I recently came into a recording by Harry O’Donoghue, which I like a lot. Harry has a sound which brings him to me as a troubador in the style of the great (Irish) Tommy Sands, so I was predisposed to like him anyway. But this recording tells me that I don’t need to make comparisons because Harry stands very good on his own talent and music style.
Harry was born Irish, in the town of Drogheda near the Irish Sea.
From his own website:
“With nearly 30 years in the music business, Harry O’Donoghue has become a master folksinger, storyteller and songwriter.
His comfortable easygoing manner has become a trademark. On stage with acoustic guitar, bodhran and his gentle voice, Harry weaves and interconnects a pattern filled with history and culture, his songs telling the story of Ireland past and present. ………………
Born and raised in Droghega on the banks of the River Boyne, just three miles inland from the Irish Sea, Harry began his musical career when he was twenty, performing at Folk Masses and for the Irish Wheelchair Association, among others. In 1979 he was a founding member of the group Terra Nova and by the mid-eighties they were touring the U.S. and signed to Polydor Records. When the group performed their last concert in 1987 Harry embarked on what would become a hugely successful solo career.”
Harry has performed with the Savannah Symphony, along with many other performers from the world of international stars such as Mary Black, Cathie Ryan, Tommy Makem, and many others.
Harry co-produces and hosts “The Green Island Radio Show” broadcasting weekly on Georgia Public Broadcasting and streamed live on the Internet at GPB.org. He also hosts singing workshops, passing folk songs along in the oral tradition.
Harry organizes tours to Ireland, both for the public and for private groups. More information is available on his website.
There are 12 songs on this recording, A Splash of No Regrets, he splits his songs into four categories: contemporary, original, traditional, and classic (meaning classic Irish, of course). Among the contemporary, he includes songs from Rodney Crowell (my fave of all western swing musicians) and Rod McKuen (a poet I consider a fave alongside Robert Burns, the great Scots poet). Marian Makins provide backing vocals except for two songs, To Welcome Paddy Home and The Galway Shawl, where Joanie Madden of Cherish The Ladies backs him on whistles, flutes, and her own harmony vocals. Joanie is for a future blog about Cherish the Ladies. Other musicians on this recording include Lanny Paykin on cello, and Gabriel Donohue on guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion, flute/whistles, bodhran, ukulele, banjo, dobro, and accordion.
Traditional songs are The Homes of Donegal, The Galway Shawl, and To Welcome Paddy Home. Loch Lomond and An Irish Lullaby are called old-school classics. As well, Harry includes four songs which he wrote.
I cannot say I have a favourite song on this recording. I enjoyed them all equally, but his rendition of Rod McKuen’s Loves Been Good To Me and The Time Has Come (Ron’s Song) both stand out a little from the others.
Anyway, I suggest that everyone listen to this recording, and choose, if you can, your own faves. Harry O’Donoghue is just plain good, and well-deserving of your attention.
Celtic Radio Contributor