Tracks Of My Years: Andy Irvine

at June 7, 2016

To say Andy Irvine has an impressive CV is something of an understatement.

Here’s a man who always seemed to be at the cutting edge of Irish folk and traditional music over the last 50 years, being a founding members of both Sweeney’s Men and Planxty, as well as Patrick Street, Mozaik, LAPD and Usher’s Island.

It’s also worth nothing that, amongst the many instruments this fine folkie fella plays is the hurdy-gurdy. Which, we’re told, involves some voodoo, six finger picks and lots of Rizla.

A well-travelled troubadour, Irvine has covered songs in many different traditions, including Irish, English, Scottish, Eastern European, Australian and deep-roots Americana. His deep sense of social justice informs much of his music too. Which is only right, when you’re in the folk idiom.

This hurdy-gurdy irritates the feck out of fascists.

Playing The Hot Spot on Saturday, June 25th, we asked young Andy to tell us all about the songs that can, yep, make him break down and cry…

Johnny Moynihan Standing On The Shore (Tracks Of Sweeney)
I had left the band when Johnny & Terry recorded this album. I always really liked this song of Johnny’s.
John Doyle The Wayward Son (The Gallant Poacher)
I played a concert in New York with John about 12 years ago. This was one of the songs of his I learned. Great arrangement.
Henry McCullough Belfast To Boston (Hi Ya Folks)
Henry replaced me in Sweeney’s Men in 1968. I always got on well with Henry and loved his music. So sad that he isn’t able to play any more.
Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton The Freeze (Declaration)
As a frequent visitor to Australia over the last 30 years, I’ve always kept up an interest in the music there. Kate & Ruth are as good as it gets!
Dolores Keane Craigie Hills (Farewell To Éireann)
Dolores was the best traditional singer I ever heard.
Máirtín Byrnes Farewell To Erin (Masters Of Irish Music)
A great man. Loved him and his humour. This was his party piece.
Willie Clancy The Gold Ring (Pipering of Willie Clancy Vol 2)
In Sweeney’s Men, we used to go down to Milltown Malbay back in the ’60s and ‘adore’ at the feet of Willie Clancy.
Chris Wood  Hollow Point (Handmade Life)
I heard Chris sing this at the BBC Folk Awards some years ago. This really did make me cry. I was utterly moved for an hour after he finished.
Woody Guthrie Buffalo Skinners (Buffalo Skinners: The Asch Recordings Vol 4)
Couldn’t make any list without Woody! My first and foremost influence.
Freddie White Desperadoes Waiting for a Train (Straight Up)
Always loved this version of a great song by Freddie.
PJ Harvey In the Dark Places (Let England Shake)
Produced by my clever son-in-law, Flood. This album won awards, and quite rightly…
Dire Straits Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits)
We had this album in the van on a long Planxty tour in 1979 and I kept asking to put it on again!
Fleetwood Mac Go Your Own Way (Rumours)
Ditto with this one. Always loved the harmonies on the chorus.

Andy Irvine plays The Hot Spot Music Club on Saturday, June 25th. You can check out the great man’s website here.

Listen to the tracks here:

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