I started singing songs when I was six years old. As a young lad I sang “Kevin Barry”, “The Meeting of The Waters”, “The Three Flowers” and “Eamon an Chnoic”. All of these came from my mother Nancy Power. From there I sang in the school choir, in feiseanna and in local concerts, always singing what was put before me. After teenage attempts to play early rock and roll on piano I heard The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. This was to be my turning. Their sound set me off on a journey that continues to this very day. I first heard them on radio and then I got to see them live in The Olympia Theatre, Dublin circa 1961. That was the most exciting concert I have ever attended. I became absorbed in their repertoire and soon after got my first guitar. Clancy songs like “The Jug of Punch”, “Rosin The Bow” and “Brennan on The Moor” were cornerstones of my early repertoire. I began looking further afield and soon gathered “Mary from Dungloe”, “The Curragh of Kildare” and “The Rambler from Clare” from old books and collections. Travelling to Fleadhs and Ballad Sessions, I began to develop my own repertoire and singing technique. I encountered other singers and began to absorb different singing styles. The likes of Al O’Donnell, Johnny Moynihan, Mick Moloney and Andy Irvine were all part of the folk revival whilst singers like John Reilly, Joe Heaney and Frank Harte were singing from within The Tradition. Looking back now I realise that I was learning all the time.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼All early attempts at writing were adaptations. Songs such as “I wish I was in England” back in 1964, I found in a collection in Tulla, East Clare. It was in Tulla that I gathered “The Scariff Martyrs” and “Spancil Hill”. When I moved to England in 1966 I began to hear contemporary songwriters for the first time. Among others, I encountered Ewan McColl, Dominic Behan and Ralph McTell. It was exciting to hear songwriters performing their own works, and I began trying to write, but never produced anything that survived. In 1968 my singing career began to gather momentum on the English Folk Club circuit. I turned once again to the tradition for repertoire and also began covering the work of other writers with songs like “John O’Dreams”, “Nancy Spain” and “Letter to Syracuse”. It was to be another 10 years before I started writing again. In the late Seventies I wrote and recorded “90 Miles to Dublin”. Since then I have continued writing but I have never been prolific. Whilst I do enjoy the writing process I still listen out for songs to sing and a constant stream flows my way.
In 2012 I began to gather my songs together for this collection. Then I re-recorded them all. Most are contained here. Best do it while I’m still able.