Archive for January, 2023

Cork Rock (1993)

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on January 31, 2023 by Fanning Sessions

cork rock 1993

This post started out in 2013 but got lost because no artwork was found. Currently on a mission to post every day straight for a week it has been resuscitated unlike your truly. Thanks to the kind taper who sent these in, apologies for the delay. Expect live recordings from Puppy Love Bomb, Treehouse, Pet Lamb and LMNO Pelican. The photo comes courtesy Emperor of Ice Cream who must also have been on the bill. If anyone has more details and or recordings please get in touch.

Puppy Love Bomb – Almost A Star (1993)

Treehouse – Hide (1993)

Puppy Love Bomb – I’m Not Listening (1993)

Pet Lamb – Insult To Injury (1993)

LMNO Pelican – Call Yossarian (1993)

No Name Band (1985 demo)

Posted in Music with tags , on January 30, 2023 by Fanning Sessions

no name band

From Navan, No Name Band were Francis Geraghty (guitar), Mark McGoona (guitar), Damien McGoona (bass), Derek McGoona (saxophone) and Tony Smyth (drums). This particular track was played by Dave Fanning on his radio show and also performed by the band on the RTE TV show ‘Jobsuss’, the band released one single ‘Sweet Sensation‘ in 1985. For more information please read the entry (anyone heard from Eamonn recently?) and leave a comment if you have any memories or corrections.

Sweet Sensation (1985)

She’s My Girl (1985)

Rulers Of The Planet (2003 Session)

Posted in Music with tags , , on January 29, 2023 by Fanning Sessions

rulers of the planet

From Cork, Rulers Of The Planet were originally Barry McAuliffe (vocals), Mick Hayes (guitar) and Niall Lynch (drums), the latter both previously of The Shanks. The trio were soon joined by Ian O Connell (guitar) and Kieran O’Neill (drums). They released two albums and called it a day after 10 years in 2013. Nice Evening Echo article here.

Phone No (2003)

Eduardo (2003)

@last TV – The Lost Albums (1998)

Posted in TV with tags , , , , on January 28, 2023 by Fanning Sessions

@last TV the lost albums

@last TV was an ‘eclectic magazine show’ which ran Mondays at 9.30pm on Network 2 (now RTE2) for, as far as we can tell, 3 years from 1997 to 1999. In 1998 they profiled 5 Irish albums close to our hearts; ‘Raytown Revisited’, ‘The Clock Comes Down The Stairs’, ‘Sacred Heart Hotel’, ‘I Am The Greatest’ and ‘Loveless’..

A series of five short documentaries about great Irish albums that never received the success they deserved. The bands in question are: The Blades, Microdisney, The Stars of Heaven, A House and My Bloody Valentine and each item features compelling interviews with some of the musicians involved accompanied by the brilliant music they created.

Shush! ‘Punks Listen’ takeover

Posted in Books with tags , , , on January 27, 2023 by Fanning Sessions

punks listen at ucc libraryStephen Travers, Emily Dollery, Siobhan Bardsley, Eileen Hogan and Rob McKahey in conversation with Michael Murphy at the Cork launch of ‘Punks Listen’ in UCC library. Photo by Niall McGuirk of Hope Collective.

On December 5th UCC library hosted the Cork launch of the latest book by the Hope Collective ‘Punks Listen‘, 200 musicians and friends writing about what music means to them. The launch featured Elvera Butler (Promoter, Reekus Records owner, UCC Downtown Kampus), John Perry (The Only Ones), Stephen Travers (Miami Showband), Emily Dollery (UCC, Set Guitars to Kill), Dr. Emily Gale (UCC Popular Music Studies), Dr. Eileen Hogan (UCC School of Applied Social Studies), Rob McKahey (Stump!), Colm O’Callaghan (The Blackpool Sentinel, RTÉ), Ciarán Ó Tuama (Cypress Mine!, photographer) and Siobhán Bardsley (Cork Zine Archive), all hosted by Michael Murphy and Niall McGuirk (Hope Collective). To tie in with the occasion, Shush!, the UCC Library radio show hosted by Martin O’Connor invited Michael to select an hour of music and talk about his life in music. The book is for a good cause (Red Cross Ukraine Refugee appeal) and apparently there are launches planned for Limerick, Paris, London, New York, Belfast and Derry.


