These recordings were made using
three vintage Neumann valve (tube) microphones. One of the microphones,
a U47 dating from the 1940's the serial number 1000. Coincidentally
the church was also 1000 years old. These are real performances
which have not been edited or doctored in anyway. On this CD
we have included two "bonus" tracks from the finale
of the concert in the church. These tracks originally appeared
on "Many's The Foolish Youth".
We would especially like to thank: Eric and Linda
Greaves, John Butler, Reverend R. Stokes, Frank Edgeworth, Jim
and Carmel Tutty, Senan Bonfield, Mairéad O'Reilly, Deirdre
and Val, Frank Harte, Mary Cadden for the catering, and Helen
Smith for the photographs of Phil, Gerry and Fran.
Produced by - Dan Dan Fitzgerald
Mastered by - Mary Kettle at Trend Studios
Sleeve design by - Édain ODonnell
Track 6 "I am Stretched on
your Grave" (Trad Arr, King; lyric translated by Michael
O'Donovan) EMI Virgin Music Ltd. / Mulligan Music / MCPS
All other tracks are Traditional, Arranged by Phil Callery,
Fran McPhail, Gerry Cullen, Dan Fitzgerald.
Many's The Foolish Youth, first
issued in 1987, was the first record by Fran, Gerry and Phil.
Later they became known as The Voice Squad. Their style of singing
in harmony does not form part of the Irish singing tradition,
but each of the singers had already served his time in our individual
tradition before coming together to sing in harmony. I feel
that they have carried this individual approach to the song
with them into the group. It is this that gives them their unique
sound. The Voice Squad has been compared to those great English
family groups, "The Watersons" and "The Cooper
Family" and while they enjoy the singing of both of these
groups their strongest influences have come directly from our
own traditional songs and the styles of our individual singers.
It is the union of the distinct tenor voices of Fran and Phil
and the bass drone of Gerry, along with their own particular
arrangements of good songs, that has made them one of the most
distinctive unaccompanied singing groups today.
We Sang in St. Kevin's Church during
the "Music Under the Mountains" festival in 1991.
The natural stone quality was the best we have ever found so
we came back to record this album. Most of these recordings
were made in the Church, some during a concert. Other tracks
were recorded in John Butler's house. St. Kevin's Church is
the oldest Christian Church in Leinster which is still in use.
It was built on the site of a hermit's cell, inhabited by St.
Kevin before he went to Glendalough. The building is approximately
1000 years old and is now the Hollywood Heritage Centre. Hollywood
is a village situated on the western approach to the Wicklow
Phil, Fran and Gerry
1) Coventry Carol
This Song originally formed part of a 16th century Coventry
nativity play and was given to The Voice Squad by our late friend
Séamus O Rachallaigh.
2) The Cocks are Crowing
This is one of the many 'night visiting' songs that appear in
the traditional songs of so many countries. I think it is the
best song that Eddie Butcher ever sang for me.
3) The Sheepstealers
My friend, Vic Legg from Cornwall, said that this song was very
popular and widely sung among the travelling people of that
region. It could date from the time of the "Land Enclosures"
4) A Stor MO Chroí
This song of emigration, which has achieved great popularity
in recent years, was written by Brian O Higgins. The Voice Squad
learned it from the singing of Sarah and Rita Keane.
5) Timmy Murphy
When I first heard this song, sung by Sean Óg O'Thuama
many years ago, it had only three verses and that most peculiar
chorus. A friend of mine, Luke Cheevers, in true traditional
fashion wrote several verses, which I believe enhance the song,
and expand the story.
6) I am Stretched on your Grave
The words of this song are a translation of an anonymous poem
in Irish called "Táim Sinte Ar Do Thuama".
The singer Philip King, put this air to the poem, which I believe
brings out so clearly the sadness and loneliness expressed by
7) Good People All (Wexford Carol)
Otherwise known as the "Enniscorthy Christmas Carol",
this is one of the most beautiful carols sung in Wexford, and
is included in a collection, "The Wexford Carols",
edited by Diarmuid O'Muirthe
8) The Brown and Yellow Ale
The first person I heard singing this song was the late Dominic
Behan. Dominic claimed that it was a free translation by the
poet James Stephens, from a song in Irish called "Chuacha
Lán De Buí". This song was a particular favourite
of James Joyce.
9) Sarah Tane
This is one of many songs that I got from Eddie Butcher, that
great singer, who lived in Magilligan, Co. Derry. What attracted
me so much about the song was the strange meter as well as the
inclusion of obscure references such as "the sun passed
o'er the meridian" and "the land-rail out from her
grassy bed", the landrail of course, being another name
for the Corncrake.
10) Down in Yon Forest
This English religious song is said to have its origin somewhere
back in the sixteenth century. We have sung this for many years
at our Christmas Carol sessions in Dublin.
11) A Fond Kiss
This poem of Robert Burns was in a collection given to me by
an old schoolteacher in Chapelizod. The air is given as "Rory
Frank Harte - Chapelizod 1992