Wednesday 20 September 2017

Loaded: 90's favourite back to steal your heart

Gemma Hayes sings on the double album Then and Now
Gemma Hayes sings on the double album Then and Now
Courtney Love features in Olaf Tyaransen's book
John Meagher

John Meagher

Eighteen years after it dominated the domestic chart, A Woman's Heart is back. Now packaged as a double album called Then and Now, one disc features the original collection with a second disc of new songs recorded by some of the country's leading contemporary female songwriters. Dara Records will be hoping for even a sliver of the sales achieved in 1992.

Nobody could have predicted how big a phenomenon A Woman's Heart would be. It sold 750,000 copies worldwide -- quite an achievement for a small Irish independent label -- and stayed in the local chart for a full year, remaining in the top spot for an impressive four months. Quite why this often slight collection struck such a chord is hard to work out, but in a completely different age for music consumption such figures won't be repeated despite the best efforts of Cathy Davey, Lisa Hannigan, Luan Parle and Gemma Hayes.

  • Choir singing is about as far from my bag as possible -- and I positively recoil at the festival carol variety -- but I've been greatly enjoying Water Night, the third album from Dublin-based The Mornington Singers.

This multinational mixed voice group began life in Trinity College several years ago -- they're named after the university's first professor of music, Garrett Wesley, the first Earl of Mornington -- and are conducted by Orla Flanagan. Tomorrow night, the chamber choir performs a Christmas concert in the Pro-Cathedral, Marlborough Street, Dublin. The programme starts at 8pm and tickets (€8/€15) are available on the door.

  • He may enjoy the outlandish title of "writer-at-large" at Hot Press, but Olaf Tyaransen has an enviable brief. Most print journalists would love the 5,000 or so words the Galwegian is routinely given when interviewing the great and the good. Such space perhaps inevitably leads to self-indulgence, but to be fair to Olaf he has a knack of extracting memorable quotes from his subject.

Selected Recordings 2000-2010 collects 20 of his better interviews with such a diverse group as celebrity terrorist Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair, the ever-opinionated Courtney Love and a remarkably candid Damien Rice. There are moments where you'll wish Tyaransen would keep himself out of the story, but for the most part this is an engaging and very funny read.

  • The Times They Are A-Changin' remains one of the most significant protest songs of the 20th century and its standing is likely to be evident next week, when Bob Dylan's original handwritten lyrics go under the hammer.

A scrap of paper torn from a notebook, it's expected to command €300,000. Four verses are scrawled by Dylan in distinctive capital letters and there are a handful of corrections to the words. The title, written diagonally across the bottom, is surrounded by a scribbled doodle frame.

The paper omits one verse from the recording Dylan made in the autumn of 1963, the second stanza beginning: "Come writers and critics." On the back, as an added bonus, there is a fragment of North Country Blues, which appears on The Times They Are A-Changin' album.

Irish Independent

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