The Kid Sisters (Demo)

Posted in demo, Fanning, radio with tags , , , on January 26, 2023 by Fanning Sessions

kid sisters

The Kid Sisters were Debbie Schow (vocals, guitar), Dik Evans (guitar), Alan Taffe (bass) and Johnny Bonnie (drums). The band was active from 1986 to 1989 when they changed their name to Screech Owls and moved to London. Debbie and Dik were the two constants in an ever evolving lineup which featured at various times members of The Slowest Clock, The Real Wild West, The Gorehounds and Those Handsome Devils. Debbie has since returned to Joshua Tree in the US something which is evident from her photography. She occasionally posts about her life in music, somethingwe always enjoy, maybe she’ll write for us or even better feature in our favourite podcast. In addition to the Kid Sisters demo recording we have included a live Screech Owls review from Hot Press.

Sniper On The Freeway (Demo)


Screech Owls (The Attic, Dublin)

While everyone else in Dublin was taking a crash course in petrol bomb manufacturing or else double-bolting their houses against those who had, The Screech Owls spent Hallowe’en creating their own verbal pyrotechnics courtesy of the “spoken word” musings of charismatic lead Owlette Debbie Skhow who was the star of a show that was never really allowed to ignite the way it should have.

For two reasons; firstly, a PA which should have been arrested at the end of the night and charged with conspiracy to obstruct the course of a good gig; and secondly, an attendance which would make Valentia Island look like Bangladesh.

But those who did darken the door had a treat (as opposed to a trick) in store for them in the shape of The Revenants, whose low key support slot left me with a grin on my face that some might describe as ‘shit-eating’. Debbie led the chorus of approval and, later on, was in the enviable position of being able to summon Stephen Ryan to the stage to tune her guitar for her.

But it would be unfair to dwell on the technical difficulties that surrounded the Screech Owls tonight at the expense of the songs themselves, which show Skhow to be one of the most interesting and intriguing songwriters around. Songs like the opener ‘Ghost’ or ’29 Palmtrees’ are charged with the same narrative bent of, say, Laurie Anderson, but without the avant garde pretensions, without the conscious aspiration that what she’s doing is ‘art’.

The excellent single, ‘Desert’, closed the show, a purple-hearted gem which sees Debbie using the landscape of her native California as a metaphor for her father’s misguided attempts to turn the clock back on his life.

It’s when you hear songs like these you wonder just why everyone stayed away.

Nick Kelly

Five Go Down To The Sea? (1983 Session)

Posted in Music with tags , , on January 25, 2023 by Fanning Sessions

Five Go Down To The Sea

The recently posted 1990 Ian Wilson interview brought to our attention that we had not yet featured Five Go Down To The Sea? The Cork band formed out of the ashes of Nun Attax in 1982 by Finbarr Donnelly (vocals), Ricky Dineen (guitar) and Keith “Smelly” O’Connell (drums) were soon joined by Mick Stack (guitar) and Úna Ní Chanainn (cello). In 1983 they recorded a session for Dave Fanning as a 4 piece without cello. Three of these tracks featured on the 2020 AllCity retrospective ‘Hiding From The Landlord‘ and we have a cover of the Lee Hazelwood song ‘These Boots Were Made For Walking’ to share today. The remaining track was ‘Big Brown Ceann’. The band photo is by Ciarán Ó Tuama. Ricky Dineen is currently active with Liam Heffernan (Mean Features) as Big Boy Foolish who feature incidentally on the bonus CD with the recent reissue of Kaught at the Kampus.

These Boots Were Made For Walking (1983)

Lorry Across The Lee (1983)

Blue Moon (1983)

While My Cigar Meryl Streeps (1983)

‘Session Man’ Ian Wilson interview (Hot Press, 14th June 1990)

Posted in Music with tags , on January 20, 2023 by Fanning Sessions


The following is a Paul Byrne Hot Press interview with Ian Wilson of RTE to celebrate 10 years of the Fanning Sessions, it appeared in print on June 14th 1990.

