The Public Records 3/15/18
Welcome back to our third installment of McMarch. This week we have a real treat for you, not just because there is a dearth of information on there on the web about this group, but because now we can get a little rowdy.
Our album of the week is Belt Of The Celts (1978, Triskel Records) by The Wolfe Tones and is their ninth album. These fellows, Brian Warfield, Noel Nagle, and Liam Courtney, grew up together in Dublin. In 1963, formed the group and in 1964 were joined by Brian’s brother Derek and Liam Courtney was replaced by Tommy Byrne. This was not the final line up for the ‘Tones, but it was the one that would last for almost forty years.
They took their name as a double entendre; from an 18th century Irish rebel leader Theobald Wolfe Tone and for the ‘wolf tone’ that is a very vibrato-y overtone that is sometimes produced by string instruments.
As one can surmise from their name, The Wolfe Tones were a tad political and often much of their music comprised of rebel songs as well as the traditional type of folk. On our album of the week, the track ‘Some Say The Divil Is Dead’ is a fun and swashbuckling example of this. Their work also included tracks dealing with both prominent IRA and Protestant Nationalist members – ‘Joe McDonnell’, and ‘The Broad Black Brimmer’. ‘The Helicopter Song’ (1974) release coincided with the Mountjoy Jail jailbreak and that led it to become that fast selling single that Ireland had ever produced.
Despite their overtly political leanings and music, the band was quite popular on the BBC and would often get more of a welcome from them than from many local Irish stations. The Wolfe Tones are still kicking and have been selling out festivals as late as 2018 – the year in which they were accepted into Barrowlands’ (Glasgow, Scotland) hall of fame for music.
Since you’ll be kicking it down here with The Wolfe Tones, you might as well kick with a Powers and a nice full Guinness.