in Mountjoy Prison, where he joined senior republicans J.B. O’Hagan and Kevin Mallon. Plans immediately went into action to break all three men out and a man with an American accent hired a helicopter at Dublin Airport, ostensibly for an aerial photo shoot in County Laois. The helicopter and pilot were hijacked and forced to land in the exercise yard of the prison where Twomey, Mallon and O’Hagan boarded the helicopter and escaped to safe houses. The daring escape made headlines around the world and was hugely embarrassing for the government. Mallon was recaptured in December 1973 (he escaped again in August 1974), O’Hagan was recaptured in early 1975, and Twomey in December 1977, but the audacious nature of the escape prompted republican folk group The Wolfe Tones to release a single called ‘The Helicopter Song’ which managed to top the Irish charts in spite of a government ban.
Meanwhile, lesser-known folk band The Freemen issued their own vinyl tribute to the episode, titled ‘The Flight From Mountjoy’. As can be guessed from the chorus, the song is unequivocal in its support for the Provisionals, and the Beal Feirste label (Belfast, as geailge) seems to have released just four singles, three of them by The Freemen, and all militantly republican. That this song was not a hit when The Wolfe Tones’ was can only be put down to bad luck or lack of promotion considering the content and style of both were much the same. The song was written by McGinley/Freeman and both sides were produced by The Freemen.
The ‘B’-side was ‘The Ballad of Billy Reid‘, a cover of a fairly well-known republican song written by Brian Lyons (and also recorded by The Wolfe Tones, among others). Billy Reid was another member of the Provisional IRA, and is believed to have shot dead the first on-duty British soldier to be killed in Ireland since the 1920s, in Belfast on 6 February 1971, and in so doing provoked an all-out war between the Provos and previously (officially) neutral British army. A few months later, in May 1971, an army patrol was ambushed in Belfast and Billy Reid was killed in the subsequent shoot-out. Lyons’ ballad emphasises the view that Reid was an heroic victim, thus earning a place on the list of martyrs to the republican cause.
The enigmatic Freemen left behind a number of singles that will be offensive to some, patriotic to others, but they offer us a glimpse of one of the more bloody and divisive periods in Ireland’s turbulent history.
- The Flight From Mountjoy
- The Ballad Of Billy Reid