Ten years on and the importance of The Dave Fanning Session hasn’t diminished in the least. From U2 to Scale The Heights, The Virgin Prunes to Whipping Boy and The Blades to Power Of Dreams the recordings have provided invaluable experience for two generations of Irish bands. Paul Byrne meets the man who started the ball rolling a decade ago, Ian Wilson

“You could tell Five Go Down To The Sea? were no time-wasters the minute they walked into the studio.” Ian Wilson remembers “They just set up their gear, did some songs, stopped for tea, and then came back and packed up.

“Whereas most bands were with you ’til 10pm these lads were walking out the door at 7pm. And with most bands you’re lucky to get two tracks done; with these we had five done in record time, including a particularly manic version of ‘These Boots Were Made For Walking’ and such potential classics as ‘Lorry Across The Lee’ and ‘While My Guitar Meryl Streeps’.

“I assumed they were leaving early to get back to Cork because they had to sign on the dole the nexxt morning. But they had other plans. They headed straight to Herbert Park armed with 20 bottles of cider they’d gotten with the money they’d earned from the sessions, and got completely blotto drunk.”

“They woke up the next morning in the park, got into their car and drove home to Cork. Crazy people, completely crazy”! They never even bothered to get a copy of the session!”

Ian Wilson sits back in his wobbly chair amidst the hustle and noise of RTE’s Radio House and laughs.

“As it turns out it’s probably one of the best sessions we’ve ever done”

Over the last 10 years Ian Wilson, as producer and guru of Dave Fanning’s seminal radio, has given a lot of much needed exposure to a host of Ireland’s until then radio-unfriendly bands through the medium of the Rock Show sessions. Highly respected today, the sessions however had a humble though destined to be historic start in life.

“When I first arrived here in ’79 I was amazed to find a fully equipped studio just lying idle,” Wilson recalls. “It had literally been unused since in was first installed in ’73. And so I decided to get a band in to see if it actually worked.

“I phoned Paul McGuinness and told him to send the four lads in to do a couple of numbers. Everything went great; naturally we were only learning how to use the equipment but it was a good beginning!

“After that the sessions began happening on a haphazard basis for a couple of years. It’s only been in the last few years that RTE have fully realised their real worth. They’ve realised that this is in an area of vast development, and that if they want to keep up with the competition they’ll have to back this thing up. But probably the most important factor that sparked off the change of heart was the simple fact that they could make money with the sessions. Over the last year alone we’ve taken in about £1,200 in leasing out demos to bands. That kinda altered RTE’s point of view!”

Back at the beginning, as the initial onslaught of young bands descended upon RTE studios, the prevalent calm and tranquility of the Radio House was shaken ever so slightly.

“We were just at the tail end of the Punk thing, and it was a time of cross dressing and wearing whatever you wanted.” Wilson points out. “So when someone like The Virgin Prunes strolled in there was quite a few eyes widened. The problem here is that it’s a very closed-in existence that a lot of these people lead. Most of them wouldn’t have any experience of music besides some ‘come-all-ye’ back home. So when you walked into the RTE canteen when one of the bands were in it didn’t take you long to work out who were in the band and who worked in RTE.”

With the sudden intrusion of life upsetting the flow of things around the Radio House, was there ever any ‘friendly words of advice’ from any of RTE’s executives upstairs?

“There were a few people who though that the whole thing was just a waste of time and resources. You had people who used to work in the showband days who’d be baffled that it took us a whole day to record two or three songs with a band. In their day you took a band into the studio, played the song once , and then headed home in time for the Angelus. But that attitude has changed a lot. They’ve come to realise just what’s invoved with recording these days. That’s not to say they approve of it; it’s just that they’ve come to tolerate it now.”

In the early days what were you looking out for when you were sent a demo?

“The thing about the early demos was that you often couldn’t tell how good or bad a band were from their demo. Because in those dats there wasn’t that many studios, so lots of the stuff we got was recorded in someone’s bedroom or out in the garden. You took a great risk sometimes.

