Paul Brady’s The Paul Brady Songbook

cover, The Paul Brady Songbook CDI first saw Paul Brady in about 1968 or ’69 as part of The Johnstons folk group, upstairs at Yardarms Club in the Bull and Stirrup Hotel in Chester. In those days the Johnstons were one of the cornerstones of my record collection and had a sound envied by thousands of folk fans. I think they made about nine albums before disbanding and going their separate ways. I often wondered why they split. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then and Paul Brady has changed his musical direction. The Paul Brady we hear on this album is a contemporary pop singer who writes and co-writes some super fine songs — and how!

Paul’s apprenticeship before joining the Johnstons was served in R&B and soul bands. So you might say he has returned to his first love. Paul is a brilliant singer with age and soul in his gutsy voice, he really needs no introduction. So if you like soul and blues bands and you want to hear some original material, then this is the album for you.

You might say this is really the album from the film of the book! In August 2002 RTE television, Ireland’s national TV station, filmed a six programme series featuring Paul’s music, called The Paul Brady Songbook. This was shown only in Ireland, from October through December of that year. This album is a selection of those recordings. I understand there is also a three-hour DVD available of the entire series of programs. Just to confuse you it is also called The Paul Brady Songbook.

Paul Brady continues to push out the boundaries of Irish contemporary music and what has come to be known as Irish folk rock. Paul has successfully crossed over from traditional folk to the world of pop music. Many of his songs are collaborations with other luminaries such as Carole King, Will Jennings, Ronan Keating, Conner Reeves and Mark Hudson. Songs like “Oh What a World,” “I Will Be There,” and “The Long Goodbye” are now regarded by many as standards.

For me, one of the best songs on the album is “Nobody Knows,” but the bonus track “The Hawana Way,” sounds very commercial and has been released as a single. This is a very commercial album and is sure to be a big seller.

(Compass Records, 2003)

Peter Massey

Born in 1945, Peter Massey, Senior Writer, is now living in the city of Chester, England with his wife Sandra. Now medically retired he worked for 35 years in the shoe business. He has been a semi-professional musician and singer performing mainly traditional / contemporary folk songs for over 38 years as part of the duo (and sometimes trio) 'The Marrowbones'. His musical interest started at the age of 14 with Rock 'n' Roll and by the time his seventeenth birthday came along he was already playing rock 'n' roll and R&B in and around the local dance venues and clubs such as the Cavern in Liverpool. Thankfully he was saved from the evils of rock 'n' roll when he discovered real music and folk clubs. His collection of recordings houses over 3500 folk songs alone. Other interests and hobbies include Computers and Amateur Radio (he has a class A G4 call sign) His latest project is 'The Little Room Studio' dedicated to making 'live' recordings of folk artists and producing their work on to CD using a portable digital recording studio. To date he has written and composed over 12 folk songs and co-wrote with Gordon Morris another 10 that have been recorded on CD. The song writing has continued and they have another 10 songs in the pipeline not yet recorded to CD. Favourite music / bands at the moment are Steeleye Span, The Battlefield Band, Little Johnny England and Fairport Convention, (in that order), and much admires the work of Martin Carthy, Martin Simpson, Roy Bailey, Vin Garbutt, and Bob Fox, to name but a few! You can visit the crummy Web site here and read about The Marrowbones and how to get your free songbook.

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