Sons of the Desert (1989 Interview & Session)

sons of the desert 3

Not to be confused with the US band of the same name, Sons of the Desert were from London and by all accounts toured with The Pogues.. On this visit to Dave Fanning at RTE studios the lineup was Ewan Shiels (vocals, mandolin), Stephen Harrison (bass), Tracey Booth (vocals, bodhran), Johnny Nolan (guitar) and Joseph Doherty (violin and saxophone). Paul McCluskey who attended the Cork show informs us that this recording is from 24th August 1989.

Live Performance & Interview (1990)

12 Responses to “Sons of the Desert (1989 Interview & Session)”

  1. Wow.! Used to go and see these guys every sunday morning in a pub in The Elephant & Castle. Legendary gigs circa 90-91. Thanks for posting this. What a great band 🙂

  2. Frank X Gallagher Says:

    I worked with his band and this was 1990. It was an adventure to say the least.

  3. Fanning Sessions Says:

    Thanks Frank, have updated the post!

  4. Paul McCluskey Says:


    That session is from August 24th 1989. How I remember clearly is I’d seen them play in Cork as support to a very shambolic Pogues the previous night



  5. Killian Says:

    I saw them open for the Pogues in Galway on the same tour. Shane MacGowan was so pissed he couldn’t get the cellophane off of a fresh pack of cigarettes.

    2 weeks later he was not performing with the band when they opened for Bob Dylan at the Greek Theater (UC Berkeley).

    Highlight of the show, for me, was encore of purple haze on mandolin.

    I have been thinking of these guys ever since then.


  6. Yes! The Elephant and Castle gigs were legendary. Discovered them Supporting the Pogues at Warwick Uni.

    We used to drive to London specially to see them on a Sunday lunchtime, on one memorable occasion not getting back to the midlands until Wednesday.

  7. Ewan and Tracey now live in France where they own a small bar in the north of the Auvergne region. There were 3 official Sons of the Desert albums released and they now go by the name The Shiels.

  8. They did indeed play with the pogues. I saw them at Brixton Academy on St.Patricks Day in 1987 I believe. Very coincidently, about 10 years later in Japan, I found that my new girlfriend had a cassette of one of their albums. The one with Painted Black on it. Thanks! I’ve been looking all over for this.

  9. They actually appeared live on a Channel 4 TV show doing Paint It Black and something else. But I’ve never seen anyone post a video of it.

  10. Did this band ever record a cd? And if so, where can i get it?! Saw them as an opener to the Pogues, they were inspirational to say the least….

  11. You can get Greedy on Amazon and Cannibal Hood Carnival Hat , Goognight Noises Everywhere also .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: