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April 27, 2012 / rockroots

Memories – The Time Is Now


One of Ireland’s most enduring bands, The Memories formed in 1963 when school friends and Phibsboro church choir members Mick Swan, Daire Doyle, Colm Harpur and Jim Barry combined with guitarist Ray Crowe to perform acoustic folk music with vocal harmonies on the cabaret circuit. By 1967 they had made national TV and signed with Rex Records, with whom they recorded twelve singles and one album over the following seven year period. The second of these singles reached the Irish charts in 1968. According to the sleeve notes for their debut album, the band had their own hour-long TV spectacular in early 1972, for which they a played a well-received pop music set, prompting them to make the switch from folk. Drummer Chris Heenan was added to an electric line-up of Mick Swan (keyboards/flute/vocals), Daire Doyle (bass/vocals), Colm Harper (lead vocals/guitar), Jim Barry (lead vocals) and Ray Crowe (guitar/vocals). They avoided becoming a full showband by continuing to perform complex vocal harmonies and writing some original material, mostly by Mick Swan and Daire Doyle. Album The Time Is Now followed later in 1972 (billed simply as “Memories“) and included three band originals alongside pop and ballad covers. Notable among the former are the haunting Tuesday Morning and the heavier The House Fell Down, while the latter included soulful readings of Didn’t You Hear? and Neil Diamond’s The Time Is Now.

Between then and the end of 1974 The Memories enjoyed three more top ten Irish hits on Rex Records, including glam-rocker Lay It On Me and it’s comically crude but equally heavy flip side Did Ya Get It? (finishing with a great but sadly brief blues jam), but from 1975 to 1994 they recorded for a succession of different labels including Stop, Hawk, NEMS, Spex, Ritz and Dino. Liam McKenna, formerly with The Creatures and The Real McCoy, stood in for an injured Daire Doyle in 1974 and stayed on after Doyle’s return, while founder member Colm Harpur left in 1975. A second (and final) LP – Time To Go On – was released by this line-up in 1976, featuring songs from stage musicals and covers of Queen and The Eagles. Ray Crowe left in 1978, and in the early ’80s the remaining members spilt into two rival groups (The Memories and The Message) before Swan, Doyle and Barry reunited at the end of 1983. They recorded a TV special as part of the RTE series Best of the Bands in 1981 and entered the National Song Contest in 1979 and 1990, while football anthem The Game (a re-write of Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire) became their long-awaited first number one hit in 1990. Jim Barry eventually retired around 2004, with Mick Swan and Daire Doyle apparently winding down the band soon after.


Memories – The Time Is Now (192 kbps):

  1. Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me
  2. This I Find Is Beautiful
  3. Sing-Along Song
  4. The Time Is Now
  5. Didn’t You Hear?
  6. Tuesday Morning
  7. The House Fell Down
  8. Silent Voices
  9. I Believe In Music
  10. Hasbrook Heights
  11. Never Goodbye
  12. Baby Let Me Take You In My Arms
  • Lay It On Me
  • Did Ya Get It?


See also:

Irish The Memories

Irish Rock Discography: The Memories

Irish Showband & Beat Group Archive: The Memories



Leave a Comment
  1. Daniel / Apr 30 2014 08:02

    If you could find any of their more recent material, please do upload it!


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