New books on pop music reveal Ireland’s huge social changes
2018-05-15 11:48:07 -
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Two recent books by Irish writers explore very different aspects of popular music that may be unfamiliar for new arrivals in Ireland.

 

Nine people with strong Dublin links figure prominently in a new anthology recalling the halcyon days of the showband era.

 

From The Candy Store to the Galtymore chronicles the late 1950s to the 1970s in rural and urban Ireland through the stories of the young men and women who religiously went to their local ‘Ballroom of Romance’ each weekend.

 

The book echoes an era of social and cultural uprising in Ireland as the country began dancing the weekends away to the sounds of showbands in newly built ballrooms.

 

Co-editors PJ Cunningham and Dr Joe Kearney trawled the country to bring Ireland’s showband stories together in one book. In all, there are 70 contributions contained in this social and cultural review of the time, published by Ballpoint Press.

 

It was the time of Larry Cunningham, Joe Dolan, Brendan Bowyer, Dickie Rock and Butch Moore – and wherever they played, the crowds followed.

 

Ron Woods weaves a spell of intrigue in his story ‘The Ghost of Dickie Rock’, while Fred Molloy remembers stories of expeditions down the country where Butch Moore saw cattle and sheep for the first time.

 

Declan Gowran shares his first crush in his story ‘A Cycle Of Love’, while Clontarf-born Maeve Edwards tells of the moment her dream night out wasn’t the experience she had hoped for in her romantic expedition to Kerry.

 

David Fegan, meanwhile, was wrapped up in radio long before most people in Ireland were on his frequency, and found ways of hearing those first strains of rock ’n’ roll as they entered Ireland via Radio Caroline, Radio Luxembourg and other pirate sources.

 

Among those sounds were the first indelible tunes of the Beatles, the subject of Sean MacLeod’s Behind the Wall of Illusion – the Religious, Occult and Esoteric world of the Beatles, which launched by the Limerick Writers’ Centre last October.

 

Dublin-born, Limerick-based musician MacLeod takes readers not only behind the music and personalities of the ‘Fab Four’, but also examines the band as a phenomenon that heralded a new age and conscious development of mankind.

 

Surprise, shock and excitement are promised as you will read how the Beatles expressed a modern take on the ancient Greek god Dionysus, the symbolism behind the song ‘Yellow Submarine’, why the Beatles’ long hair cultivated spiritual connotations, and much more.

 

McLeod’s previous books include Leaders of the Pack: Girl Groups of the 1960s and Their Influence on Popular Culture in Britain and America (2015), and Phil Spector: Sound of the Sixties (2017), which both received critical acclaim.


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