“But you soon learned what to look for. The bottom line has always been to find bands with good ideas anyway, so really the quality didn’t really come into unless the recording was really bad.

” Today the problem has gone the other way. It’s all production now. Everything is polished and perfected, if that’s the proper word. So much it’s hard to know if the band can actually do anything worthwhile. Bands should never forget that it’s the ideas that matter, not the production!”

It was “sometime in the mid-80’s” when RTE decided, without rhyme or reason to abolish the Fanning Sessions. It was a move that was to have far reaching repercussions, with every budding rock star and starlet up and down the country lending their voice to the hail of disapproval. As a result it soon became obvious to RTE that the Fanning Sessions weren’t about to roll over and play dead.

“The outcry was fairly large when that happened alright,” Wilson acknowledges. “It was definitely noticed! I never know at the time why they went, and I still don’t. The communications in here are sometimes very bizarre. In this communications business the last thing they tend to do is tell you what’s going on!”

But luckily, help was at hand; the mighty hand of the Arts Council to be precise.

“I know for a fact that the Arts Council wrote to the Director-General here, which is a little-known fact, The Arts Council writing is quite… (widens his eyes and drops his jaw!) – it really raised people’s eyebrows. A letter from the Arts Council saying that this was a very valuable part of Ireland’s artistic scene sort of thing; that, more than anything, must have put the slides on it.

“It came back pretty soon after that. It was only a short gap anyway. The proverbial shit hit the fan, so it won’t happen again. I’m pretty sure of that. Looking back it was a kind of blessing in disguise, because when this hiccup occurred it suddenly dawned on a lot of people just how important the sessions were!”

The need for an outlet such as the Fanning Sessions has never been more necessary than it is today, with more and more bands cropping up all around the country. “It’s great at the moment,” enthuses Wilson. “Donegal, Cork, Limerick, all across the midlands – there’s great bands coming from all over the country. It’s no longer just a Dublin thing!”.

It was Fanning who once said that ‘unemployment brings out the guitar in everyone!’. Would the producer agree?

“Well, I don’t know if it’s really unemployment, but it’s certainly a working class occupation. I remember filling in for Dave once on some teacher’s discussion about ‘the kids’. I told the people there that they must understand that music for a lot of young people is a way out; if you’re a youngster living in Tallaght or wherever you don’t have many choices. You can get drunk on cider every weekend, or you can start a band. To a lot of these kids it’s like boxing; a way to break out of their surroundings. I said that unless they understood that they were going to have a lot of trouble understanding the kids.’ And they flipped out: ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, that’s not our experience with kids. Oh, no, no, no, no!’

“One guy started insisting that The Beatles were upper class; they weren’t, The Beatles were working class – all the great band were. You had the odd exception like Genesis, who all came from private school, but all the really important bands were predominantly working class. And long may it stay that way. Otherwise they’ll all be as boring as Genesis are!”

Genesis are not the only form of music that riles Wilson. Recent non-developments in the Irish folk scene manages to bring his blood to tropical heat as well!

“I’m amazed that folk music in this country is so stagnated. There has been no significant changes at all in the last 15 years. There’s really been no changes in Irish folk music in about 1,000 years. It’s still red-faced men in Aran sweaters belting out appalling ballads.

“You’ve got great developments going on all over the world; different cultures criss-crossing with each other to spark off some great music. Sure look at The Pogues; taking your basic Irish folk and traditional and blending it with the rawer elements of Punk and what-have-ya; that’s what should be going on over here. No-one’s doing anything exciting over here with folk music. There’s been a gap left since the likes of Planxty split up.

“What we need now is some band to come along and break up their fiddle and bodhrans on the stage. And maybe they could burn their Aran sweaters while they’re at it!”

Is there anything in today’s Irish music scene that manages to excite him?

“Oh, yeah! There’s quite a lot of garagey bands at the moment that are really good, There’s bands like The Whipping Boy, The Slowest Clock, The Golden Horde, Power Of Dreams. Power Of Dreams are a band that we’ve given a lot of support to, their simply a great band, and now they’ve got themselves a record contract. Which is great!

