Saturday, June 23, 2007

Andy Irvine

"Rainy Sundays…Windy Dreams" 1980

Kieron Seamons:
Andy Irvine has been the seal of quality on many of the most influential albums that have come out of Ireland since the late 1960’s. His mandolin, bouzouki, hurdy gurdy and vocals have helped carve the sound for bands like Sweeney’s Men, Planxty, and Patrick Street and held these bands as bench marks for all future Irish music to be judged. Even today, that bench mark seems to be untouchable.

His collaborations with Dick Gaughan and Paul Brady even strengthened his place on the music scene as a very powerful songwriter and performer. Infact the Paul Brady/ Andy Irvine album captures these two artists at the peek of perfection, and an album that still is regarded as one on ‘The Best Folk Albums of All Time’.

"Rainy Sundays … Windy Dreams" is the first solo album by Andy Irvine, released in 1980. This album, once again has Irvine pushing the door of Irish Music wide open. His exquisite mandolin, bouzouki, Harmonica, hurdy gurdy playing and compositions here mixed up tight, and beautifully balanced. This album sounds like nothing else on the market and to be very honest, I doubt we will. How many Irish folk albums mix harmonica, hurdy gurdy, uillean pipes, bouzouki, viola, piano, mandolin, Jews harp and Pan Flutes? Infact not only is he credited for his pioneering work of the Irish Bouzouki in Irish music but also his introduction of the Hurdy Gurdy to it. His travels through Eastern Europe are evident here, and the musical spices he gathered are used extremely well through out.

This album also pulls in the talents of Paul Brady, Donal Lunny, Liam O’Flynn and Frankie Gavin. If you include the bonus track of 'Bonny Woodhall' then you get the addition of Mick Hanly on guitar.

The Emigrants:
Is a trilogy, ‘ Come To The Land Of Sweet Liberty’, ‘Farewell To Old Ireland’ and ‘Edward Connors’. From the opening wavering notes of the Hurdy Gurdy you know you are info something different. The Notes are picked up in perfect harmony by Andy perfectly balance vocals. Then you are introduced the sounds of the mandolin and bouzouki as the song enters its second stage. The composition here is beautifully. I have heard Andy also sing ‘Farewell to Old Ireland’ as a solo song, in later years. A truly classic Irish Emigration song.

The Longford Weaver:
Is quite possibly the first time Hurdy Gurdy and Harmonica have played together in Irish music. It works surprisingly well, and also builds a wonderful atmosphere for a song about Nancy’s Whiskey. Andy’s vocals being song with real passion here. A brilliant performance. Andy says ‘It is rounded off with ‘Christmas Eve’ lead by Frankie on viola. The Christmas Eve reel is in celebration of the weaver’s declared intention of going on the dry’.

Farewell to Balleymoney:
Again, very tasteful vocals from Andy. Infact I think this is the first time I have ever heard Andy being accompanied by the piano. The words paint the picture of a very arrogant young man, who can have any woman he wants……………except the one he loves, of course!

Romanian Song ( Blood and Gold ):
This tack took many listens before I could enjoy it. Maybe it has a lot to do with the powerful ‘mountain singing’ of Lucienne Purceli. Though I must say that by Andy introducing this type of material I have found and enjoyed the work of singers like Marta Sebetyen.

Paidushko Horo:
I can never resist a chance to here Andy play one of his Balkan styled tunes. This is a lovely addition to the album.

Kingbore and The Sandman:
This is an amazing song. Everything about this self penned classic is wonderful. It has a magical, almost fairytale quality about it and the mandolin work on it is exquisite. Worth the price of the album to hear this track alone. Truly wonderful. This tune impressed me so much, that I actually contacted Tara records and got permission to use the track for a short animated film. It’s in a box somewhere now but a magical tune !

Rainy Sundays:
Here is a great song, written in Ljubljana in Yugoslavia following about rain, a broken heart and a girl. I have since heard Andy sing this live on stage and it still sounds great. This has the only instrument on it that seems out of place, for me, the soprano sax. But a wonderful track nonetheless.

Bonny Woodhall:
The cd version adds a live version of this track as a ‘bonus’ and what a bonus it is. Taken from the live LP ‘The 4th Irish Folk Festival’ and recorded three years earlier, this is a beautiful version of a song that appeared on the Irvine/ Brady album. This version is so much more beautiful, and once again shows just how much emotion and passion Andy puts into a live performance.

"Rainy Sundays…Windy Dreams" is a 'Classic Debut Album' from one of the giants of Irish music. If you have every bought a Sweeney’s Men, Planxty, Patrick Street or even the Irvine/Brady classic album, then this is a must for your collection. Once again that seal of quality is stamped all over it.


Blogger Lizardson said...


23 June, 2007 21:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


thank you for the post,
instead of
"Kingbore and The Sandman" "Rainy Sundays" is appearing a second time in the rip

24 June, 2007 18:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Lizardson,
is there any chance you have the aforementioned Irvine/Brady album? i have the LP, but unfortunately it is slightly scratched on some tracks...
thanks again for beautiful music!

24 June, 2007 20:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lizardson,

this is one of the absolutely finest and best albums ever recorded, simply superb. I've had it only on a pretty worn-out cassette so far, great thing. But, sorry to say, only the first two files are in correct order: track 3 is the real 4, 4 is 5, 6 is 7, 7 is the real 7, but from vinyl rip, and 8 is the real 3, which means that the real 8, the bonus live track is totally missing. Is there any chance to re-post the full cd-version in correct order? That would be awfully great. Thanks for all this.

26 June, 2007 01:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi lizardson,
great post but there's something wrong in the tracks.
Please, do a check and reupload if you can.
Thanks anyway

26 June, 2007 03:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi lizardson,
great post but there's something wrong in the tracks.
Please, do a check and reupload if you can.
Thanks anyway

26 June, 2007 03:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lizardson,

one of the best albums of all times, I've only had a worn-out cassette of it. Thank you so much. Sorry to find out that only the first two tracks are in correct order. No. 3 is the real No.4, 4 is 5, 5 is 6, 6 is 7, 7 is the real 7, but in a different rip, 8 is the real 3, and the real 8, the live bonus track, is totally missing. That's a fine mingle-mangle, as Shakespeare might have put it. But I'm happy to have these seven, even if a correction is not possible.
Great compliments and thanks to you.

26 June, 2007 14:58  
Blogger Galway said...

if someone could repost this t'would be great

20 August, 2008 00:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if someone could repost Rainy Sundays Windy Dreams, it would be very nice

25 November, 2008 01:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a little jewel, fantastic album
Folk at his best

John the Gun

05 July, 2013 03:39  

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