From Dublin featuring Noel Green (guitar & vocals), Dermot Reid (bass), Williard (drums) and Barry H (guitar) The Pleasure Cell released just one single ‘New Age’. Dave Fanning played this in his review of Irish music released in 1986. A video for “She’s Just A Girl” on the RTE show Visual Eyes in 1987 (you’ll never guess who the host was) can be seen here. They also recorded a Fanning session so if anyone has a copy please drop a line.
The Pleasure Cell’s omission from any charting of Irish music is a crying shame. “A Statement Is A Weapon in an Empty Hand” was a line from from their New Age 7” released independently in 1987 on their own Common Ground Records.
I suppose it is fitting that I never actually got to see The Stars Of Heaven live despite being a huge fan. Myself and a friend read in HotPress over Christmas that they were playing Dublin and we decided to hitch to Dublin (a 4 hour drive) to attend the gig as we lived in rural Ireland and nothing was happening. Things started very slowly and next thing we knew the sandwiches were gone and we still hadn’t got our first lift, we were faced with an embarrassing about face. We eventually got that first lift and then hit it lucky and we eventually made it to the venue on time only to find that the gig had been cancelled (or was it just HP that was wrong?). We ended up going to see An Emotional Fish and staying the night in Isaac’s Hostel. A good night was had by all despite the disappointment. As it turns out The Stars Of Heaven had called it a day. Watch the band perform here and if you like what you hear, do yourself a favour and get a copy of the 2006 reissues on Independent Records of Sacred Heart Hotel/Holyhead EP and/or Speak Slowly (HP review). Update: those two albums are now available as a free download over on the Independent Records site. The posthumous ‘Unfinished Dreaming‘ is also well worth checking out.
The first track was a single on Hotwire Records from May 1985. John Peel liked it so much he had the lads over for sessions no less than 4 occasions. Then we have a track from the April 1988 Fanning Session and finally a track from the December 1984 Fanning Session which unusually features Stan Erraught on lead vocals.
Since I first posted a track from this session I’ve managed to track down the remainder and I’ve chosen to go with the opening track which is the electric version of Tennessee Stud, from September 1980.
Bam Bam And The Calling formed in Derry in 1983 and in the early days had a somewhat changeable lineup with Paul PJ McCartney being the one constant. Raymond Gorman was an early member before leaving for London with Sean O’Neill to form That Petrol Emotion. The band lineup settled around McCartney (guitar, vocals), Tom Doherty (drums), John McCloskey (guitar) and Joe Brown (bass). They moved to London where they released two singles; ‘Scraping Off The Shine‘ in 1987 and ‘Neck Tattoo’ in 1988 before calling it a day. Bam Bam & The Calling recorded a Fanning session on 19th January 1987 featuring tracks ‘Road Of The Lonely’, ‘Only Sing’, ‘Scraping Off The Shine’ and ‘ Secret Meeting’. Paul McCartney featured on an EP by Sean O’Neill’s post That Petrol Emotion project Rare in 1990 and in 1992 released an album “Entrance” on Setanta Records with The Deadly Engines. These tracks are from a demo of unknown provenance, if you have details or even better a recording of the Fanning session it goes without saying, we’d love to hear from you.
The Fat Lady Sings were formed in 1986 by Nick Kelly with Dave Sweeney (ex Vipers, guitar), Finbarr O’Riordan (bass) and Robert Hamilton (drums). The band moved to London and a couple of years later what would the classic lineup of Nick Kelly, Tim Bradshaw (guitar/keyboards), Dermot Lynch (bass) and Robert Hamilton (drums) was established. I believe this is recording is from 1988 and according to Dave’s outro it is on tape (according to the official website the band never recorded any demos).
In the early eighties, Niall did a “Bob Dylan” and went electric. The result was the formation of one of the most influential country-rock bands in Irish music History, the uniquely titled Hank Halfhead And The Rambling Turkeys. With the Turkeys, Niall or Hank, as he was then known, went on to break the record for Midnight At The Olympia, playing sixteen straight weeks to full houses. The Rambling Turkeys also worked New York and Boston to similar reactions, and played a now famous birthday gig for Adam Clayton of U2. They also went to number twelve in the Irish charts with the release of their first single in 1990, a version of an old Doc Boggs song “Walking Boss”.
The Rambling Turkeys were apparently a journeyed bunch with alumni in bands such as The Swinging Swine, Those Handsome Devils, The Dixons, etc. This particular track is a Rolling Stones cover.
If this track tickles your fancy you might like to check out the alt country mixes by BoxSetGo.
Regular readers might have gathered that the title of this blog is more aspirational than manifesto and I have been padding out the posts between sessions with demos and the occasional single or album track. All posts have one common theme; they were played on The Dave Fanning Show in the late eighties. These tracks are culled from the dying cassette collection of a fortysomething who can’t believe how good this music still sounds. Ideally I would hope to inspire others to dig out sessions they might have recorded or to colour in some detail to the sometimes minimal information which is available on these bands. Maybe younger readers might finally be in a position to check out some band they’ve heard of but never managed to track down.
Anyway on with the music. Listening to these old cassettes I often find this song or that going round in my head for days. I’ll sing snippets and annoy the kids until they beg me to stop. Maybe someday they’ll stumble across this blog and it’ll all become clear.. ‘Sugarbeet God’ is just such a track and because I have it to hand I’m going to accompany it with a track from their 1988 album ‘Exit Trashtown’. The band is of course Cork favourites Cypress, Mine!
Cypress Mine! were Ciaran O’Tuama (vocals), Ian Olney (guitar), Denis O’Mullane (bass) and Mark Healy (drums). They released three singles; ‘In The Big House’ (1987), ‘Justine’ (1987) and ‘Sugarbeet God’ (1988) and one album ‘Exit Trashtown’ (1988) all on on Solid Records. Ian Olney went on to become a member of Power Of Dreams in 1990.
In the absence of an official RTE Fanning Session archive consider this blog a humble starting point. Any musical submissions would be gratefully accepted as are any corrections or recollections... click on the pic to send an email or even better comment on the post in question. We are interested in anything recorded from irish radio or TV in the 1980s.