“That’s the good thing about Ireland at the moment. There’s a very healthy structure now for bands to grow from. There’s a lot of money coming into Ireland’s music industry right now, and that’s reflecting back in the form of better facilities for young bands. There’s plenty of room for development now for bands starting out.”

This year Wilson hopes to see some of the Fanning Sessions released on vinyl, probably as mini-LPs, a move sparked off by the success of “The Peel Sessions“, released in Britain by Strange Fruit Records, though Wilson concedes that the Rock Show wouldn’t have anything like it’s extensive or interest-worthy a back catalogue to plunder.

“I do have a number of sessions that are well worth releasing though,” he adds. “Stuff like The Prunes, A House, Stars Of Heaven, Golden Horde, Blue In Heaven, The Blades… they’re all pretty good sessions. And I reckon, as 6 or 8 track ,mini-lps, they would have a bit of cred and they’d sell in reasonable quantities too. I’m hoping I may have enough bits and pieces for a hardcore compilation as well.”

The commercial potential doesn’t end there either; many bands are now buying their demos to use as promos, or to release to the public.

“This, and the release of the mini-LPs, have obviously appealed to a lot of people in here; where there’s money there’s a way!”, Wilson comments with a smile. “It’s only a recent development that the session have begun to show sign of paying for themselves, which is basically what we hope it will achieve. The more money we can earn from releasing, and leasing, the sessions the more we can put back into them!”

What about the copyright control on the recordings?

“Basically RTE have copyright on the recordings for ever and ever. The artist owns the songs and suchlike, RTE just own the performance. The bottom line for bands is the experience of recording, and the airplay.”

And airplay for the sessions can come up in the strangest of places!

“No-one seems to know this but all the background music used in ‘Fair City’ is taken from our sessions,” he reveals. “So you have people ironing their underwear, or having tea and an argument whilst An Emotional Fish or A House are playing in the background.

“It’s a fairly weird means of exposure from the bands’ point of view!”

Should look good on the posters: As featured in RTE’s ‘Fair City’!” Or maybe not.

Fanning’s Fab 50 (1983)

Posted in Music with tags on January 9, 2023 by Fanning Sessions

Thanks once again to the impeccable record keeping of Pat Lydon we now have the 1983 Fanning’s Fab 50 rundown. There are quite a few new entries although not all of these were released in 1983. U2 as usual are very well represented but Johnny Duhan with ‘El Salvador’ at 25 is a very strong showing. I had a quick look but was unable to find a recording of the song which was released as a single in 1983. For Spotify users there is a playlist (missing the Johnny Duhan track unfortunately)

1. u2 – 11 o clock tick tock
2. joy division – love will tear us apart
3. new order – blue monday
4. u2 – sunday bloody sunday
5. the undertones – teenage kicks
6. simple minds – new gold dream
7. u2 – new years day
8. joy division – decades
9. led zeppelin – stairway to heaven
10. stiff little fingers – alternative ulster
11. the doors – riders on the storm
12. simple minds – the american
13. u2 – a celebration
14. new order – ceremony
15. joy division – new dawn fades
16. simple minds – someone somewhere (in summertime)
17. the undertones – my perfect cousin
18. u2 – a day without me
19. joy division – atmosphere
20. the jam – down at the tube station at midnight
21. big country – the storm
22. thin lizzy – still in love with you
23. p.i.l. – this is not a lovesong
24. the jam – going underground
25. johnny duhan – el salvador
26. the doors – light my fire
27. the undertones – julie ocean
28. u2 – drowning man
29. u2 – like a song
30. new order – temptation
31. u2 – out of control
32. new order – your silent face
33. joy division – transmission
34. joy division – the eternal
35. david bowie – ashes to ashes
36. david bowie – rock n roll suicide
37. david bowie – moonage daydream
38. the clash – london calling
39. the rolling stones – satisfaction
40. the cure – faith
41. the beatles – i am the walrus
42. the blades – downmarket
43. sex pistols – anarchy in the uk
44. the kinks – you really got me
45. rory gallagher – shadowplay
46. virgin prunes – baby turns blue
47. the boomtown rats – rat trap
48. talking heads – this must be the place
49. siouxsie and the banshees – christine
50. genesis – mama