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!