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January 6, 2021 / rockroots

The Fairways featuring Gary Street – Yoko Ono

It’s feast or famine here at the Rock Roots ranch. After two and a half years with only one post I’ve set myself the challenge of completing all of my unfinished posts for the site. And to make matters even more difficult I’m going to try to get them all out in 2021; St Patrick’s Day will be the 10th anniversary of the site, hard as that is to comprehend. Let’s see how I get on….

To start, there’s a very convoluted history to the band that recorded ‘Yoko Ono’. The Irish Showbands website can fill in all the minute details, but suffice to say here that they began as The Agents in County Offaly in 1965. Later they recruited singer Gary Street (real name Joe Conway) and guitarist Mike Bryan. As The Fairways, they released a series of hits and misses, all of them written by the Conway/Bryan team. This ‘A’ side is probably not the best example of their output, to be fair, but it shows off some nice nice brass instrumentation and production. A gentle pop-reggae number about trying to “get to Skaville”(!), the name of our eponymous heroine is awkwardly shoe-horned into the lyrics as someone who’ll be waiting at that particular destination. Why is she in Skaville? Is John Lennon with her? Or the rest of the Beatles? Who knows, but Gary is anxious not to keep her waiting too long. Just for context, this single was released in the same month (July 1969) as John & Yoko’s ‘Give Peace A Chance’, so it was a name on many people’s lips. ‘B’ side ‘I Don’t Care’ is a rather old-fashioned Music Hall number that you could imagine as an obscure Herman’s Hermits ‘B’ side. ’nuff said.

Deferring again to the Irish Showbands biography, the band split towards the end of the same year, and Mike Bryan was killed in a car crash just a few months after that, aged just 25. Gary Street joined another group who adopted the name ‘The New Fairways‘ in the early 1970s before gradually evolving into The Duskeys – an early vehicle for country singer Sandy Kelly. Gary, meanwhile, sang on the English circuit for many years but died in 2003. Here they are in happier times and with a distinctive and – for the Irish pop scene – quite arty picture sleeve.

The Fairways featuring Gary Street – Yoko Ono (192kbps):

  • Yoko Ono
  • I Don’t Care

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