Wednesday, September 02, 2009


A Silk Purse (1975)

An Irish folk-rock group whose albums are bound to be of interest to Celtic music lovers. Their debut album includes a competent version of the well-known traditional song "Blackleg Miner" amongst others. The third album comes with a lyric sheet. By this time of its release, O'Connor had been replaced by Dave Gaynor (drums) and multi-instrumentalist Ken Wilson also joined. This is generally regarded as their best album, a sorta good-time folk offering, but they've been dormant since.

01. Tenpenny Piece
02. Blackleg Miner
03. Brisk Young Widow
04. Open The Door Softley
05. For The Love Of Sarah Gilder
06. Lucan Dairy
07. Wind In The Willows
08. Brian Borus March
09. Crow On The Cradle
10. Nancy Brown
11. Newry Highwayman
12. A Sows Ear



Anonymous caoimghin said...

Excellent! I don't suppose you have any other Spud albums? They were the best Irish folk/rock band of the 1970s after Horslips. More similar to Steeleye/JSD Band than anything else. None of their records have ever been put out on CD and the originals are quite hard to get hold of.

03 September, 2009 00:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for a copy of Spud's debut album. Do you have their other two albums: Happy Handful & Smoking On The Bog?

03 September, 2009 04:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 2 Spud albums issued on cd on the Kissing Spell label last year.

03 September, 2009 15:19  
Blogger Pueblo said...

Looks like they had CD releases, the 2nd album at least

03 September, 2009 15:59  
Anonymous caoimghin said...

Happy to be corrected on this, I have been hoping for CD releases for years. I have my order in already!

03 September, 2009 18:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fine music. Thanks for sharing

03 September, 2009 22:43  
Blogger newelectricmuse said...

This has always been one of my favourite folk rock albums.

Below is some info on the band that I previously posted in the comments at

Here's some information about them from The Guinness Who's Who Of Folk Music (1993, O/P):

A largely under-rated Irish electric group, who were active through the mid to late 70s. Their debut album was produced by the noted Irish fiddler, Donal Lunny, and the line-up consisted of Don Knox (fiddle), Michael Smith (bass), Austin Kenny (guitar) and Dermot O'Connor (guitar, vocals). By the time they recorded their most significant work, "Smoking On The Bog", O'Connor had departed to be replaced by multi-instrumentalist Ken Wilson and Dave Gaynor (drums). The album, recorded at Sawmills Studio in Cornwall, had a good time boozy "feel" and included a cover of Richard Thompson's "Shame Of Doing Wrong". A further Irish-only single signified the end of Spud, and its ex-members have been absent from the music scene for some time.
Albums: "A Silk Purse" (1975), "The Happy Handful" (1975), "Smoking On The Bog" (1977).

(By the way the quote from the Guinness book above is typed as written - anyone notice the mistake? As far as I know Donal Lunny isn't a fiddler - he plays a mean bouzouki and bodhran though, among his many other talents).

Finally, here's some more info on Spud - an outtake from the excellent "Rough Guide To Irish Music" (the fact that it wasn't included in the book is kind of ironic when you read the second sentence!)

Though Horslips still evoke fond memories, few now remember their contemporaries Spud. Indeed, glance at any of the reference books and it’s almost as though the quartet never existed nor has any of their albums been reissued on CD and original vinyl copies are highly valued. The best of these was their 1975 debut A Silk Purse, produced by Dónal Lunny who also added a touch of bodhrán and the then fashionable Moog synthesiser. Spud’s material drew heavily from both the English and Irish folk traditions, the former including the traditional Blackleg Miner and Crow on the Cradle (written by Sydney ‘Lord of the Dance’ Carter). Irish tunes and songs included Brian Boru’s March (very reminiscent of Horslips) and Newry Highwayman. Spud’s sound was light, cheery, riff-ridden and entirely string-driven, their line-up consisting of Dermot O’Connor (guitars), Don Knox (fiddle), Austin Kenny (mandolin, 5-string banjo, recorders) and Michael Smith aka ‘Smithy’ (bass guitar) with vocals shared. Two more albums followed (1975's A Happy Handful and, two years later, Smoking in the Bog, by which time O’Connor had been replaced by drummer Dave Gaynor and multi-instrumentalist Ken Wilson), but folk-rock’s popularity was on the decline and Spud finally had their chips soon afterwards.

LP: A Silk Purse (1975, Philips). Unjustly forgotten, mainly acoustic innovators.

(Source: )

Glad some of their albums are finally coming out on CD - now what about some live tapes...?

04 September, 2009 03:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to hear something about SPUD.
Dermot O`Connor, the singer of "Wind In The Willows" lived many years in Germany and played in a band called "The Permanent Cure" (5 CDs). Now he lives in Italy.

04 September, 2009 23:59  
Blogger yabanjin said...

Thanks for the Spud, bud!

06 September, 2009 12:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive just found this thread and had to reply. I'm Michael Smiths son, and have a video of Spud Supporting Thin Lizzy in the National Stadium Circa 1976.

Ive put it on DVD, and would be more than happy to rip it up somewhere for you....

Also, Don Know and Mike Smith are still professional Musicians with my father playing with Dermot OLeary and the Bards! ;)


27 January, 2010 02:15  
Blogger Jack Houston said...

I remember seeing Spud in my younger days they were a great band.
My friends brother played drums for a while with them his surname was Fortune, we use to help carrying their gear.
Great memories

07 August, 2016 06:44  

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