Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Rétro: Alan Stivell in Cork, Ireland 1978

I've been listening a lot to Alan Stivell in the past few weeks, and much as I enjoy his later work, I think much of his acoustic work has aged better. This clip from 78 is an absolute gem.

The Foggy Dew, the Irish song performed here, was one friends and I were familiar with from Stivell's back catalogue. It wasn't until recent years that I discovered that it was regarded as a 'rebel song'. We were always more into music than politics.

The song refers to the Easter Rising in Ireland against British rule, and encourages Irishmen to fight for a free Ireland rather than fight for the Bristish in World War One.

I also came across a reference to Stivell recently in Carol Clerk's epic Hawkwind biography the Saga of Hawkwind, with a brief mention of him playing at the Stonehenge free festival in the 80s, where he was joined by Hawkwind's Nik Turner.

Many versions of the song have been recorded over the years, by vocalists including Sinead O'Connor, who performed it with traditional Irish musicians like The Chieftans, and there have been other versions by the likes of The Dubliners.

The Foggy Dew was recorded by Stivell on his breakthrough Olympia 72 album, and a later version featuring Shane McGowan on his 1993 album Again.

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