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May 23, 2012 / rockroots

It’s All Over Now Baby Blue

That’s it for this blog. My hope is that it has contributed in some tiny way to raising the profile of some of the artists featured here. Ireland has a strong record of supporting and celebrating it’s literary arts, traditional music and the handful of rock stars who have tasted success internationally, but fails to appreciate the generation of musicians who first brought rock music to Irish audiences. These people rarely made enough money to stay in the business for any length of time and left behind only scant examples of their recorded music, but they deserve all the more respect for having planted the seeds without reaping the harvest.

In time, I hope to revamp some of the earlier posts, and maybe at some point I’ll be inspired to start writing some new ones. In the meantime, enjoy this golden nugget of garage psych from 1966. Although it might be a bit of a stretch to call this Irish rock, the lead singer, lead guitarist and writer of this one hit wonder was John/Sean Byrne from Drimnagh, Dublin (he adopted the name Sean because it sounded more exotic to American audiences). Daragh O’Halloran, in his 2006 book Green Beat: The Forgotten Era of Irish Rock, features an interview with Byrne charting his journey from beat groups in Rathmines, emigration to San Jose at 17, to rapid ascent in the US charts and equally rapid fall back into obscurity. The Count Five broke up in 1968 but the persistent popularity of this song led to many reunions and tours from the late 1980s onwards. Perhaps it’s worth pondering how different that legacy might have been had Byrne remained in Ireland and written his song here. John Byrne passed away in 2008.

The Count Five – Psychotic Reaction

Slightly beyond the limits of this site, the forthcoming collection Strange Passion – Explorations in Irish Post Punk, DIY and Electronic Music 1980-83 sounds like a very worthwhile exercise in preserving some of the lesser-known Irish music of that era and will hopefully be well received. Likewise, Garry O’Neill’s excellent book Where Were You? – “a photographic celebration of Dublin’s youth culture, street style and teen life, from the 1950s to the 1990s” – is now back in print and is also well worth checking out for those still feeling nostalgic.

 And so, to quote The Strangers…  Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow!

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8 Comments

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  1. Daragh O'H / May 24 2012 16:12

    Max,
    I’ve been dipping in and out of your blog for some time now. It was an incredible undertaking and a brilliant achievement. You have managed to track down some of the rarest pop music ever released in this country and make it available to an audience that would never have had the chance to hear it otherwise. A few of the songs you put on your Brandy of The Damned compilation I wasn’t even able to get a hold of when I was researching my book, so many thanks for that!! (actually, how DID you find some of them?!)
    Thanks also for the reference to Green Beat. There aren’t many copies left in the shops anymore (and I don’t check the myspace page), but I hope to be able to get some more out into the world at some point in the future.
    It’s great to see that through efforts like your own, and those of people like the Radiators from Space, the ‘forgotten’ era of Irish rock is becoming a little bit less forgotten as time goes on.

    cheers
    Daragh

    • rockroots / May 26 2012 00:41

      Thank you Daragh, I have to admit your message made my day! Your book was one of the main inspirations for this project as it made me realise just how much music was there, just waiting to be unearthed. As for how I got the songs, it was a mixture of way too many mis-spent hours on the internet and way more money spent on records than any sane person would have. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I’m sure I’ll be able to enjoy it again too after I take a long enough break!

      Please let me know if there’s another link instead of MySpace you would like me to use for your book or any other projects you’re working on.
      All the best, and thanks again.

      • Niall / May 27 2012 20:07

        Thanks for all your work in compiling some of our long lost POP 45’s from a long and forgotton era in Irish popular music !! And also to Daragh for his very informative tome on that era !!And while i’m at it,Ronan Collins gets to air some of these classic tracks,so there are still a few of you out there still flying the flag!!
        Hope you get to blog again,as I personally found your site one of the finds on the blogasphere………..Thanks for these otherwise unavailable home made wonders !!

        Niall

        Thanks to The Radiators for their amazing new platter covering the said era !!

  2. rockroots / Jul 10 2012 00:18

    Dave Fanning interviewed Philip Chevron and Steve Averill of The Radiators from Space in July 2012 about the 1960s Irish Beat Scene and how it inspired their tribute album. It is podcasr below:

    http://2fm.rte.ie/blogs/dave_fanning_news/2012/07/dave-fanning-show-7th-july-2012-content-and-podcasts.html

  3. Niall / Jul 13 2012 20:29

    Cheers for this !!
    Niall

  4. tipsfromflo / Sep 27 2012 02:17

    So much good music comes from Ireland.

  5. mickdylan / Dec 5 2012 10:25

    I.ve just found this blog and I’m amazed. What a great piece of work it is. Most of the music here I recall from my fathers wild and wonderful collection. He used to spend hours most Sundays trawling through bargin bins in Dolphin Discs and would find all sorts. He always had a liking for the lesser known Showbands and what he termed alternative Irish music. I was introduced to artists like Bob Dylan/Neil Young/Lou Reed/David Bowie etc by cover versions that were on some of the records he brought home.This blog has brought back great memories of my childhood and preteens and makes me realise what a cool dude me Da was then and still is now at 80.We still listen to all sorts of music together and I cant wait to show him this stuff . Thanks for all the effort you’ve gone to in putting this blog together.

    Mick.

    • rockroots / Dec 9 2012 16:57

      Thank you Mick, what a nice story, and your da sounds very cool indeed, he could probably do a much better job than me on this!

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