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January 15, 2018 / rockroots

The Fontanas – Songs Of The Irish Rebellion

The first of two posts facilitated by friend of the site WorldbyStorm, of the Cedar Lounge Revolution.


Arguably the most interesting thing about The Fontanas is that they had included a young Rory Gallagher in their ranks in the mid-1960s. This record, however is about as far from blues rock as you can get. The Cork showband found a niche in 1967/1968 recording the sentimental ballads and pub tunes of Ireland’s past, both as The Fontanas and as The Irish Freedom Fighters, though, as the Irish Rock Discography notes, in doing so they set a template for the much more successful Wolfe Tones. The same website considers this album “poorly recorded and with clumsy arrangements”, and it’s hard to disagree, especially on painfully out-of-tune renditions of Upton Ambush and Johnson’s Motor Car. Kelly Of Killane has a decent pop arrangement, while the LP opens with a version of Dominic Behan’s The Patriot Game, a song which, as Behan himself noticed, bore more than a passing resemblance to Bob Dylan’s later With God On Our Side.

What’s probably worth noting is the timing of this album. In the brief window between the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising and the outbreak of serious violence in Northern Ireland, recording a collection of very old songs about the exploits of the IRA and Sinn Fein during the independence struggle was probably regarded as fairly innocent and innocuous, but in the context of the next few decades, plagued by sectarian conflict, such an LP would have been considered much more contentious and provocative by many. When fighting erupted, the band found their music unwelcome in most venues across Northern Ireland and Britain.


The Fontanas – Songs Of The Irish Rebellion (192 kbps)

  1. The Patriot Game
  2. The Rising Of The Moon
  3. The Three Flowers
  4. The Foggy Dew
  5. Upton Ambush
  6. The Men Of The West
  7. Kelly Of Killane
  8. Dan O’Hara
  9. The Minstrel Boy
  10. Johnson’s Motor Car
  11. Shall My Soul Pass Through Old Ireland

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